Singer Mohammed Assaf of Gaza – winner of the Arab Idol contest – has been named as UNRWA special ambassador.
Assaf became the first Palestinian Authority Arab to win the Arab world’s version of the American Idol vocalist competition on Saturday night. The news raced across the entire region, with families from Gaza to northern Samaria (Shomron) celebrating the victory.
On Sunday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared Assaf to be the PA’s new honorary ambassador.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides schools, food and other internationally funded services and supplies to PA Arabs, while engaging in a campaign for the "right of return" through the "armed struggle", named Assaf as a youth ambassador.
The vocalist has lived in Khan Younis, Gaza, since the age of four.
Assaf, who said he was “truly honored” by the appointment, is being seen as a unifying force in the PA, where Fatah and Hamas are at loggerheads.
Gaza-based Hamas legislator Yehiyeh Moussa praised the singer as “the ambassador for Palestinian art,” an appellation that has been scorned in more radical Islamist circles in Gaza as “blasphemous.”