Eurovision: Israel's Jewish-Arab duo finishes 16th

Jewish-Arab duo hoped to raise awareness of Israelis, Palestinians looking for two-state solution.

Achinoam Nini Mira Awad 88 248 (photo credit: Ronen Ackerman)
Achinoam Nini Mira Awad 88 248
(photo credit: Ronen Ackerman)
Israel finished 16th out of 25 competitors in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest held at the Olimpsky Concert Hall in Moscow on Saturday night. Singers Achinoam Nini, known abroad as Noa - a well-known peace activist - and Israeli Arab Mira Awad represented the country with "There Must Be Another Way," an appeal for peace and harmony sung in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The pair of singers hoped to raise awareness of Israelis and Palestinians looking for a two-state solution at the musical bonanza, which is one of the most watched annual television events on the continent. Prior to the contest, Nini and Awad said that they didn't care if they were placed last, so long as they got their message across, and the former told Army Radio on Sunday morning that "we should be proud of our achievement." "Although, in my opinion, the expectations were a little too high, we saw who we were up against, and although it could have been better, we are very satisfied, and we feel we really did something," she said. Nini said that the support and media backing for the duo were tremendous, and that some of the support even came from former Beatle Paul McCartney. "When I returned to the hotel after the competition, I saw that CNN had done a big story on us and that even Paul McCartney had sent a letter to us via the organization for advancing peace between us [Israelis] and the Palestinians. I was really moved," she said. In the interview with Army Radio, Nini preferred not to dwell on her political agenda, saying, "Since we all know about it, why talk about it at all?" Although Nini said she was "very disappointed" by the solitary point given to Israel by Spain, where she frequently performs, the singer stressed that she was pleased to have taken part in the event. "Music is not sport, and it can't be," she said, adding, "Eurovision instead of wars? I'm all for that." The winner of the Eurovision contest was a boyish, fiddle-wielding Norwegian singer. European telephone voters decided the Belarusian-born Alexander Rybak, 23, gave the top performance with his bouncy ditty, "Fairytale." Rybak took the victory by a historic landslide, recording the highest score in Eurovision history. Norway last won the competition in 1995 and as winner will host the show next year. Marie Laure Briane contributed to this report