Singer on Rivlin's Cancellation over Arab Song

Amir Benayoun clarifies that despite president blocking his performance over song critical of Arab citizens, he still 'loves Rivlin.'

Ido Ben-Porat, Ari Yashar ,

Amir Benayoun
Amir Benayoun
Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90

Leading Israeli singer Amir Benayoun on Tuesday afternoon responded to the decision of President Reuven Rivlin's office to cancel a performance by him at a state event next week, over a new song by Benayoun that is critical of Arab extremists in Israel.

"On the matter of the announcement published by the President's Residence, which as anticipated by its drafters added oil to the broiling bonfire of your loyal servants in the media, I'd like to say that I respect the presidential institute and love president Rivlin with true love, and am happy that he is the person in the President's Residence at this time," Benayoun wrote on Facebook.

Benayoun had been scheduled to sing at an event marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran for next Sunday, November 30, before the announcement Tuesday cancelling his participation "on the background" of Benayoun's new song "Ahmed Loves Israel."

In explaining the song, which criticizes Arab citizens who despite state benefits go on to commit terrorist attacks as "slimy ingrates," Benayoun's Facebook page elaborated "Amir wrote a protest song from great pain over the recent wave of terror."

"It's nature is of course up for discussion, but we emphasize: the song speaks about the violence targeting citizens of Israel and pains over it, it (the song) has no intention to incite, and violence is not our path or the path of Judaism, even if there are those who try to claim it is. Amir will continue to sing his love for the land of Israel and the people of Israel in the free and democratic state of Israel," continued the message.

Benayoun's song, as noted in his explanation of it, responds to the recent wave of terrorism in which Arab terrorists in several high profile attacks have used their position of employment at workplaces adjacent to the attack to murder Jews.

It also comes on the heels of a survey which found a full 29% of Arab citizens of Israel hold the state to "blame" for the recent terrorism, indicating a tacit support for terrorism among one out of three Israeli Arabs.

In response to Rivlin's cancellation, Minister for Senior Citizens Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) announced he would not attend the event, saying "punishing artists due to their opinions is an impermissible act, so unfortunately I cannot attend. If Benayoun isn't singing, I won't speak." 

Audio of "Ahmed Loves Israel" (in Hebrew):

Lyrics:

Salaam Aleikum, my name is Ahmed.
I reside in Jerusalem, I study at the University a thing or two.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I am moderate and smiling
Tomorrow I'll fly up to Heaven
Sending a Jew or two to Hell.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll bring down on it a sharpened hatchet.

My name is Ahmed
I live in the country's center.
I work right next to a kindergarten
And behind it some cooking gas balloons.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I'll be me
And tomorrow they'll be not,
Many many of them will not be.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll shoot straight into it.



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