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  • Writer's pictureHesh Meister

Lyric of the Week: THERE’S A WAR GOIN’ ON

It was the end of May 1982

I was finishing high school not much left to do

One Saturday morning our man in London was shot in the head

Declared Uncle Manny: The PLO Is Dead.

There’s a war goin’ on

There’s a war goin’ on

There’s a war goin’ on

Up in Southern Lebanon

The peaceniks said Hey man I ain’t goin’ up there

I’m stayin’ right here I ain’t goin’ nowhere

But Raful said That isn’t really nice

So get your ass moving don’t you give me any shice

We wiped out the Beaufort and the arms bunkers too

We chased them to Beirut and then the PLO state was through

We were sure we won but then the whole thing took a dive

They told us No More Katyushas But Yasser Gets Out Alive

The Christians said We’ll get those PLO gorillas

So they busted in to Sabra and Shatilla

Peaceniks said to Arik You didn’t call a halt

So when Arabs kill Arabs it’s really our fault

They threw out Arik and Uncle Manny quit

We gave up hope it’s all over that’s it

Two years went by as the stalemate came rolling in

First came the Shiites now the PLO is moving back in

The whole campaign left us brokenhearted

And now up north we’re worse off than when we started

It’s 1986 the opposition got our men

Now we’re all back home in Israel but every now and then

There’s a war goin’ on

There’s a war goin’ on

There’s a war goin’ on

Up in Southern Lebanon

©2022 The Hesh Inc.

IDF troops march into Lebanon, 1982
Photo by Michael Zarfati / IDF Spokesperson's Unit, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This is my telling of the events of the first Israeli war in Lebanon, which began in June 1982. I was all of 16 years old when the war started, not yet in the army, with perhaps an excessively naïve and idealistic view of things. I wrote it several years later, once I had begun my army service, but when I showed it to some of my fellow soldiers who had 'seen the elephant,' they were not amused—neither by my spin on the events nor by my lighthearted attempt to frame it in a reworked version of the Blues Brothers' cover of "Riot in Cell Block #9." Looking back now, a little wiser and more aware of things, I do see why this did not meet with their approval, and it doesn't quite meet with mine anymore. For the record, I did not spend any of my service in the Lebanese quagmire. I finished my basic training just as the bulk of IDF forces were pulled back to the 'security zone,' and with the exception of an unsuccessful search-and-rescue mission, I was never deployed north of the border. The same cannot be said for many of my friends.

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