From the fringes of the metropolis, a new center will emerge

Song for Yeruham (January 2010) Guerrilla Culture - Solidarity act with Unionized workers of a tile “Akershtein” factory in Yeruham, in their struggle against draconian management demands. Photo: Hadas Gilad.

The following was translated from the original Hebrew by Dena Shunra.

Lisa Goldman response to me in her piece, “Does Israel’s cultural life offer hope for its democracy?”, and raises important points about the discussion of the connection between the cultural and the political. She explains that Tel Aviv is a sort of a bubble. The avant-garde activity occurring in the metropolis reminds her of something:

There is also a palpably feverish quality to the creativity in Tel Aviv. It reminds me of descriptions I’ve read of Weimar Berlin, which was also the artistic, scientific and financial capital of a new democracy that was threatened and buffeted by an environment of political extremism. Not to belabour the point or anything, but Weimar Berlin did not exactly make Germany more democratic. It was a feverish and brief explosion of artistic and scientific accomplishment that occurred between two episodes of total war, both ending in incomprehensible destruction.”

The comparison could be true, but I will not easily accept the historical reference. Israeli is a state founded on otherness. Different currents flow out of this otherness and into the culture, and nourish it. Mizrahi music expands and conquers new audiences and is closer to the Middle Eastern culture than the European. It could just as easily be heard in any Arab capital and does not require a European model as a symbol from which it would draw the memory, composition, and forms.

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