Israel Wins Place in Eurovision Finals With Jewish-Arab Duet

Jewish-Arab team of Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad will perform at the finals Saturday night in Moscow.

Singers Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad, who are representing Israel in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, are on their way to the competition's finals, scheduled to take place Saturday night in Moscow.

The duo performed the song "There Must be Another Way" in English, Hebrew and Arabic on Tuesday night, when they competed against 17 other artists.

The choice of a Jewish-Arab team to represent Israel at the competition had sparked criticism and debate with a gravity that couldn't be further from the Eurovision competition itself, a festival of flamboyant pop and unapologetic kitsch which draws some 100 million TV viewers every year.

Nini, a regular on the world music scene known internationally as Noa, and Awad, a local actress and singer, were selected by Israel's national broadcasting authority. Their selection came a day after Israel launched its Gaza offensive in December to halt rocket fire by Hamas militants.

Awad, who is the first Arab ever to represent Israel at the competition, was criticized for agreeing to go and became the subject of a petition organized by Israeli Arab artists who said sending her and Nini, a veteran peace activist, was a deliberate attempt to portray Israel as something it is not.

Aside from Israel, other countries that have made it into the finals include Turkey, Sweden, Portugal, Malta, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Armenia and Iceland.