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

Ambassador Rita: Iranian-Israeli superstar dazzles diplomatic crowd


Iranian-born Israeli singing superstar Rita Jahanforuz, on a US tour to promote her Persian language hit album, ‘My Joys,’ charmed guests at a performance at the Washington residence of Israeli Ambassador Michael and Sally Oren Monday night.

Several in the largely Iranian American audience had flown in from Los Angeles to see the Israeli Madonna, known universally just as Rita, sing the Persian hits of their youths. The crowd in the packed living room at times could hardly contain themselves from joining in, as Rita sang in Farsi and Hebrew, recalled her mother’s Persian lullabies, and cracked a couple political jokes. (“The last president I sang for went to prison,” she quipped in one such exchange, apparently referring to former Israeli president Moshe Katsav, who was also born in Iran.) Amb. Oren, who addressed Rita “as one ambassador to another,” joined the band for a final number, playing the Irish drums.

Talking about a message she had received from a fan in Iran, where Rita’s albums are reportedly an underground sensation played at weddings, Rita spoke of her hope that one day Iranians and Israelis can again be friends.

“‘Rita khoshgelee (beautiful), I so want to come see your concert, even if I would receive 3 years in jail and 20 lashes,'” she cited the message, adding, “So every concert, I keep a chair open, so that Israel and Iran can one day be open to each other.”

And then she and her band took the crowd into another joyful, Persian-Klezmir-gypsy-Polish wedding frenzy.

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