The Israeli interior ministry has described claims that Elton John was asked to sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel ahead of his Tel Aviv concert in May as “wacky and crazy”.
According to Israeli media, the singer’s concert producer Shuki Weiss claimed he had been asked to sign the declaration on the singer’s behalf “as a condition for getting a work visa”.
Mr Weiss said: “Artists are refusing to sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel as a condition for coming to Israel. That was a demand made by the Interior Ministry as a condition for getting a work visa. Only two weeks ago Elton John was asked to sign a declaration of loyalty. That insane idea has been dropped.”
An Interior Ministry spokeswoman denied the claims. She said: “This is a blatant lie aimed at grabbing headlines at the expense of a government ministry. Never has any artist been asked to sign such a declaration. We are considering a libel suit against Weiss.”
The confusion apparently surrounded a clause in the form used to obtain a visa to work in Israel. The clause states: “I declare that I have never acted against the Jewish people or the security of the State of Israel.”
The Interior Ministry spokeswoman said: “What does [the clause] have to do with a declaration of loyalty? Why hasn’t Shuki Weiss, who brings foreign artists here every Monday and Thursday, ever raised an outcry over the years and waited until today?”
Mr Weiss said however that the clause "illustrate[d] the lack of co-operation and support by the government in holding international cultural events in Israel."
Elton John will be performing at Ganei Yehoshua in Tel Aviv on May 26 as part of his latest world tour to mark the release of his 33rd studio album. It will be his fourth performance in Israel.