In a country where Arabs and Jews often live parallel lives, a rap duo consisting of an Israeli and a Palestinian, hopes to challenge some of the pre-conceived barriers to reach a “mutually beneficial reality.”
Dugri, a creative project dedicated to using music, education, and “straightforward” dialogue, recently released a music video portraying the struggle of coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Uriya Rosenman, a member of Dugri who identifies as a Zionist Jew, said that he just wants to “talk about the honest truth.”
The group’s first project struck a nerve in society during the Israel-Gaza conflict in May, which saw violence permeate Israeli-Arab cities. After the initial video went viral, the pair formed Dugri to inspire social change and provide a different narrative to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Sameh Zakout, a Palestinian and the other half of of Dugri, explained that the Arab community wants “somebody to hear our voice.”
“Most Palestinians in Israel know about Jews and Israelis - the language, the food,” which is not the case for many Jewish kids “outside of mixed cities,” Zakout said.
Their latest video “Let’s Talk Straight” features Uriya Rosenman and Sameh Zakout hurling stereotypes about Arabs and Jews, venting their frustrations with the other in an effort to tackle racism and foster dialogue.
“We have the opportunity and the privilege to use our art and creative minds to raise awareness and bring together different communities around the same idea,” Rosenman said.
"The cooperation between us was created naturally and authentically, and this is our guiding line when we create our music. In the egoistic aspect, it's nice to be a part of our creation, we want to express what's on our hearts, and doing so in a song is self-fulfillment at the highest level. We aim to promote a genuine, authentic conversation between Arabs and Jews," Rosenman explained.
"In the last two years, in particular, the revelation of the life-changing COVID pandemic, made people care less about the fancy stuff, they just want truth and authenticity. People don't believe anymore in everything they see or hear about how life is good, because then they come back home and realize it's a lie.
"That's why they seek the truth, and why they want to hear our story, we sing about something that concerns all of us, and we can all relate to it," said Zakout.
"We want to put politics aside and just talk about the truth and put everything on the table. This comes out of a need to recognize the pain of both sides, to work together, in order to create a shared future," he concluded.