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About the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra and "Kol ha Musica"
Other materials on this subject see כאן )

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Reaction:  Zipi Shohat. Gasping for airwaves. Haaretz June 10, 2003.
Lior Navok

Dear friends,

I am sure many of you have read the article in the Haaretz newspaper in regard to the activity reductionà shut down of Kol Hamusika.
This is critical that we will act now.

I have just sent letters of response to Haaretz newspapers (both Hebrew and English)
And also a fax +letter to Yosef Barel
– director of IBA.
It is critical that we will be all
together on this one.

If you like to take part, please write your responses to:

1)      Haaretz newspaper - -  preferably both in Hebrew and English

2)      Fax or send a letter to: Yosef Barel, Director IBA, Shaarey Tzedek Building, Jaffo, 161, Jerusalem 91280; fax no. 02-501-5509

After that we'll see. . .
Sorry for the mass email, but hope to have your attention on this important matter.

Reaction:  Zipi Shohat. Gasping for airwaves. Haaretz June 10, 2003.
Author: Zecharia Plavin


Mr. Barel: Please do not touch “Kol ha Muzika”!



June 11, 2003

Concerning the planned merger of the Voice of Music (Kol ha-Muzika) and the Reshet Aleph station and the de-facto liquidation of the Concert Art-music station in Israel (In response to the article  "Gasping for airwaves” By Zipi Shohat, Haaretz June 10, 2003)



The time has come to the managerial corpus of the State of Israel – from the Prime Minister downwards on, through Finance Minister and his associates, and through the senior management of the IBA to understand, that by trying to save money through the closure of Israeli musical infrastructure they not only do not save money, but in fact promulgate a situation of ever-growing crisis. And at the end of this road they can expect not less than the dismemberment of the State itself. The Concert art music is not a mere entertainment of some spoiled, capricious and devoid of any patriotic values rich Ashkenazim, whose arrogant behaviour towards the underprivileged Mizrachim should be put to end. The Concert art music with its repertory extending for thousand years, the repertory that includes also numerous masterworks that deal with specifically Jewish, or Israeli, or Middle Eastern agendas – this Concert music comprises a huge treasury of human wisdom, of humanistic experience and of human values and merits, of cultures and practices, through the frame of which various personal and generic experiences are transmitted to the listener’s consciousness. In other words,  the Concert art music is a huge treasury of high-value information that provides the listener with knowledge of the valuable existence of the human being.  Concert art-music is a multi-cultured field of distinct local or otherwise specific cultures with “low fences” between each specific culture.  Thus the language of one culture in music, though distinctly peculiar, is at least partially comprehensible by the listeners dwelling in another cultural area. Concert art music belongs to very few areas where the distinctly Jewish, Israeli, or otherwise Middle Eastern, peculiar to our places and highly relevant to our lives, is also sympathetically understood by those who belong to other cultures. It is in this field that we Jews may exist at once as a Nation and at long last as part of a friendly Family of Nations.


Concert art music deals with and embodies the ideals of human behaviour, consecrating the noble, strong, wise, truthful, good-hearted, friendly, heroic, lovely, passionate, tender, insightful, caring, attentive, and otherwise constructively positive. Concert art music acts in such a way that only under the premises that each such ideal can be experienced by people together, not by one at the expense of the other, - can the musical composition be perceived as a convincing one.  Concert art music rejects humiliation of a human being.  Concert art music also rejects the moral relativism: in order to exist solidly in listener’s memory and his spiritual treasury it must always postulate the ultimate positive values of human existence among equals. Concert music provides spiritual criteria to the listeners. It is a repository of public knowledge, memory and solidarity. Cumulatively, it teaches us the wisdom of life.    


Classical art music never was a part of obligatory education in Israel. Quite to the contrary: it was proclaimed as producing an effeminate, feeble effect on the human being. It was linked with the image of the weak and timid Jew of Diaspora. The “Fathers of the State ”somehow overlooked” the fact that other topics are dealt with by the Concert art music too, not only the feeble Jew of Diaspora.


So the Israeli society “developed” without Concert art music. The tragedy of the “Kol haMusika” is not the only problem in this concern. The tragedy of the Jerusalem Symphony orchestra should be mentioned even beforehand, because far more people are left there without prospects of livelihood. And the wretched life of our other orchestras with their players is not discussed here only out of fear that somebody will remember to ruin them too.


Of course there is a line of sequence in there. In the minds of the majority of the leaders of Israeli State the Concert music is a luxury. The “real life” consists not of noble ability to look into the eyes of the truth and of communicating that truth to the fellow citizens, but of ignoble ability to bypass the truth and to gain thereby short term advantages. What other explanation can be given to the row of events that first keeps the music underprivileged, out of the educational system, then prevents any professional musical press, by lack of any serious subsidy (that professional press - in case of existence - would discuss the local resident-talent and his participation in the international activity), then would keep the local network without recording facilities and without journalistic support, and then, when people actually are thrown to their knees, comes the talk of the closure of musical institutions.       


Of course, the moral rottenness does not concern only music. It is all over around us.  There is no choice but to mention the rottenness in other fields of our lives, because concert music is about our lives. In fact, the greatest moral rottenness concerns the notorious theme of the settlements: 200.000 settlers have been induced to live in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip, while the State of Israel was never politically able to annex these territories and thereby to provide the settlers with the guarantees the sovereign state owes to its citizens. Instead it instigated the nationalistic fervour, aimed to bring the settlers’ psyche to the point of boiling that would make any “assistance” of the state “unnecessary”. Unnecessary, it is, until the hour comes, when Israel will have to withdraw from Judea and Samaria under the pressure of World powers that are many, many times bigger and stronger than Israel herself and can forcefully compel Israel to behave along their wishes. When that hour will come, we shall see how we spent huge money on a fraudulent cause of immense scale. And we threw the settler-people into a project that could be called only as project of colossal faith-wasting. The majority of Israeli public learned to “understand” that if the fraudulent cause is of such magnitude, it must somehow cease to be fraudulent.  And if our heart nevertheless constantly reminds us that the cause is indeed fraudulent, then the heart may be always silenced by the servile premise that “the Government knows better”.


No population would ever come to sustain such a huge fraud for so long if it would be subject to the humanistic education, of which Concert art music is the prime part.


The benevolent Director of the IBA may say: OK, let us continue with the “Kol haMuzika”, and let us even revitalize the Jerusalem Symphony orchestra (It should be mentioned here that another symphony orchestra is required in Israel – in the Northern Galilee; a large chamber orchestra should exist in Eilath). So – where take the money?


Right. Today we do not have the money. We pay for our dreadful escapade of so many years. In the conditions of international ostracism where Israel dwells already for two generations those who must pay for the lack of money reside in the political echelons and the upper structures of power of Israel. Not 10% of their salaries that should be saved, but 50% and 60% of the income of the whole class of senior servicemen in the Government sector. Those who shout upon us, that we, belittled citizens, have to reduce our appetites and earn less money, are invited to earn less money by themselves, and are invited to stop using State-owned cars, State-paid telephones and other State privileges. They are invited to return to their origins of lower middle class and to feel the real life anew. May be then they will discover the spiritual power of Concert art music, and inspired by it, they will find a better course to follow.


I am sure, that the decision to revitalize the “Kol ha-Muzika”, and to revitalize the Jerusalem Symphony orchestra could be achieved only when those in concern realize that they cannot indefinitely save money of the public good without paying a dear prize by themselves.


I am sure also, that until that happens, we musicians will at last gather on the hill in front of the Government offices and we shall stand there still, without uttering a word. Only our banners will fly high in the air, inscribed: “listen to the truth of music and you shall find the right way”.


Mr Barel: for the sake of the wretched Israeli people, for the sake of our future recovery, do reconsider your project. Let the “Kol ha-Muzika” live. Speak out for “Kol-haMuzika”. Help “Kol ha-Muzika” to help Israelis.


Zecharia Plavin

Reaction:  Zecharia Plavin
Author: Ruben Seroussi

Dear Zecharia,

I thank you deeply for the letter.

It expresses my beliefs and  I think it can have more impact on the recipient than any lette/text I should try to write.

May be we (musicians) can add our signature to it?


Reaction:  Zecharia Plavin
Author: Alex Tamir

Dear Zecharia,

I started to admire your eloquent manifesto to Mr, Barel and hailed you for the logic in yout argument untill I arrived to your thesis about the  moral rotteness in our society and realised that you put everything in the same bag :  politics ,settlements ,ashkenazim,kol hamusica, budget allocations  and almost everything that is part of our society.


This way you have opened yourself to criticism that you are biased and dogmatic.


It is a pity that you lose the case by false argumentation

I hope that we will prevail - we have to create a strong lobby in which we have to involve politicians and have to be carefull not to antagonise people that might wish to join us in the just cause

Reaction:  Zecharia Plavin
Autor: Ada Pelleg

Dear Zecharia

I would like to express my support for your effort and suggest that you compose a short, comprehensive protest and collect signatures in support. We can all circulate it to our lists of colleagues and audiences and thus get massive numbers behind a definite drive to support Kol Hamusika. 

It works for other causes here and abroad-it might work for us too

Other materials on this subject see כאן  (Hebrew)

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