Transcending Political Differences

Despite the rumbling political tensions between Israel and Turkey, Jewish act Orphaned Land is attempting to bridge the gap by playing a concert in Istanbul.

The Turkish capital of Ankara recently downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel and suspended defense trade after the Jewish state refused to apologize for its deadly 2010 assault on a boat challenging its Gaza blockade in which nine Turks were killed.

But Orphaned Land leader Koby Farhi believes his band’s music has the power to transcend political differences and can connect with people who would usually take an automatic anti-Israel stance.

“I think that music has the power to enter your heart like a bullet,” he told Reuters. “Usually we judge, usually we stereotype. I am Israeli, they were raised the whole time not to connect with me. I am the enemy, I’m the bad guy and music has the power to break the cycle of hatred.”

Israeli musicians can’t enter many Arab states, leaving Farhi’s band to perform several times a year in Turkey, attracting fans from Arab countries including Iran and Lebanon.

The group has initiated a brand of music it called “Jewish-Muslim metal.” Many of its songs include prayer lyrics from Jewish liturgy and other religious texts.

Farhi says there are hundreds of groups who play a similar genre operating out of sight of the authorities, mostly in more moderate Arab countries.

Later this year, Orphaned Land will tour Europe with metal bands from Algeria and Tunisia.
The group is also considering holding a concert in Egypt after a Facebook poll showed that 83 percent of their fans said they should.