Mohamed Hadid, Farah Nabulsi, Eyas Younis and other famous Palestinians create an ode to Jerusalem

High-profile Palestinians from around the world have created a video expressing their love for the place

Palestinian Muslim worshippers walk in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site of Islam, on May 14, 2021.  / AFP / ahmad gharabli
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High-profile Palestinians from around the world have joined forces to create a video expressing their love for Jerusalem.

“Why do I love Jerusalem?” reads the opening sequence of the short video. The phrase is translated into English, French, Russian and Spanish.

We love Jerusalem

We love Jerusalem

An homage to Palestine

Dubbed “a message of love”, the black-and-white clip features Mohamed Hadid, businessman and father of models Gigi and Bella, as well as Academy Award-nominated and Bafta-winning filmmaker Farah Nabulsi, chef Fadi Kattan, mountaineer Mostafa Salameh and actors Yasmine Al Massri and Eyas Younis, alongside authors, composers, journalists and Olympic athletes. Their heartfelt messages are delivered in Arabic, English, French, Japanese, Russian, Serbian and Spanish, highlighting the global nature of the Palestinian diaspora.

Lauding Jerusalem's 'people, diversity and food'

Nabulsi loves Jerusalem “for the way it makes me feel when I’m there”. Journalist Dana Abulaban lauds “its magic”, while Al Massri reminisces about “the smell of the morning”. Chef and author Sami Tamimi, meanwhile, highlights “its people, diversity and food”.

Writer and actress Raeda Taha also speaks of its diversity, while Younis points to its history. Jerusalem's aromas and holy sounds are also cited as things to treasure, while Tanya Zabaneh, founder of My Olive Roots, highlights "its spirit that connects us all."

The snippets are set against a reworking of the song Mawtini, which served as the de facto national anthem of Palestine until 1996, when an official anthem was created.

The initiative was spearheaded by food artist Omar Sartawi. “I was having a conversation with my friend Dolores Al Shelleh and she mentioned us doing a video about current events. At 2am I sent a message to Diana Al Shaer, who has a production company,” he tells The National.

I spoke with Fadi Kattan at 3am to start reaching out to our contacts to ask our Palestinian friends from across the globe to send us a five-second video where they tell us why they love Jerusalem,” he said.

Sartawi was initially aiming for 10 contributors – he ended up with 17. “Everyone was phenomenal and their support and love was beautiful. We were all united in our love of that beautiful city, and I really don't believe we would have succeeded in doing such a video with no budget in such a record time if it wasn't for Jerusalem.”

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