Singer Avihu Medina Awarded Israel Prize for Music

Israel Prize selection committee for music highlights Medina’s long struggle for the legitimacy of Mizrahi music in Israel

Nitzan Pincu
Nitzan Pincu
Avihu Medina performing at a tribute show for Zohar Argov.
Avihu Medina performing at a tribute show for Zohar Argov.Credit: Moti Milrod
Nitzan Pincu
Nitzan Pincu

Singer and composer Avihu Medina will be awarded the 2022 Israel Prize for music, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton announced on Tuesday.

Avihu Medina brought about an important breakthrough in Israeli music, for his excellent and high quality work and his determined and long fight,” the selection committee for music said. The committee is made up of Yehoram Gaon, Yorik Ben David, Hamutal Ben Zeev Efron and Yair Nitzani.

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Medina began his career as a singer in the 1980s, after he had been writing songs for a decade. Among his most famous songs are “Haperah Begani,” “Al Tira Yisrael,” “Sod Hamazalot,” “Al Tashlicheini Le’et Zikna,” Kinor David” and “Avi.”

The prize committee also noted Medina’s long struggle for the legitimacy of Mizrahi music in Israel and his demand that it be viewed as equal in value to other forms of music. Medina fought the exclusion of Mizrahi music from the establishment radio stations, including Army Radio and Galgalatz, from the hit parades and song competitions.

“Avihu believed that freedom of expression, freedom of creation and freedom of occupation are the kids of rights and freedoms that must be fought for in order to establish a feeling of belonging and partnership for every cultural stream in the democratic Israeli society being created,” the committee said.

“Medina’s award is moving and heartening,” Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper said in his congratulations. “Avihu is an important and respected singer and songwriter whose songs have become a major part of Israeli music culture. Avihu stood out in his chose to connect between contemporary Israeli music and the Jewish tradition and its cultural roots.”

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