Ariel Zilber: I never meant to hurt anyone

Rightist singer receives lifetime achievement award, discusses Achinoam Nini's call to boycott him.

Yoni Kempinski,

Ariel Zilber receives lifetime achievement award
Ariel Zilber receives lifetime achievement award
Yoni Kempinski

Singer Ariel Zilber received on Wednesday evening his lifetime achievement award from the Israeli Union of Performing Artists (IUPA), which was not without controversy after leftist singer Achinoam Nini quit the IUPA in a call to boycott Zilber due to his nationalist views.

After accepting the award, Zilber told the audience, "When I got the news that I was going to get a prize, I said - according to Jewish law, no one should get a prize. Either everyone receives a prize or no one does. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai once said, ‘If you have learned a lot of Torah do not take credit for that because you were created for this purpose.’ So all of us were created for the sake of something - I guess I was created for this.”

"So therefore I am not grateful to myself but rather to others," Zilber continued. “I thank G-d who guides me and provides me with a path every day and every hour, I thank my dear wife and all of the people of Israel of whom I am a part, whom I love and appreciate.”

He also addressed the saga of Nini quitting the IUPA in protest of his receiving an award and said, "I want to say one more thing. I never meant to hurt anyone. I'm a person and I too get hurt sometimes."

The recent exchange between Nini and Zilber echoes a similar episode in 2014, when Zilber was to win a lifetime achievement prize from ACUM (Union of Composers, Writers and Publishers in Israeli Music),

At that time Nini announced that she would not accept a prize from ACUM so long as Zilber was being honored as well. 

At the last moment ACUM changed Zilber's award from a lifetime achievement award to a "contribution to music" prize, under pressure from Dalia Rabin, the daughter of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a member of ACUM's board of directors.