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Wednesday, April 29, 1998 Published at 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK


Playing for a place in society

Anton Weiss and his band have only one song in Hebrew

Eight years ago, musician Anton Weis came to Israel from St Petersburg, Russia because he wanted to live somewhere better and more civilised. Today his rock band has only one song in Hebrew, and it is called "Death".


Anton Weiss describes life in Israel
"As we see it, this is the way people deal with their problems here. Anybody you don't like, you just wish death to him. It's not normally the Arabs because you also say death to the Russians and death to the leftists and death to the rightists."

While the Russians were made to feel welcome when they first arrived in Israel, Weis says that later on they found out that there were people who were not so happy to see them.

"They didn't understand why the Russians were getting all the things that they were getting. But we didn't get anything. We had to live in tents somewhere in the desert."


[ image: Israel still has to establish its identity, says Weiss]
Israel still has to establish its identity, says Weiss
Today, says Weis, life in Israel for the Russian community is a special combination of the culture in which they grew up, and the Jewish culture, which they accepted when they came to live in Israel.

Now Weis believes it is Israel that must establish its own identity. "I think Israel did achieve a lot in 50 years of its existence, but it's still not sufficiently sure of itself. It still has to prove to everyone around its right to an existence," he says.



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