Poetry has always had a strong influence on Israeli pop music. Some of the country’s best loved songs come from the works of iconic poets such as Natan Alterman, Avraham Halfi and the poetess Rachel to name but a few.
But now, singer-songwriter Daniel Salomon and actor Lior Ashkenazi have set to music the work of a lesser known lyricist, but one who is however famous for his political verse.
The duo have come out with a song based on a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
The song is titled “Love is distancing,” a phrase Netanyahu employed when calling on people to stay away from elderly loved ones.
In an interview with Channel 12, Salomon said that when a poem is set to music it takes on a “further, deeper meaning.”
Salomon said he had chosen Netanyahu’s speech as the prime minister was an “excellent poet.” He noted the chorus “Love is distancing, distancing is love” as an extremely powerful use of words.
Ashkenazi, one of Israel’s most successful actors, both on the stage and on the silver screen, questioned whether Netanyahu had lived up to the promises made in his almost daily speeches at the height of the crisis.
One of the stanzas goes: “I can see and hear your distress, I can hear your distress, your fears about work, about making a living, it penetrates right into my heart. I will help you, I will take care of you.”
Ashkenazi pointed out that of thousands of people without jobs were still waiting for the prime minister to take care of them.
Salomon said that while the song was critical of the prime minister, it did not in any way ridicule him.
“It’s criticism, and that is what art is meant to do,” Salomon said.