Keren Peles
Keren PelesYossi Zamir/Flash 90

Singer Keren Peles has responded to a letter sent to her by Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne'eman, in which he cites the embarrassment experienced by the residents of Gush Etzion in light of her participation in the protest that alluded to "The Handmaid’s Tale," which took place ahead of her scheduled Gush performance.

Peles clarified in a post that appeared on the Facebook page of the Gush Etzion community center, where the turmoil occurred, saying, “It has nothing to do with the demographic whatsoever. It is the opposite of hatred and is in no way meant to express opposition to any citizen of the state, G-d forbid.”

Peles described how she felt, saying, “I have read the comments, and although I find it difficult and painful, I respect their right to express their opinion.”

She added, “I specifically come with open arms to these places, where people are willing to listen to me - people who play a different tune - and I return with renewed strength, fresh insights, and a broader understanding. I gain a different perspective and I emerge even more connected and with greater faith in ourselves as a whole.”

Peles signed off by saying, “I preferred to write to all of you personally, precisely through this platform, which allows for freedom of expression and dialogue. With much love always, Keren.”

Earlier, Ne'eman, had delivered a letter to the singer to disclose the prevailing confusion in the air in Gush Etzion.

“We were glad to invite you to perform in Gush Etzion for Shavuot. There is no disputing your value and talent as an artist,” he opened.

He continued, saying, “However over the past few days, we have been in a quandary. In light of the handmaiden performance, many of our residents have voiced their desire to cancel the show. They even distributed a petition calling for the same, which states, 'Keren Peles chose to express her political opinion on the performance stage, dressed as a handmaiden. This is a direct protest against the religious sector and right wing voters, which includes many residents of the Gush. We believe that there are enough worthy singers who have chosen not to belittle our society intentionally, and there is no place for her to perform in our backyard.'”

“We do not usually boycott artists,” added Ne'eman. “We, the residents of Judea and Samaria, of all people understand being ostracized due to our stance and place of residence. Since the start of the protests, we have appealed for unity and a decrease in fervor. Yet our residents are experiencing real pain; we are hurt by the way you portrayed your views. We see this act as a decision to ignore, and even show contempt for the position of the majority of the people.”

Finally, Ne'eman appealed to Peles by saying, “We would be happy to hear your view on the matter; perhaps what you have to say will help us and our residents deal with the situation.”

In view of Peles’ response, Ne'eman expressed hope that the singer’s performance in the Gush would indeed lead to offering her new insights, broader understanding, and connection, as she had stated.