Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The Israeli public has voted for a Jewish-Arab duo to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest in May.

Achinoam Nini, a Jewish singer better known outside Israel as "Noa," and Mira Awad, a Christian Arab Israeli, will perform a peace song. They received the most votes in text messages from the Israeli public after a contest was held on Israel's state-owned Channel One television.

The song has lyrics in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Awad has been criticized by some Palestinians, both for singing with a Jew and for being a woman. Fundamentalist Islamists have banned singing by women.

The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition in which countries across Europe and beyond participate and is one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world. This year's Eurovision will be held in Moscow.

Awad, 33, who was born in the Galilee and now lives in Tel Aviv, appeared to enthusiastic reviews in a popular Israeli television sitcom last year. She will be the first Arab to represent Israel at Eurovision. Arab Israelis have previously represented Israel at Miss World and other competitions.