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A Brief Survey of Bibi Singing

Across the years, the Israeli prime minister channels Luther Vandross

Adam Chandler
November 27, 2013

We’ve reported on the vocal stylings of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before, however, with the death of singer Arik Einstein (read Liel Leibovitz’s stellar elegy here) Bibi as Luther Vandross-manque has been delivered to us anew. Over at JTA, Ben Sales has unearthed some old footage of him singing Einstein.

This is back from the mid-90s, where, with Ofra Haza and Dan Shilon leading the way, the mic is thrust upon Bibi and Shimon Peres during Ani V’ata. Neither seems really into it, but Bibi is nothing if not brazen and he lets it fly a little bit. Peres does a classic duck.

Flash forward some 15 years, Bibi is prime minister again. Here is Netanyahu singing at an Independence Day event, all the while Shimon Peres sits there quietly. Knowing better. Even backed up with a singer, some Steve Winwood-esque saxaphone, and the requisite accordion that mars decades of Israeli music, Bibi is in his Vegas stage here. He’s totally mailing it in. Since this video is posted from his YouTube page, he has wisely chosen to disable comments.

By far the worst performance of Netanyahu is a duet on Oseh Shalom, again on a dais in front of soldiers. It’s quick, but not painless. Somewhere in heaven, Robert Goulet is throwing a tumbler full of Courvoisier against a wall. The best is the shot of Ehud Barak in Matrix sunglasses pretending that he’s somewhere else.

Here’s hoping (fruitlessly) for a Bibi-Barack duet!

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.