For the past month, Israel and Hamas have been at de facto war with each other; almost 2,000 Palestinians and 66 Israelis have died so far. On Friday, after a three-day truce, Israel resumed its attacks in Gaza. And yet, through it all, Israelis are singing along to a song called Kum, Aseh Piguim—which translates to “Up, Do Terror Attacks.”
Yoram Hazony of Tablet magazine writes that he “first heard about it from my teenagers, who were laughing about this song Hamas had recorded in Hebrew and how terrible their pronunciation is.” The video, recorded and posted by Hamas in Gaza on YouTube in early July, features explosions, masked men building bombs, and footage from past attacks within Israel. (The original version uploaded by the militants was taken down by YouTube but the song continues to float around.) The lyrics include the lines:
Rock them, now, multitude of missiles,
Turn their world into a scene of horrors,
Burn into their minds a great miracle,
That they are being expelled, and we are going to stay!
The military arm of Hamas created the Arabic-language version of the song in 2012, which has been played millions of time around the Middle East. This seemed to have inspired Hamas to produce a Hebrew version of the song, in the hopes of striking fear into the enemy next door. Yet the song has caught on, played at parties, revamped on Facebook in mock-serious acappela versions, and used as ringtones.“Up, Do Terror Attacks” has become an unofficial anthem among young Israelis.
Why? Partly because of the ridiculousness of the song, which—like its title—seems to have gone through Google Translate and suffers from a serious lisp. For example, the word piguim—terror attacks—becomes biguim—which is gibberish. But there’s a deeper reason for this latest unexpected hit, which has connected most with soldiers who are fighting the latest battle with Hamas.
Hazony’s daughter sums it up: “It’s a way of coping with the job they are being asked to do. It’s a way of turning this around so that these people coming at us aren’t scary, but ridiculous. That way they can go into this feeling strong. There’s no choice but for them to do that.”