Mira Awad: I won't perform on Israel Independence Day

By Jessica Elgot, April 12, 2010
Mira Awad was due to perform with her Eurovision partner Achinoam Nini at the ZF event

Mira Awad was due to perform with her Eurovision partner Achinoam Nini at the ZF event

Arab-Israeli singer Mira Awad, who pulled out of a performance at the Zionist Federation’s Israel Independence Day concert, has insisted death threats were not behind her decision to cancel.

In a message on her Facebook page, the singer, who jointly represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest, maintained she had pulled out after she realised the significance of the date of the performance.

Ms Awad was due to perform with her Eurovision partner Achinoam Nini, known as Noa, with whom she sings to sell-out audiences internationally, promoting a message of peace and co-existence.

The ZF which has organised Independence Day events in Britain for many years, invited the singers to headline the show on April 19.

But Ms Awad’s manager, Ofer Pesenzon, has denied that it was the singer’s decision to cancel, claiming that she had received death threats from Arabs and right-wing Jews in Israel.

Ms Awad wrote on her Facebook page: “I think it’s time to tell the whole story about this much-discussed concert: While I was busy with Dancing with the Stars, my manager Ofer Pesenzon was approached with a request for a concert of Noa in London, with me as a special guest.

“Ofer agreed, thinking it would be a good opportunity for me to expose my music, and more importantly, spread the more-than-ever relevant message that Noa and I try to convey. Later on, the date of the show was set for Israel’s Independence Day.

“The minute I heard about this concert, I asked Ofer to cancel my participation, out of consideration for the complexity of this date for me.

“Ofer understood my emotions for the subject, and admitted he had done wrong in scheduling the show without thinking of the repercussions, and immediately started working on cancelling my participation out of respect for my request. It took time and lots of explanations, but he managed to do it.

Mr Pesenzon later told The Independent newspaper: "Mira is in an impossible position. I've received phone calls from Jews saying there's no way an Arab should be performing for Israel's Independence Day, and Arabs have called saying the same."

Mira, whose image has been removed from the ZF posters, will stay in Israel while Noa performs alone. Instead, the X-Factor finalist Stacey Solomon has been added to the show.

Last updated: 4:48pm, October 14 2010