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January 16, 1987 - Image 91

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



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LOOK GOOD WITH A SUN TAN ALL YEAR!

Arab Singer A Hit
In Israel's Army

SIMON GRIMIER

Special to The Jewish News

H

er long black hair,
captivating eyes and
exceptional singing ta-
lent attract both the eye and
ear. Yet it is not so much 18-
year-old Haya Samir's beauty
and musical ability that have
won her the hearts of Israelis
as her decision to volUnteer for
the army, even though she is
an Arab and a Moslem.
This year she will undergo
basic training in the Negev
and then join the Entertain-
ment Corps of the Southern
Command as a singer in its
musical troupe. She is eagerly
anticipating the day when she
can don the uniform of the IDF,
though she concedes that she
would not be so enthusiastic if
she were being asked to fight
rather than sing.
The decision to join the army
was a difficult one which she
discussed carefully with her
parents. "We decided it was my
duty to join the army," she
stresses. "Israel has given us so
much. It is my country and I
feel I owe it to do national serv-
ice."
Haya claims her debt is
much greater than that of most
Israeli citizens. Her father is
Youssef Samir, an Egyptian
journalist who received politi-
cal asylum in Israel in 1968
after strongly criticizing the
late Egyptian leader Gamel
Abdul Nasser. Today Youssef
Samir works for the Arabic
Department of Israel Radio
and has written several books
about the Middle East. Haya's
mother is a kindergarten
teacher.
Haya was born in Israel and
is avowedly Israeli. "I cannot
understand why people want to
leave Israel," she says. "I love
the country and the people,
whether they be Jews or Arabs,
and Jerusalem will always be
my home."
Haya's parents have always
lived in Jewish neighborhoods
within Jerusalem and being
the only Arab child at school
has often had its problems.
"Inevitably there has been ra-
cism," she says. "As a small
child I used to get very upset by
the nasty things people said
about Arabs, but there has
never been any animosity
against me personally.
Haya has many Arab friends
and concedes that all of them
have been against her decision
to join the army. But, she stres-
ses, they are broadminded
enough to tolerate the step she
is taking. "I hope to use my
music as a bridge of under-
standing between Jews and
Arabs," she says.
Haya describes herself as a
universalist, believing all the
religions worship the same
God and values. However, this
does not mean that her beliefs
can be bent to suit circum-
stances. "I will marry the man
I love," she asserts, "regardless
of whether he is Jew, Moslem

or Christian. But I will not
convert out of convenience. I
was born a Moslem and that's
the religion that will remain
on my identity card."
She also defends the Islamic
attitude towards women. "I do
not believe that Islam has to
subjugate women," she claims.
"It is up to individuals and
societies to interpret the Koran
in the way that they want. It is
the same as Judaism. Euro-
pean and American Jewish
women are much more liber-
ated than Oriental Jewish
women yet they are no less
Jews. So it is with Islam. Even
in the Arab world we see that
the position of women is far
worse in Saudi Arabia than in
Egypt."
She emphasizes that her own
mother enjoys equality with
her father. This spirit clearly
shines through with Haya,
who at present manages her
own career. Though a member
of the Hora Yerushalayim
choir, Haya is very much an
individualist. At every per-
formance she sings at least one
solo number in Arabic, which
is always a great hit with the
audiences.
After completing her army
service, Haya intends studying
music in London, after which
she hopes to return to Israel to
take up a professional career.
She writes some of her own
songs in 'both Hebrew and
Arabic and is planning to bring
out a solo album in the near
future. She exudes confidence
but not arrogance and is al-
ready in great demand: she is
often asked to meet touring
musical stars like Isaac Stern
and is interviewed regularly
by both the domestic and
foreign media.
Haya, however, possesses a
fiery determination not to be
exploited when it is suggested
to her that she might, as an
Arab in the IDF, be used as a

CALENDAR

COMMUNITY NETWORK
FOR JEWISH SINGLES
(25-45): Brace Lederle
Field, Southfield, co-ed,
drop-in football, 10:30
a.m. Sunday, free.

COMMUNITY NETWORK
FOR JEWISH SINGLES
(25-45):Main Jewish Cen-
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day, beginner; 8 p.m.
Thursday, advanced, ad-
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it. But they must learn to have
more respect for the Palesti-
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555 South Woodward
Birmingham

258-5910

Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354-6060

World Zionist Press Service

Games Network
Aimed At Singles

A singles card and board
games network has been
started by the Community
Network for Jewish Singles.
Aimed at single men and
women age 30-40, the network
allows for members to meet in
each other's homes on a rotat-
ing basis, playing the card and
board games of their choice.
Members are requested to
complete a questionnaire. Ad-
mission is free.
To join, call Babs Sepe, 661-
1000, ext. 347; or Paula Smith,
543-4990.

Tickets Available
For 'Ma Rainey'

Tickets are still available to
see Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Attic
Theater.
The trip is sponsored by the
cultural arts club of the Com-
munity Network for Jewish
Singles (24-45).
There is a fee, and reserva-
tions are due Monday. A car-
pool will meet at 7 p.m. at the
New York Bagel store at 12
Mile and Evergreen.
For information, call Babs
Sepe or Jill Cole, 661-1000, ext.
347.

DJ To Provide
Music For Party

Music by John Ray of
WHND-AM radio will high-
light the Icebreaker party at 9
p.m. Jan. 24 at the main
Jewish Community Center.
The dance is sponsored by
the Community Network for
Jewish Singles. There is a fee
for admission and refresh-
ments.
For information, call Babs
Sepe or Jill Cole at the Center,
661-1000, ext. 347.

Franklin Singles
House Party Set

B'nai B'rith Franklin Sing-
les (30-45) will have a house
party at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in
the home of Heidi Coffman,
26355 Humber, Huntington
Woods, 399-9196.
There will be refreshments
and music. Members will be
admitted free of charge. There
is an admission fee for rnon-
members.

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