When love breaks taboos: Palestinian-American model, Anwar Hadid, is dating Jewish-born actress Nicola Peltz!

Published January 25th, 2017 - 11:44 GMT
New love birds, Anwar Hadid and Nicola Peltz. (Instagram)
New love birds, Anwar Hadid and Nicola Peltz. (Instagram)

These days the world can’t get enough of Palestinian-Dutch-American supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, not least the Arab media who are always quick to celebrate their own. Not a day goes by without someone, somewhere, following them up-close and sharing their instagram moments and milestones across the internet (that is if the glamorous sistas haven’t already broadcast their own gossip)!

But then there's their lesser-known, equally-sexy younger brother Anwar. Also a model (no surprise there), he's all grown up at 17 after making his relationship with Jewish American actress Nicola Peltz, 22, Instagram-official this week.

For the hoards of star-worshipping teen netizens, this celeb coupling may just be the "sweetest thing ever." But this newly publicised romance could provoke a more cynical reaction in the Middle East, and perhaps even more intrigue than the Gigi sisters’ romancing, bust-ups and bikinis have aroused collectively!  For audiences from any Arab diaspora or Middle Eastern mindset, the Palestinian-Jewish flavor to the cute courtship would be the first thing to jump out. Some might disapprove of what could be construed a controversial courtship, others might find this turn-up for the books just daring or double-take inducing.

A Palestinian (half) and a Jew (or Jewish background) coming together romantically is proof that love can conquer all, that attraction can transcend boundaries. After all, let’s not forget the glaring, age-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has meant that Jewish-Arab relationships are harder to come by. It’s the stuff of war dramas and love stories that challenge traditional enemyship- Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, where warring clans are confronted by a controversial love affair that has dared to defy the daggers. And in the end, maybe one relationship is enough to heal an ancient conflict. Maybe. Although probably not, in our modern-day young-love, diaspora far-flung case!

Incidentally, outside of the Palestinian-Israeli hostilities, it should go without stating that Jewishness does not automatically confer an Israeli-allegience or sympathy, and  that Hadid-Peltz's candid affair as such is not so taboo. But perhaps worth noting that those Arabs who tend to casually interchange Jewish identities for Zionist or Israeli are also quick to forget that in the same vein, Jewish Arabs are not an oxymoron and, though less substantial than once, still dwell in and out of the Middle East. 

When you take a look at Anwar and Nicola’s individual family backgrounds, this pairing may raise your brows too.

The Hadid clan's Palestinian father, business tycoon Mohammed Hadid, hails from Nazareth, an 'Arab city' now in Israel. Born in 1948, his birth fell on the same year as the Arab-Israeli war, and what Palestinians refer to as the ‘Nakba’ (meaning catastrophe), in which over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes.

Meanwhile, on Nicola's side, her influential billionaire parents are "compassionate leaders of the New York Jewish community," from which many hold Zionist views and express strong support for Israel. It’s a stance that often extends to financial donations to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), which is responsible for upholding the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What’s more, the woman in this celeb coupling, at 22, is older (and by a good few years for conservative Middle Eastern standards), so that ought to stoke further controversy to the story’s reception.

But family heritage, religion or creed have done little to deter these two love birds; and as for age, well that’s just a number, baby. They’re young and beautiful and the world is surely their oyster. Anwar and his Uptown girl have chosen to look past their backgrounds, having met in melting pot America, and we have just two words for the happy couple: Mabruk and Mazel tov!

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