The Shmooze

Israeli 'American Idol' Judge Arrested

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share
Wikimedia Commons

Forget Hamas, forget the massive housing protest. Right now Israel’s attention is squarely focused on Margalit Tzanani, a major music and TV star who has been jailed on charges of extortion.

Best-known in recent years as a judge on the Israeli version of “American Idol,” Tzanani was arrested at her home this morning, in a surprise raid. The singer will spend tonight in jail, and will appear tomorrow in court, where prosecutors will attempt to prolong her detention as the investigation continues.

A star so big she’s generally referred to simply as “Margol,” Tzanani is suspected of hiring thugs to intimidate and extort a talent manager, Assaf Atedgi, with whom she is fighting over hundreds of thousands of shekels in royalties. The 57-year-old singer and her lawyer have categorically denied the charges, noting that she and Atedgi have hired a mediator to settle the dispute.

The charges follow what has been a difficult period for the singer, a veteran hitmaker whose biggest singles are still regularly played at Israeli bars, clubs and weddings. After belittling the “tent protests” currently shaking the Israeli political establishment, the singer faced a backlash so strong that she was forced to recant, going so far as to give a free performance for protesters in Beersheba on Saturday.

The arrest should also make things interesting during the next season of “Kochav Nolad,” (“A Star Is Born”), the Israeli version of “American Idol.” As big a hit as its American counterpart, the show has faced scandal before — as the Shmooze dutifully reported — but nothing on nearly this scale.

Amazingly, Tzanani is not the first Israeli celebrity accused of hiring goons to threaten enemies.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Margol, Extortion, Margalit Tzanani, American Idol

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.