Forget “Jerusalem of Gold.”
This summer’s Israeli hit is “Omelette Bread in Netanya,” the song in an ad for a shop of the same name in the coastal city. (“Omelette bread” is a direct translation, but it refers to an egg sandwich.)
The song’s Hebrew lyrics translate to “Kebab, merguez sausage, shakshuka/Vegetables and onion are always interesting…Now that you’ve eaten a baguette with soul/you will definitely be back.”
But what it lacks in songcraft it has made up in virality, racking up millions of views on TikTok and spawning hundreds of spin-offs, parodies, and restaurant review videos. It is being played at trance parties, weddings, and in the heads of millions of unassuming social media scrollers.
The kiosk’s owner, Vicky Ezra — the man who, if the song is to be believed, “puts his love into the baguette” — wasn’t always a sandwich connoisseur. Before getting covid-19 during Israel’s first wave in March 2020, Ezra was successful in real estate. But when he got covid, he was put into an induced coma and regained consciousness two and a half weeks later. He told Israel’s Channel 12 that he was sure he was going to die.
During his lengthy rehabilitation, he was haunted by nightmares and decided he couldn’t return to the real estate business, so he bought the modest-sized shop, thinking that it would an inheritance for his son, Moriel.
In a clip posted on Omelette Bread’s TikTok account — which was opened as a result of the song and has garnered more than half a million likes — the singer, Avi Levy, says the tune was written in 10 minutes. The clip ends with Levy quipping that he hopes the song’s popularity will draw enough fans to fill Caesarea Amphitheatre, one of Israel’s largest performance venues.
What Levy doesn’t mention is that “Omelette Bread in Netanya” actually is a cover of a Greek song, “To Diamerisma,” by folk legend Vasilis Karras. Adapting a song from Greek artists has a long history in Israeli music, with music icons Arik Einstein and Yehuda Poliker among the most notable of those who took Greek songs to the top of the Israeli charts.
“The charming thing about it is that it was done with zero intention to become viral,” Yasmin Ishbi, the chief music editor for Galgalatz, Israel’s most listened-to music station, said. “So when you watch it, you laugh at them and their absurd lyrics, but you’re also laughing with them.”
Jewish Telegraphic Agency