Nostalgia Sunday – Shlomit’s Sukkah of Peace
Composer Naomi Shemer wrote the song Shlomit Bonah Sukkat Shalom (“Shlomit builds a house of peace”) in 1974 as part of an album of childrens’ songs. The date is telling: released one year after the Yom Kippur war, the song expressed hope for a battle-fatigued nation, battered by a difficult political climate and uncertain diplomatic situation. The song has since become a beloved standard for Israeli children and the adults who were once children; in four verses, Shemer manages to encapsulate the traditions of the sukkot holiday and the ideal of better world.
Here is the song as performed at the time by Hanan Goldblatt, Aliza Rosen and Gabi Eldor.
And here is a version sung decades later by kiddie show presenters Rinat and Yoyo, her robot assistant. (I don’t know why she has a robot).
…plus mizrachi singer Avi Peretz recently pitched in with a Middle Eastern-flavored version.
Shemer was never apolitical in her writing and was certainly associated with Israel’s right-wing, but even she might be nonplussed at the heavy-handed way in which her song was parodied this past week by comedy site LatmaTV. There aren’t English subtitles so here is the gist: the world is accusing Shlomit of destroying the peace process by building her sukkah, which she will proceed to build anyway. (I did say “heavy-handed”, didn’t I?) Oh well, as you watch, bear in mind that there’s no word in Hebrew for “subtlety”.