Israeli Orchestra well-Received in Persian Gulf and Beyond

An Israeli orchestra made up of Arabs & Jews brings harmony and “good vibes” to the Middle East.

By Yossi Aloni |

The Israeli Embassy in Egypt initiated the broadcast of a concert dedicated to classical Egyptian music. It was called “Cairo Nights”  – performed by the Arab and Jewish orchestra “Firqat Alnoor,” an Israeli orchestra that plays classical Arabic and Oriental music. The unique musical troupe performed a number of the masterpieces by some of the most well-known Egyptian composers and singers. The concert was received with the blessing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who also greeted the listeners from around the Arab world.

The Foreign Ministry stated that the concert was a message of peace and brotherhood to all Arab countries, Arabic speakers, and lovers of classical Arabic music wherever they are. The concert was broadcast on all Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affair’s social media channels which are geared towards reaching the Arab world and boasts millions of followers. “This is the first project of its kind that seeks to express the hope and love for peace and good neighborliness through music,” said Israeli ambassador to Cairo, Amira Oron, who initiated the concert.

Oron added: “We think that through this music and through this wonderful orchestra made up of Jewish and Arab musicians, we will convey the message of coexistence and our cultural partnership as Israelis, together with the residents of this region to which we belong. As the doors are opening and leaders meet, one can believe and hope that the hearts of the different people will also come closer.” The concert was broadcast on Monday, December 21st, at 18:00.

President Rivlin said: “The musicians of the Firqat Alnoor orchestra will be playing in a concert of brotherhood and peace that brings us back to the feeling and understanding that we are part of the mosaic that is around us. Classical Egyptian music is also our music, just as it is our neighbors, and formal peace treaties must be accompanied by music, and rapprochement between peoples.”

Firqat Alnoor is an Israeli orchestra in which Jewish and Arab musicians, religious and secular, work side by side. The orchestra was established more than six years ago with the aim of bringing classical Arab and Oriental music to the forefront of the stage in Israel. It should be noted that the Firqat Alnoor association is the only orchestra in the country that plays music from all over the Middle East – Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, the Gulf and North African Maghreb countries.

On the occasion of the Israeli peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Israeli Firqat Alnoor orchestra and director Ronen Peled Hadad created a video clip as a tribute to the United Arab Emirates – an instrumental performance of the Emirati song, “Ahibach.” The clip, shot on the roof of the towering Azrieli building in Tel Aviv aroused great interest in Arab countries and received hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of comments and shares on social media. It was also shared by numerous Twitter accounts and spread on various WhatsApp groups in the UAE and in Bahrain. The climax of the clip is when the Jewish and Arab musicians release white doves into the sky. The video, with its spectacular views of Tel Aviv, opens with the greeting of “Salaam Alaikum” (‘Greetings’ in Arabic) by President Rivlin and ends with all the members of the orchestra waving Israeli and UAE flags.

Following great interest in the video on social networks in the Persian Gulf countries, new opportunities have opened up for collaborations between the Firqat Alnoor orchestra and cultural bodies in the UAE. One person who did not miss watching the beautiful clip is none other than the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth, who also serves as president of the Zayed University – Noura bint Mohammed. The popular minister shared the clip on her Twitter account where she praised the Israeli orchestra.

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