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Where and when did Zionism go off the rails, asks Israeli rock star?

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Published: 16 July 2019

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Soft-spoken musician Rona Kenan, daughter of the mercurial leftist Amos Kenan, looks beyond her own private walls to ask poignant questions in her new album

AT ONE POINT IN our conversation, Rona Kenan tells me: “I’m not a radical person. I’m someone who looks for the glue, not the scissors.”

At first consideration, this sounds surprising. For one thing, the 39-year-old rock star’s hit new album is filled with songs that bemoan the sorry state of Israeli politics, and particularly of the left, or what used to be called the peace camp. For another, as the daughter of Amos Kenan, Rona is a scion of the left-wing royalty that once led that camp.

Writer, artist and political gadfly, Amos Kenan (1927-2009) was one of the most volatile figures in Israeli culture during the state’s early years, moving ideologically from left-wing Zionism (Hashomer Hatzair) to far-right Zionism (the pre-state Lehi underground), before becoming a proponent of Canaanism, a militantly secular movement whose members dismissed Jewish nationalism to identify with a mythical pre-Mosaic “Hebrew” nation.

Even during a decade in exile in Paris – where he moved after being accused of attempting to assassinate a government minister who wanted to outlaw driving on the Sabbath – this angry prophet continued commenting on Israeli politics, and he was an early supporter of the Palestinian claim to independence.

One of his best-known works, the 1984 novel The Road to Ein Harod, is a dystopic vision of Israel under totalitarian rule following a military coup. Kenan definitely used his platform as a scissors, not glue.

FULL STORY An Israeli rock star tries to figure out where Zionism went wrong (Haaretz)

Photo: Rona Kenan (Meged Gozani)

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