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:

Ivrilider“…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.

Israel’s military shame campaign [la times]
No gigs for dodgers [ynet]


  1. Zeke says

    If an issue, ideal, value, right, ideology or way of life isn’t something that is valued enough by its people to VOLUNTEER to fight for then it isn’t worth fighting for.

    I guarantee you if this had been a woman who hadnt’ “fulfilled” her military service, they wouldn’t have batted an eye. They wouldn’t care.

  2. sugarrhill says

    You can’t use the “gay card” to get out of serving in the Israeli army, dumbass. If he was dismissed then it’s the government’s fault not his.

    His music kind of sucks though.

  3. Zeke says

    RDM, that is a widely held belief but it is not in fact true. The fact of the matter is most women opt out of military service through civil service deferments.

    We have a lot of misconceptions about how Israeli conscription applies to women. Most people, outside of Israel and the occupied territories, seem to be under the misconception that males and females are treated the same when it comes to conscription. That is simply not true. First of all women are only “required” to serve half the mandatory service time that men are. Secondly, women are not allowed to be assigned to combat roles or to any service role that is deemed too dangerous (of the thousands of news clips you’ve seen of Israeli soldiers on patrol, how many female soldiers do you ever see?; I mean REALLY, pay attention to the obvious instead of believing everything you hear). And thirdly, as I said before, there are opt outs that most women utilize to do their mandatory service in civil, rather than military, service.

    As for this gentleman, it seems that many people here are making unfounded assumptions and accusations about his service and/or why he isn’t now serving. I think that that is shameful and irresponsible.

  4. Zeke says

    SUGARRHILL and RDM, are right that there is no “gay card” to avoid service in the IDF and no one claimed that the medical “excuse” was initiated by the soldier. It is inappropriate to assume that it was.

    The statement by ALAN BRICKMAN was uninformed and ignorant.

  5. virgoboy says

    I haven’t taken the time to read the other posts but, this guys music figured prominently in an Israeli film “The Bubble” which is making the rounds at GLBT/Int’l. Film Fests around the country. It is a haunting film and the songs Mr. Lider contributes (he is in the film, too) are wonderful ESPECIALLY his rendition of the Tim Buckley song, “Song to a Siren”. Don’t miss this film 😉 !!

  6. Tom says

    Hmmm, the most rabid pro-war and intolerant Hassidem are not required to serve. They reap all the benefits of Israeli citizenship and contribute very little in return, especially refusing military service. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Too bad he’s not an American artist, this wouldn’t be an issue. We promote draft dodgers and other shirkers on military radio and tv, ie: Limbaugh and O’Reilly who have daily shows on Armed Forces Radio. Also, our commander in chief is a deserter and the VP a draft dodger. Joe Lieberman is an Israeli citizen and a warmonger, shouldn’t he also serve in the IDF?

  7. Zeke says

    Anon, you’re right about that. I forgot about the religious exemptions.

    I might add that the religious exemption doesn’t apply only to men. It also applies to women of certain sects.

  8. ohmy says

    What’s more “worrying” is that they want to start a third class of citizen in Israel: those who don’t blindly march to the IDF’s drum. Not to get into the nonsense of calling actors and singers “heroes”, or this case where it’s evident the IDF let him walk, but what does it say about those who think mandatory military service should be a prerequisite for popularity?

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