IDF Radio reports:
The invitation to the event promised an extraordinary demonstration of co-existence. Musicians from the Palestinian National Orchestra came to Haifa to appear before an Israeli crowd, but instead of music bridging their positions and differences of opinion, the concert only managed to sharpen and divide when the Palestinian musicians refused to answer questions from the IDF-radio reporters. The IDF radio reporters were later forced to leave the concert hall because they were dressed in IDF uniforms.
The cultural event was held last night (Sunday) and was intended to put differences aside -- 40 Palestinian National Orchestra musicians arrived at the Kreiger Hall in Haifa before an Israeli audience, but when posed questions by the IDF Radio reporters, they refused the uniformed IDF soldiers, even though they were simply reporters for IDF radio.
The uncomfortable situation continued after the interview session, when the concert's organizers announced that recordings could only be made during the general rehearsal, and that the IDF radio reporters would not be allowed to stay for the concert because they were wearing IDF uniforms. The musicians felt uncomfortable performing before uniformed IDF soldiers, yet the primary question is, how can IDF soldiers be prevented from attending a concert which is held in a concert hall that belongs to the Israeli city of Haifa?
The only response to the question came from Jafar Perach, the director of the Mossawa Center for Arab Civil Rights in Israel, that tried to explain the incident in the name of the orchestra. "The musicians are used to IDF uniforms interrogating them at checkpoints, but it was strange for them at a cultural event. You [IDF Radio] arrived to interview them wearing the uniforms of the occupying army."
The Haifa crowd that came to hear the concert was also at unease and offered creative solutions; including that the IDF soldiers "dress up" [not in uniform]. The Haifa City spokesman, Tzachi Terno said "this behavior is unacceptable. We denounce any boycott based on nationality race, dress or anything. Specifically in Haifa, there is no place for such behavior, and we will be very careful in the future about letting activities into Haifa that boycott others." (translated by the Muqata Newswire)
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