Daily Israel Report

Jerusalem Mayor Dedicates Street to Famed Egyptian Singer

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to name a street in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina for renowned Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/17/2012, 11:28 AM

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to name a street in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina for renowned Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum.

At the ceremony, 25-year-old vocalist Nasreen Qadri, winner of the Israeli Middle Eastern music “Eyal Golan Calls You” television competition, will sing Umm Kulthum's signature song, “Enta Omri.” 

A 10 minute-long declaration of “too late” love, translated to English as “You Are My Life,” Enta Omri was performed before a standing room-only packed house at the Olympia Theater in Paris in November 1967.  (Please note: Video below is a performance by the female vocalist.)

Umm Kulthum's voice inaugurated Radio Cairo in May 1934, and she drew the citizens of Egypt to rush home to their radios for a concert every Thursday night. Her birth date unclear, the internationally-acclaimed Egyptian songstress was born the daughter of an imam in the Nile Delta region and was approximately 78 years old when she died in 1975.

The naming of the street for Umm Kulthum in Beit Hanina is part of a comprehensive plan to name all streets in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, according to Barkat's spokesman. In 2012, 145 new street names were approved in eight Arab neighborhoods, where for decades numerous streets remained unnamed and many buildings had no numbers.

"In an unprecedented effort to bridge the gaps resulting from this history of neglect, Mayor Barkat instructed professional teams and the municipality's Naming Committee to map and locate unnamed streets and to work in collaboration with residents to locate suitable names,” his spokesman said. “The Naming Committee engaged local Muchtars (Islamic leaders), religious leaders, neighborhood representatives, and residents throughout this process.”