Reality TV song contest gets heated when MK‘s son competes

Eliav Zohar just wanted to sing.

But when the 18-year-old from Kiryat Gat walked out for his audition on the new Keshet series Aviv or Eyal, things quickly descended into political squabbling.

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The young singer told the two judges – famed Israeli singers Eyal Golan and Aviv Geffen – that he doesn‘t care at all about politics. But that didn‘t stop Geffen from grilling Zohar about his views on firebrand Culture Minister Miri Regev.

Why? Because Zohar happens to be the son of Likud MK Miki Zohar.

The ensuing debate, which eventually included the elder Zohar as well, got so heated that the MK tried to have the segment pulled from the show. Needless to say, he did not succeed.

"I won‘t talk about your father because it‘s not nice, and I respect that," Geffen said when Eliav walked out. But Geffen couldn‘t quite help himself, and pressed him to comment on Regev. When Eliad said he just "isn‘t at all interested in politics," Geffen and Golan ended up in several minutes of arguing over the minister and her agenda as Zohar stood silent.

While political squabbling isn‘t the norm on most Israeli reality TV, it‘s not too surprising that it showed up on Aviv or Eyal. After all, the two were chosen for their diametrically opposed musical styles – and political affiliations.

Golan is known for his Mizrahi pop hits, while Geffen favors edgier rock. Geffen has long identified with the Israeli left and says he is an atheist, while Golan is close to many right-wing politicians and even vocally supported IDF soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted for manslaughter last year.

In early 2017, Geffen accused Golan of "pouring fuel on ethnic tensions" and Golan retorted that Geffen was "an enemy of Israel and a hater of the IDF."

But the pair buried the hatchet last year, with the help of the promise of a big paycheck to appear on the Keshet series.

But clearly, the two still throw barbs at each other from time to time. And when the Likud MK joined his son on stage after the performance, things got even more heated.

If anything Golan – who has been convicted of tax fraud and investigated for sexual improprieties with a minor – was the most mature on screen, and let Geffen and the older Zohar snipe at each other.

Nevertheless, Zohar passed through to the next round, where he performed in front of a crowd who voted on if to send him to the next level of the competition. The young musician fell short, receiving 430 out of the 500 points needed.

His father blames Geffen.

"At the height of his excitement, he had to stand and watch that," the MK told Maariv on Monday. "I‘m very angry at this behavior… the crowd didn‘t vote for him because of the argument that was broadcast to them before he came out to sing."

It‘s likely that – politics aside – the young crowd didn‘t quite connect to the choice of song, Soundgarden‘s "Black Hole Sun," but there‘s no way to know for sure.

But after the show aired on Monday night, Regev herself took to Facebook to declare her support for the younger Zohar: "For me, you‘re a winner."