The myth goes that Lina Makhoul is a 19 year old Israeli-Palestinian Christian from Acre.
She participated in the second season of Israel’s version of The Voice. I had blogged about her before (here) when she performed one of Fairuz’s songs and gained the judges’ approval.
The reality, at least according to several readers who messaged me privately regarding the matter, some of whom are are related to her, is that Lina Makhoul is not Palestinian. She is Lebanese from one of South Lebanon’s many Christian towns.
Well, Lina Makhoul – a Lebanese (or at least of Lebanese origins) – has won the Israeli version of The Voice after beating out two other contestants in the finale.
As her last performance of the night, Makhoul sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
She said that she was the victim of racism on the show. I’m not sure where that racism came from – be it from other Lebanese or Arab Israelis who may not have wanted her to participate in such things or from Israelis who are not too keen on her heritage or from the show’s producers and staff. But at least she managed to win.
Either way, now we know at least one person who isn’t included in the current debate in Lebanon, which has obviously taken a backseat now, about the possibility of return of the Lebanese who flew to Israel around the time of the South’s liberation.
Lebanon is not allowed to access The Voice Israel’s Youtube page so I have yet to find a version of her performance of “Hallelujah” but I have found this dating back to 2011:
You can watch Makhoul’s initial audition here in which she also sings a Fairuz song. The Israeli judges refer to Fairuz as the queen and one of them had apparently worked with her before many years earlier:
Update: I’m getting reports that she may be Palestinian as her mother is apparently as such from the town of Al Bokay’a.
Update: check out her winning performance of Hallelujah: