Nekhei Naatza interview

Nekhei Naatza album cover

Originally published in ‘zine issue #33, 2005

Nekhei Naatza was an Israeli political hardcore band that existed from 1990 to 1997, the first of that kind to have a vinyl release in that country, namely the Renounce Judaism EP in 1994 (Beer City Records). The members took two other band names and combined them to make Nekhei Naatza: Nekhei Tzahal describes crippled Israeli soldiers and Naatza Israel means Israel blasphemy. “Put the two together and you get crippled balsphemy,” Etay Levy, the drummer, explains. They also released an LP in 1997 called Hail The New Regime [pictured] and in 2002 the A Blue & White Carthage EP (Malinke Records).

“Press was always bad,” towards the band, recalls Etay. “They saw us as an anti-Semitic threat. They almost got us sued, they got us in trouble with the fascist religious leaders, and they probably gave our names to the Israeli secret service [Mussad].”

While Etay did not personally get involved with any civilian protest actions, the rest of the band certainly did, participating in animal rights, environmental, and political protests, and those individual members still do so today. “In fact, a few were deported from other countries for their antics,” he reveals.

Included in Hail The New Regime’s lyric sheet are further explanations of the song lyrics on the album. For the song “Reconciliation with Hamas,” the band writes, “The media, intellectuals, politicians, and common public place terrorist attacks on civilians and soldiers as Israel’s most serious problem, when clearly the economic policy of ever growing divisions between the classes, unemployment, and poverty is a much more alarming problem. The stranglehold of nationalism and Zionist heritage makes it impossible for us to focus our attention on economic exploitation rather than on Arab terrorism.”

Etay notes that the number of suicide bombings that occur every year in Israel is so high that the press no longer bothers to report on it. “The press here in the U.S. probably reports on a very small proportion of the attacks. But that is typical of U.S. press. Even the more moderate coverage can’t keep up.”

Etay served in the Israeli army beginning in March of 1994 to April of 1997. It should be noted, especially in Etay’s case, that military service in Israel is mandatory. His position as he describes it was “A trained puppet for the racist regime!” But in the end he remains unaffected by his service and dismisses it as a waste of time. “My stint in the military just reinforced my belief that Israel is headed straight for the toilet.” Ultimately Etay was honorably discharged from the military which he describes as unfortunate, explaining, “It is incredibly difficult to be dishonorably discharged,” which he strived to achieve.

Etay spent time in a military prison in Israel during his time in the army. “After training for almost a year, I was sent to the Gaza strip along with two friends. We were ‘asked’ to serve in Gaza for two months. I refused”––in fact he told his commanding officer to go fuck himself––“and was charged with insubordination and sentenced to one month,” he recalls.

He did see some action during his tenure in the force, however. “First year was full on combat training. You know: shooting all sorts of guns and blowing shit up all with live fire, riding on tanks, urban warfare training, navigating by foot in the dark without a map––we almost jumped out of a plane but those bastards cut our budget––and lots of other various wholesome activities.”

After completing a year of basic training, Etay says, “My personal mission was to drive my psychiatric evaluation into the ground. This evaluation determined your eligibility for various activities and as I was adamantly opposed to military operations of any sort, this would be my most difficult mission to date. I spent weeks preparing and upon completion of my self- imposed mission, I was no longer ‘fit’ to serve in combat. I was encouraged to return home each evening to distress from the daily activities. Coincidentally, everyone else in the band received the same encouragement so we were able to play regularly during this time.”

Israel is both a police state and a military state, according to Etay. “Realistically, it is the people who embraced their military experience and/or police employment who are brainwashed. These people do not think for themselves; instead they fall victim to the propaganda excreted by the racist regime. This is a time of turmoil, and hence changes, but unless the youth decide for themselves which cause is worth killing and dying for, Israel is hopeless.” ■


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