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Israeli-Palestinian Pop Duo Plays For Peace

The sounds of the pop duo Mira and Noa represent something more than music. Achinoam Nini, known to fans as Noa, is one of Israel's most popular singer-songwriters. Her singing partner is Mira Awad, an Arab-Israeli famous for her work in television and musicals.

The two came together nearly a decade ago to make a statement about common purpose through their music. They recently brought their message to the U.S. and spoke to Tell Me More host Michel Martin.

"We feel that we have some kind of message to convey," Mira says. "If it's not us, then who?"

Last year, the two made a splash on the world stage when they entered the Eurovision song contest (a sort of Europe-wide American Idol). Although they didn't win, their submission "There Must Be Another Way" exposed millions to a different voice in the Arab-Israeli dispute.

"If we can truly empathize with each other's sorrow, if we can cry together, then we can also reach the next level of building and overcoming all our other differences," Noa says.

But that didn't come easy. The project took shape at the height of Arab-Israeli tensions.

"Our whole Eurovision adventure happened right on top of the Gaza war, which was a very difficult time," Noa says. "It actually almost killed the initiative."

Their union was accused of representing a "false image" of Israel.

"We are not representing an image of Israel, as is," Noa says. "We are representing the option of what Israel can be if there is a dialogue, and if there is reaching out."

All in all, Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad say they aim to accomplish one purpose.

"This is the main thing: recognizing each other's pain, each other's history [and] giving the right to each other to have that history and that pain," Awad says.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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