Quietly, humbly and without PR, Matti Caspi has traveled each day during the “Tzuck Eitan” operation to the southern communities and those surrounding Gaza, and did what he does best in order to sooth the stress of the residents, the soldiers, the wounded and their families.
Along with his wife Raquel and his daughter Suyan, they went to perform in bunkers, military bases and hospitals - all by themselves and without the help of stage technicians or a personal driver, and without publicity, all out of the good will of their hearts.
Each morning they mounted a piano, a guitar, and some equipment, and headed south. With the help of Yermi Reich and Oren Cohen from “The South Radio”, they arranged many shows for kids, adults, and soldiers in Beer Sheva, Shderot, Tzeelim, Karmia, Nir Itzhak, Gvulot, Magen, Kerem Shalom, Maslul, Nir Am, Zikim, Guaya, Hatzerim, Mefalsim, Beery, Nir Oz, Kfar Aza, Holith, Gevim, Yad Mordechai, Urim, Nahal Oz, Erez, and more. With determination, courage, and bravery, they even performed where other artists refused to perform, asserting that if the soldiers aren’t afraid of defending them, they won’t be afraid to perform for them. And thus Caspi performed intensively two - three times a day, every day, in spite of his age, while taking care of the technical aspect as well, the sound system and the carrying of all the equipment. All fueled by his strong will to give and do good for the people in distress.
Captain Yair Nagid, information officer oft he southern county:
"“If there was an award for the security of Israeli morale, Matti Caspi should win it”. All the residents in the communities surrounding Gaza, in the bunkers, the towns and counties, and in the military bases thank you for your musical genius and for the endless joy of listening to your immortal songs! Well done!!! Your contribution to the southern residences in general and to music in particular is just huge!!! The public doesn’t know yet how much you all contributed, but it’s safe to say the southern residences and the soldiers you embraced know for sure! Take a good long breath and return to our big love for you”!
“When we started our journey to the south, we thought we would contribute our part visiting one hospital and performing a couple of times for kids. In time something changed in us and as the days passed during this war we forgot who we were and what we were doing there. We stopped asking why it is important to go or how many times will we go, how we’ll fix problems and will we have enough strength, and how dangerous and scary it is to be on the road in the Gaza surrounding area at night. Everything stayed behind. Exhaustion wasn’t there and the obstacles disappeared. Home, childhood, dreams, chores, and problems - it was all gone. We’ve forgotten the days of the week and felt that something was happening to us. We became emissaries of a power station, which no matter what, will always provide energy and electricity for the residents. A power station that will never leave them in the dark. The goal was to sing, awake and cheer up. To give strength and support for the momentary fun. Gradually it became a moral obligation. Every soldier, every face and every story became personal. We didn’t conceive how these kids who were brought up to principals of morality, of love and respect towards their families, the environment and life, were all suddenly wiped out of the board. It’s as if they were sketched with chalk and then the bell rang and a new class has begun… we tried to imagine what they were thinking about. We tried to read the faces of each and every one on the news and guess what goals they had in life and what dreams, plans, personal achievements they had, and how they left an empty space behind them. How one day they woke up and stayed silent forever. A massive injustice. Their fate was sealed as if in a trial without a right for protection. More than once we’ve returned home exhausted but the body and soul wanted more. The virtual adrenaline shot has kept us awake, focused and determined to go on. We’ve driven the road surrounding Gaza at night apathetic to fear and indifferent to danger. At day we felt stronger thanks to the presence of the IDF, and at night we knew they were there even though we couldn’t see them and that made fear go away. We went into the most dangerous areas in the most critical hours and we left safely. Matti has wrapped the communities surrounding Gaza with his songs and touched all his listeners and their hearts. Someone has really watched over us there from above”.
Before the show in the Tzeelim Kibbutz Caspi received a letter from a reservist, and in it a request to dedicate a song to his friend who fell in the Gaza strip. Matti Caspi sang and dedicated the song: “A Place for Care” to Bar Rahav (R.I.P) from the engineering corps, who fell during the “Tzuck Eitan” operation.
Some of the thank you and appreciation letters the Caspis have received (click to enlarge).
Raquel Caspi, August 1st 2014:
“This morning I received this thank you letter from the Mefalsim Kibbutz. And I ask myself: what could be more touching? Mako? Ynet? Channel 2? Unlike others who pay even 100,000 NIS a year for PR, at his advanced age Matti never looked at the distance or the amount of shows, and with his pleasant voice he was able to disconnect them from reality for a little while. He made fun and entertained and wasn’t rushing home at any time. He has hugged, caressed and loved, not only during ‘Someone’ but also during ‘Little Dog’. With the beginning of the sentence: ‘At the edge of the sky…’ all eyes were sparkling, and all of a sudden a soldier from the side left with tears in his eyes… And it’s hard not to cry when you understand the power these songs have during the war. Scared and exhausted people are clinging to everyday routine. And the hearts of the rest of the citizens of Israel are with them. But ‘things you see from here you don’t see from there”.
“I’ve been sitting in front of the TV for two days until I felt like an animal in a cage. I had to do something. It felt like the right thing to perform in front of soldiers and citizens inside bunkers. I felt important to make them forget everything for a moment. They needed that. On the one hand I feel extremely satisfied having made people forget all the stress for a moment, but on the other hand I feel uncomfortable and my conscience bothers me when I leave them and return to my safe home while they have to stay there where it’s dangerous. That’s why every time I come home I can’t wait till the next time I go there. I will keep on performing for them until all this is over”. [Matti Caspi]