The turning point in the alleged anti-Semitism scandal surrounding singer Gil Ofarim is now also taking legal form. The musician will probably have to answer in court from October 24th. He is accused of false suspicion and defamation.
It has been almost a year since Gil Ofarim made public an alleged anti-Semitism scandal in a Leipzig hotel. But soon there were doubts about the portrayal of the singer. Instead of being a possible victim, he was now being targeted by the investigative authorities as the alleged perpetrator.
The result: the Leipzig public prosecutor accused the 40-year-old in March of defamation and false suspicion. In fact, Ofarim will soon have to answer in court. The responsible regional court in Leipzig has now allowed the charges to remain unchanged and opened the main proceedings against the musician. The court also issued a so-called legal notice that in the event of a conviction, the offense of defamation may also have been fulfilled.
The trial was scheduled to begin on October 24, the court said. Seven days of negotiations until the end of November are scheduled for the process. Until it is final, the presumption of innocence applies to the singer.
The court also announced that the Leipzig public prosecutor had brought another charge against Ofarim. It deals with false affidavits, fraud and attempted fraud. However, the court has not yet decided on the opening of these proceedings.
The regional court assumes that it is responsible for the process because of the special importance of the case. It follows the assessment of the public prosecutor's office.
A statement from Ofarim's lawyer on the current opening of the main proceedings against his client was initially not available. Alexander Stevens, whose law firm has taken on the musician's defense, had already criticized in August that the charges had not been brought to the district court. "It cannot be denied that the Leipzig judiciary could seek a show trial here, which cannot be ruled out for political reasons," he said at the time.
Stevens also spoke of "a massive media prejudice" of his client. "Despite the presumption of innocence, which is protected by fundamental rights, of all people, the father of the state, (Saxony) Prime Minister (Michael) Kretschmer, but also, for example, ex-Justice Minister Heiko Maas, commented on the matter in advance and thus gave their subordinate judiciary guidelines for a conviction," he said Allegations with which he also questioned the independence of the Leipzig judiciary.
Ofarim wanted to check into a Leipzig hotel in October 2021. In a video that he uploaded to social media and subsequently went viral, he then accused a receptionist of having used anti-Semitic insults at him. Last but not least, it is said to have been about a Star of David that Ofarim claims to have worn on a chain around his neck. According to Ofarim, the employee asked him to take off the chain.
According to the public prosecutor's office, the incident did not happen that way. No chain on Ofarim's neck could be seen on surveillance camera footage. Eyewitnesses do not claim to have heard any anti-Semitic insults from the singer. The employee concerned denied the allegations and filed a complaint against Ofarim. According to the court, he is now appearing as a joint plaintiff in the process. Ofarim, on the other hand, persisted with his account despite these contradictions, but has recently stopped commenting personally on the matter.
Gil Ofarim was born in Munich. He is the son of Israeli singer Abi Ofarim, who died in 2018.