Israeli guitarist kills wife with a hammer

Israeli guitarist kills wife with a hammer


norman lebrecht

February 02, 2017

Ilan Ben Ami has been found guilty of bludgeoning Dafna Bar Zion to death with a hammer in August 2014, after two years of marriage.

‘With the deceased on the ground, the defendant covered her head with a garment and continued to pound her head with the hammer many times,’ said the indictment.

Ben Ami played in the world music band, Habreira Hativit.


  • Maura says:

    Why do you feel the need to print this stuff?

  • John Borstlap says:

    Obviously such information underlines the fact that musicians are as liable as anybody else to behave badly, very badly. It is no luxury to be reminded of this, while cultivating the idealism of the better arts, which are supposed to be aspirational. But not all participants do understand their own job.

    I wonder why this man did not use his instrument to express his discomfort? Banging someone on the head with a guitar would have been less lethal and the danger to damage the instrument would have provided a built-in inhibition to exercise force too much.

    • Michael Endres says:

      I never had overwhelming confidence in the ‘better moral fabric’ of musicians or artists ( or their dedicated admirers ) when compared with the rest of society.
      Not that long ago one of the most cultivated countries in Europe descended into total barbarism, and the appreciation for Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe or Mann seemed to make no difference.
      The above sad story reminds us of such sobering facts.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Agreed…. that is why musicians should be extra aware of the moral obligations that their art unconditionally demands. Immoral behavior is bad enough, but doubly objectionable in a musician, as it is in a vicar, a Roman Catholic priest, a Jehova Witness, a doctor, a dentist, a judge or a psychotherapist.

        • Michael Endres says:

          Performing artists have “moral obligations that their art unconditionally demands” ?
          Why would playing a Mozart sonata, a Schubert Quartet , Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe or Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue constitute such a demand ?
          Faure once said: “For me, art, and especially music, exist to elevate us as far as possible above everyday existence.” That seems to me a sensible statement. It doesn’t elevate the musician to becoming some kind of a moral high priest though.
          The musician has like any other human being a duty to behave within common sense and human decency. That’s enough to aspire to, no “double objectionable” needed here if he fails.

          • John Borstlap says:

            Fair enough. But since the arts, or at least: the best of the arts, are supposed to represent what is best in man, its practitioners cut quite a poor figure if they act as if this would not count for THEM. It would be something like a vegetarian butcher.

  • Ross Amico says:

    Wasn’t it here that I read Einojuhani Rautavaara hit his wife in the head with an axe? It must have been a love-tap by comparison.

  • clarrieu says:

    That’s the lesser evil: as John Borstlap was going to post about how the negative boulezian influences around can lead a “Marteau” to become “sans Maître”, then Sally walked in with an excellent home-cooked lunch, which dissuaded him to do so.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Yes, these lunches are conditional, but for good reason. It’s very hard nowadays to find PA’s who combine culinary with administrative skills and are not nagging all the time about pay rise. An undercurrent of Boulezbian partisanship is then, alas, one of those inevitable things in life you have to put up with.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    On just another recent item on SL I learned all about how the arts encourage compassion. I expect that was just another bogus refulgence.

    • John Borstlap says:

      No, musicians who kill their wives don’t listen carefully enough to their repertoire. The torturing priests of the inquisition never read the bible enough. Morally-challenged people are deaf to the sounds of reason and humanism.

  • Yehonatan Berick says:

    Norman, the guitarist in the poster and the video is NOT Ilan Bar Ami, but Miguel Hernshtein, who was the original guitarist of the group (and one of the nicest people ever).