Israeli-Arab singer cancels Independence Day appearance

LONDON (JTA) — Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad canceled her appearance at a concert in London for Israel Independence Day.

Awad said she cancelled the appearance with Jewish Israeli singer Achinoam Nini in the concert sponsored by the Zionist Federation due to "the complexity of this date for me." Awad represented Israel at the last Eurovision Song Contest with Nini, who is known as Noa. The duo performs internationally to packed audiences, promoting a unique message of peace and co-existence.

The Zionist Federation, which has organized annual Israel Independence Day events in Britain for many years, invited the pair to headline the show and celebrate the diversity of Israel’s population, of whom almost 20 percent are Arabs.

But on Friday the Zionist Federation announced that Awad had to cancel her London concert, and that Noa will perform on her own.

Some reports said Awad canceled after being threatened. Awad lives in Tel Aviv, and her family live in a small Arab village in the north of Israel; both now have round the clock security, according to reports,

Awad’s manager, Ofer Pesenzon, said: "Mira and Noa’s message is about finding a peaceful way forward. It is tragic that when both sides try to come together by any means possible to build a better future for Israel and its citizens, there are those prepared to use violence and intimidation to destroy it."

The Zionist Federation’s Executive Director Alan Aziz said: "Our concert is a celebration of independence but it’s also about building understanding. Mira wanted to be the Arab-Israeli voice promoting a peaceful way forward, and the threats to her life expose the real truth behind the conflict – that everyone is hostage to extremism, and it is a dangerous and growing phenomenon that denies Israel’s right to exist, and the world’s right to democracy."

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