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Radio Daze: Israeli Army Station Plays Song Praising Palestinian Martyrdom

Sorry, said the DJ, I don’t speak any Arabic, and the music was groovy

Liel Leibovitz
August 17, 2017

Galgalatz, an off-shoot of Galei Tzahal, a radio station run by the Israel Defense Forces, is one of the country’s most popular broadcasters. It’s the station most Israelis have on when they’re stuck in traffic on their way to and from work. It’s the semi-official arbiter of the nation’s mainstream musical taste. And yesterday, it played a song in Arabic praising Palestinian martyrdom.

“Death becomes victory, not defeat,” goes the song, “Tightening Our Strength” by a group called Revolution Makers. “So I am sacrificing my soul to elevate our dignity… I’m willing to die proudly as a Shahid (martyr).”

Enraged listeners soon took to Facebook to complain, and the DJ responsible for the blunder, Sa’ar Gamzo, was quick to apologize.

“Every week, I put together a show consisting of groovy music from around the world, with an emphasis on Israel and the Middle East,” he said. “In case of this particular song, I made a mistake. I don’t speak Arabic, I don’t understand Arabic, and I don’t read Arabic. I chose the song because it fit the vibe of the show. Had I understood the lyrics, I wouldn’t have aired the song… I hope we can continue to celebrate the beauty of music moving forward.”

Amen to that. And now, if you’re in to that sort of thing, here it is, a Palestinian Despacito of sorts, nice and groovy unless you pay attention to the words:

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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