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VIDEOS: Israeli official's use of Egyptian nationalist song in tweet draws fire

Spokesman for Israeli PM Netanyahu is met with outrage by Egyptians online after tweeting Egyptian nationalist song originally written to commemorate Israel's 1970 Bahr El-Baqar massacre

Ahram Online , Monday 7 Jan 2013
Al-Ahram newspaper publishes news of the Israeli air raid on the Egyptian Bahr Al-Baqar school in 1970
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Views: 2911

Ofir Gendelman, official spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came under fierce criticism by Egyptian online commentators Monday after posting the Egyptian nationalist song – "Ya Beladi Ya Beladi Ana Bahebek ya Beladi" – on Twitter.

Gendelman made the controversial post on Monday morning to express his satisfaction with the results of a recent opinion poll conducted by New York City's Columbia University that rated the Israeli population the 14th happiest national population out of 150 countries worldwide.

"Some Israelis, including me, listen to Egyptian songs, which they enjoy, while Egyptians can also listen to Israeli music in response," Gendelman declared on the popular online social-media platform. "Music has no limits and there is no problem about that."

In light of the song's political relevance, however, Egyptian online commentators reacted to the Israeli official's post with outrage.

"Ya Beladi Ya Beladi Ana Bahebek ya Beladi" (not to be confused with Egypt's national anthem, "Beladi") was written in 1970 in the immediate wake of an Israeli military raid on Bahr El-Baqar School in Egypt's Sharqiya governorate, in which 30 schoolchildren were killed and dozens of others injured.

The Original song that was composed for a moving picture after the Bahr Al-Baqar massacre of 8 April 1970

The song was also widely heard during Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising in early 2011, which culminated in the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak after a 30-year stint in power.

The new Ya Beladi song that was composed after the 25 January Revolution in 2011

"You [Israelis] have no national identity; you're trying to celebrate with songs that don't belong to you," one Egyptian commentator declared via Twitter in response to Gendelman's post.

The Bahr El-Baqar massacre, another Egyptian Twitter user asserted, "was committed by your [Gendelman's] ancestors."

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