Music: Israel's Ban

Backstage in Haifa's Armon Cinema last week, Violinist Jascha Heifetz was tuning up for his afternoon recital when a messenger handed him a letter. It was from Israel's Minister of Justice (and chairman of the Israel Philharmonic), relaying a request from the Ministry of Education and Culture that Heifetz drop Richard Strauss's Sonata from his program "because of the strong feeling in Israel against the playing of modern German music."

It was the latest upcropping of a 20-year-old unofficial ban that began when the Nazis began persecuting the Jews. Israel's extremist press threatened trouble every time the question of German music...

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