‘My friend far away’: UAE, Israel singers unite for song in first music collaboration

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Famous singers from Israel and the UAE have united in a new song and music video, on track to surpass over one million views in the first week of release.

The duet is the first ever musical collaboration between musicians from the two countries following a landmark UAE-Israel peace deal announced August 13.

The song - titled “Welcome” – has lyrics in Arabic, Hebrew, and English and talks about peace between two friends in Israel and the UAE.

The music video, shot both in the UAE’s Dubai and Israel’s Tel Aviv, has amassed over 800,000 views on YouTube since it was made public four days ago.

Emirati singer Waleed Aljasim told Al Arabiya English he was happy to work with Israeli singer Elkana Marziano, who came to fame after winning season three of singing competition “The Voice” in Israel.

The project was first suggested in an email from an Israeli music professional to Cabana Art Production company in the UAE, with which Aljasim is affiliated.

“I thought it was a good idea, especially following the peace deal. I was happy to do it,” Aljasim said in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

The two musicians, who did not know each other before the collaboration, taped their recordings and music video scenes separately in Dubai and Tel Aviv.

The Dubai-based musician said that despite coronavirus restrictions, the collaboration process between the musicians of different nations was easy due to internet and technology.

Message of peace

Since its release, Aljasim has received an influx of encouraging messages on social media.

“The people are so happy about this song and they are looking forward to another one like this,” Aljasim said, adding that there are no definite plans at the moment to record another song with Marziano, but that he would be more than happy to do so.

People all over the world have praised the music video on YouTube.

“Love United Emirates. Love Peace,” wrote user Eden Zeqvi from Israel.

“Magnificent! For a world of peace and without war,” wrote user Elena Enpasaai from Italy.

“This is very pleasant, Arabs and Hebrews singing and enjoying peace, peace and cooperation is the only way forward,” wrote user Shaher Basem from Egypt.

Al Jasim told Al Arabiya English that as an Emirati citizen he believes he is an “ambassador” for his country – which is a nation “dedicated to peace.”

“I am trying to give a message to the world that the United Arab Emirates is a country of peace. I hope I delivered that message with this song,” he said.

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