Russian classical pianist Evgeny Kissin, an ''enthusiastic supporter of the State of Israel'' will be granted Israeli citizenship in a special ceremony, the Jewish Agency announced on Thursday.
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Kissin "regularly engages in pro-Israel activities aimed at countering the ongoing assault on Israel's legitimacy," the agency's statement read. Kissin, who does not reside in Israel, will recieve his Israeli identification card on Saturday, December 7, in an event which will be attended by Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa'ar.
Kissin, 42, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in 2010. "We Jews have every reason to be proud of the State of Israel," Kissin said in his acceptence speech. "The Jewish state has always remained true to the noble principles proclaimed in its Declaration of Independence... I am grateful to providence for having been born a son of the people of Israel."
Last year, the statement said, Kissin approached Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky for help in procuring an Israeli citizenship. Kissin told Sharansky that he wished to "fight for Israel not only as a Jew, but also as an Israeli."
Born in Moscow, Kissin started his career as a performer at the age of 12 and has since garnered worldwide adulation, won two Grammies and been presented an Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music in England.