The British rocker and former Smiths frontman Morrissey has not one but two Jewish-themed songs on his forthcoming album, “Low in High School.”
Perhaps the more notable one is simply called “Israel” and offers a blunt rebuke of critics of the Jewish state.
“In other climes they bitch and whine/Just because you are not like them — Israel, Israel,” Morrissey sings on the album’s six-minute closing track.
“And they who rain abuse upon you — they are jealous of you as well,” the 58-year-old Irish Catholic sings.
The song and its full lyrics have yet to be released.
“Low in High School,” which will be Morrissey’s 11th solo album, comes out Nov. 17. He has released a few singles from the record, including “Spent the Day in Bed.”
The singer’s love for Israel has been well documented over the years. Morrissey has performed in Tel Aviv several times, and received a key to the city at a concert in 2012 during which he draped himself in an Israeli flag. He has since pointed out that no other city — including his hometown of Manchester, England — has honoured him in that way.
Nevertheless, it’s rare to encounter an explicit defense of the Jewish state — or, for that matter, any take on Israel at all — from a mainstream pop artist. (For context, his previous album, 2014’s “World Peace Is None of Your Business,” entered the UK album chart at No. 2.)
In 1983, Bob Dylan released the song “Neighborhood Bully” on his album “Infidels” in which the folk legend points out that Israel is “outnumbered about a million to one” in the Middle East” and gets called a bully for defending itself against attackers.
Also on Morrissey’s album is a tune called “The Girl From Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel.” The title is likely a reference to Etty Hillesum, a Dutch-Jewish diarist who was killed in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. In her writings, she often referred to herself as the “girl who could not kneel.”
As it happens, however, Morrissey isn’t the only iconic British singer showing his love for Israel these days. Boy George just performed in the Jewish state wearing an outfit emblazoned with Stars of David.