Yerushalayim Shel Zahav – Natan and Ben

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav – Natan and Ben

Looking at a mizrachi-sounding version of Naomi Shemer’s classic, and comparing it with the original.

Screen and listen to the original interpretation of Shuli Nathan


If your learners are not familiar with the original song, you are encouraged to work through the information on Yael Levine’s website In particular, you might settle on Amos Oz’ critique of the lyrics at the time: The market was not empty – it was only  empty of Jews.

  • How valid is it to refer to Jerusalem as forlorn, or empty, when it lacks only Jewish inhabitants?


Screen and listen to the interpretation of Zehava Ben:


Some leading questions:

  • What thoughts arise from the two very different versions?
  • What sights and views come to mind for the two versions?
  • Which version makes you feel more comfortable?
  • Which version do you feel best represents the Jewish People’s connection to Israel? Why?
  • Why do you think that Zehava Ben chose not to sing the final additional verse?


Suggestions for activity:

Make a search for images on the internet, and make a collection of images that would better suit the video made for the Zehava Ben version. It is worth playing around with the juxtapositions – ‘what would this image do if we saw it at this point in the song?’ Where technicalities allow, participants could be invited to make their own video clip of this song. [Download the audio through, and edit a new video version using moviemaker or any other standard movie editing software]


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