Events around date of publication of this item.
|Mon, 24 Jun 2002|
|President Bush makes a policy speech on Israel/Palestine|
|Fri, 21 Jun 2002|
|Israeli tank fires shells in crowded Jenin marketplace, killing 3 children and 1 adult|
|Thu, 20 Jun 2002|
|end of 34th Zionist Congress, in Jerusalem|
|Tue, 18 Jun 2002|
|Cherie Blair is attacked for expressing sympathy for Palestinians|
|Mon, 17 Jun 2002|
|start of 34th Zionist Congress, in Jerusalem|
|Sat, 18 May 2002|
|Israeli soldiers at a roadblock assassinate a Palestinian doctor from the village of Beit Ummar|
|Wed, 15 May 2002|
|Israeli tanks fire indiscriminately into houses in Dir Al-Balah, Gaza, killing 16 year-old youth|
|Fri, 10 May 2002|
|end of Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem|
|Tue, 7 May 2002|
|Suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion |
|Thu, 2 May 2002|
|Israel freezees all family reunifications between Israeli and residents of West Bank & Gaza|
|Tue, 2 Apr 2002|
|start of Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem|
A Venerable Voice in Israel Is Muted After Questioning Army's Actions
: A Venerable Voice in Israel Is Muted After Questioning Army's ActionsBy
: Mary Curtius Published in
: Los Angeles TimesDate of issue
29 April 2002People/entities mentioned in this item:
To generations of Israeli fans, Yaffa Yarkoni has been "the Singer of the Wars." Whenever troops marched into battle, they could be sure Yarkoni would follow. Clad in fatigues, she raised spirits at the front with her rousing renditions of patriotic songs.
So it seemed natural for Army Radio to interview the iconic singer in her home a few days before Israel's Independence Day this month. Once again, Israeli troops were at war, this time in the West Bank, where they were sweeping through Palestinian towns and refugee camps in Israel's largest military operation there since the 1967 Middle East War.
But this time, Yarkoni offered no words of encouragement. Instead, she bitterly criticized the troops, the government and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in an anguished tirade that shocked her interviewer and enraged many Israelis. "When I saw the Palestinians with their hands tied behind their backs, young men, I said, 'It is like what they did to us in the Holocaust,' " Yarkoni said. "We are a people who have been through the Holocaust. How are we capable of doing these things?"
Her words were deemed so offensive that the union representing the nation's performing artists called off a planned tribute to Yarkoni that had been in the works for two years. The head of the union said it was forced to make the move after members of the public flooded its offices with complaints and returned tickets purchased for the event, and after sponsors canceled their financial support.
Government ministers denounced Yarkoni. The town of Kfar Yona canceled her performance at a Memorial Day event to honor Israeli soldiers who have fallen in battle. Youth movements declared a boycott of her music. The septuagenarian received so many hate calls, her daughter said, that she is now too frightened to appear in public.
At a time when many Israelis believe that they are locked in a battle for their existence with the Palestinians, Yarkoni's remarks, and the backlash against her, have stirred a debate here about freedom of speech and the nature of patriotism.