Israeli slogan song turns into teaching tool for area educator

Play Hadag Nahash’s “Shirat HaSticker,” and most listeners react the same way: “Great song.” But play it for a local Jewish educator, and his response is: “Great teaching tool.”

Gabe Salgado, the youth and camp director as well as a teacher at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, has written a curriculum for educators on how to use the Israeli hit song in the classroom.

Written by Israeli novelist David Grossman, its lyrics come almost entirely from bumper stickers spotted on Israeli cars. The slogans range from the left-wing “An entire generation demands peace” to the right-wing “No Arabs, no terrorist attacks,” from the religious “No fear, the Messiah’s in the city” to the secular “Draft everybody.” The chorus: “How much evil can we swallow?” has multiple meanings, but as an animal-rights slogan it helped put a halt to Israel’s foie gras industry.

Salgado, a 29-year-old Berkeley resident, made aliyah and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Since returning to the United States in 1998, he has usually visited Israel once a year. He was unable to make it there this past summer, when the song was at the top of the charts. Salgado first heard about it from an Israeli teen he has known since she was a child.

“I was fascinated and had to hear it right away,” he says. He called it “a masterpiece.”

His next thought was that the song would be ideal to bring into the classroom.

“Bumper stickers are such a prominent part of Israeli society, and so is music,” he says. “They are both such authentic pieces of Israel. This is not some American distorted view of Israel, this is the real thing.”

Salgado presented his curriculum to other Jewish educators, who immediately asked him for a copy. Only one problem: At the time, it was just in his head.

“I realized it was worth putting on paper,” he says.

In the classroom, students are asked, for instance, to choose which sticker they most identify with. Salgado notes that the song is also being used in a similar vein in Israel.

Which comes as no surprise to Salgado. “I’ve been using Israeli music as a teaching device with kids for years.”

Being that song lyrics are so important in Israel — in a way that they aren’t in America — he says, “It’s always really effective, they always connect to it. It’s an authentic piece of Israel. … American kids are no less receptive to the meaning. They hear all the emotion in the songs, and understand Israel in a different way.”

Salgado’s curriculum for the “The Sticker Song” can be downloaded from the S.F. Israel Center’s Web site,


'Real voice of Israel'

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."