LEBANON, ISRAEL: Belly dancer and metal band rock the boat

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Seeing a gorgeous dancer on stage with a heavy-metal band is nothing unusual.

But when the dancer is Lebanese and the singer Israeli and they hold the flags of their respective countries -- which remain in a state of war -- alongside each other, you have a recipe for potential trouble.

The controversial joint appearance and performance by Lebanese belly dancer Johanna Fakhry (reportedly based in France) and the Israeli heavy-metal band Orphaned Land last month at the Hellfest music festival in Clisson, France only recently emerged in the news and is now stirring the pot.


Amateur video footage purportedly showing the performance depicts a member of Orphaned Land singing in what appears to be Hebrew while Fakhry dances around him wearing traditional belly dancer’s grab and holding a Lebanese flag.

She then approaches the singer and helps him hold a large Israeli flag before taking her own Lebanese flag and brandishing it alongside the Israeli before the audience.

‘This is all about peace my friends,’ the singer is heard singing in the clip. ‘We are all brothers and sisters. Now I want to see all of you jumping and party with us, OK?’

The audience responds with cheers and heavy-metal ‘devil horns’ signs. Fakhry and the Israeli start jumping up and down to metal beats holding their flags.

The performance has stirred quite a bit of controversy and prompted much reaction and commentary, ranging from mere shock and outrage to support.

‘Shame on her,’ read one comment posted under one of the clips uploaded to YouTube that purportedly shows the performance. ‘She’s putting our Lebanese flag with the ... Israeli flag. That’s really shame!!!!!’


Another commentary, meanwhile, applauded Fakhry’s move: ‘She’s really brave cause she wants peace,’ while a third remained indifferent to the political gesture: ‘More rock, more dancing ... less bullets, rocks and bombs,’ it read.

Lebanon and Israel remain in a state of war with each other and it is illegal under Lebanese law for Lebanese citizens to have public dealings with Israelis.

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo and video credit: YouTube