US grants visa for Israeli singer to perform at UN for Holocaust Remembrance Day


(JTA) — Reversing its initial decline to grant a visa for the Israeli singer Amir Benayoun, the United States embassy in Israel gave him permission to enter in to time to perform at the United Nations annual ceremony for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The U.S. embassy last week told Ynet that Benayoun was not able to convince the US consul that he “has a strong connection to his country, which ensures his return to Israel after a short visit to the US.” But on Thursday reversed its decision and gave him the stamp, Ynet reported.

Benayoun is scheduled to be joined on stage at the U.N. in New York by singers David D’Or and Miri Mesika who will help him perform a song in Hebrew, English, and Arabic in a performance scheduled for Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The annual ceremony commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27.

The song, called “The Last Survivor,” was written by Moshe Klugheft and composed by Benayoun. A video of the song, to be screened at the U.N., features several Israeli Holocaust survivors.

Benayoun reportedly presented the embassy with his official letter of invitation from the U.N.  He reported has several performances scheduled for February and March in Israel, another reason that he says he will be returning.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry appealed the US embassy to change its decision not to let Benayoun in, according to Ynet.

In 2015 he wrote and performed a song about a “corrupt, cruel” pet crow called Obama, for whom he wishes a swift death.