‘Arab Idol’ champ hits high note on move from Gaza to West Bank

JERUSALEM (JTA) — “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf has received permission from Israel to move from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank in order to pursue his musical career.

Assaf, who lives in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza, made the request to change his residency with the Israel Defense Forces. He won the singing competition in Beirut in June.

His parents, sister and her husband, and their three children will relocate to the West Bank as well, the Associated Press reported. Assaf’s brother-in-law manages his singing career.

Assaf will be able to travel abroad more easily from the West Bank than from Gaza. He nearly did not compete in “Arab Idol”: Hamas authorities had tried to prevent him from leaving Gaza, while Assaf said he had to bribe Egyptian border guards in order to enter the country.

Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, approved the move.