Never mind peace talks and diplomatic meetings to solve the 60-year conflict between Israel and the Arabs, it seems one Israeli woman has managed to make friends with Arabs through the ancient Arabian art form of belly dancing.
For Meital, a 31-year-old belly dancing Israeli, the best way to achieve peace between warring nations is through hip shaking, which she has been practicing for seven years.
Meital learned how to belly dance from an Egyptian teacher in a London dance school and believes that "through cooperation between dancers we can achieve peace," Egypt's al-Masry al-Youm reported Israel's Hebrew paper, Maariv, as saying.
Belly dancing was originally an ancient fertility rite. And while Egyptians like to trace it back to the Pharaonic times, the dance actually originated in ancient Babylon in southern Iraq and was brought over to Egypt by gypsies.
"My life was getting from bad to worse, but suddenly I found a belly dancing school in Jafa and I bought Egyptian belly dancing tapes of Dina, Fifi Abdu and Mona Saeed," said Meital, who opened her own belly dancing school to teach Israeli girls.
Meital managed to enter Egypt and dance at the country's hot spots, including a performance at the foot of the Pyramids and on Nile cruises.
Meital also worked with well-known Egyptian singer Saad al-Saghir and fellow dancer Dina.
Meital says her profession has won her many friends in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey despite the politics between these Arab countries and Israel. “I am interested in politics, what is important to me is art,” Meital said.
But, despite her success, Meital seems to have ruffled some feathers as orthodox Jews constantly harass her because of a religious ruling forbiding Jewish girls from belly dancing in front of men since Arabic music arouses people.
“Belly dancing is forbidden in Judaism because it is derived from lowly culture and is connected to Arabic music which arouses base instincts,” Rabbi Eliyahu has argued.
But Meital is set on opening her own night club in Tel Aviv.
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