Ivri Lider Blacklisted from Performing for Israeli Military
Gay Israeli singer Ivri Lider is one of a few artists who have been barred from performing for Israeli troops because the military says he has failed to complete his military service:
"...three days before a gala concert for 10,000 soldiers Sunday night, the 33-year-old star was dropped from the lineup. The abrupt cancellation was a result of the army's disappointing call-up this summer, which yielded the fewest draftees in five years. Worried Israeli leaders are now moving to stigmatize entertainers and other celebrity role models who have failed to complete mandatory military service. Lider, who was discharged from the army after serving one month, is one of the first to feel the backlash. 'The fact that those who do not serve in the military can become cultural heroes is worrying,' Maj. Gen. Elazar Stern, the army's personnel director, told a recent meeting of state broadcast regulators."
Israeli officals are reportedly concerned because of a decline in call-up to military service:
"The campaign to tighten conscription, the most concerted here in years, has stirred a national debate about security and values. Blacklisting is the most controversial part of it, widely criticized as a witch hunt. Some of those singled out were legally discharged from the army but are nonetheless being branded as evaders. 'Artists are constantly being asked to perform for the public benefit, but on a hot-potato issue they can become easy targets and be branded as public enemies,' said Rami Fortis, a prominent singer not on the blacklist. 'What is happening is frightening.'"
Lider's spokesperson Roni Arditi said that the military has demanded Lider sign a letter that says "Ivri Lider loves the IDF and respects its values."
Arditi added: "Ivry Lider was enlisted to the army and was released by the army for medical reasons, according to the law. For the past 10 years, Lider has voluntarily performed in front of soldiers. There is no place for such a thing (the IDF's letter) in a democracy."
Left: Lider's video for his recent single "Jesse". In 2005, Lider won the "Male Singer of the Year" award from Israel's major national and local radio stations. He has sold over 160,000 albums.