What to Read Next

Israeli singer proves surprise hit in Yemen

Yoav Appel
11 February 2014

By Yoav Appel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli singer has become an unlikely star in Yemen, an Arab country where his hit songs blare from cafes and taxis.

Zion Golan's parents were born in Yemen, but like other Israelis, he is banned from travelling to the conservative Muslim nation, which has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Known in Yemen as Ziyan Joulan, his songs - whose Arabic lyrics are written by his mother-in-law - are distributed on bootleg CDs and downloaded from the Internet.

"Yemeni music is in my heart and in my soul," Golan told Reuters.

"My big dream is to go to Yemen. My parents told me many stories about Yemen, about Sanaa, about Aden, all about Yemen, so I felt it was right to write, to perform songs in a Yemeni style, which I feel is part of me."

In Sanaa, Waddah Othman, a doctor, grinned as he displayed an array of Golan's songs on his mobile phone.

"I adore this singer," he said.

Abdullah al-Haj, who owns a video and music shop in Sanaa, said music of Yemeni Jewish singers was in high demand by local youngsters, who increasingly are getting music off the Internet.

Golan said he receives no royalties for his music in Yemen, where the late Israeli singer Ofra Haza, who was also of Yemeni Jewish descent, was once popular.

"Ziyan Joulan is the greatest Yemeni singer,' said Sanaa resident Ali al-Kinei, 43. "Jewish singers have kept the Yemeni musical traditions and developed them by introducing modern instruments ... I follow his songs on YouTube."

Between 1949 and 1959, most of Yemen's 50,000 Jews were flown to the newly founded Israel in a secret operation dubbed "Magic Carpet". Today, fewer than 200 still live in the Arabian peninsula state.

Golan, who learned Yemeni Arabic as a boy, is one of about 140,000 of Israelis descended from Yemen's ancient Jewish community, and he said that he was pleased his popularity there provided a bridge between two peoples.

"I enjoy that they are enjoying my songs, it makes me feel good," he said. "I wish there will be peace and then we could connect, that would be the best dream for all of Israel."

(Reporting by Yoav Apple in Jerusalem and Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa; Writing by Maayan Lubell, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alistair Lyon)

Buying Medicare Supplement Plan F? Read This First

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Help Erase Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

Are you paying too much on your credit cards? Consider a Personal Loan to help consolidate your payments.

It’s Not a Phone, It’s a Galaxy: Dual-Edge Display

With the dual-edge display on the Galaxy S6 edge and edge+, beauty has no bounds. It’s not a phone, it’s a Galaxy.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Reverse Mortgage?

More Americans are accessing their home equity to support their retirement years. Speak with a professional and see what you may qualify for today.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2016

Banks are offering 0% APR for up to 15 months right now. Don't pay interest on your purchases and transfer a balance today. Apply securely here.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Why Women Are Flocking to This New Shopping Site

This startup features big names like Coach, SmashBox, and Kate Spade - and unlike Amazon, Gilt or HauteLook it's fast, fun and really exciting.

Banks "Outraged" by Brilliant Home Payoff Method

Before you pay your next mortgage you should see this. Millions of homeowners are already amazed. If your bank knew you did this, they'd freak!