Miss Diva stirs up the Knesset
May 14, 1998
Singer Dana International caused a ruckus in the lobby of the Knesset yesterday when she arrived in the building to attend a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee. Hordes of waiting photographers rushed to take pictures of the Eurovision song contest winner, knocking over a large flowerpot and several people who were in their way.
MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism), witnessing the commotion, said "this is the height of the sub-culture of primitive modernism." MK David Azoulay (Shas), who walked out of the committee meeting before the singer's arrival, said, "I do not wish to meet a hermaphrodite who brings no honor." Committee Chairman Emanuel Zisman (The Third Way) was responsible for the invitation to International. Zisman greeted her and the writers of her winning song, Zvika Pik and Yoav Ginai, saying they had helped "elevate the spirits and boost the national morale of the Israeli people." Zisman said that the song's success in the contest was not only due to Dana's voice, but also to her "charm and charisma." He added that millions of people across Europe voted for the song to show their support for the freedom of culture and art in Israel. International, clearly enjoying the spotlight, added her two cents on the importance of freedom of expression. "It is very upsetting to see that there are so many people trying to stop the celebrations," she said. "I did not expect such harsh responses."
The victorious singer reiterated her joy at winning the annual Europe-wide contest, adding "this is not my victory as an individual, but our victory as a people and a cultural victory for the state of Israel." She called on the Education and Culture Committee "not to allow extremist groups to interfere with the freedom of expression and democracy in Israel. If there is no democracy, there will be no Israel." Labor MK Yael Dayan, chairman of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, also congratulated International. "This is an achievement for civil liberties and human rights, above and beyond the song's achievement," she said.
by Dalia Shehori, Ha'aretz