Mohammad Assaf (Arabic: محمد عساف; born 1 September 1989 is a Palestinian singer well known for being the winner of the second season of Arab Idol, broadcast by the MBC network. He was given the nickname Asaroukh (“The Rocket”) by Lebanese singer and Arab Idol judge Ragheb Alama. In 2013, Assaf was named a goodwill ambassador for peace by The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). He was also named ambassador of culture and arts by the Palestinian government and was offered a position with “diplomatic standing” by the Palestinian president Mahmood Abbas.
Assaf was acclaimed by the jury and the public. His voice and appearance have drawn comparisons to Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez, which has garnered Assaf both fame and controversy. Fans merged part of Hafez’s name with Assaf’s, as in Assaf Hilm Falastine (“Assaf Palestine’s Dream”). His victory received world-wide coverage from the media and was welcomed with joy by Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world.