Letter: Music in Israel enjoyed by all

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The Independent Culture
YOUR report 'Jews get in tune with Arabs' (2 October) states that oriental (Mizrahi) music is virtually banned from Israeli television and radio.

Israel won the Eurovision Song competition twice - first with 'Abanibi' and second with 'Halleluiah' - both strong Mizrahi tunes written and sung by Yemen Israeli artists who had extremely successful careers in Israel. Ofra Haza was the first Israeli singer to have real international success - again a Yemen Israeli singing in Hebrew, Yemeni and Arabic.

I was born in a kibbutz in the 1950s, a third generation Ashkenazi. My first record (before even the Beatles]) was of Yehoram Gaon singing Mizrahi songs. When I was a teenager I had all the records of Pink Floyd and all those of Haood singing pure Mizrahi songs in Hebrew and Arabic.

I never heard the phrase 'Anti-Zionist' used in connection with Mizrahi music and my childhood memories are all of Mizrahi music and 'Central Bus Station Music' coming daily from every radio station including that of the army. Israeli TV has had Arabic speaking programmes on every day since it was born in the 1960s.

Uri Roodner

London NW3

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