A group of protesters began shouting and screaming on Tuesday when singer Eyal Golan took the stage in a room at the Knesset to accept an award.
Golan – who was investigated for but not charged with sexual exploitation of a minor - was handed the award by Likud MK Nava Boker. Last week Boker, the chairwoman of the Knesset Caucus for Hebrew Music, announced that Golan was among a list of Israeli musicians being honored by the caucus. But it quickly emerged that the remaining caucus members were not consulted about the prize and most did not even know it existed.
Over the past week many MKs and women’s groups expressed anger that Golan would be honored in the Knesset, considering his connection to the child prostitution case that saw his father sent to prison
. Golan was also convicted of tax evasion in 2014.
“We’re not going to pay attention to the background noise,” Golan said as he took the stage while the shouting protesters were removed by the Knesset guard. Boker and Golan then performed a duet for the remaining audience members.
Neither Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein nor Culture Minister Miri Regev were in attendance at the event. Edelstein said Tuesday he was awarding the Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize at the same time. Regev issued a statement Monday that said Golan was worthy of the honor, but she was unable to attend since she would be paying her last respects to the late Yigal Bashan. No other members of the Knesset Caucus for Hebrew Music were in attendance. The only other MKs spotted at the ceremony were Likud’s David Bitan and Kulanu’s Akram Hasson.
The other artists honored at the ceremony were the late Naomi Shemer and Ehud Manor, Yossi Gispan, Nurit Hirsh, Ilanit, Yehoram Gaon, Arkadi Duchin, Ishay Ribo, Einat Sarouf, Avi Singolda, the Reuveni Brothers, the Revivo Project and Tmira Yardeni. But many of the honorees did not attend, some because they were paying their respects to Bashan and others for unspecified reasons.
Shemer’s family told Ynet that they didn’t feel they “had anything to look for at this ceremony... we don’t want our mother to be connected to any matters that don’t have broad agreement.”