11 August '14..
A few days ago, I called a young relative who is serving in the Israeli air force and asked him: “Do you know that song—“Kum, Aseh Piguim”?
Without missing a beat, he said: “You mean that song that’s a hit all over Israel? The song that all my friends are singing all the time?”
“Yeah,” I said. “That song. I wanted to know if you can explain to me why they are singing it?”
What I actually meant to ask was: Can you please explain to me why all the young people in Israel are singing a song entitled “Up, Do Terror Attacks”—a song recorded and released by Hamas in Gaza, which repeatedly calls for killing or expelling all the Jews from of Israel? But I didn’t have to say all that. He knew why I was asking.
“It’s because it makes us feel good,” he replied.
By then I wasn’t surprised. I had made several other calls, both to my own children and to other young people participating in different branches of the Israeli armed forces, and had gotten versions of this same answer from all of them: All their friends are singing it. It’s basically become the de facto anthem of the Israeli war effort. And they are singing it because it makes them feel good. The question, of course, is why Israeli soldiers, and their brothers and sisters at home, feel good to be singing a song about exterminating them and their families, along with the country they have sworn to defend.
I’ve been hearing about this song for a few weeks, now, almost since the Hamas posted it on its YouTube channel around July 11. I first heard about it from my teen-agers, who were laughing about this song Hamas had recorded in Hebrew and how terrible their pronunciation is. Then it turned out there was a video clip being passed around. But I really wasn’t interested. My son was fighting in Gaza. And the children of some of my closest friends. The casualties were mounting daily, and I was distracted by updates about soldiers in the field, and Israel’s shifting political situation internationally, and the rising tide of anti-Semitic protests in Europe and elsewhere. It wasn’t until dozens of Israeli soldiers had been killed, including soldiers in my son’s unit and other friends of my children, that it finally dawned on me how very bizarre it was that Israeli young people were continuing to sing this Hamas song. And making their own recordings of it and posting them on social media. And playing it at parties. And dancing to it at night clubs. And using it as the ringtone on their phones.