As far as settler activists go, Orit Arfa is something of an oddball. Unlike most of her peers — at least as they’re portrayed in the media — the Ariel resident is secular, and she isn’t shy about showing some skin if it’ll help her get the word out. She’s also chosen what may seem like an oddly specialized medium through which to channel her activism: the Miley Cyrus tribute video.
On Monday, a month after her video “Jews can’t stop” brought her instant internet stardom (or infamy — depends on who you ask), Arfa uploaded her second Miley homage, “Gaza Wrecking Ball.” It takes on the 2005 disengagement from the Strip, which saw Israeli security forces remove around 8,000 Israelis from settlements in the disputed territory.
The clip features Arfa playing, in turn, an orange-shirted (and nothing much else) settler and a sledgehammer-wielding soldier, before she morphs into a Palestinian woman and rides a wrecking ball in underwear and a halter top fashioned out of a keffiyeh. At one point she goes full Miley, seductively licking the wrecking ball’s chain.
“They came in with a wrecking ball / Tore down our homes and all we loved / All we wanted was to live our lives / All they ever did was hate us / Yeah, they, hate us,” she sings.
Her first video has garnered some 170,000 views on YouTube, and “Gaza Wrecking Ball” appeared poised to at least match that, having raked in more than 16,000 views in a day.
Arfa, an American Israeli writer who calls herself a “good girl gone bad” in her Times of Israel blogger profile, sees a kindred spirit in the sweet Disney Channel child star cum provocative pop sensation known for headline-grabbing butt rubbing antics and a tongue with a life of its own.
“Whether you like her or hate her,” Arfa told The Times of Israel on Tuesday evening, “by doing what she’s doing, she’s a champion of free speech. So what better vehicle than Miley to express ideas that go against mainstream, politically correct thinking? With the evacuation from Gaza, for example, people were made to feel like social pariahs if they opposed it.”
Despite the overtly sexual nature of her videos, Arfa said that religious settlers have been forgiving of the provocative content. “I heard much less criticism from them than from left-wingers about the Miley-inspired style. I was very encouraged by one, who said, ‘If you have to be nude to get your message across, then I’m all for it.’”
Besides grabbing attention for her newly published book, “The Settler,” Arfa said she produces the videos because she hopes to “shake people out of the boxes that they live in and to end the spiritual occupation Jews have of each other.”
And shake people she has. Negative social media campaigns have ensured that her first video received more “dislikes” than “likes” on YouTube. It also gained the dubious title of “worst Miley Cyrus parody yet” on some websites.
“Still,” she said, “many people told me they loved it. Ultimately, I think people have a problem with the message of Jewish freedom.”
As she waits for political change to take effect, Arfa will be working on a new video, a clip for an original song.
“I love Miley’s new hit ‘Adore You,’” she said, “but I think I’ve humped the Land of Israel enough.”