She’s a Christian-Arab-Israeli-Palestinina-Femalesinger-actress-songwriter. It’s “complicated.”
Mira Awaḍ is a Christian-Arab-Israeli-Palestinian singer, actress, and songwriter
She was the first Arab Israeli to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest, singing the first Israeli Eurovision song with Arabic lyrics. When she was selected to represent Israel at Eurovision she became the target of harsh criticism from pro-Palestinian groups; the global movement to boycott Israel, BDS, even issued a petition calling for her to be boycotted.
At the same time, she says “I experience racism in Israeli society in all sorts of ways, especially if they don’t realize that I’m an Arab.” . . . Early on, when they didn’t know yet who Mira Awad was, I would show up to sign a rental contract for an apartment. I looked fine, I spoke fine, but as soon as I would say ‘Mira Awad’ and take out my identity card, then they said ‘Um… um…’ And suddenly there were all kinds of delays.
It isn’t simple today, either [she says]. In Israel, no matter how successful you are – if you’re an Arab, the moment there is security tension, you don’t know if you’ll have work in the foreseeable future. . . .
She also reports that, “Today, the situation of women is amazing compared to when I left home and began to sing. But there are still challenges. It is not just a matter of wage gaps. At all companies, there is contempt for women. Even the most senior female CEO will be less respected than a male CEO in the same role.
[She also says that] in a conservative society like the Arab one, it is even more complex and complicated, because there is patriarchal silencing of women.. .
“An Arab woman can have a fulfilling career, but she is expected to preserve the family honor. She does not have sexual freedom, her body is ‘on loan’ until her parents transfer the kushan [an Ottoman land deed] to the husband. The moment a woman says, ‘No, I’m deciding what to do with my body,’ it’s a problem. ”
It’s “complicated” being a female Christian-Arab-Israeli-Palestinian.
This article has been excerpted from an interview Awad recently gave to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Click here to read it.