Popular Israeil singer Amir Benayoun has caused something of a stir by posting a new Hebrew-language song to Facebook in which blasts both Israeli and American leaders for giving up on a unified Jerusalem under Jewish control.
Titled "Jerusalem of Hussein," the song is a play on the national hymn "Jerusalem of Gold" by Naomi Shemer, and a clear reference to US President Barack Obama, whose midddle name is Hussein.
But it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is first lampooned in the song's opening verse:
"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her, because the prime minster and all his friends apparently gave up on it a long time ago. Rejoice in Jerusalem while you still can, because behind our backs they have sold her..."
The first part of the verse is a direct quote from Isaiah 66, which most interpret as prophecying Israel's modern rebirth and the return of Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem.
In the next verse, Benayoun turns his attenion to Obama:
"Rejoice in Jerusalem, and all who love her, celebrate, while it is still possible, because Hussein from America wants her, and he is determined and cruel."
Benayoun closes with another passage from scripture (Psalm 137):
"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill."
In his comments accompanying the music clip, Benayoun urges viewers not to take the lyrics too seriously, stating that "things aren't really that bad."
The 38-year-old Benayoun's parents are of Algerian Jewish origin. He has won awards from Israel's top performing arts associations for his work, much of which is religious in nature and performed with a distinct Middle Eastern flavor. In 2011, Benayoun produced an album in Arabic as a demonstration of solidarity with the people of Syria.
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