Mira Awad: Israel's Palestinian singing star caught between worldsFor a high-profile singer and actress with a three-album deal and a leading role in a forthcoming Israeli film, Mira Awad is unusually preoccupied with questions of identity.
Tonight she will receive a human rights award from the New Israel Fund at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London, along with the Israeli-Jewish singing star, Noa. But not everybody will be celebrating back home.
As a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Awad is a member of a minority within the Jewish state that, while nominally equal, faces discrimination and challenges from both sides about loyalty and identity. The very reason for the award – her decision to represent Israel with Noa in the 2009 Eurovision Song contest – provoked a storm of controversy.
"Each side wants me to align myself with them," she says in her small Tel Aviv flat. "Israelis would like me to show alliance with the Israeli state, to prove my loyalty. On the other side, I have to prove my loyalty to the Palestinians who ask if I have forgotten my father was kicked out of his village in 1948.
"I'm tired of being cornered all the time, of having to explain myself. Most of the time I'm making both sides unhappy because I don't do what they want. But I don't live in a black-and-white world. This place is very complicated." ...READ MORE