JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israeli folk singer Eti Ankri was forced to cancel a celebratory concert only hours before it was due to start since the law prohibits separate events from taking place in public halls. Ankri, a popular singer who became religious and now only sings before women, hoped to celebrate with her fans 30 years of musical creativity but was forced to cancel the event, raising concerns about the ability of female orthodox entertainers to support themselves.
“I am a newly religious singer with a large following in the non-religious public,” Ankri told Ynet. “If I am not allowed to use a public hall for the general public, I am forced to go underground and I am prevented from being able to create and maintain the connection with my secular fans.
Ankri wrote a post to her fans apologizing for the cancellation but said that if she would try to prevent males from entering her show she was subject to being sued for “harming individual rights” based on the Basic Law:Human Dignity and Liberty.
She added that “this basic law, whose goal is to protect human dignity and liberty, does not allow me to prevent anyone from entering my show and thus harms my dignity and liberty to choose to appear only in front of women.”
Ankri added that “if you were to invite me to a private club in the religious sector, it would be clear to men that they are not invited to the show, but in the general sector none of the owners would allow me to prevent men entering and would not allow me to advertise to women alone.
“When men come to my shows I’m sure that they are wonderful people who come out of love for my songs and not out of malice. I don’t want to hurt those who don’t understand the concept of a show for women only and still showed up. I wish to demonstrate understanding and not categorize people. I’m a private person and wish to be free to perform in front of my particular audience without it appearing that I am rejecting or harming someone else.”
‘I wish to make a positive change but not via dispute, disparagement or debate. It is the right of a religious artist to sing in clubs like Zappe [the club where Ankri’s show was supposed to take place] and her right to appear before women should be upheld. If there is any exclusion here it is the exclusion of female artists and not of males who wish to attend their performances.”