Paris, France – The singing of Hava Nagila being filmed on the streets of Paris may be considered unusual at the best of times. Filming it now may be considered dangerous! Despite the recent murderous terrorist attacks and reports of widespread daily Antisemitic incidents an Israeli production crew nevertheless gave themselves the challenge.
Indeed, Paris’ Antisemitic backdrop was precisely why the Rehovot-born religious Jewish singer Gad Elbaz chose to film the video for his newest single — posted on YouTube earlier this week.
Together with professional dancers and musicians, Elbaz sang a techno-flavored version of the “Let’s rejoice” song in front of ‘I am Charlie’ banners commemorating the 12 victims of the 7th January shooting at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
In one video sequence Elbaz is at a park leading the Balkan brass band while dancing through the narrow streets of the Marais. In another sequence, the production crew had Parisian passersby sing the Hebrew lyrics.
But the production crew also experienced Paris’ darker side while making the film.
“We spent a week in Paris and people there are scared,” producer Daniel Finkelman told the news site collive.com. “I saw with my own eyes as Muslims walked by, pointed their hands like guns at us and called out ‘Jew, Jew!’ in French. It felt like Europe in the 1930s.”
Still, Finkelman said this only adds urgency to the message that led to the video’s creation in the first place.
“We want the Jewish community of Paris to know: The world cares about you. We are here for you and we are not going to leave you,” he said.