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Zehava Ben

  • Finding a place in the Middle East through music

    Although the racism and hatred between Israel and its neighbors seems as entrenched as ever, many Mizrahi artists are connecting to their Arab roots. Does this trend portend a brighter future for the Middle East? By Mati Shemoelof and Ophir Toubul In an interview with Al Arabiya several years ago, popular Israeli singer Zehava Ben stated that she was interested in performing throughout the Arab world, and especially in Beirut and Gaza. Israel's security system forbade her entrance into the Strip, due to the fact that Hamas rules the territory. In a later interview, she said that her dream is…

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  • The Mizrahi canon: Top classics from the margins of Israeli society

    Although Mizrahi artists have become household names that can sell out amphitheaters, their music is still missing from the Israeli musical canon. The culture that Mizrahi Jews never forgot, along with the attachment to their roots and faith, are excellent tools for creating new Mizrahi classics. By Avi H. Muthada Classics, like good wine, must be preserved in wooden barrels in dark basements for years upon years. Only every so often do we open the treasure, have a taste and fondly remember the memories of the past. When it comes to Israeli classics, the association is clear and one-dimensional: the…

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  • Quiet! They're memorializing the Holocaust

    When Israeli bad taste meets Holocaust consciousness, the polite thing to do is nod your approval. When I read this week's New York Times story about Israeli grandchildren (and some children) of Holocaust survivors who have tattooed their elders' concentration camp numbers onto their forearms (and in some cases ankles), I wasn't sure what to think. Who am I to put down a memorialization of the Holocaust? These people obviously feel strongly about what they're doing; what right do I have to judge them? Mention of the Holocaust, of course, has a tendency to paralyze one's critical faculties, and it…

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