Video dispatch 22: And on a happier note… Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Gaza. Tehran. Happy.

March 23, 2014


Tom Gross writes (March 23, 2014):

Many of the items in the other dispatch today (“Jewish teacher in Paris has nose broken, swastika drawn on chest; & Iran leader again denies Holocaust”) are very depressing.

Here is something much more upbeat.

Below is a new fun video featuring residents of Jerusalem (including some I know who are subscribers to this list) singing along to the Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy”.

This video is part of a worldwide phenomenon of people producing their own videos of Williams’ song.

It was filmed this month in Jerusalem by Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim, a high school program based in Jerusalem. (Among those featuring in it are Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, and deputy mayor, Rachel Azaria.)

“Our aim is to show that Jerusalem is not just historic and religious, but it’s also modern, exciting, fun – and very happy,” said Ramah’s director Daniel Laufer.




Here is a version of “Happy” produced last week in Tel Aviv by photographer Louis Green and actress Sivan Kretchner, who said that “without a doubt Tel Aviv is the happiest city in the world, no question.”

Here is another version of “Happy Tel Aviv”:



And since there are an increasing number of subscribers to this list from Beirut, here is a version of “Happy Beirut” which a friend who features in it sent me.

Just as is the case with Israel, the Western media stereotypes tend to show only one aspect of Beirut. Here is the more secular side of the city, which is in many ways similar to Tel Aviv.

It is a great video.


UPDATE (April 30, 2014)


Here is a new version of Gazans singing along to Pharrell Williams’s hit song Happy:

This is what Gaza looks like, not the propaganda version put out by certain politicized NGOs and journalists trying to peddle the myth that Gaza is some kind of (Israeli) concentration camp.

Gaza is, however, ruled, by the highly authoritarian Hamas Islamist movement, and you can note that no men and women can be seen dancing together in this video.


UPDATE (May 21, 2014)


A group of Iranians who created a tribute to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” were arrested yesterday in Tehran. The video shows three men and three unveiled women dancing to the song on the streets and rooftops of Tehran.

The official ISNA news agency quoted Police chief Hossein Sajedinia as saying that the “vulgar clip” had “harmed public chastity”.

Iran’s state-run TV broadcast a program on Tuesday showing the men and women confessing to the “crime” on camera.

Their video, which was made several weeks ago, having been inspired to do it after seeing versions created by young people in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere, has become a hit on Iranian social media sites.

Williams has protested at the arrests. The singer wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness”.

Some of the Iranian dancers have now been freed on bail but the director of the video clip remains under arrest and is believed to be under interrogation in one of Iran’s harsh detention facilities.


* Please "like" these dispatches on Facebook here:

Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.