Warning: Explicit lyrics

Hip-hop war anthem reaches number one in Israel

‘Charbu Darbu’ by Ness Ve Stilla promises to rain fire on Israel’s enemies, capturing the righteous indignation felt by Israeli youth during the Israel-Hamas war

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Screenshot from the 'Charbu Darbu' video. (used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screenshot from the 'Charbu Darbu' video. (used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A new song became a number-one hit in Israel over the last week, an angry hip-hop war anthem by the duo “Ness Ve Stilla,” whose real names are Nesia Levy and Dor Soroker.

The song’s title, “Charbu Darbu,” comes from Syrian Arabic and means literally “swords and strikes.” In Hebrew slang, it is a reference to raining hell on one’s opponent — which is what the rappers promise the IDF will do to Hamas.

With a minimalist beat produced by Stilla (Soroker) and quick cuts of the rappers in various urban and desert landscapes, the two-and-a-half-minute video is in many ways typical of Israeli hip-hop.

Lyrically, though, the piece encapsulates a feeling of righteous fury that has been prevalent in Israel since the October 7 atrocities.

“Left, right, left, how is it that the whole country is in uniform from Galilee to Eilat… We’ve brought the entire army against you and we swear there won’t be forgiveness, sons of Amalek,” Stilla raps, comparing Hamas to the Biblical enemy of the Israelites who must be obliterated.

The chorus is a roll call of the IDF’s most storied combat units (“Golani, Givati, Air Force, Navy, Commandos!”) and ends with the phrase “All the IDF units are coming to ‘Charbu Darbu’ on your heads, oy oy.”

Ness lends a feminine counterpoint to Stilla’s bravado, but her verses are equally militant. After complimenting all the men in uniform for being handsome, she raps, “For mom and dad, all my friends are at the front, for grandma and grandma, let’s write names on the bombs, for the children of the Gaza envelope.”

The song ends with an up-tempo section where the rappers promise to “X out” their enemies. They call them out by name, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’s military wing and one of the likely masterminds behind the October 7 massacres, saying in Arabic, “Every dog gets his day.”

The rappers also include in their list of enemies Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa and Mia Khalifa, prominent Western celebrities who expressed support for the Palestinian cause shortly after the war began.

Since its release about a week ago, “Charbu Darbu” has become the number-one song in Israel on YouTube, Spotify and other streaming platforms. The duo’s PR team told The Times of Israel that based on the feedback they have received, the song was currently the most popular song in the country.

The duo’s last hit, “Tik Katan” (“A small purse”), released just six months ago, was a completely different affair: a song about going out to clubs and all the things Ness was able to carry in her little purse in order to do so effectively.

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