A musical event being held for new IDF recruits is set to host the popular Israeli band Hadag Nahash on Wednesday night – despite that fact that the band's lead singer has been a vocal supporter for the virulently anti-IDF organization Breaking the Silence.
The chairman of Friends of the IDF (FIDF), Brigadier Gen (ret.) Avigdor Kahalani, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the issue and explained that it was the previous commitment of FIDF to the audience and the IDF's decision that led to the controversial concert.
The FIDF had promised the IDF to feature whichever two bands won a popular opinion poll that the IDF crafted on the subject, he said; the first place went to Shlomo Artzi, and Hadag Nahash – regardless of its views – won second place.
"I cannot cancel our early commitment, but I requested that they encourage young people towards recruiting – and if they say things that are not understood or are misunderstood or said things that should not be said or should not say them in a civilized country like ours, they must clarify things on stage," Kahalani said. He has asked the IDF's Chief Education officer to handle the matter.
"We are now in a legal situation where we need to see how we do things [in the future]," he added. "We are an institution, not a private entity, and we are working in full coordination with the IDF."
"This is my life's mission, and when I hear people going against the army and the soldiers it rips my heart, and I certainly feel very uncomfortable when I hear things like this in a country fighting for its existence," Kahalani continued. "I hope we can get out of this […] I am ready to die for those who are willing to die for their country."
The FIDF will, meanwhile, learn from the incident, he said.
Several concerned citizens have turned to the IDF Spokesperson's Office over the issue, Arutz Sheva has learned.
"In the personnel department there is a culture committee, which is responsible for approving external bands to play for soldiers," it responded. "Every band which seeks to perform in front of the IDF stands in front of a committee which examines the values and messages of the band in relation to Israeli society and the IDF in particular."
"Hadag Nahash was indeed removed from our list a few years ago due to radical statements published in the media, but after discussion with the chief education officer, they worked things out between them regarding the values of the IDF Education Corps and the band has returned to the list of licensed bands to perform in front of the army."
"We believe and are sure that the personnel department officers has taken into account all relevant considerations, given the approval of the band – regardless of the political stance of the band – to appear before the soldiers," it added.