Anything about Israeli Singer Achinoam Nini (Noa), This blog is a continuation of the project to create Data Base about Noa's career called "Noa's Museum". (You can find information about it on www.noasite.net)
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AVIVA-Berlin talked with Noa about home, ambivalent Israeliness, peace activism, power-failures and Leonard Cohen as a mantra source for inner power and letting go the pursuit for perfection.
Copyright Pictures: Silvia van der Woude
AVIVA-Berlin: You were born with Yemenite origin in Israel, grew up in New York and studied as a secular child in a Yeshiva (religious school). What meaning has the word "home" for you?
Noa: Well, home is Israel. Now. But it has been for a long time. I chose Israel as my home when I was 17 years old and I have not replaced it with any other home. I do not have a house anywhere else. I have my husband, children and a house with a studio. But I feel at home at many other places. I feel at home at New York when I go there, because obviously it is my hometown. I feel at home in many European countries where I have performed for many years and where I have made a lot of friends. But the place where I put my flag in the ground is definitely Israel.
AVIVA-Berlin: Watching Israeli interviews it seems that you are very loved on one hand but also watched more critically than abroad. You also said that in Israel you "have to earn your bread harder" than in other countries. Do you feel you need to defend your "Israeliness"?
Noa: Yes, sometimes I do. And the funny thing is that it goes both ways. In Israel I have to defend my Israeliness because I did not grow up in Israel. English is my first language, I write in English and mostly read English. That is the first hard part. And then, since I started travelling around the world, having my career mostly outside of Israel is sometimes difficult for people in Israel to understand or accept. Many people are very proud of it, or think that it is great. But then they do not feel that you are theirs. You belong to something out there. So there is always this sought of tug of war between "you are out, we are proud, we love you." and "but you are not here, you are far away." We are working on our relationship. Israel and me need to go to a shrink together.
On the other side, outside of Israel, of course I am Israeli. Then I have to answer all the questions people have about Israel. Which are sometimes difficult questions. I become a politician, embassador, diplomate and everything. And I am expected to give answers for everything my country does even things that I do not understand myself or do not agree with. So it is difficult on both sides. That would not stop me from presenting myself as Israeli, because it would be dishonest to do otherwise. I am happy to be Israeli.
And one of the beautiful things about Israel is that it is a young country and a free democracy. You can live in Israel and fight for things you believe in. There is still room for change in Israel. The bottle is not closed yet. You can turn things in positive ways. And we do that. We are involved in all kind of positive projects that we feel can have a positive influence on the way Israel defines its identity. That is one of the reasons why love and choose living in Israel.