Noa, Arab singer to represent Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Internationally known Israeli singer Noa and an Israeli-Arab singer will represent Israel at the Eurovision Song contest.

Noa, whose legal name is Achinoam Nini, will appear in the popular festival singing with Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad. The contest will be held this spring in Moscow.

Noa and Awad were chosen after front-runner Marina Maximillian Blumin, who gained fame as the runner-up in "A Star is Born," Israel’s version of American Idol, pulled out because she will not finish her military recruitment before the contest.

The day after the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Eurovision Committee announced its choice, an open letter signed by Israeli-Arab and Palestinian artists and intellectuals urged Awad not to represent Israel in the contest.

"The Israeli government is sending the two of you to Moscow as part of its propaganda machine that is trying to create the appearance of Jewish-Arab ‘coexistence’ under which it carries out the daily massacre of Palestinian civilians," began the letter published on the Ynet Web site.

It said letter that "Israeli artists, authors and intellectuals that take part in this propaganda machine, instead of working for justice, equality and the upholding of human and civil rights — not to mention international law — are also partners to the crime. Please Mira, for the children of Gaza and for the future of every child in this land — Arabs and Jews – don’t be an accomplice to the killing machine."

In a letter e-mailed to supporters, Noa wrote, "I had been offered this position in the past and refused. This year I agreed, with the goal of using this huge media platform (many millions of viewers) as a means to convey a message of peace in these difficult times, together with my friend Mira. We will write and perform the song together, in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. With a message such as this, and artistic freedom, I am proud to represent Israel in the Eurovision."

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