Hasaruf: The Burned Hoax and the State of Israeli Culture

Uri Cohen

 

Hasaruf (literally, "the burned") was a hoax that shook Israeli culture in 2000 when a neglected Ashkenazi singer garnered attention and fame by posing to be a Mizrahi cripple injured in a fire as a child. His painful "oriental" music was an immediate hit and he was featured on the cover of the widest-read Israeli weekly supplement. In analyzing the hoax, Uri Cohen examines some of the cultural complexities shaping the colonial question in Israel.

Uri Cohen is assistant professor of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia. He received his Ph.D from Hebrew University and specializes in modern Hebrew and Italian literature.