Egyptian actor Muhammad Ramadan came under fire over the weekend after an Emirati journalist posted a photo of the star embracing Israeli singer Omer Adam during a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
The picture gained further traction when it was retweeted by the State of Israel’s Arabic Twitter account under the caption “Art brings us together.”
According to reports, the photo was initially posted by Emirati journalist Hamad Al Mazrouei on his Twitter account, captioning the shot: “The most famous artist in Egypt with the most famous artist in Israel, Dubai brings us together.” However he later deleted the picture as outrage grew.
“You’ve lost your audience,” read one comment on actor Ramadan’s page, according to the Ynet news site. “No to normalization” said another, and “All Palestinians should stop following you.”
الفن دوما يجمعنا.. عرض الإعلامي الإماراتي حمد المزروعي صورة للنجم المصري محمد رمضان مع المطرب الإسرائيلي عومير آدام في دبي ???????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/sv4X3r5nUb
— إسرائيل بالعربية (@IsraelArabic) November 21, 2020
Though Egypt officially has ties with Israel, its government has not encouraged a warm peace with the Jewish state and normalization remains frowned upon there. That’s in stark contrast to the UAE, which has attempted to foster cultural exchange and warm relations between peoples in its brand-new normalization with Israel.
In what appeared to be an attempt at damage control on Saturday, Ramadan appeared to remark that he was unaware or unconcerned by Adam’s heritage.
Ramadan posted a picture of himself with fans, saying: “There is no room for me to ask everyone about his identity, color, nationality, and religion.”
Egyptian TV host Ahmad Moussa, who appears on a network considered to be close to the regime, called on Ramadan to explain himself as the furor refused to die down.
“Is this a real disaster or not? If so, then Ramadan will be in trouble with us,” Moussa said, according to an account carried by Israel’s Kan broadcaster. He added that despite the official peace accord between the two nations, there was no rapprochement between the citizens of the two countries.
The landmark peace accord between Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was signed in Washington on March 26, 1979, but has arguably remained a cold peace between the two nations.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi welcomed the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE when it was announced, voicing his support for “any steps that would bring peace” to the Middle East.
Mediterranean music star Adam, 27, is one of Israel’s most well-known singers, with his “Shnei Meshugaim” single viewed over 61 million times on YouTube, and numerous other singles racking up over 30 million views. A dual US-Israel citizen, he has made several appearances in Dubai in recent months.
Regular direct commercial flights are expected to start between Israel and the UAE next month. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers are reportedly concerned about potential misunderstandings and incidents stemming from cultural differences between Israelis and Emiratis.
The UAE is classified as a “green” country under Health Ministry’s regulations, meaning that travelers returning to Israel are not required to quarantine.