Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Israeli Madonna Charms the United Nations

Rita performs in Hebrew, English, and Persian

Print Email
Rita.(Araham Joseph Pal)

Rita is an Iranian-born, Israeli pop-sensation whose last name is mostly unknown to her fans.  She immigrated to Israel when she was 8; and like other megastars with single monikers, she has more songs on her adopted country’s national charts than any other singer, and she regularly fills venues to capacity with renditions of Persian songs from her childhood.

In Iran, where such popular music is banned, her CD is furtively sold on the black market like foreign currency in Argentina, smuggled ivory tusks in Africa, and bootleg copies of yet-to-be released movies in the United States. Rita knows this, and a few other facts concerning Iranian prisons and government restrictions on download speed, because she gets a lot of fan mail. “Hello My Dear,” read one letter she received. “…Here in Iran, the Internet is slow and it is very hard to make contact. I would be happy if you could send me a number of your songs and projects.

Last night, the queen of live performance became somewhat of a Middle Eastern cultural attaché with a concert she gave at the United Nations for fellow seatmates who talked among themselves before the show began. Many were not sure who Rita was, but no one seemed to think that she was part of the Mongolian National Horse Fiddle Ensemble, and most had found out that she was ¨actually, really famous,” after they got a ticket. Moti Bahat, a thirty-three-year-old video game producer, was excited to hear that Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder were the last two solo artists to sing in the General Assembly Hall, and he said that it would have been great to see a triple bill. Then the lights dimmed.

Ban-Ki Moon, perhaps pleased to oversee the largest breakthrough in Iranian-Israeli relations yet, navigated his way around the drums and said that he had no doubts it would be a memorable evening. President of the Assembly Vuk Jeremik, noted that music making, along with herding and metal forging, are the three fundamental professions mentioned in the Bible. And then Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, rapturously enamored and notably proud that he was the invisible hand behind this meld of pop culture super stardom and international diplomacy, introduced the diva.

On cue, Rita took to the stage. Wearing a brown and pink fringed dress and a pair of cream-colored pumps, she sang her popular hits in Hebrew, Farsi and English; and she laughed easily, as if the podium was hers for the taking and the General Assembly Hall was the latest concert venue on her latest concert tour. Theatrical smoke rose from the floor and the musician belly-danced and twisted and posed for an audience who found itself sharing a most unusual historical moment with Mr. Moon.

Then, after singing her tenth song, she graciously acknowledged the applause of her concertgoers with a few heartfelt words. ¨Only dreamers can make change in this world,¨ she said. With that, the goddess was gone, and two nations were left to continue forging their common destiny.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Yoni Revesz says:

The President of the UN GA’s name is actually Vuk Jeremić, not Vuk Jeremik.

Persians and Jews have a lot in common. Unfortunately the occupiers of their nation have ruined everything.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Israeli Madonna Charms the United Nations

Rita performs in Hebrew, English, and Persian

More on Tablet:

Kerry Links Rise of ISIS With Failed Peace Talks

By Lee Smith — Secretary of State: ‘I see a lot of heads nodding’