Lawmaker can’t dance, a Facebook friends’ wedding and a businessman’s nude scene

Bono’s Hope-ful note left at the Jerusalem King David Hotel on April 17, 2012.

By Marcy Oster, JTA

JERUSALEM — Here are some recent stories from Israel that you may have missed:

She should be dancing, yeah

A member of Israel’s parliament who wanted to get closer to the people by participating in Israel’s version of “Dancing with the Stars” will have to find another way, the Knesset’s legal adviser suggested.

Kadima lawmaker Nino Abesadze cannot join the reality show on Israel’s Channel 2, Eyal Yinon ruled, because it could cloud her judgment on media issues. He drew a distinction in his decision between appearing on a reality show, which promotes the commercial interests of the broadcaster, and on interview and roundtable discussion shows.

Abesadze had agreed to donate to charity any winnings from the popular show and to remove herself from votes on media issues.

The mayor of Bat Yam, Shlomo Lahiani, is reported to be a dancer on the program’s new season.

Meanwhile, Abesadze says she’ll continue to seek a shot on the show.

Barak looking for new apartment at $8,000 a month

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his wife are looking to rent a new apartment in a luxury Tel Aviv apartment complex for about $8,000 a month after selling their apartment in the city for about $7 million.

They have already purchased a new apartment in Tel Aviv, which has not yet been built. Barak and wife Nili Priel are looking now to rent a flat in a tony Tel Aviv neighborhood until the new apartment is ready, Haaretz reported.

They sold their space in the Akirov Towers last month.

“My wife Nili and I decided we should sell the apartment, since we recognized that it distanced us from large portions of the population,” Barak wrote on his Facebook page. He added that it was “hard not to notice the public criticism of where I lived.”

Facebook friends put on a special wedding

An Israeli couple has hundreds of new friends thanks to a Facebook campaign that helped them raise money and receive free services in order to have a real wedding.

The couple, from Bat Yam, reportedly told friends that they would go to the rabbinate and get married without all the frills and fancy clothes. But one of the couple’s friends decided that the couple should have a special wedding day and opened a Facebook page called “organizing a wedding together” in order to help them out. 

Strangers volunteered such services as putting on the bride’s makeup and driving them to the wedding, Ynet reported. Bands and photographers also volunteered their talents. Volunteers also purchased electrical appliances, furniture and other necessities for the couple, and donated money to a bank account opened for them.

Everything comes up ‘Rose’ for Dukakis

American actress Olympia Dukakis does not feel the need to boycott Israel like some of her fellow professionals. The Academy Award winner performed a one-woman show in Israel as part of an annual international theater festival.

In “Rose,” Dukakis plays an elderly Holocaust survivor who sits shiva for a Palestinian girl shot by her grandson. Her character’s daughter had been killed during World War II.

Dukakis performed the play on Broadway in 2000. In Israel it was performed in English with Hebrew subtitles.

She won an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category in 1987 for her role in “Moonstruck.”

Bono leaves Hope-full note at Jerusalem hotel

U2 lead singer Bono’s left a Hope-full note at Jerusalem’s King David hotel following a surprise visit to Israel. The note, which offered the hotel “great thanks for great room in great hotel in great city,” centered on a poem which said that “Hope is like a faithful dog.”

“In Jerusalem, Hope springs eternal,” the poem read. “Hope is like a faithful dog, sometimes she runs ahead of me to check the future, to sniff it out and then I call to her: Hope, Hope, come here, and she comes to me. I pet her, she eats out of my hand and sometimes she stays behind, near some other hope maybe to sniff out whatever was. Then I call her my Despair. I call out to her. Here, my little Despair, come here and she comes and snuggles up, and again I call her Hope.”

The note also included Bono’s sketch of A Dog called Hope.

Bono was on a personal visit to Israel.

Insurance agent bares all at Eilat conference

Call it high risk: An insurance company executive stripped down to his underwear to make a point for hundreds of insurance brokers at a conference in Eilat.

Oren El-On of Phoenix Insurance was illustrating how fee reforms proposed by the Netanyahu government would affect the firms for whom the brokers work. 

After taking off everything but his underwear, El-On walked behind a screen and removed them, too, tossing them in the air, Haaretz reported.

During a speech at a previous conference, El-On cut his hair with an electric clipper to make a similar point. Apparently it’s his policy to make his points graphically.

Supreme Court goes bananas over export of monkeys

Israel’s Supreme Court was not monkeying around when it issued an injunction to prevent a shipment of primates from an Israeli breeding farm to a research lab in the United States.

The court ruled earlier this month that the Mazor Farm monkey breeding farm near Petach Tikvah could not export 90 female macaque monkeys to the U.S. to be used in scientific experiments. The Let The Animals Live animal rights group had requested the injunction.

The farm said the monkeys would be used for “biomedical research aimed at life-saving or preventing suffering in humans,” The Jerusalem Post reported. Let The Animals Live countered that only monkeys raised in captivity could be sent for scientific experiment and many of the monkeys to be exported had been captured in the wild.

A panel of judges is scheduled to hear a petition on a permanent injunction now that Passover has passed.

Environmental Protection minister Gideon Erdan joined the rights groups’ petition and is working on a new policy that would prevent the export of animals from commercial farms in Israel except under extraordinary circumstances, according to Haaretz.

‘Big Brother’ is drugging, participants charge

A participant in the Israel version the ‘Big Brother’ reality show is suing the show’s production company for forcing him to take drugs while he was on the show. Meanwhile, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council voted to increase regulation of such shows. 

The council said it would go so far as to cancel the entire channel if it heard that a show’s participants were pressured into using drugs.

The new regulations call on the production company to “refrain from using illegitimate means that could harm the contestants’ judgment” and “avoid manipulating the contestants in a way which harms their autonomy and free will.”

Meanwhile, “Big Brother” finalist Saar Sheinfain told a Knesset panel last month that he was shocked to learn that pills given to him by a psychiatrist for the show were not sleeping pills but rather medication for schizophrenia. He took them for two months.

Israeli lawmaker Nissim Zeev of the Shas party told Sheinfain that the producers “were doing participants a kindness in giving them pills,” Ynet reported. He called the show “slutty in the full sense of the word.” 


Don’t miss out! Get the JTA Daily Briefing delivered FREE to your inbox!

Click to login and write a letter to the editor or sign up for the Daily Briefing.