Israeli singer gives up on visa to sing at UN

Amir Benayoun gives up on opportunity to acquire visa that would enable him to fly to perform on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Amir Benayoun
Amir Benayoun
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Israeli singer Amir Benayoun has given up on the possibility of acquiring a visa that would enable him to fly to perform in New York next week.

Benayoun was scheduled to perform a song he wrote at the United Nations annual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but the United States embassy in Israel declined his visa request.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been making considerable efforts in recent days to bring Benayoun for a second interview at the embassy and perhaps to receive the desired visa, but the singer refuses to take advantage of the second opportunity.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely personally took part in the efforts to obtain the visa for Benayoun, and had instructed the consular department of the Foreign Ministry to use its influence on the issue.

The singer explained his decision on his Facebook page on Thursday.

"The Foreign Ministry asked me to send an e-mail to the embassy in which I confirm that I would travel to the U.S. and promise to return. The letter was supposed to be an appeal and after sending it I was supposed to receive the visa. But the embassy decided to drive me crazy by making me come to its building again (and of course they haven’t provided a visa)."

"In my opinion, after high-ranking people (ministers, etc.) have already taken the matter into their hands, I no longer have how to assist. Of course I will not go back to the embassy because if they wanted to, they would give the visa without driving me crazy. Since we’re talking about Holocaust Remembrance Day here, then I am showing minimal Jewish respect which in any case will prove my attachment to my country," Benayoun wrote.

Benayoun was scheduled to be joined on stage at the UN in New York by singers David D’Or and Miri Mesika, who already have received their visas.

The song, called “The Last Survivor,” was written by Moshe Klugheft and composed by Benayoun. A video of the song, to be screened at the UN, features several Israeli Holocaust survivors.