Israeli singer turns down Eurovision gig to keep Sabbath

Keeping the day of rest is more important to Omer Adam than being heard by millions of people.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Omer Adam, an American-born Israeli singer, has turned down an appearance at the Eurovision Song Festival in Tel Aviv this May due to religious reasons, Mako reported Thursday.

The 25-year-old performer, who fuses elements of Middle Eastern (Mizrachi) and Western pop in his music, was invited to appear in one of the concerts scheduled during the five-day music event in Tel Aviv.

Although not outwardly religious, according to his publicist, Adam turned the gig down because it would mean breaking the Sabbath.

“Omer Adam was asked to participate in the artistic performance of Eurovision 2019. After the two sides met, and in light of the fact that the general rehearsals take place on the Sabbath, Omer decided not to take part despite the great honor and thanks [the organizers] for the invitation from the bottom of his heart,” publicist Ofer Menachem said in a statement.

Adam is a fast-rising star in Israel, breaking records in how quickly his concerts are sold out. He also sold out a concert tour in the U.S. back in March, although he was forced to cancel it due to visa problems encountered by some members of his crew.

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Adam’s family, native Israelis, returned to Israel when he was an infant. His talent was recognized by the public in 2009, when he competed in the Israeli version of “A Star is Born.” Although he was forced to drop out midway through the season – it was discovered that he was under the age of 16 when applying for the show – his singing career took off immediately.

He has since released four albums, and his top-selling song Shnei Mesuga’im (“Two Crazy People”) won him the “Singer of the Year” title in 2018, according to Spotify Israel, which reports on the top songs and artists streamed in Israel.