Arab and Israeli Musical Similarities

You may be surprised to learn that music can be a unifying factor for Arabs and Israelis. After all, both have common ethnic, cultural and linguistic origins.

400px-musical_notes.svgHow well do you really know the Middle East and what the average Arab and Israeli thinks of each other?

One of the first images to pop in people’s minds when thinking of the Middle East in general and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, is eternal war and conflict between Arabs and Jews.

While conflict does indeed exist, what is something non-political and non-religious which has the potential to bring people together – even if few in number? The answer: Music.

You may be surprised to learn how much Arabs and Israelis appreciate each other’s music. Then again, it is really not that shocking considering both groups have common ethnic, cultural and linguistic origins.

The Jerusalem Post reports that an Israeli singer named Zion Golan is very popular in Yemen, a country which does not have diplomatic ties with Israel but where his songs are pirated and downloaded from the Internet. Other popular Israeli singers listened to in Yemen include the late Zohar Argov and Ofra Haza.

In a recent video, the Canadian-born Corey Gil Shuster asks Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if they listen to Israeli music. Watch this clip to see the results.

Corey also interviews Israelis to learn about their perception of Arab culture, and many share an interest in Arabic music. See the responses here.

Do you think music and other cultural factors should be emphasized more to help bridge cultural gaps not only between Arabs and Israelis, but other groups in territorial disputes? Share your views and opinions in the comments section below and by following us on Google+Facebook, Twitter.

Michael Sharnoff is founder and editor of Sharnoff’s Global Views. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter. Read other articles by Michael.

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