The iconic Israeli singer Sarit Hadad, who had long been subject to rumors about her sexual orientation, came out of the closet on Sunday with a new song, "A love like ours."
Hadad is one of the most successful singers of Mizrahi music, a style influenced by Middle Eastern- and Mediterranean musicians. At the end of the video for the new song, which was written by her girlfriend Tamar Yahalomi, along with Hadad's longtime songwriting partner Yonatan Kalimi, shows the couple sitting together on a bench overlooking the sea, embracing.
Hadad, 43, uploaded an Instagram post along with the new video. "The new video presents love from my perspective on the world and on myself," she wrote. "Now that my daughters are growing up quickly with curious eyes, I'm happy to show them the possibility to be just what they want to be, and to teach them that freedom, time and choice [are greater] than anything." She added, "In the place where my career and my family merge – that's a complete moment for me."
Yahalomi, 27, who started her career on the reality show "A Star is Born" at age 16, has written hits for musicians like Eyal Golan, Dudu Aharon, Eden Ben Zaken, Omer Adam and others. She and Hadad had worked together on songs in the past, including "When it's all over," the singer's most successful song of the past year. It turned her into the most listened-to female singer of the past Hebrew year, according to the Forest media company.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, himself an openly gay man, wrote on Twitter that he was touched by Hadad's statement. "What you're saying to your daughters and to everyone else is so important: Everyone can be what they want, with whom and how they want. Big hug," he wrote.
Mor Nahari, the director of the Hoshen LGBT education organization, called Hadad's coming-out "another model to emulate, another figure on the screen who shows us that it's okay – that you can be strong, successful, talented and LGBT as well." She added, "The more we see this around us, we turn living life out of the closet a more normative thing and a part of everyone's space. Congratulations Sarit! We're proud of you."
Ruby Magen, director of the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Center, congratulated Hadad: "Coming out of the closet is accompanied by community and by liberation, especially when it's done at the right time for you. Because Sarit is such a well-known and leading figure in Israeli culture, this decision is a relief and very freeing for thousands of LGBT Israelis who can watch Sarit's choice and know that the best time will come for them to free themselves as well."
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Itai Pinkas, who holds the LGBT portfolio in the Tel Aviv municipal council, said he is "Happy for Sarit, a talented and special artist, happy as an LGBT activist who knows that a revelation like this strengthens hundreds of thousands. I'm wishing that the day will come for all of us when there will be no need to come out, and all the drama around the issue will disappear."