BETHLEHEM – Hundreds of Palestinians rejoiced in the streets of Bethlehem on Saturday evening, February 25, 2017, after the victory of the young Christian singer, Shaheen Yacoub, who became second Palestinian to win the Arab TV contest, Arab Idol, one of the most popular programs of the Arab world, a competition for young talents.
Yacoub Shaheen, 23, a Syrian Christian and son of a Bethlehem carpenter, won Saturday night’s Arab Idol competition, competing with another Palestinian and a Yemeni in the final, in Lebanon.
Yacoub (in English, James), a young acolyte of the Syrian parish of Bethlehem, has been able to follow the star. He became the second Palestinian to win this prestigious competition, after Mohammed Assaf, in 2013, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of Bethlehemites, including the mayor of Bethlehem and the son of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, met in front of the Manger Square, where a large screen was installed, to watch the program and watch live Yacoub’s victory. Palestinian flags were mixed with those of the Syrian Church for that moment of joy and unity, showing how Palestinians, young and old, know how to seize opportunities to celebrate their identity.