Falcon sells for record-breaking $170,000 in Saudi Arabia

1 / 3
A Saudi man displays a falcon which was sold for SR650,000 (US$173284) during an auction at Saudi Falcons Club Auction in King Abdulaziz Festival in Mulham, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2020, Picture taken October 13, 2020. (Media Center Saudi Falcons Club Auction via Reuters)
2 / 3
A Saudi man displays a falcon which was sold for SR650,000 (US$173284) during an auction at Saudi Falcons Club Auction in King Abdulaziz Festival in Mulham, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2020, Picture taken October 13, 2020. (Media Center Saudi Falcons Club Auction via Reuters)
3 / 3
A Saudi man displays a falcon which was sold for SR650,000 (US$173284) during an auction at Saudi Falcons Club Auction in King Abdulaziz Festival in Mulham, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2020, Picture taken October 13, 2020. (Media Center Saudi Falcons Club Auction via Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 14 October 2020

Falcon sells for record-breaking $170,000 in Saudi Arabia

  • The bird was sold on Tuesday for 650,000 Saudi riyals ($173,000)
  • Falconry is an important part of the cultural desert heritage of Arabs of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A young falcon in Saudi Arabia has sold for more than $170,000, the most expensive sale ever of that type of bird and the costliest purchase so far at an annual 45-day auction of the hunting birds cherished in Gulf countries.
The bird was sold on Tuesday for 650,000 Saudi riyals ($173,000) by virtue of its unique characteristics and scarcity, the auction’s organizers, the Saudi Falcon Club, said in a statement.
The club said it was the most expensive sale ever globally for its type — a young Shaheen breed, a type of peregrine falcon.
Falconry is an important part of the cultural desert heritage of Arabs of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries going back thousands of years.
Falcons, whose flight speeds can exceed 300 km (186 miles) an hour, are recognized internationally as endangered. Countries have varying regulations governing their sale, capture, breeding and hunting activities.
The falcon, weighing 1.1 kg, was captured from the wild in Hafer Al-Batin, in north-east Saudi Arabia, the club said.
The auction from Oct. 3 — Nov. 15 is organized by the Saudi Falcon Club, founded in 2017 and supported by the government as a way to preserve and nurture this heritage activity.
Falcon owners in the Gulf, seeking hunting opportunities, commonly travel with their birds inside plane cabins to countries like Pakistan, Morocco and the central Asian region during colder months.


‘Hello you’: Israeli-UAE joint song a YouTube hit

Updated 18 October 2020

‘Hello you’: Israeli-UAE joint song a YouTube hit

  • Marziano and Aljasim had collaborated over the Zoom video-conferencing service
  • The duet has clocked more than 1.1 million YouTube views since it was posted on September 30

JERUSALEM: The scene cuts from Dubai to Tel Aviv, the lyrics switch from Arabic to Hebrew to English and the song is a slightly kitsch electro-pop duet by artists who, for now, remain apart.
The normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has produced its first musical collaboration: “Ahlan Bik,” or “Hello you” in Arabic.
“This is a historic moment,” said Israeli singer Elkana Marziano, whose duet with Emirati artist Walid Aljasim has clocked more than 1.1 million YouTube views since it was posted on September 30.
Marziano, 28, is a former winner of Israel’s version of The Voice, a singing competition TV show, and an Arabic speaker influenced by the Mizrahi culture of Jews from the Arab world.
He told AFP that he and Aljasim had collaborated over the Zoom video-conferencing service, with some parts of the song recorded in Dubai and others in Israel.
“The understanding was immediate,” Marziano said of the partnership.
One online commentator, who posted under the name Shaked Sharon, said: “With this song, you feel the new Middle East.”
In August, Israel and the UAE announced that they had reached a US-brokered deal to normalize ties, following years of discreet economic and security cooperation.
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, approved the UAE deal on Thursday.
Bahrain ultimately joined the pact known as the Abraham Accords signed at the White House last month, making it and the UAE the third a fourth Arab states to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel.
Israel signed a peace agreement with neighboring Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has boasted that the Gulf deals highlight shifting priorities in the region.
The right-winger has insisted that more Arab states want ties with Israel even though its conflict with the Palestinians remains unresolved.
The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has said the pact “opens the way to a new era of cooperation.”
Palestinian leaders have condemned the deals and called on the Arab world to withhold establishing ties with Israel until it reaches a viable peace with the Palestinians.
While some YouTube commenters have celebrated “Ahlan Bik,” others have condemned the song and Israeli-Emirati normalization, while calling for the creation of a Palestinian state.


The song was written by Doron Medalie, who also wrote “Toy,” which won the 2018 Eurovision contest in Israel.
The chorus — “I hear you friend far away, far away” — is repeated in the three languages, while the music video’s action pivots from Marziano dancing with friends in Israel to Aljasim in Dubai.
Marziano said that peace was a common theme in Israeli music, which has regularly been in conflict with its neighbors since its founding in 1948.
He said it was a “personal victory” to see young Israelis and Emiratis interacting online to discuss the song on his YouTube page, adding that he is planning a live concert with Aljasim when the coronavirus pandemic ends.
“I am very moved by the idea of singing this song, and others, on the same stage (with Aljasim),” Marziano told AFP.