Israeli pop star invited by member of Dubai royal family to perform in UAE

A member of the royal Dubai family sent the performer a personal invitation over the weekend.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Omer Adam, one of Israel’s most popular singers, will likely be the first Israeli performer to appear in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the announcement of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Abu Dhabi.

The 26-year-old performer, who fuses elements of Middle Eastern (Mizrachi) and Western pop in his music, received a personal invitation to visit the country from Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the Dubai royal family.

According to Omer publicist Ofer Menachem, contacts have also begun regarding a special performance he would put on in the Sunni Gulf state, perhaps even before a formal peace treaty is signed.

“There’s no doubt that this is unusual, but it has real significance and legitimacy specifically at this time,” Menachem told Maariv on Sunday.

Omer’s popularity in the UAE took off in June when, among others, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed a short video in which he thanked the country’s leaders for helping the local Jewish community.

Speaking in Hebrew with Arab subtitles, Omer expressed appreciation of both the UAE president and the leader of Dubai by name, and ended, “Hopefully, with God’s help, we will meet soon in Dubai.”

In a return clip, Sheikh Khalifa had responded, “Dear Omer, Thank you very much for your best wishes. Wish you always the best, and hope to see in the UAE very soon.”

Khalifa, also known as HBK, is a wealthy businessman. He is the chairman of the Arab Investment and Development Authority, which finances infrastructure and energy projects in the Arab world and Africa. According to a Yahoo! Finance article last month on a purchase his holding company had made, “HBK believes that when doing business, you must overcome geographical, religious, and cultural barriers.”

Citizens of the tiny emirate began uploading clips of themselves listening to the Israeli star’s songs.

The Dubai Jewish community consists of some 2,000 members who can practice their religion openly, with two synagogues, kosher food and even a school which about 40 children attend.

Solly Wolf, the community’s president, was recently quoted in Ami Magazine praising the authorities for their assistance and inviting Jews to visit. “There is nothing to fear, everything is safe here,” he said.

Adam was born in the United States to Israeli parents who moved back to the country when he was an infant. His career began when he was 16 years old, and he has released six albums in the last decade.

His song “Two Crazy People” won Best Song of the Year in 2018. He is also famous for having turned down an opportunity to perform at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest because it would have meant working on the Sabbath, which as a traditional Jew he would not do.