The national anthem must be played at every event President Shimon Peres
attends, Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev suggested on
Regev called a meeting of her committee to discuss why “Hatikva,”
the national anthem, was not played at the FC Barcelona exhibition game in Ramat
Gan last week, even though Peres and Education Minister Shai Piron were
The Likud Beytenu MK plans to propose a bill requiring the
anthem to be played at every event Peres attends, and called for the Ministerial
Committee on Symbols and Ceremonies to promote the legislation.
President’s Residence organized the popular soccer team’s visit, and the
Education Ministry spent an estimated NIS 1 million to bring 14,000 children
from around Israel to see the game.
According to President’s Residence
director-general Efrat Duvdevani, the game brought excellent PR to Israel and
was viewed by soccer fans around the world.
“According to protocol, the
anthem is played only at national or official events, and the game did not fall
into that category,” Duvdevani explained. “At the same time, we’re happy to have
the anthem played at any event in which the president participates.”
Eshel, director of the Education Ministry’s Youth and Social Administration,
said the ministry’s position was that the anthem should have been played at the
game, and officials were surprised when it wasn’t.
Eshel’s was one of
several versions of the event and who was responsible for whether or not
“Hatikva” was played.
After hearing several contradictory stories, Regev
called the production company that worked at the event.
Daniel Ben Naim,
who works for the company, said all the government offices knew the anthem would
not be played.
“It’s embarrassing that the national anthem was not heard
at an event with the president and education minister,” Regev
“Israel’s national honor is important, and someone should have
made sure it was played.”