Israeli music icon Shlomo Artzi announced Sunday evening that he is refusing the Israel Prize due to the divisions within Israeli society.
Artzi, who was selected as the recipient of this year's prize in the Hebrew Song category, politely rejected the honor in a Sunday evening statement, explaining that "at this time, when our nation is torn and injured, it is difficult for me to receive this award.
"Unfortunately, I am forced to relinquish this great honor," the 73-year-old musician said.
Shlomo Artzi: I am full of worry
"I have been singing for over 50 years...everyone is loved and deserving in my eyes, without distinguishing between political, religious and racial ideas," Artzi continued. "To be part of the Israeli soundtrack - that is my real prize."
However, Artzi added, "my body and soul are trembling because I am full of worry of the division, the rift, the fracture we have fallen into."
Artzi signed his statement by calling on Israeli lawmakers to "stop and talk," in reference to the proposed judicial reform, "and the land will be quiet."
Receiving the Israel Prize for Hebrew Song due to Artzi's rejection will be 78-year-old Israeli singer-songwriter Yosef Cohen, better known as Daklon, the Education Ministry announced on Sunday evening.