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Israeli singers form bridge to Arab countries

Israeli Middle Eastern music is popular in various parts of the Arab world, where it forms a bridge through a common musical heritage.
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Israeli journalists attending the Regional Economic Conference in Bahrain in June were surprised to find local music stores selling CDs by Israeli artists such as Eyal Golan, Sarit Hadad and Moshe Peretz. What these performers all have in common is that their music, which is often noted for its vocal trills, is described in Israel as Middle Eastern or Mediterranean. The singers are often accompanied by local instruments like the oud, a short-necked, lute-like string instrument, and the darbuka, a goblet-shaped hand drum.

Israeli Middle Eastern music has long been popular in Arab countries, including the Palestinian territories, finding an audience in the latter part of the previous century. The singer Zehava Ben performed in 1996 in Jericho. Once considered the most popular Israeli singer in the Arab world, Ben has performed in many of the Arab states as well. In 2008, she entertained the idea of concerts in Lebanon and Gaza, but the Israeli security services stopped her from doing so. The pop singer Sarit Hadad performed in Jordan in 1997 under the name Sirit Hadad Mutra Beit Al Carmel, and while there, she even recorded an album of songs in Arabic. 

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