May 2005

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read Uri Avnery’s recent offering, “Death of a Myth”, about the deathbed confession of Naomi Shemer regarding “Jerusalem of Gold”, her song that became a second Israeli national anthem after the Six-Day War of 1967. The Israeli public was apparently duped: Shemer had plagiarised the song from a Basque lullaby. As Avnery implicitly admits, no one was more fooled than he. At the time, he was a member of the Knesset and unsuccessfully tried to pass a law to have the song replace the national anthem, “Hativkah” or “The Hope”.

In early March, the Electronic Intifada published a story about Ali Zbeidat and his family, Palestinian citizens of Israel whose home in the Galilee is threatened with demolition by a Jewish regional council called Misgav. For a decade Misgav has been seeking to prevent Ali, his Dutch wife Terese and their two teenage daughters, Dina and Awda, from living on land that has belonged to his family for decades. Using discriminatory land laws, the regional counicl has claimed jurisdiction over their land, even though it is located inside the Arab town of Sakhnin. The story, which received wide publicity, so deeply embarrassed the mayor of Misgav, Erez Kreizler, that he issued a statement denying the story’s truth and accusing the family and Sakhnin municipality of running a campaign of misinformation to denigrate Misgav and the state of Israel.