Three Israeli sisters of Yemeni descent created history when their Arab-language song, Habib Galbi topped the charts in Israel. Though Israel is very much a part of the Middle East, it has disassociated itself from the culture of the region. The song is based on a tune that the group’s grandmother, who was born in Ibb, Yemen taught them, and has now captured the hearts of Israelis and millions of people around the world.
When Israel was formed in 1948, Jews of different nationalities and languages made the country their home. However, its founders had envisioned it to be a country with a culture dating back to their original occupation of the land, leading to a severe suppression of languages other than Hebrew. The Jewish-Arab rift in Israel led to a ban of Arabic music on Israeli radio, seen as a larger goal of systematic cultural oppression. Habib Galbi’s success does point to the fact that people in Israel are slowly conciliating to the fact that Arab culture is very much a part of Israeli society.