Israeli Tribute to Bob Marley Brings Together Diverse Group of Children, Including Gazans and Iraqis

Bob Marley performing at Dalymount Park, July 6, 1980. Photo: Eddie Mallin via Wikicommons.

A video featuring a diverse group of kids, including Gazans and Iraqis, has been produced ahead of Israel’s upcoming One Love festival, which celebrates the music of the late reggae legend Bob Marley.

The festival has been held for 14 years, and brings together numerous artists who cover Marley’s songs in their own style. The festival promoters produce a video each year covering one of Marley’s songs. This year, the clip involved kids from an Arab school, a Jewish kibbutz, a nursery in Herzliya, members of gospel group composed of Israelis from Eritrea and Sudan, and members of the Braslav Hasidic sect. All of them sing “One Love,” a Marley song that speaks of universal love and unity.

Then the producers of the video saw news reports about groups of kids in Gaza who sent peace messages to Israel via carrier pigeons, as well as on an Israeli activist named Lisa Miara, who works with kids rescued from ISIS. Bella Malkin, one of the producers, told the Hebrew news site Mako, “We thought it would be amazing if we could reach them and include them in the clip.”

The Gazan kids were enthusiastic at the prospect. “They knew they were filming an Israeli clip that would be broadcast on YouTube to the whole world,” said Malkin, “and they were very enthusiastic about this idea and the possibility of sending a message of peace from Gaza.”

Of the Iraqi kids, Malkin said, “To think that kids who yesterday cut off heads under ISIS threat are today singing ‘One Love’ is maybe the most powerful thing I have experienced working with Marley’s songs. Lisa told me that these are the first words they have learned in English, and when they filmed the clip they meant every word, and wanted to convey the message that we’re all human beings and we all want to sing and to love.”

Malkin revealed she cried while editing the video, noting, “We have received very emotional responses from all the participants. The Braslavers called me a Marley Hasid. … Lisa told me the kids felt like rock stars and experienced childhood in a way they’d never been able to.”

She said that “the greatest thing” was that the clip had given rise to the idea of producing a Marley festival in Gaza. “This is one of the greatest things Bob Marley’s music can do,” she stated.

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Author: Benjamin Kerstein


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