A 22-year-old pianist from the Gush Etzion settlement of Neveh Daniel has become the latest YouTube phenomenon with her pro-Israel hasbara song “Only Israel.”
Yedida Freilich, a composition student at the capital’s Rubin Academy of Music and Dance, wrote the mournful piano ballad along with her father, Gabby, and brother Yuval, following the Gaza flotilla incident last month. In only two weeks, the video has attracted over 350,000 views on YouTube and turned Freilich into a celebrity in nationalist circles.
“The song transpired by chance,” Gabby Freilich told The Jerusalem Post this week from Australia, where he was visiting family. “One of Yedida’s projects in school was to compose a musical piece for a political song. As it happened, the assignment fell on the same week as the flotilla.”
Freilich said he was moved to write down lyrics after seeing the world’s reaction to the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara, which left nine passengers dead.
The video clip of her moving performance on piano and vocals, with lyrics switching between English and Hebrew, is juxtaposed with images of Kassam rockets, St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, judge Richard Goldstone and the Mavi Marmara.
The lyrics decry the double standard Freilich says Israel faces when trying to defend itself, and includes couplets such as “Eight thousand rockets is no excuse / suicide bombers, it’s all just a ruse” and a Hebrew chorus of “Darfur is ignored, Russian troops in Chechnya, only Israel has no right to defend itself, because the world cares nothing about Jewish blood.”
“It was obvious to me that this was a hasbara [public diplomacy] song. Our efforts at explaining what happened with the flotilla were so appalling, and this did so well in explaining our positions, I knew it had to go on YouTube,” said Freilich.
He found a professional videographer, Daniel Sass, who volunteered his time, and together they chose the images and produced the clip.
Freilich insisted that the song appear with English, Hebrew and Arabic subtitles.
“I thought that it was important that the Arabs would be able to understand it,” he said.
“I think it’s a powerful song and a great tune. Yedida sings it from the heart. You can tell she’s involved in the lyrics and the performance, because it’s part of her life – her friends and her family are involved.”
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