A documentary not too long ago broadcast on Moroccan state tv, “In Your Eyes, I See My Country,” which has been proven at festivals in Marrakesh and elsewhere, follows Ms. Elkayam and Mr. Cohen, her husband, on a visit to Morocco, together with visits to their grandparents’ hometowns. It exhibits Moroccans embracing her, clutching her hand, even telling her that they keep in mind the names of her grandparents.
Being an Arabic-speaking Jew, in each Israel and Morocco, means dwelling with a fancy, generally conflicting set of expectations, stated Aomar Boum, an anthropologist on the University of California Los Angeles, who focuses on Jewish-Muslim relations. In the movie, it’s clear that Ms. Elkayam is “carrying a heavy weight,” he stated. “It’s only the music that connects the dots.”
The movie, which is scheduled to be proven subsequent month on the Miami Jewish Film Festival, exhibits her and Mr. Cohen performing live shows for largely Muslim audiences, and it ends with him spending days in his household’s former village, the place he clothes in conventional Moroccan garments and nation boys welcome him like a brother.
Kamal Hachkar, the movie’s Moroccan director, stated, “What touched me the most about Neta is that I quickly understood that she sang to repair the wounds of exile.” The documentary, he added, “is a way of defying the fatality of the large history which separated our parents and grandparents and that our generation can recreate links through music, which is a real common territory and melting pot for Jews and Muslims.”
The political context is inescapable.
“Singing in Arabic is a political statement,” Ms. Elkayam stated. “We want to be part of this area, we want to use the language to connect with our neighbors. It isn’t only to remember the past.”