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This was Thursday night before the curtain went up for the Hebrew version of ?The Covenant,? a musical portraying the history of the Jewish people from Abraham until the present. This third performance of the musical in Hebrew, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, was presented for young IDF recruits who just completed their third day as soldiers.

The soldiers? response to Thursday?s performance was as overwhelming as their pre-show enthusiasm.?I am very emotional,? said soldier Gilad Gil after the play. ?I loved this play - it was strong; it gives strength.?

The fresh faces in the crowd of 450 were boys and some girls around 18-years-old, about to be thrust from childhood to adulthood by three years of mandatory service in the Israeli Defense Forces. The message of ?The Covenant? served to remind them of God?s faithfulness to His promises to their people.

?When I got here I thought I would sleep through it - I was very tired,? Nataniel Aviani said. ?But I watched the whole thing. It was very interesting, very good.?

Shahaf Mor used the military term ?Ra-al? saying the musical gave the soldiers an injection of morale. One soldier said that despite all the bad news encountered in this country, the musical shows that it?s all for a good cause.

After the show, the commander of the troops attending the performance in the Lod theater presented The Covenant?s creators, Robert and Elizabeth Muren, and producer Chuck King with plaques, thanking them for an unforgettable evening. He later told the ICEJ that gauging from the chatter on the buses as soldiers returned to their base, the musical instilled in them a new vision for their service.
The chairman of Israel?s well-known Association for the Welfare of IDF Soldiers said he cried throughout the musical.

During one scene of The Covenant (Ha Brit in Hebrew), an authentic recording of David Ben-Gurion declaring the State of Israel is played and the cast sings Israel?s national anthem, Ha Tikvah. On Thursday evening, the soldiers all stood during the anthem and out-sang the cast.

?Eser!? (Ten!) rated one soldier after the performance. ?Haval al ha zman,? (colloquial slang for ?awesome?) was the popular description.

While the performance of The Covenant in Hebrew broke new ground in working class Kfar Saba on March 16 and legitimized its place in the upscale world in Tel Aviv on March 24, the energetic performance at Lod catapulted the musical into a different scene and touched those now charged with maintaining the very people and land around which the musical revolves.


The musical, which originally was written and performed in English, was translated into Hebrew by Ehud Manor, Israel?s pretigious and award-winning songwriter, and a translator with a resume including Caberet, Les Miserables and Hair. One performance remains in the current debut tour in Hebrew - on Saturday in Upper Nazareth. Afterwards, the Murens are expecting a baby (due in May) and then the musical goes on tour - in English - in America and elsewhere.