Archives for posts with tag: news

Shas Spiritual Leader Calls Israel National Anthem ‘Stupid’ (Haaretz)


This semester we will be exploring a set of complex cultural realities. As one of our textbooks states in its opening sentence:

The study of Israeli culture is one of the most challenging fields of inquiry among those relating to the investigation of nation-states that arose during the 20th century.

And yet, reality is always even more complex than how we posit it, even academically. This is why we will continue to read news from the Middle East every week.

Yesterday, the Israeli press reported on a “scandal” that happened in the Palestinian city of Hebron (Southern West Bank). Two Israeli soldiers on patrol joined a wedding party. In full military gear, they danced with the crown, to the sound of Gangnam Style. Here’s a link to the Jerusalem Post article, where I first read this news (which since last night has spread to news sources worldwide).

There’s a lot to deconstruct here, trust me…

The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, wrote a poem about the Ethiopian Jewish (Beta Israel) citizens of Israel, who have been protesting against racism in Israeli society (a recent news story about an agreement not to rent or sell real estate to Ethiopian Jewish Israelis sparked other reports of similarly severe incidents). Musician Idan Reichel set it to music.

The song has been covered in the Israeli press and the Jewish press abroad. See for example: Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom and Kef Israel (French).

Kef Israel, has a particularly interesting take on the story, which evokes the tribal roots of Judaism (the translation is mine):

After a visit to the Bereshit school, advocating tolerance among all communities and tribes of Israel, the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, wrote a text for the Beta Israel, Israel’s Ethiopian community, which is sadly the victim of racism. Within two days, singer Idan Reichel set it to music and sang it in public last night at Binyiane Ha-Umah in Jerusalem. Here’s this wonderful love song: The Eyes of Beta Israel.
This news furthers our insights in the co-implications among music (all music? “popular” music? is music referencing the Bible “popular”?), politics, and national identity.
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