Monday, 7 April 2014
Eyal Golan is a leading "Mizrachi" pop artist in Israel, but Golan is no longer best known for his singing, but rather for his allegedly unsavory private life.
Eyal Golan was arrested, along with six other men, in November 2013, due to allegations that he had engaged in relations with under-aged girls.
The other men included Dani Biton, Golan's father, who is still facing charges of statutory rape.
Biton, 61, is suspected of exploiting his proximity to his son’s fame to lure underage girls and then having sexual relations with them. He and Asulin are also suspected of giving the girls money and gifts to sleep with them.
Although the criminal case was dropped in February 2014 against Golan, due to lack of evidence, the scandal has drastically impacted his reputation and slashed the demand for Golan's concerts.
Haifa Municipality cancelled Golan's planned concert in their city, due to protests; the front-line small town of Sderot is still continuing with their plans for a concert.
Against this background, the Beit Shemesh municipality has stepped forward to sign up Eyal Golan to perform on Israel's Independence Day in the city's official celebrations.
The Municipality are reported to have paid the singer 200,000 NIS for the concert.
This was viewed by the newly re-elected Beit Shemesh Hareidi-dominated municipality as an important step towards rebuilding community relations, across the deepened hareidi vs Zionist fissure, by providing top-name entertainment for the Zionist population of the city.
However, many of the non-Hareidim view it as only making an acrimonious situation in the city even worse.
Why should Beit Shemesh, a traditional and orthodox city, be the only city in Israel to offer the disgraced singer this prestigious (and expensive) performance engagement?
There is concern that hosting this concert will broadcast a regressive message to victims of abuse - and to their perpetrators; as well as further tarnishing Beit Shemesh's battered national reputation.
A protest petition has been set up, demanding the concert be cancelled, and there are rumblings in the town to boycott the event.
At least two national radio stations have covered the story today. I heard one such interview on Galei Yisrael this morning, and could barely make out the words, due to the shouting match which was broadcast.
Posted by David Morris at 18:30