Tunisian singer 'ready to renounce citizenship, perform in Israel'

Tunisian singer 'ready to renounce citizenship, perform in Israel'
2 min read
27 Oct, 2015
Singer Hedi Tounsi has declared his willingness to give up his Tunisian nationality and perform in Israel, causing an outcry in a nation where normalisation with Israel is controversial.
Tunisian singer Hedi Tounsi (2ndR) made his controversial remarks during a radio interview [AFP]

Tunisian singer Hedi Tounsi has caused an uproar in his country, after he said he would be willing to sing on Radio Tel Aviv and suggested he wanted to forfeit his Tunisian citizenship.

Tounsi said he had received offers in the past to perform in Israel but he rejected them at the time.

Now, he continued, he wants to reconsider to secure his "financial future," because as he claimed Israel respects art more than his country does. Tounsi also said he would prefer life in Israel to life in Tunisia.

Tounsi's remarks were met by widespread condemnation.

Tunisians on social media said that his stance constitutes unacceptable and humiliating normalisation with the Zionist state.

Tunisians on social media said that his stance constitutes unacceptable and humiliating normalisation with the Zionist state.

Some called on the authorities to prosecute him for his statements, which come at a time when Palestinians continue to suffer from the brutal Israeli occupation that has lasted since 1948.

Tounsi was also accused of betraying Tunisia and the Palestinian cause.

This is not the first time a Tunisian celebrity has made such controversial statements.

In 2010, Tunisian singer Mohsen Cherif, during a concert sponsored by a Tunisian Jewish family, praised ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

There was a strong backlash at the time, culminating with legal action against him and demands to revoke Cherif's Tunisian citizenship.

Cherif eventually apologised and kept a low profile, and has since disappeared from the Tunisian media and music scene.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition