Israel’s Broadcasting Authority Silences Women’s Voices

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority, which regulates both television and radio broadcasts, banned two new songs by Israeli pop singers Chava Alberstein and Nurit Galron because of the songs’ peace-oriented lyrics. In making their decision early in December, the four members of the authority’s governing board declared that the songs “damage the morale” of the Israeli people and are “pro-PLO songs.”

However, following a public outcry over the curtailment of freedom of speech, Yosef Harish, Israel’s attorney general, rescinded the ban later in the month.

Alberstein’s song, “Chad Gadya’,’ is a parody of the traditional Passover song of the same name. It likens an earlier Israel to the innocent pet goat — kid — of the “Chad Gadya” tune. But now, she sings: “I have become a leopard and a preying wolf… .How long will this cycle of fear continue?”

In Galron’s song, “After Us the Flood” she alludes to the March 1988 incident in which a soldier shot a young Arab girl in the eye, causing her to lose it. She chastises Israelis who don’t want to hear about problems in the occupied territories. “No don’t tell me about a girl who lost her childhood/ It just makes me feel bad … .Let’s hit the bustling streets of Tel Aviv” she sings.

Galron has said that it is a mistake to call her song political. “I just tried to paint a picture of a very hedonistic Tel Aviv society that simply doesn’t want to know what really happens outside the city limits. It’s a song about Tel Aviv more than the Intifada” she says. “After Us the Flood” is included on an album which represents Galron’s first attempt at writing her own lyrics.

Alberstein also wrote the words to the traditional melody.