Israeli artists form Jewish-Arab hip-hop group to inspire others to create together

BOSTON – Two Israeli artists are working together to create a different reality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Creating together is the most radical thing you can do”

“In a place where separation between people is the deadliest, most dangerous weapon, being together, creating together is the most radical thing you can do,” said Neta Weiner.

The Jewish independent artists are based in Jaffa and together, they created a multilingual Jewish-Arab hip-hop band called System Ali, slang for “pump it up.” Stav Marin is a choreographer and performer and Weiner is a musician, actor and director.

“What we do it art,” said Weiner. “The stage is a place where you go in order to change things. And where we come from, the city of Jaffa, it was always combined. There were many things to protest against but there are many things to love and to cherish.”

Teaching students to engage in conversation

The two just completed teaching a course at Tufts University called “Dancing in Tongues,” creating workshops and lessons to students can engage in important conversations between the Jews and Palestinian people.

“It’s a combination of movement, text and music,” said Marin.

They’ve also partnered with a Palestinian activist and poet and performed at concerts throughout the area, including at MIT and Tufts.

“What you see on the stage, you see Palestinians and Jews performing together,” said Weiner. “It’s been an amazing experience and I feel, and this is what we tell our students as well, as long as there is a conversation, there is hope.”

Marin and Weiner come from a place of conflict and segregation, having family members who are both Palestinian and Israeli. They said the course they taught here had an impact on their students.

“If we can see each other and talk, touch the hearts, this is a beginning,” said Marin.

“We feel like we’re changing students’ minds and they’re changing ours,” said Weiner.

Marin and Weiner plan to return in the fall to teach another course at Tufts.

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