Iranian-Israeli Superstar Rita Blows Kiss to Obama at Israel State Dinner

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Barack Obama, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu raised their glasses and shared a few laughs at the official state dinner in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013. As part of the festivities, Rita, an Israeli-American pop singer performed for the heads of state, even blowing a kiss to Obama.

Singer Rita blows a kiss at US President Barack Obama after performing during the official state dinner for Obama hosted by Israel's President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Singer Rita  perfored during the official state dinner for Obama in Jerusalem, March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Rita Hayan-Feruz Kleinstein was born in Iran, and moved to Israel when she was eight years old. Since then, she has been a successful actress and singer, receiving accolades for her work since the eighties. As of late, she has become a cultural ambassador, especially with her new album “My Joys,” which is a mix of Iranian and Israeli standards.

Earlier this month, on March 5, she performed to a packed house at the United Nations General Assembly, where Ban Ki Moon, as well as Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, encouraged the crowd to unite through the universal language of music.

Complete with a smoke machine and lights, Rita and the nine other members of her band played to the mostly Iranian and Israeli crowd for a little over an hour, inspiring some to dance down the halls of the General Assembly. Her hype-man played the accordion and jumped up and down on the same spot where Netanyahu pulled out his now infamous bomb graphic just several months before.

“I’m celebrating being both Iranian and Israeli,” Rita told the crowd. She continuously preached love and unity as she recalled her Iranian upbringing in Israel. She most definitely exuded a sincere sweetness and hope. Continue reading

From Tel Aviv to Tehran, Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita is a big hit

The Wall Street Journal has a fantastic profile of Rita Jahanforuz, an Iranian-born Israeli singing sensation whose latest Persian-language album, “All My Joys,” is a big hit from Tel Aviv to Tehran:

Rita Jahanforuz, 50 years old, is Israel’s most famous female singer—and suddenly she’s big in Iran. Iranian-born and fluent in Persian, Rita, as she is universally known, moved to Israel as a child and has lived there ever since.[…]

Now, from nightclubs in Tel Aviv to secret underground parties in Tehran, Israelis and Iranians alike go wild when the DJ plays her hit “Beegharar,” or “Restless.” […]

Rita, however, with her striking beauty and bubbly demeanor, has emerged as an unexpected bond between ordinary Iranians and Israelis—part cultural ambassador, part antiwar spokeswoman. A picture of Rita with the banner, “Iranians we will never bomb your country,” is posted on her Facebook page.

The piece ends with this scene from Tehran:

In Tehran, guests at a recent engagement party jumped to their feet shimmying their hips and shoulders when Rita’s voice echoed from the speakers, mixing the rhythms of an old and uniquely southern Iranian song to techno dance beats. Even middle-age couples joined in.

 

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