Singer and actor Ran Danker, who sang together with Yuval Dayan at a ceremony held in honor of US President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel last week, has presented his own take on what happened after the two singers concluded their performance and the American President approached them to shake their hands.
Danker shook Biden's hand, but Dayan, who has moved closer to Jewish tradition over the past few years, smiled and nodded while explaining that she is observant of the Jewish law prohibiting physical contact between unrelated men and women. Dayan has since been both vilified and praised in Israeli media, some lauding her for her bravery and others accusing her of shaming the president.
"I couldn't not respond to what Yuval Dayan has been going through the last few days," Danker stated on Sunday. "I just want to give my perspective as someone who was closest to her during all our rehearsals and then at the emotional moments on stage together."
Danker noted that he hadn't known Dayan personally before the two of them were selected to perform for the president. "I got to know a very smart woman, who is also funny, pretty, talented, and the main thing -- she has a huge heart as well as being modest and seeking only to do good for others," he wrote.
"Yuval updated everyone she could in the last few days before the performance, making it clear that she respects the Jewish law about not touching members of the opposite sex, and it was really important to her that everyone involved in the performance at the President's Residence should know about this. I heard her insisting numerous times that the message had to be given over to the President's entourage and to the President himself."
What happened next "wasn't within her control," Danker continued. "When the President got up and headed toward us I immediately extended my hand and explained that Yuval could not do so, and Biden accepted this with understanding, smiled, and thanked us for the song -- and that was that, it was over, and everyone was fine with it," he stressed.
"People are free to either agree or disagree with her decision. But the aggressive way in which she's come under fire and the unbridled attacks on social media by all these anonymous 'heroes' ... it's just unbelievable," he added.
Addressing Dayan directly, Danker concluded, "Yuval, my dear, I was just blown over by every minute. The perfect partner, a singer who is one-of-a-kind, and I look forward to singing with you again."