Sabra-style celebrity


By Daniella Peled
March 2, 2009
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Depressed by the ongoing efforts to boycott Israel as rogue and militaristic nation? Don't be. Proof has arrived this week that cements the Jewish state as one of the family of liberal and progressive Western nations.

Yup, Israel now has its own very Celebrity Big Brother. Gushingly launched last night on Channel Two, the predictable fanfare of grade D slebs included singers, models, the obligatory lesbian/gay - and Maariv's literary critic, who entered the house brandishing a bible.

Unfortunately, Channel Two failed to secure one journalist who would have been certain to stir up sparks of a political nature, live on air - Haaretz's very own firebrand reporter, Gideon Levy.

Despite the pleas of the producers, Levy - famed for his unflinching exposes of Israeli human rights abuses in the territories - declined to take part.

What a pity. Levy - once voted one of the top ten handsomest men in Israel - could have been counted on to shake the whole frivolous affair up a bit, highlighting Israeli war crimes while his fellow housemates raged over who finished the milk.

And it seems that it's not just campaigning journalists who selfishly wanted to keep their public integrity intact. The show's producers also failed to recruit any political figures, perhaps reasoning that if viewers wanted to see live coverage of their politicians behaving like fools, they could simply tune in to the Knesset channel.

Thus the Israeli public has been robbed of the chance to see Big Brother tomfoolery a la the timeless George Galloway cat incident. Perhaps if a member of parliament pretending to lick up pretend milk live on television is the sign of true progressive liberalism, the Jewish state hasn't quite made it yet.

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