While many of their peers are wiling away their hours playing video games and chatting on MySpace, Eli Ezra and his band are holed up in a recording studio in Kiryat Nordo in Netanya, Israel. There, amid the sound-mixing boards and microphones, they sing about racism, poverty and violence, for what they hope will become their first album.

Ezra, 18, is the lead singer of Café Shachor Hazak, a teenage hip-hop band that has been turning heads in Israel. Since forming in 2006, the group has toured around the country and appeared on “A Star Is Born,” Israel’s version of “American Idol.”

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