A rap song exposes Israel’s Jewish-Arab fracture – and goes viral

BEIT Yehoshua, Israel – Uriah Rosenman grew up on Israeli military bases and served as an officer in an elite unit of the military. His father was a fighter pilot. His grandfather led the paratroopers who captured the Western Wall from Jordan in 1967.

Sameh Zakout, a Palestinian citizen from Israel, grew up in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Ramla. His family was evicted from their home in 1948 in Israel’s war of independence, which was known to the Palestinians as the “Naqbah” or extermination. Many of his relatives fled to Gaza.

Faced with each other in a garage at a small plastic table, the two exchanged racial slurs and sneering at each other, alluding to the growing resentment between the Jewish state and its Palestinian minority in a rap video of civilisation. Tore the veneer, which has gone viral. Israel.

Movies, “Let’s talk straight” which has been viewed more than four million times on social media since May, more aptly two months after the explosion of Jewish-Arab violence that turned several mixed Israeli cities such as Lod and Ramla into Jewish-Arab Couldn’t land on time. battlefield

Shouting each other’s prejudices at each other, sometimes on the verge of violence, Mr. Rosenman and Mr. Zakout create a work that gives listeners the courage to dispel old stereotypes and discover their shared humanity. does.

Mr. Rosenman, 31, says he wants to challenge Israel’s most basic reflexes and change it from within. “I think we are scared and controlled by fear,” he says.

Mr. Zakout, 37, seeks to transform Israel by overcoming the sufferings of his ancestors. “I am not asserting my Palestinian identity,” he says. “I’m human. Period. We’re human first.”

At first glance, the video seems to be anything but a humanitarian venture.

Mr Rosenman, the first to speak, launched a three-minute relentless anti-Palestinian campaign.

“Don’t cry racism. Stop crying. You live in clans, fire rifles at weddings,” he taunts, his body tense. “Abuse your animals, steal cars, kill your own women. You only care about Allah and Nakba and Jihad and the honor that controls your urges.”

The camera surrounds them. A guitar plays.

Mr. Zacout pulls off his beard, looking at him contemptuously. He’s heard it all before, including the oft-repeated line: “I’m not a racist, my gardener is Arab.”

Then Mr. Zacout, his voice rising, presents the other side of the most irresistible of Middle Eastern tales.

“Enough,” he says. “I’m a Palestinian and that’s all, so shut up. I don’t support terror, I’m against violence, but have been occupying for 70 years – there will definitely be resistance. When you barbecue and fight for freedom Celebrating, so the nakba is my grandmother’s reality. You kicked my family out in 1948, the food was still hot on the table when you entered our homes, captured and then denied. You can’t speak Arabic, you Knowing nothing about your neighbor, you don’t want us to live next to you, but we build your houses.”

Mr. Rosenman spends extravagantly. As he glances through the prism of Arab-Jewish understanding, his assertive self-confidence fades away.

Video pays tribute to Joyner Lucas “I’m not racist,” A similar finding of closed stereotypes and blindness in black-and-white fractures in the United States.

Mr. Rosenman, a teacher whose job it was to explain the conflict to young Israeli soldiers, was “how things, along with justification for past trauma to the Jews, were built on rotten foundations.”

“Some things about my country are wonderful and pure,” he said in an interview. “Some are very rotten. They were not discussed. We are inspired by trauma. We are a post-traumatic society. The Holocaust gives us some kind of back-way legitimacy to not plan for the future, to understand the full picture of the situation here, and to justify the action we portray as defending ourselves. “

For example, he believes that Israel should stop building settlements in the West Bank on “what could be a Palestinian state”, as peace requires that state.

Looking for a way to mirror society and expose its hypocrisy, Mr. Rosenman is approached by a friend in the music industry who suggested he meet Mr. Zacout, an actor and rapper.

They started talking in June last year, meeting for hours on a dozen occasions, building trust. They recorded the song in Hebrew and Arabic in March and the video in mid-April.

His timing was impeccable. A few weeks later, the latest Gaza war broke out. Jews and Arabs clashed throughout Israel.

Their initial conversation was difficult.

They debated in 1948. Mr. Zakout talked about his family in Gaza, how he remembered them, how he wanted to know his relatives who lost their home. He spoke of the Jewish “arrogance that we feel as Arabs, bigotry.”

“My Israeli friends told me that I put them in front of the mirror,” he said.

Mr. Rosenman said he understood Mr. Zacout’s longing for a joint family. It was natural. But why did Arab forces attack Jews in 1948? “We are happy with what we got,” he said. “You know we had no other choice.”

The reaction to the video has been overwhelming, as if it stopped something hidden in Israel. There have been invitations to attend conferences, to participate in documentaries, to host concerts, to record podcasts.

“I’ve been waiting for someone to make this video for a long time,” said one commenter, Eric Carmi. “How can we fight each other when we are more like brothers than we admit to ourselves? Change will not come before we let go of hate.”

The two men, now friends, are working on a second project that will examine how self-criticism can bring about change in Jewish and Arab society. it will ask Q: How can you do better instead of blaming the government?

Mr. Zacout recently met Mr. Rosenman’s grandfather, Yoram Zamosho, who hoisted the Israeli flag on the Western Wall after Israeli paratroopers stormed the Old City in Jerusalem during the 1967 war. Most of the family of Mr. Zamosch from Berlin was murdered by the Nazis in the Chemno extermination camp.

“He is a unique and special man,” said Mr. Zakout of Mr. Yamosh. “He reminds me a little bit of my grandfather, Abdullah Zakout, his energy, his vibes. When we talked about his history and pain, I understood his fears and he understood my side as well.”

The purpose of the video is to bring the same kind of understanding to the audience.

“This is just the beginning,” said Mr. Zacout. “We are not going to solve this in a week. But at least it is the first step in a long journey.

Mr Rosenman continued: “What we do is to shout out loud that we are not afraid anymore. We are taking away our parents’ sorrows and building a better future for all “

Mr Zacout’s last words in the video are: “We both have no other country, and that’s where change begins.”

They turn to the table in front of them, and quietly eat a meal of pita and hummus.

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