Successful Arab-Israeli actor says he does not identify with the State of Israel.
By Adina Katz, World Israel News
A prominent Arab-Israeli actor who rose to fame on Israeli television programs, including the international hit Fauda and the critically acclaimed Arab Work, said he does not consider himself an Israeli entertainer and identifies as a Palestinian during an interview with Channel 12 News on Wednesday.
Salim Daw, 71, has made a name for himself in Israel’s film industry, beginning with theater roles and then gradually recurring spots on mainstream Israeli sitcoms.
He’s slated to play the father of Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Al-Fayed in an upcoming season of the British royal family drama The Crown, marking his biggest role to date.
But despite studying acting at the storied Beit Zvi Hebrew-language acting school and earning his stripes in Israeli productions, Daw said he does not identify with the State of Israel.
Daw told Channel 12 that although he had a leading role in the HBO series Oslo, he was excluded from promotions of the movie within Israel.
“Screenings of the film [for critics] did not mention me at all,” he said. But then, when [news] about [my role] in The Crown came out, suddenly I was an Israeli actor, an Israeli success story.
“I said, ‘Let’s calm down, guys.’ You made me disappear recently. I’m not an Israeli success, I’m not an Israeli actor. I’m a Palestinian, I’m a Palestinian actor.’”
Notably, Daw had a major role in the movie Let There Be Morning, which featured a predominantly Arab-Israeli cast but was directed and produced by Jewish Israelis.
Although they have Israeli citizenship and the production occurred in Israel, many of the actors in the film objected to the movie being categorized as Israeli at the Cannes Film Festival.
Daw participated in a boycott along with his Arab-Israeli castmates, refusing to attend the opening screening of the film at Cannes shortly after the May 2021 Israel-Gaza clash Operation Guardian of the Walls.
In a statement, the cast said they were skipping the event in protest of Israel’s alleged apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and colonial oppression of Palestinians,
Daw demurred when asked by Channel 12 if he agreed with that sentiment.
“They’re not ethnically cleansing me, but I belong to the [Palestinian] people. I cannot leave the house and say: I do not care, I do not hear, I do not see. I see, my heart aches for what is happening.”
He added thateven though he is a “part of Israeli cinema,” he feels like he is “unwanted” and doesn’t “belong to this country.”
“I do not belong to either side,” he said. “That is my bitter truth.”