Religious Residents Protest Gay Israeli Singer As “Avowed Pervert,” Demand He Be Disinvited From Festival

Ivri Lider is one of the biggest contemporary singers in Israel.

Israeli pop star Ivri Lider is slated to perform in the West Bank next month, but some religious families in the area are claiming that hosting the gay singer is tantamount to “blasphemy.”

Signs announcing Lider’s appearance at the Face to Face festival in the city of Elkana have been defaced with graffiti calling him a “deviant.”

An email sent to residents demanded Lider be cut from the roster, claiming “it’s not too late to admit that a grave mistake has been made and to fix it.”

“How can a religious settlement like Elkana invite an avowed pervert to appear in our community?” it read. “It’s not a way to educate our children and is certainly impossible to turn a blind eye to this kind of phenomenon in our community.”

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City council leader Asaf Minzer dismissed the petition, saying Lider’s personal life is irrelevant.

“All of the performers were chosen based on musical considerations only. Any other details about them are none of our business.”

On Sunday, Lider said he had every intention of performing at the festival, which aims to promote Jewish unity in Israel.

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“I read… that I was called an ‘avowed pervert,’” he wrote on Facebook. “I’d like to say that it didn’t hurt me at all, but that’s not true.”

He added that it was “bizarre and astonishing” to hear people attack something just because it’s different.

“I’m sure that most of Elkana’s residents are tolerant, music-loving people who are looking forward to the show just as much as I am,” he added. “And for them, I will come and play with joy.”

Lider, 42, arrived on the scene in the late ’90s and has become one of the biggest contemporary musicians in Israel, winning and selling more than 200,000 records. In 2013, he served as a judge in the first season of The X Factor Israel.

In addition to his solo work, he is one-half of the electro-rock duo The Young Professionals (TYP), alongside producer Johnny Goldstein.

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The West Bank settlements are a source of controversy, but Lider has mostly avoided addressing the Palestinian conflict publicly, stating he hopes his music fosters “a world that erases a little bit of boundaries between people and between countries.”

h/t: The Times of Israel

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery