Achinoam Nini (known internationally as “Noa”) is among Israel’s greatest singers. Forty-four years old of Yemenite family background, she is not only a phenomenal singer and a true beauty, she is principled, kind-hearted and generous of spirit.
Noa refused to accept a prestigious singing award from ACUM, a nonprofit group that seeks to ensure copyright laws protecting artists’ works, because another singer Ariel Zilber was to be presented with a life-time achievement award at the same ceremony.
Noa has taken offense at Ariel Zilber’s extremist politics and hateful speech towards a number of groups.
He hates homosexuals and declared not only that gays and lesbians should be banned from society, but that “To be a homo is a perversion.”
He proclaimed that all secular non-religious people “have nothing to offer, only to get sick with AIDS and look at naked women. Phooey!”
He said, “All leftists should be expelled [from Israel] and sent to the devil. They are Amalek!”
He praised the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, as well as Baruch Goldstein, the American doctor who murdered 29 Muslims with a machine gun while they were praying in the Hebron Ibrahimia mosque, the traditional burial cave of Abraham and Sarah that both Jews and Muslims regard as a holy site.
He supports “Price Tag” attacks (perpetrated by extreme right wing settler groups) on Arabs and Israeli peace workers (i.e. Shalom Achshav).
He proclaimed that “the Arabs are not worth anything. They don’t know how to do anything but kill.”
And Zilber composed a song stating that Rabbi Meir “Kahane was right,” though the High Court of Israel outlawed Rabbi Meir Kahane’s political party “Kach” as racist.
I am grateful to Uri Avnery, a venerable 90 plus year Israeli journalist, for alerting me to Noa’s political and moral courage in refusing to share a stage with this hateful bigot.
Noa deserves a different award altogether, an “Israeli Mensch Award.” Not only has she lifted her good name high above the fray. She is the embodiment of the best of Israel’s spirit.