Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WHY BARCELONA? Why Mishal Cohen sang about this city with such fevor? What's special about it to Israelis?

Nadene Goldfoot                                   
13 year old Mishel Cohen of Dimona, Israel won a singing contest singing Oh Barcelona in 2012.

The Barcelona soccer team played in Israel the following year. In January 2018 he will be 19 and in the army.   Mishel comes from Dimona, Israel, which had 25,000 population in 1990.  His family are probably from Morocco.  Dimona is 19 miles SE of Beersheba, a center for Negev industries, home of Israel's one atomic reactor.  

possibly a song of a Sephardi thinking of previous days in this city
I come to you, the one who plays in the courtyards; I come to you and play, sing of you, excited city Lalala....

Oh Barcelona Barcelona, Since I exist, I did not play for you on strings, lalala
Oh Barcelona, Barcelona, on stringed instruments with a guitar and mandolina, the splendor of your soil captured my heart, Oh Barcelona!

To you I bought the best of my song, accept this present and remember the echo of my voice as a souvenir of love, lalalal, memememiah.

Oh Barcelona, Barcelona ever since I exist I did not play for you on strings, lalala.
Oh Barcelona, Barcelona on stringed instruments, with a guitar and mandolin, I passed roads, continents and seas, Oh oh Barcelona!   
Barcelona, Spain, where Sephardim come from.  After 70 CE, Jews lost Jerusalem to the Romans who burned down their temple and city, then took thousands left alive as slaves and marched them through Rome. 

Jews escaped to Spain, and settled in Barcelona in Aragon.  Jews got there in the 9th century.

A famous public  DISPUTATION (from the word dispute-to have a dispute or disagreement with someone) between the Jewish Nahmanides (Moses ben Nahman) 1194-1270 Rabbi of Gerona (Aragon)  and the Spanish Christian, Pablo Christiani in 1263, all viewed in front of James I of Aragon.  Ever since the 300's, the new Roman Christians were attacking Jews and their religion.
James I of Aragon
     At the end of this debate, James I badgered the  Jews in the synagogues to convert to Christianity.

It didn't take long for the Christians to attack the Jews in 1348 at the time of the Black Death that was spreading throughout the land.  "The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from 1346 to 1353."  Massacres of Jews took place in 1391 and the Jewish community of Barcelona  was wiped out!
Spain was the home of the Spanish Inquisition (1478-, going on in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  This inquisition affected the whole world to be against Jews living in their land.  Jews had to leave Spain or convert to Christianity.  They stayed facing a death sentence if discovered as being Jewish.  Everything they did pertaining to their religion, the food they ate (no pork) the holidays such as Chanukah had to be celebrated in secret.   It wasn't easy to pick up and move anymore than it was for holocaust victims, as they faced the peril of leaving in boats upon an unnerving sea and sinking.  150,000 were expelled and found refuge mainly in N Africa and the Turkish Empire.  Those that braved it found their way to Portugal who took them in for a few years before joining the anti-Semities of Spain.  After Portugal in 1497 they had to find other hideaways in the world.  Some even got to Syria and wound up later living on JEW STREET, again facing people who segregated them and kept them prisoners in a ghetto. Those pretending to be Christians were called Marranos, now a nasty term not used. 
As in many lands where we found we were not welcome, Jews have slowly returned to Barcelona where the count in 1990 was 3,500.   It wasn't until 1931 that this expulsion was officially revoked.  A synagogue was built in Madrid in 1968!   The Jews living in Spain are mainly in Barcelona and Madrid and had been living in North Africa and Latin America.
Teammates in Jerusalem, Arab and Jewish children
Will these Palestinians grow up to be stone-throwers?  Hope not.  
Israel's President Peres in August 2013 had a center for peace and brought  Palestinian and Israeli children together there through soccer, a game so popular throughout the world.  "Barcelona, which is partially sponsored by UNICEF, has also shown its interest in promoting peace in the region. In 2011 the Spanish club hosted six children from Israel and the Palestinian Authority for one of its home games.  One of the most prestigious soccer teams in the world was the Barcelona FC.  They played against a team of Israeli and Palestinian players.  Sandro Rosell was the President of Barcelona and he spoke in Ramat Gan, Israel.  

 Michel Cohen, the nightingale from Dimona, singing "At Haki Li Ve'Ahzor" on the television reality show "The Music School." That song, translated by Avraham Shlonsky, was sung during World War II by Shlomo, whose surname was Deutscher at the time. He was the soloist of the British army's Jewish Brigade entertainment troupe, and once, when it performed at a displaced persons camp in Europe, Shlomo found his mother, whom he had lost track of during the war. 

Now Mishel/Michel Cohen is probably in the IDF serving his country.  Jerusalem's Temple Mount sees unrest.  Here are soldiers in July of this year evacuating a wounded man from the Temple Mount. 
Hamas infiltrators killed 2 of our IDF
Here IDF are carrying a wounded soldier to go to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba in July 2014.  

Resource: Mishel Cohen, Eyal Golan singing  Oh Barcelona

Sandro Rosell speaks in Ramat Gan, Thursday (photo credit: screen capture/OneTV)

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