Lost Photographs of Johnny Cash in the Holy Land

Oct. 12 2021

In 1971, the American country singer Johnny Cash came to the Jewish state for the third of five visits he would make during his lifetime. Researchers at the National Library of Israel recently discovered a large collection of photographs from an official reception for Cash, where numerous local media figures were present. Shai Ben-Ari writes:

[Cash] first came in 1966 for a religious pilgrimage, visiting Christian sites across the country. Cash was so impressed that in 1968 he returned, accompanied by his new wife, June Carter Cash. This second trip inspired an entire album, The Holy Land, released the next year. The record featured songs with such titles as “Land of Israel,” “The Ten Commandments,” and “Come to the Wailing Wall.”

[The record] includes interludes between the songs featuring audio recorded on-site at various locations across Israel: a market in Nazareth, a hotel in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, among other sites. In these spoken-word segments, Johnny and June describe what they see around them in real-time, with surrounding noises and Hebrew chatter clearly audible in the background, along with the occasional tour guide providing explanations of the religious scenery.

Cash’s next album, Johnny Cash at San Quentin, a live 1969 recording in front of an audience of prisoners at a notorious California jail, was one of the best selling of his career. The record includes a segment in which Cash speaks of his experiences in Israel a year earlier, before introducing the song “He Turned the Water into Wine,” which was written “on the way to Tiberias, in the car.”

During his next visit, in 1977, Cash met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin and also gave an impromptu performance at Hadassah hospital

Read more at Librarians

More about: Christian Zionism, Israeli history, Johnny Cash, Menachem Begin, Music


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy