Netta Barzalai is an unlikely hero of Israel. Most of our heroes are male, though we do have a fair share of female role models. Most of our heroes are older than this young singer’s 25 years in our world. Also, a fair share are heroes as a result of their actions on the battlefields of Israel. While Netta served, she certainly did not impact decisively in any battle. Instead, what she has done is present herself to the world in a very Israeli manner. Like the Wonder Woman she quotes in her performance of “Toy,” Netta is anything but apologetic.
Of course, Gal Gadot is, unquestionably, beautiful. But, what Netta reminds us, is that she too is beautiful. She is, without question, different. There are so many “she isn’t”s in the world that you forget that there are even more “she is”s.
She is Israeli and very talented. She is different. In how she dresses, in the songs she chooses to sing. Netta apologizes to no one and reminds us she has nothing to apologize for. She is overweight – her life, her choice. She will lose weight or not, depending on her own actions and decisions. Take her. Leave her. She is Netta. You will not, more, you cannot, change her.
And, amazingly enough, so is Israel. Take us. Leave us. You will not, more, you cannot change us. People are dancing in the streets today – quite literally.
For a while now, I’ve been hearing about Netta and the chicken song. I saw a few minutes of the song, then I saw Netta sing it at the Eurovision finals – live. My impression: I hate the song. But there is a message in there. An important one for women… And for men. I hate the chicken act… But that is a part of the message.
Celebrate, rejoice in your different-ness. And, Netta tells us, don’t try to be what you aren’t; don’t change what you are. Afterwards, I heard a clip of Netta speaking and in minutes I admitted that she was not the shallow one…I was.
Netta is intelligent. Beautiful. Openly, she shares her pain because like many overweight people, she has experienced insults and been treated poorly. But she grew from her experiences. She has blossomed and the Netta she shared with the world, makes Israel proud. More, she is a reflection of this land she loves.
We rocked Eurovision. Today, we celebrate Jerusalem Day. Tomorrow, we celebrate the US Embassy finally opening in Jerusalem. Good times in Israel. Stay safe everyone and celebrate. We are all Netta in many ways. Israel is different and we need to celebrate that difference. Today… OMG we celebrate.
Celebrating Jerusalem and Eurovision 2018
As for the dancing in the street – take a look at this morning in the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda open market!