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Peres visits Jerusalem school Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Peres visits Jerusalem school Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
 
Idan Raichel Photo: Oz Maron and Hagai Dekel
Idan Raichel Photo: Oz Maron and Hagai Dekel
 
Kabra Kasai Photo: Shai Rosenzweig
Kabra Kasai Photo: Shai Rosenzweig
 
 

Peres writes song for Ethiopian community

President puts his concerns in writing in wake of racist acts against Israelis of Ethiopian descent, asks musician Idan Raichel to compose music

Itamar Eichner
Published: 01.23.12, 14:17 / Israel Culture

On the backdrop of recent acts of racism against Israel's Ethiopian community, President Shimon Peres recently visited the Amit Reshit School in Jerusalem, where children of Ethiopian descent have been successfully integrated. There, he was inspired by Rachel, the school choir's lead singer.

 

After hearing eighth grader Rachel sing, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem," Peres returned to the President's Residence overwhelmed. That night, he sat down, put his thoughts in writing and composed a song for her and for the Ethiopian community.

 

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"I cannot forget Rachel's beautiful and kind eyes," he told his advisors. "When I looked at her I saw through her eyes the Ethiopian Jews' hardship and endless yearning for the Land of Israel."

 

But Peres did not settle for just writing a song. He asked his assistants to send it to musician Idan Raichel and have him add music to the lyrics. Raichel worked on the melody for a week and asked singer Kabra Kasai, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia, to perform the president's song.

 

When he heard that the song was ready, the president asked to listen to it as soon as possible. On Thursday he arrived at Jerusalem's International Convention Center, where Raichel revealed the song.

 

Only after he finished singing, Raichel informed the audience that the lyrics were written by Peres and invited the president to sing.

 

After the two sang together, Peres said: "Every person with a historical memory is filled with emotions and memories upon seeing immigrants."

 

The president concluded the event by stating, "It was one of the most emotionally moving evenings in my life."

 

 

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