One of Israel's top DJs, Srulik Einhorn, will perform as planned at a Hanukka party for the London Jewish community Thursday - but without his planned partner for the performance, DJ Khalil Kamal of Ramallah.
Organized by Israel Connect, a group of young Jewish professionals affiliated with the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the party was originally supposed to feature Einhorn and Kamal together, as have previous peace-themed events in Israel. In October, the two DJs performed, together with Jordanian DJ Morad Kalice, for over 800 people at the Haoman 17 dance club in Jerusalem, despite initial attempts by the Interior Ministry to block Kalice's entry into Israel.
After hearing about the Jerusalem gig on the Internet, Israel Connect invited Einhorn and Kamal perform at the Hanukka party to show Londoners that cooperation and understanding between Jews and Arabs is possible.
Alan Aziz, director of the Zionist Federation and founder of Israel Connect, said, "We heard about the Jerusalem show and thought it was an excellent idea to bring Kamal and Einhorn to London to show how Israelis and Palestinians can come together in the cultural sphere. Supporting initiatives like this is a very positive step and something Jews in the world should embrace."
Kamal pulled out of the event, however, allegedly because an erroneous Ha'aretz report last month linking the party to the World Zionist Organization.
Einhorn will still perform at the northwest London party on Thursday night, showcasing a playlist of music from Israel and the Arab world. The Israeli DJ has played an instrumental role in bringing Arabic music to the Israeli dance scene since he began playing it in local clubs seven years ago.
At first, Einhorn said, Israelis didn't really want to hear the music.
"It's an acquired taste. Sephardim grew up with this kind of music from their parents and grandparents, but Ashkenazim weren't really embracing it. The trend has caught on big time; today, there's probably five DJs playing Arab music in Tel Aviv," he told the Israel 21c Web site.