Musician Gil Ofarim, son of the late Israeli musician Avi Ofarim and his wife, legendary singer Esther Ofarim, said he was denied service at the Marriott hotel in the eastern German city of Leipzig on Tuesday for wearing a Star of David, Deutsche Welle reported.
Ofarim, who is the lead singer of the bands Zoo Army, and Acht, posted the following message on Facebook:
… yesterday in Leipzig…
… why?.. didn’t we learn anything from the past?.. I’m speechless!.. it’s not the first time, but eventually, it’s enough…
I would like to express my thanks to colleagues (long list of names follows). Thank you for your help!
The video sparked sharp criticism from Germany’s Jewish communities and even drew the attention of the police because anti-Semitism is a punishable offense in the country that practically invented it.
Apparently, there were problems with the hotel’s computers, and a long line formed at the reception. Ofarim said he noticed that other customers were being waved forward while he was being ignored.
“What’s going on? Why is everyone else being called up ahead of me?” Ofarim asked the desk clerk, who told him they were trying to cut down the line but didn’t acknowledge that he, too, was standing in line.
“Then someone called out from the corner: ‘Put your star away,'” the singer reported, at which point the hotel clerk repeated the message, telling Ofarim: “Once you put it away, then you can check-in.”
A visibly upset Ofarim ended his video with the words: “Germany, 2021.”
Esther (Reichstat) Ofarim, 80, is possibly the greatest singing talent to have come out of Israel, on par with Barbra Streisand. She and her husband Avi Ofarim were the husband-and-wife folk duo Esther & Avi Ofarim in the 1960s. After she ditched him, her career started to blossom, and over the decades between 1962 and 2009 she released 12 solo albums with huge hits such as “Hayu Leilot.”