Pianist Evgeny Kissin gets Israeli citizenship.
(photo credit: Lior Daskal/Courtesy The Jewish Agency for Israel)
It isn’t every day that a Jew living outside of Israel, but fighting to preserve
Israel’s good name, asks to become an Israeli citizen. World renowned pianist
Evgeny Kissin is an exception to the rule.
Though living primarily in
France and England, he defends Israel at every opportunity and felt that he
could do so more effectively if he had Israeli citizenship.
A year ago, he
approached Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky to ask for his help in
becoming an Israeli. Sharnasky instantly warmed to the idea and sought the help
of various ministers who were equally receptive to the idea.
On Saturday at a
reception co-hosted by the Touro Restaurant and the Jerusalem Press Club, Kissin
received his Israeli passport from Minister for Immigrant Absorption Sofa
In the letter that he wrote to Sharansky a year ago, Kissin stated: “I
am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state – and since long ago I have felt that Israel,
although I do not live there, is the only state in the world with which I can
fully identify myself, whose case, problems, tragedies and very destiny I
perceive to be mine.
“If I, as a human being and artist represent
anything in the world, it is my Jewish people, and therefore Israel is the only
state on our planet which I want to represent with my art and all my public
activities, no matter where I live.”
Kissin will give a benefit concert
in Jerusalem on Monday night for the Tel Hai International Master Classes.