Arkadi Duchin - Limor Edrey
Arkadi Duchin. Photo by Limor Edrey
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Singer-songwriter Arkadi Duchin has asked Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for help in organizing a charity concert to raise money for anti-government forces in Syria.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said Lieberman and his aides may approve the idea, as part of a wider effort to express public Israeli support for the rebels and denounce the slaughter of Syrian people by President Bashar Assad's regime.

A Foreign Ministry source confirmed that after Lieberman issued a press release on Friday offering humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, Duchin called the ministry and volunteered to recruit leading Israeli performers for a charity rock concert.

Lieberman's office did not reject the idea out of hand and forwarded the proposal to members of the ministry's professional staff, with an eye to approving it.

Duchin confirmed that he contacted Lieberman's office about the issue but declined to elaborate. In response to a question from Haaretz the Russian-born performer said he had not pinned down a date for the concert, which is still in the earliest planning stages. "I made the offer from a human and humanitarian place," Duchin said.

For the past two months Lieberman has been highly visible in calling for support of the Syrian rebels and in castigating Assad, in contrast to the weak comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The foreign minister has urged Assad to step down and offered to assist Syrian refugees who reach the area along the border with Israel.

Last week Lieberman instructed staffers to offer the International Committee of the Red Cross humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians. After consulting with Syrian rebel leaders, ICRC officials notified the Foreign Ministry that the offer was declined. The rebels said they did not want any connection to Israel; accepting aid from Israel would only confirm Assad's claims that Israel and the West were behind the revolt against his regime, they explained.