'IDF's hit parade smacks of religious discrimination'

Contest asking soldiers to rank best Israeli songs discriminates against religious soldiers, group says.

israel 60 224 promo (photo credit: )
israel 60 224 promo
(photo credit: )
An IDF song contest asking soldiers to rank the best Israeli songs of the past 60 years discriminated against religious soldiers, a right-wing media watchdog complained this week. Tadmit, a Hebrew acronym for "strengthening democracy in the Israeli media," addressed a complaint to Army Radio Commander Yitzhak Tunik explaining that because most of the songs in the contest had been played on Shabbat, religious soldiers had been prevented from taking part in the voting process. Listening to music and using a telephone or a computer on Shabbat is forbidden according to Orthodox Jewish law. Chanie Luz, Tadmit's coordinator, said that the point was not whether a left-wing song like Miri Aloni's version of "The Song of Peace" ("Shir Hashalom") won the contest as opposed to the more nationalist "I Have No Other Land" ("Ein Li Eretz Aheret"). The winning song was "Dad, Come to the Amusement Park" ("Aba Bo Laluna Park"). "It was simply not right to have a song contest in honor of 60 years of statehood that leaves out a large segment of the population," said Luz. "It denied them their right to influence the outcome of the contest." The IDF Spokesman said in response that "the finals of the song contest were broadcast on May 2 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., well before the beginning of Shabbat. "True, some of the 360 songs that were included in the semifinals were played on April 25 after the beginning of Shabbat," the statement went on. "However, the list of songs that competed in the semifinals was published in Hamahaneh, the IDF's magazine for soldiers, on April 2. In addition, the list was available on Army Radio's Internet site for weeks before the finals."