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The Song That Made Me an Israeli

Here was a vision of our future; an Israel in which I, an American Jew with Bob Dylan as my soundtrack, might also find a place
Yossi Klein Halevi is a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Together with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke University and Jennifer Raskas, he co-directs the Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative. Yossi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor and co-host with Donniel Hartman and Elana Stein Hain of the Institute’s award-winning podcast, For Heaven’s Sake. He is also the author of Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli

“My initiation into the mysteries of Israeli identity began through Hebrew music.

In the summer of 1982, a few weeks before moving to Israel, I attended a concert in Manhattan by the Israeli band, Habreira Hativit, which literally means “the natural choice” but which the band translated as “the natural gathering,” a more precise description of its essence. They were the first Mizrahi band to break into the mainstream, bringing the devotional music of eastern Jews into the Israeli playlist, a soundtrack for the political revolution that was replacing Labor Ashkenazi Israel with Menachem Begin’s Likud. That was enough to earn the band a central place in Israel’s cultural history. But as I discovered that evening, the agenda of Habreira Hativit was even more ambitious.”

Read the full op-ed on Times of Israel

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