Shlomi Shabat, the legendary Israeli singer known as the “godfather of Israeli music,” met with Mayor Lili Bosse and the Beverly Hills City Council on April 11 to accept a proclamation honoring his contributions to the Israeli American and Jewish community.
Bosse presented Shabat with a glossy plaque during a small informal ceremony inside City Hall. Vered Elkouby Nisim, Beverly Hills Human Relations Commissioner and chair of the Israeli American Civic Action Network, translated for Shabat and his guests.
Shabat has been producing multilingual music since the 1980s, with a catalog of over a dozen albums under his belt. Ever since he was a child, he said, he’s been a musician at heart.
“The fact that people call me ‘the godfather’ makes me tear up,” Shabat told the Courier. “My music is my life.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Shabat made regular trips to Beverly Hills during his American tours for many years. He calls it his favorite city in America.
“The energy of this city – the aesthetic, the vibe – speak to me,” Shabat said. “The energy flows with me.”
Shabat’s trip to Los Angeles marked his first time away from Israel in two years.
“[It feels like] fear and freedom,” Shabat said. “Right now is a really good time. There’s a lot of concerts happening, and a lot of tours coming up for me. People are coming back to life.”
Shabat expressed humility and admiration for the Councilmembers, each of whom wanted a photo and a moment with Shabat to share their thanks.
“It was so much more than what I expected,” Shabat told the group as Nisim translated.
Bosse took a few moments to honor Shabat and express the Council’s commitment to protecting the Israeli and Jewish communities of Beverly Hills, which are among the largest in the world.
“We really stand up for the Jews, for education,” Bosse told Shabat. “That’s what we are all here for.”
Bosse told the Courier that honoring Shabat is a way of representing the commitment the Council has made to supporting his community.
“We always stand side by side with Israel, and he is somebody that is beloved in Israel,” Bosse said. “We wanted him to feel a sense of home that we always want everyone who comes to Beverly Hills to feel.”
Although Shabat’s trips to Beverly Hills are a long-standing tradition, the proclamation was a moving surprise.
“What I just went through was so touching,” Shabat said. “I didn’t expect anything, I’m very emotional, very excited.”
Nisim agreed with Bosse that the proclamation is just one part of the city’s ongoing dedication to Israeli and Jewish communities.
“We work with a lot of Israeli-Americans here in our community, both in Beverly Hills and LA, so having the godfather of Israeli music come here and be honored by the city means a huge deal to the Israeli community here,” Nisim said.