Amir Benayoun onstage
Amir Benayoun onstage Israel news photo: Flash 90

Popular singer Amir Benayoun has published a new, political song to his Facebook page. Called “Hussein's Jerusalem,” it warns Israelis that the Holy City of Jerusalem is being sold out by the leaders of Israel, in complicity with US President Barack Obama.

The title, in its Hebrew version, clearly references Naomi Shemer's classic "Jerusalem of Gold", with “Hussein” referring to Obama's middle name.

The song begins with the very familiar verse from Isaiah, “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad in her, all you who love her...” but the joy turns to anxiety when Benayoun adds: “...because the prime minister and all his friends apparently gave it up a long time ago.”

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad in her, as long it is possible,” he adds, “because it has been sold out behind our backs. They are only putting on an act for show.”

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad in her, as long it is possible, because Hussein from America wants it, and he is determined and cruel.”

The song ends with Psalms 137: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you; if I do not place Jerusalem at the top of my joy.”

"Hussein's Jerusalem":

The new song is Benayoun's second political statement in the course of a single month. A few weeks ago, the singer released a song protesting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s suggestion that if a Palestinian state is established in Judea and Samaria, Jews who wish to remain in that state should be allowed to do so – and statements by Arab MK Ahmed Tibi against the idea that Israeli Arabs would become citizens of a future “Palestinian” state.

The song, “The Country of My Birth,” is made up of six classic Hebrew songs which describe Israelis' love for the land. Benayoun simply replaced the Hebrew words with Arabic words and plays the songs with an Arabic-style musical accompaniment.

Benayoun's trademark fusion of modern rock-pop musical elements, sophisticated lyrics, rhythms and melodic strains that reflect his North African roots, and a clear singing voice that is reminiscent of Sephardic hazzanut, have made him very popular in Israel. He has proven unafraid to risk his career with political statements that he knows will not be popular with the leftist media – most notably, a song he released in 2010, called “I am your Brother,” which searingly blasts Israelis who sell out Israel to its enemies. The song was released in cooperation with Im Tirtzu, a Zionist grassroots movement that exposed the New Israel Fund's complicity in the Goldstone Report against Israel's soldiers.

The lyrics were as follows:

I guard your national identity

I defend your children

I give my life for your family

and you spit in my face.

After you fail to kill me from the outside

you come to kill me from within

I haven't seen my mother for a month

not my children, my home, not my wife.

I always charge ahead

with my back to you

You sharpen the knife...

And more than anything, it is this thought which burns my soul.

And you, how do you not understand

I am your brother, you are the enemy.

You hate me, while I love.

When I cry, you laugh behind my back.

You are, after all, my brother

You are, after all, my brother

I am the future

you are the past.

and the present between us is broken.

I go hungry for you, while you are a glutton and are sated.

When my throat is dry, you drink

my mouth is always sealed for your safety

yet you give me away to foreigners

I am your brother, you are the enemy.

You hate me, while I love.

When I cry, you laugh behind my back.

You are after all, my brother

You are after all, my brother.

Benayoun claimed that a popular radio station – Galgalatz, which is run by the IDF – began to boycott his music  after he issued the song. In response, he vowed to lobby to have the station shut down.