Israel’s Happiness Revolution (Tablet, Aug. 31, 2015)

What my preschooler’s taste in pop says about where the country is at

The Israeli culture wars arrived in my kitchen a few months ago when I discovered that the cure for my daughter’s grumpy preschooler moods was a Hebrew dance hit called “Happiness Revolution.” The song is of the genre known loosely as Mizrahi, a blend of Middle Eastern, Greek, and Western influences associated with Israelis who have roots in the Islamic world. In the country’s early decades Mizrahi music was deemed primitive and generally kept off radio and TV, shunted instead into an underground of small clubs, cheap wedding halls, and cassette stores clustered around the grimy bus station in Tel Aviv.

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