Shlomo Artzi promises to do best to include women in charity concert

The much-liked Israeli singer will be honored by a tribute concert with all proceedings going to charity, but news broke out only men will be able to sing on stage.

Shlomo Artzi (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Shlomo Artzi
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An up and coming  November concert honoring the life and work of singer Shlomo Artzi ahead of his 70th birthday caused an uproar when news broke out no female singers were included in the line-up.
The proceeds of the event will be donated to Ezra LeMarpeh, an NGO managed by Rabbi Avraham Elimelech Firer, who will be in attendance and, as an ultra-Orthodox man, requested no women will sing on stage. 
Artzi took to social media to say that while charity is “of the utmost importance” and that “indeed, anyone can use my songs” he will now “do all I can do convince the honorable rabbi to change his mind.” 
Artzi himself is not said to be performing in the event. Instead, his own songs will be performed by some of the best loved Israeli musicians currently working such as Harel Skaat, Mosh Ben Ari, and Elai Botner and the Outside Kids (Yeldei ha Hutz).  
Usually the Outside Kids include female singer Adar Gold, who said she was unaware that this is the reason she was asked to sit this one show out. 
It should be noted that the event will be co-hosted by a woman, journalist Orly Vilnai, and audience members will be able to sit together regardless of gender. The exclusion of women is only in the realm of singing. 
The reason of the prohibition is a view expressed in the Talmud that the female voice is related to the female good looks and so hearing a female voice is bound to lead a man to reflect on her appearance. 
The view was understood differently by various Jewish scholars across the years with some, like Shlomo ibn Aderet, ruling that any female voice should be banned – including a woman asking a man how he’s doing, but that view was mostly rejected. 
Eliezer ben Samuel reported that in his days it was permissible to listen to the voices of non-Jewish women singing. 
With the advance of the modern age, Rabbi Jacob Braish ruled that even recorded female voices, when the performer is not present to be looked at, are forbidden. 
Rabbi Moshe Schick thought otherwise and ruled that if one listens to a recorded voice, without watching the performer, the element of lust can not be activated and ergo such acts are allowed. 
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef thought that in the modern age, where most males know how the singer looks like from billboard ads, the element of lust is activated even by a recorded voice and ruled that even listening to female singers who are no longer alive is forbidden. 
An opposite view, that women should also not be allowed to hear males sing, was printed in Sefer Hasidim and rejected by most scholars. 
Speaking on behalf of Ezra LeMarpeh, their spokesperson told Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, that they regret the media publishing the story and are aware that “if this wasn’t the way of life the Rabbi lives by, the story would never be broadcast.” 
The spokesperson invited the public to enjoy the event and rejected “any attempt to create a hurtful, divisive discourse.”