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Illustration Photo: Haim Hornstein
Illustration Photo: Haim Hornstein
 
 

Khalas rocks

Meet “Khalas,” the Israeli Arab rock group that has become the official morale booster for the Arab, Druze villages in the north, without being dragged into politics

Sagi Bin Nun
Published: 07.24.06, 11:58 / Israel Culture

Surprisingly, one of the shelters in Bet Shean became an impromptu dance club last week. This occurred because of an appearance by Khalas, an Arab rock group, performing for Druze teenagers from northern villages who are residing in Bet Shean because of rocket attacks on their homes.

 

During that hour the whines of the guitar and the beatings of the drums made one forget the shrieking sirens and missile explosions.

 

The members of Khalas- Bassam Beromi, Fadel Kandil, Abed Hathout and Danny Lifshitz - can identify with the helplessness that is felt by the Druze teenagers before whom they perform. They also live in a city besieged by Katyushas- Akko.

 

Khalas which was founded in 1988 by Beromi, a nephew of Samir Shukri, sounds like a Western rock group without any darbukas or trills. According to the band, they draw inspiration from groups such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. They have just signed with the Israeli representative of the international record company EMI.

 

Two years ago they released their first album “Ma Adesh Feha” (“We’ve Had Enough”) consisting of many protest songs. In contrast to what one may think, Khalas is not using their songs to criticize Israelis or Jews. Their criticism is directed toward Arab society.

 

“We think that we have to fix our own house and criticize the Arab sector before we complain about the state and the government”, said Beromi. “In the song ‘The King Is Naked’ we are protesting the behavior of Arab leaders who do not listen to their people.

 

"This song is relevant today, because Nasrallah is a naked king who is dragging an entire nation into war, and the ones who pay the price are innocent civilians. Nasrallah is not using his head. He is an Arab and so am I, but I can not identify with someone who hits my city. On the other hand, it pains me that people are being killed on both sides.”

 

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