Journalists & Media: Arab, Jewish Duo to Sing about Coexistence in Eurovision Contest on Saturday, May 16

Posted in Best practices | 12-Feb-13

Watch Israel's Eurovision entry: video of "There Must Be Another Way"
Eurovision contest - Israel 2009
Arab rights in Israel
Profiles of coexistence programs and organizations in Israel

Israel's winning entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest spotlights the importance of coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Two Israeli women - Mira Awad, an Arab musician and actress, and Jewish pop singer Noa - will perform a duet singing in Arabic, Hebrew and English "Einaiych - There Must Be Another Way." [1]

The annual competition features participants from 42 member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. Noa and Awad will compete against 24 other countries in the finals on May 16.

Awad and Noa's path to coexistence is illustrated in their opening lyrics, "Your eyes, sister/ Say all that my heart desires/ So far, we've gone/ A long way, a very difficult way, hand in hand." [2] Although the two women are from very different backgrounds, their collaboration at this year's Eurovision contest illustrates the endeavors of many organizations in Israel that promote peace and cooperation through joint projects such as economic development centers, after-school sports and bilingual and bicultural schools.

"Everyone is responsible to put in his or her two cents for peace and coexistence. Our two cents is music," Noa said of the singing duo in an interview with The New York Times. "We have a real friendship. Of course we argue. But the beauty is that we offer an example of what coexistence could look like." [3]

Noa, known in Israel as Ahinoam Nini, is a Tel Aviv native of Yemenite heritage and an internationally renowned singer. She entered the music scene with the release of her first CD in 1991 together with Israeli musician and colleague Gil Dor, who helped compose the lyrics to "There Must Be Another Way." [4]

In addition to performances with a number of well-known artists such as Stevie Wonder and Sting, Noa also has performed with several Arab and Palestinian singers. An outspoken advocate of dialogue, Noa was the first Israeli singer invited to perform in Morocco. [5]

She has performed at many peace-themed concerts and has received numerous international awards for her achievements as an artist and advocate of coexistence. In 1999, she sang in Norway at a celebration marking the six-year anniversary of the Oslo Peace Accords and has twice performed at the invitation of the Vatican. [6] The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization named Noa a Good Will Ambassador in 2003. [7]

Mira Awad is an Arab Christian singer and actress living in Tel Aviv. She is of Arab and Bulgarian heritage, born in the village of Raameh located in Israel's northern Galilee region. Awad has acted in a number of Israeli theater productions and has recorded singles with well-known Israeli musicians such as Idan Raichel. [8] She is currently recording her debut album, co-produced with Israeli guitarist Amos Ever-Hadani. [9] Her roles in the Israeli televised series "Arab Labor" and "Noah's Ark" launched her as a celebrity in Israel. [10]

News of Noa and Awad's nomination for the 2009 Eurovision contest coincided with Israel's defensive Operation Cast Lead against Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza. Awad came under fire for representing Israel in the competition. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel urged her in an open letter, "not to participate on behalf of Israel in this contest." [11]

Noa and Awad first joined together in 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian intifada to address dialogue through their recorded version of the Beatles' song "We Can Work It Out," which was performed in both Arabic and Hebrew. [12]

For the Eurovision contest, each country's public broadcasting authority chooses the song that will represent the country. The songs are performed live on television during Eurovision's semi-final elimination rounds and the night of the finals.

Israeli artists have been participating in the competition since 1973 and have won the contest three times: Itzhar Cohen and The Alphabeta won the 1978 contest with their song, "Abanibi," and Milk and Honey won the following year with its song, "Halleluyah." More recently, Dana International won in 1998 with her song, "Diva." [13]

Profiles of Coexistence Programs and Organizations and in Israel

The Abraham Fund
The Abraham Fund Initiatives works to advance coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens by creating and running the number of initiatives, providing strategic projects and conducting public education and advocacy. The main idea of the organization is to promote its vision of shared citizenship and opportunity for all of Israel's citizens.
Contact: Yaakov Abraham, public relations coordinator, Tel.: 972-2-534-9300 ext. 857 or general contact, (Israel) 972-2-534-9300; (U.S.) 001-212-661-7770;
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Israeli Palestinian Chamber of Commerce
This project was established in 2008 by leading Israeli businesspeople and aims to enhance and strengthen bilateral trade between Israel and the Palestinians. This initiative promotes business opportunities and trade as well as creating strong business networks and mutual economic trust between the two peoples.
Tel.: 972-3-609-9901
E-mail: [email protected]

Jerusalem Foundation
The Jerusalem Foundation seeks to create a fair and honest living environment for all residents of Jerusalem of different backgrounds. The Jerusalem Foundation has developed an agenda around three areas: community empowerment and economic independence; coexistence, cultural life and creativity.
Contact: Nomi Yeshua, Tel.: 972-2- 675-1745 or general contact 972-2-675-1711
Web site:

Mahapach-Taghir is a feminist, Jewish-Arab non-profit organization for social change established in 1999. The vision of Mahapach-Taghir is a just Israeli society with equal socio-economic and educational opportunities for all sectors and a strong democratic civil society.
Contact: Tami Schneider or Kholod Idris, co-directors, Tel.: 972-3-695-2821;
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]
Web site

Neve Shalom - Wahat Al-Salam
A cooperative village of Jews and Arabs with Israeli citizenship, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that is engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two nations.
Contact: Ahmad Hijazi, press relations officer, Tel.: 972-2-991-5621, ext. 109
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Open House Center
Open House Center provides education and social advantages to Arab youth and their families. Open House Center also serves as an environment that fosters partnerships between Jews and Arabs.
Tel.: 08 922 1874
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Peace Child Israel
The Peace Child Israel organization aims to achieve peace through art. The group creates joint Jewish-Arab theatrical productions. Groups of 20-30 teenagers from neighboring Jewish and Arab villages participate in group-workshops. The youth create bi-lingual plays.
Contact: Melisse Lewine-Boskovich, public relations and director
Cell: 972-52-353-7014 or general contact, 972-3-730-0481;
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Peace Players International
The Peace Players International organization initiates interaction and dialogue between Jewish and Arab youth through basketball clubs.
Contact: Karen Doubilet, managing director
Tel.: (U.S.) 001- 856-673-0601; (Israel) 972-7-72-16113
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

The Peres Center for Peace
The center was established to build an infrastructure of peace and reconciliation by and for the people of the Middle East. It promotes socio-economic development, while advancing cooperation and mutual understanding.
Contact: Anbar Yohanam, public relations officer
Tel.: 972-3-568-0641; 972-3-568-0680
Web site:

New Generation Technology (NGT) Technological Incubator in Nazareth
NGT is the first Jewish - Arab high-tech business venture to operate in the Israel .NGT is part of the National Incubator Program that supports and encourages entrepreneurial projects in the fields of technology and biotechnology with guidance and support from the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. As such, it is also the first incubator of its type to be owned by Jewish and Israeli Arabs businessmen. In addition, NGT aims to encourage entrepreneurs from both the Jewish and Arab sectors of the Israeli population.
Tel.: 972-4- 656-4118
Web site:

Nisan Young Women Leaders
Nisan Young Women Leaders is an organization that promotes young women in Israel. Its programs serve to encourage collaboration and communication between Israeli and Arab women and in turn have these women promote change and attain a more vocal voice in all spheres of society.
Tel.: 972-4-866-0664
E-mail: [email protected]

Parents Circle -Family Forum
The forum promotes peace and prevents violence caused by the pain of losing a family member, among hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian families that have lost immediate relatives to the violence in Israel.
Contact: Robi Demelein; Cell: 972- 54-696-9439; Tel.: 972-3-535-5089
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Radio All for Peace
Radio All for Peace is an Israeli -Palestinian radio station that seeks to inform listeners of the different perspectives, demonstrate the similarities and differences, offer hope to listeners, and eliminate stereotypes.
Web site:

Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel
The goal of Sikkuy is to provide civic equality to both Jews and Arabs in Israel.
Tel.: 972-2-654-1225
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Seeds of Peace
Seeds of Peace's mission is to educate the next generation in understanding and friendship between Israelis and Arabs. Their programs include International Camp, a camp where Jews and Arabs live together, participate in activities together, and discuss their differences.
Tel.: 00-1-212-573-8040
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

School for Peace
School for Peace supports understanding between Arabs and Israelis. It has programs for children, young adults, and professionals. School for Peace also gives university lectures at Tel -Aviv University and Hebrew University.
Contact: Wafaa Zriek-Srour, director
Web site:

Soccer for Peace
Established by an Israeli-American, the program is designed to establish peaceful bond among Arab and Jewish youth on the soccer field.
Contact: Ori Winitzer, director, Tel.: 00-1-917-673-0021
Web site,

Sadaka-Reut is an organization that enables Jews and Arabs to meet, share ideas, and create friendships. Sadaka- Reut accomplishes this through programs of Peace Workshops, where Jews and Arabs spend weekends together and learn about key issues such as the peace process.
Tel: 972-3-518-2336
Web site:

Windows for Peace
Established in 1991, Windows promotes acquaintance, and understanding between both peoples, as well as empowerment of the youth with whom we work through educational and cultural programs, media and art. Windows was established based on the conviction that educating the next generation, our children, plays a vital role in working for a just and lasting peace.
Contact: Rutie Atsmon, director
Tel: 972-3-620-8324
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:



[1] "Noa & Mira Awad to represent Israel," Eurovision Song Contest, Jan. 11, 2009,

[2] "Israel 2009," Eurovision Song Contest, Accessed April 12, 2009

[3] Bronner, Ethan, "Musical Show of Unity Upsets Many in Israel," The New York Times, Feb. 24, 2009,

[4] "About Noa," Web site of Noa, Accessed April 5, 2009

[5] "Biography: Concert Highlights," Web site of Noa, Accessed April 12, 2009

[6] "Biography: Concert Highlights," Web site of Noa, Accessed April 12, 2009

[7] "Noa & Mira Awad to represent Israel," Eurovision Song Contest, Jan. 11, 2009,; "Meet the Goodwill Ambassadors," The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Accessed April 5, 2009

[8] "Mira Awad," Syntorama, Accessed April 12, 2009

[9] Sukenik, Tamar, "Jumping into cold water," Haaretz, Jan. 4, 2008,

[10] Sukenik, Tamar, "Jumping into cold water," Haaretz, Jan. 4, 2008,

[11] "An open letter to Mira Awad: Do not help Israel whitewash its atrocities in the Gaza Strip!" The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), March 8, 2009,

[12] Bronner, Ethan, "Musical Show of Unity Upsets Many in Israel," The New York Times, Feb. 24, 2009,

[13] "Israel: Participants list," Eurovision Song Contest, Accessed April 12, 2009

· A Joint Educational Future for Arabs and Jews in Israel

A forum of academics and educators, Jews and Arabs, interacting over the course of two years to develop the Arab education system, develop recommendations and to implement them in practice. (Abraham Fund initiative)

· Bicycling: Forming A Jewish-Arab Team

A Jewish-Arab is a volunteer bicycling team in collaboration with Samson Bikers Cycling Club and The Judean Hills Jewish-Arab Coexistence Association that brings together Jewish and Arab residents in the area of the Mate Yehuda Regional Council outside of Jerusalem. (Abraham Fund initiative)

· The Central District Jewish-Arab Principals Forum for Education for Coexistence

A leadership forum of more than 80 Jewish and Arab school principals for coexistence educational enrichment, strategy planning and monitoring of their coordinated and separate coexistence educational programs. (Abraham Fund initiative)

· The Coexistence Network in Israel

The goal of the Coexistence Network is to unite coexistence professionals and organizations across Israel, between Arabs and Jews in Israel, as well as the immediate necessity to create an equal, pluralistic, just and fair society for all of the country's citizens, both Jews and Arabs. Web site: (Abraham Fund initiative)

Arava Institute
The Arava Institute is an organization that instructs Israelis and Arabs how to face together the environmental difficulties of the region. While studying, the students also "learn peace-building and leadership skills."
Tel. 972-8-635-6618
Web site:
E-mail: [email protected]

CJAED - The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development
The Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development is a non-profit organization, established in 1988 by a group of Jewish and Arab business people. The guiding principle of the Center and its activities is that Jewish-Arab economic cooperation in Israel is essential for peace, prosperity and economic stability in Israel.
Contact: Ron Aron, public relations officer
Tel.: 972-54-668-7002; 972-9-971-9900
Web site:

The Citizens Accord Forum
The Citizens Accord Forum orientated to advance the position of Israeli Arabs in Israeli society through "advocacy, education, local and community development, media, and networking.
Tel: 972-2-673-1118
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

The Galilee Society
The Galilee Society - The Arab National Society for Health, Research and Services - strives to achieve equitable health, environmental and socio-economic conditions for Palestinian Arabs in Israel.
Contact: 972-4-986-1171
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Hand in Hand Schools
Hand in Hand Schools is a program which has founded bi-lingual schools in Jerusalem and the Galilee region for which there is a Jewish and Arab principal for each school. The idea is to build understanding, friendship and peace trough educational methods. According to the project, there is one Jewish and one Arab teacher jointly leading each class. Classes are composed evenly of Jewish and Arab students, who learn each other's language and culture.
Contact: 972-2-673-5356
Web site

Hapoel Jerusalem Youth Program
Hapoel Jerusalem Youth Program believes understanding can be reached through sports. Hapoel Jerusalem Youth Program has a three-stage strategy: This program provides training for Arab coaches and joins them with teams from Jewish Public Schools in training and classes.

IPCRI - Israel Palestine Center For Research And Information
The Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) is a joint institution of Israelis and Palestinians dedicated to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the two-states for two peoples" solution. IPCRI therefore advocates for the rights of the Jewish and the Palestinian people to fulfill their national interests within the framework of achieving national self-determination within two separate states and by establishing peaceful relations between them.
Contact: Dr. Gershon Baskin, CEO, [email protected]
Ms. Hanna Siniora, CEO, [email protected]
Tel.: 972-2-676-9460
Web site:

Israeli Ministry of Education for Democracy and Coexistence
The department concentrates on education for tolerance and accepting differences, education for life in a multicultural society with an emphasis on promoting the relationship between Israel's Arab and Jewish citizens, and education towards peace.
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: