Music: Idan of Arabia
Idan Raichel, one of the most successful modern Israeli musicians, recently starred on the Arabic television network al-Jazeera.
?It was very exciting and surprising to have been given the opportunity to reveal a side of Israel other than the conflict, to the Arab public,? said Raichel following a one-hour long interview broadcast from the Persian Gulf?s Qatari capital of Doha.
The interviewer, Riz Khan, the main news broadcaster on al-Jazeera English, chose Raichel as an Israeli representative. This is the first time that al-Jazeera devoted a full program to an Israel singer.
Khan praised Raichel and presented him as one of Israel?s most successful artists, ?Triumphant in unifying cultures in a region of dispute.?
?Raichel utilizes Israel?s different ethnicities in order to promote tolerance and understanding. He blends sounds from an array of cultures and creates unique musical fusion,? said Khan.
?In a country with such an ethnic mix and cross-cultural tensions, the eclectic and innovative sounds that Raichel creates, are a breath of fresh air. His music is influenced by Ethiopian, Yemenite and Zulu music,? he said.
The interviewer asked Raichel questions about politics and about the conflict in the Middle East as well.
Raichel responded diplomatically, ?I think that Israel is multifaceted. You can?t just discuss the conflict. Overall Israel is an interesting and beautiful country. We have problems like any other country does. But just like Afghanistan is not just bin Laden and Pakistan is not only the conflict in Kashmir, Israel is not just conflict, it has various sides to it.?
Raichel said on Thursday that he was very surprised when al-Jazeera contacted him and asked for an interview.
?The request arrived at a time when our project was on a US tour. I was very excited. Riz Khan conducted some very impressive intelligence work and prepared his homework well.
?The interview was not easy but I?m happy that I received an opportunity to present Israel?s other sides, beyond the conflict.?