The Shmooze

Sexy Selfie Gets Knesset Rebuked

By Anne Cohen

Facebook/Boaz Toporovsky
Boaz Toporovsky

Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein is not pleased with the sex appeal of some its members.

In a letter sent out to all the MKs, Edelstein rebuked them all over a series of embarassing events, which he said “cheapen” the Knesset, Haaretz reported.

Though nothing specific was mentioned, the timing led Senior MKs to believe that the chairman’s ire was specifically targeted at one member: MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid), a.k.a Sexy Selfie Guy, who posted an almost shirtless picture of himself pouting at the camera to Facebook early Tuesday, before catching some shut-eye on his office couch after a lengthy debate.

“It’s the first time I’ve slept at the Knesset,” the caption read.“I hope that it won’t hurt too much. Luckily, there are showers in the office.”

According to Haaretz, the Chairman’s Office received a number of complaints.

“It cannot be that an MK uploads an image in which he looks like a playboy,” one Knesset official said.“This harms the Knesset’s image and status.”

Edelstein’s letter added that “recently, more than a few complaints have piled up in my office, relating to the conduct of some MKs. The complaints, from civilians and employees, are mostly regarding the conduct of MKs inside the Knesset chamber. Among other complaints, it came up that MKs are eating and drinking during sessions, taking pictures with, and speaking on cellular devices, or displaying captions above their stands, to show their position on an issue.”

Toporovsky’s response to the streams of comments to the picture was: “from now on I’ll sleep in a suit.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: social media, yesh atid, yuli edelstein, sleep, sexy face, politician, knesset, jewish, israeli, facebook, gaffe, boaz toporovsky

Israeli Politician Posts Sexy Selfie

By Anne Cohen

Boaz Toporovsky/Facebook
Boaz Toporovsky

When one is a politician, one can usually count on losing sleep in favor of debating important public issues.

But one such public servant, Yesh Atid first-time MK Boaz Toporovsky, took this to a whole new level. On Monday night (Israeli time), during a heated debate about women’s right to a say in the appointment of religious judges, the 33-year-old lamented his need to grab some zzzs on his office couch — and posted a sultry picture to go with it.

4:51 a.m. — I’m going to sleep in my Knesset chambers,” Toporovsky wrote on Facebook, before giving a detailed account of his debating exploits.

“And now,” he concluded, “sleeping in the Knesset for the first time, but there’s no point going home because the day is already beginning. I hope this won’t hurt too much… at least there’s a shower in my office.”

As expected, the Internet exploded. Followers of Toporovsky’s official page were quick to tell him exactly what they thought of his sexy goodnight face.

“Good night, prince… Sweet dreams,” wrote Yair Finkel.

“Whoa, you’re sick in the head,” Yoav Geier added lower in the comments. “You’re an MK, you’re supposed to represent us, the citizens, and you take your picture like some 16-year-old girl? I really hope you’re drunk or you have a good excuse for this.”

Needless to say, the picture launched a thousand memes.

In his defense, once you’ve taken off your shirt, used it as a blanket, arranged your delicately stubbled chin just so and raised your arm to take a picture, posting it to Facebook is just the next logical step.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: yesh avid, social media, sexy face, sleep, politician, knesset, jewish, israeli, gaffe, facebook, boaz toporovsky

'Old Spice Man' Goes Israeli

By Anne Cohen

Isaiah Mustafa, commonly known as “Old Spice Man,” the half naked ideal of masculinity used to sell deodorant, has gone Semitic. In a new commercial targeted to Israeli men who are, in his words, “brave, noble and magnificent,” and “eat manly foods like shawarma, matbucha and gefilte fish,” Mustafa takes machismo to a whole new level.

Check out his very manly six-pack below:

[via Heeb]

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: old spice, jewish, israeli, isaiah mustafa, gefilte fish

Mariah Carey Speaks Hebrew on 'Idol'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

We all knew that Mariah Carey can sing, but what we didn’t know was that she can also speak Hebrew. Well, at least she knows three expressions—and can use them correctly.

Shira Gavrielov

Carey surprised us when she greeted American Idol contestant Shira Gavrielov, the 23-year-old daughter of Israeli singer-songwriter Miki Gavrielov, with a friendly “Shalom.” She also appropriately threw in a “Shana Tova,” given that the audition was taking place early in the new (secular) year.

And then once Gavrielov wowed the judges (especially Nicki Minaj, who gushed about Gavrielov’s being a superstar in the making) with her soulful rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” Carey sent her off stage with an encouraging “Sababa!” — leaving us to wonder where she picked up this Israeli slang word for “Cool!”

This time around, the singer definitely showed significantly more advanced Hebrew language skills than she did with her “L’chaim” tweet from last year. What’s next for the diva? A year of ulpan on kibbutz?

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: shira gavrielov, mariah carey, jewish, israeli, hebrew, american idol

Milk Masters: Israeli Cows Overcome Odds To Become Most Productive

By Nathan Jeffay

IStockPhoto

In 1962 Jewish Agency officials declined to give Kibbutz Yotvata a grant to set up a dairy herd. The kibbutz is in the hot desert near Eilat, and experts said that cows couldn’t live in such a climate. Similar skepticism was voiced decades earlier, when Zionists first started dairy farming in this dry part of the Middle East.

Amazing then, if you think about it, that Israel’s cows have become the most productive in the world. It shows how innovative methods can overcome inhospitable conditions, and also serves as a testament to the success of Israel’s cooperative farming communities — moshavim and kibbutzim — in spreading expert skills around farmers. Figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (not published in English) show that Israeli cows produce, on average, 22,500 pounds of milk last year, the best yield in the world. American cows produced 20,571 pounds, Japanese cows 16,528 pounds and European Union cows produced 13,534 pounds.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Desert, Cow, Israeli, Kibbutz Yotvata, Milk

Knesset Member Resists Planned Naked Dead Sea Shoot

By Nathan Burstein

A conservative Knesset member is attacking the “culture of Sodom and Gomorrah” that might bring thousands of naked Israelis to the shores of the Dead Sea.

Zevulun Orlev, a member of the religious HaBayit HaYehudi party, has asked Israeli legal authorities to prevent a planned photo shoot by Spencer Tunick, an American artist who has, according to his Web site, “been documenting the live nude figure in public” since 1992. Tunick, who has staged similar mass-nudity “installations” across Europe, the United States and South America, hopes to carry out his Dead Sea photo shoot later this year, having already raised funds in excess of his $60,000 budget.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Spencer Tunick, Sodom and Gomorrah, Israeli, Knesset, Habayit Hayehudi, Dead Sea, Zevulun Orlev

The Diva Sings Once More: Dana International Returns to Eurovision

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Wikicommons

It’s a bit ironic that it happened on International Women’s Day. Israel’s most prominent female-by-choice, Dana International, scored a big victory last night when her song “Ding Dong” was chosen to represent the country at the glitzy annual Eurovision Song Contest, the kitchy and politicized competition that, ironically, spawned international stars like Abba and Celine Dion.

Dana International was born Yaron Cohen into a traditional Yemenite family in 1972 and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1993. In 1998, the performer’s song “Diva” took the first-place crown in the contest and was later chosen as one of the 14 most-popular songs in the history of Eurovision.

The undisputed Israeli disco queen struck gold again last night. “Ding Dong” was the favorite among television viewers, who texted votes to choose the winner following live performances. The song beat out nine other tunes sung by Israelis competing to be this year’s Eurovision entry.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Song, Israeli, Eurovision, Dana International, Yaron Cohen

Embracing Judaism in Indonesia

By Michael Kaminer

A 62-foot menorah graces a mountaintop. Israeli flags flutter from taxi stands. The local synagogue shines after a government-sponsored renovation.

The images don’t immediately bring Indonesia to mind. But a tiny northern outpost in the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population “has become the unlikely setting for increasingly public displays of pro-Jewish sentiments,” reports The New York Times,, as a small number of Indonesians embrace the faith of their Dutch Jewish ancestors.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Dutch, Indonesia, Israeli, Jewish, Judaism, Menorah

Berlin as Cultural Hot Spot for Israeli Jews

By Josh Tapper

On first utterance, “Israeli Jews are flocking to Berlin” is a phrase that might draw more than one cocked eyebrow. But as Public Radio International’s “The World” reported last week, a thriving Israeli Jewish community — mostly young, creative types — has found newfangled appreciation in what was once the capital city of the Nazi regime.

The PRI segment profiles Ofri Brin, a 28-year-old, auburn-haired avant-pop singer from the Golan Heights, who followed her boyfriend, also a musician, to Germany. “Berlin has become such a cultural pearl,” she told the country’s international radio broadcaster, Deutche Welle, in February. “That’s what it was before the war — it was always a place that broke all the rules and made things happen. It’s very avant garde and has space for every kind of culture and art.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jews, Israeli, Golan Heights, Deutche Welle, Berlin, Ofri Brin

Israeli Wins Gold Medal by Default

By Ezra Glinter

It would have been a “Kumbaya” moment in Singapore on the first day of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games: a 17-year old Israeli locked in fierce but friendly battle with his Iranian counterpart in the under-106-pound tae kwon do competition.

The scene of international sportsmanship was scuttled, however, when the Iranian contestant, Mohammad Soleimani, pulled out of competition against the Israeli, Gili Haimovitz, citing a recently aggravated injury.

Haimovitz won the gold medal — Israel’s first in the competition — by default, having already bested Kirk Barbosa of the Philippines and Nicholas Guzman of Argentina. “I knew beforehand that if I was matched up against the Iranian, there was a chance he would withdraw, but I really wanted to compete against him. It’s a shame he didn’t show,” Haimovitz told Haaretz.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tae Kwon Do, Singapore, Olympic, Nicholas Guzman, Mohammad Soleimani, Iranian, Israeli, Gili Haimovitz, Argentina, Youth Olympic Games

Pill Makes Fasting Easier

By Nathan Jeffay

Israeli Arabs may soon make your Yom Kippur fast easier.

It’s often said that Jews and Muslims have a lot in common when it comes to religious observance, and that’s rarely highlighted better than when it comes to fasting. Both religions require full-on fasting several times a year.

Now there’s a theory that a drug called etoricoxib (commercial name Arcoxia), if taken before a fast day, reduces the occurrence of migraines and headaches. Before Yom Kippur, doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center gave 211 patients pills to take — some were placebos, others were etoricoxib. Those who took the real thing — which conveniently remains active in the body for 22 hours — reported an easier fast.

The same researchers are working with Muslims who are fasting through Ramadan to continue their research, and if all goes well, they may just find a cure to fast-related migraines. On their recruitment website, they present the participation in the research as a religious virtue, as it will test whether the drug will “decrease the incidence of people breaking their fast.” You can see more on the experiment in this piece in the Jerusalem Post.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Arabs, Arcoxia, Fast, Headaches, Israeli, Migraines, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Yom Kippur

University of Haifa Awards Honorary Doctorate to Druze Spiritual Leader

By Nathan Jeffay

The name Shaykh Mowafak Tarif probably doesn’t mean much to you. But among Israel’s Druze minority, everybody has heard of him — he is the community’s spiritual leader.

Today he will receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Haifa. There is much excitement about the award in the Druze community, where it is seen as a well-deserved recognition of his contribution to Israeli society.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: University of Haifa, Shaykh Mowafak Tarif, Minority, Israeli, Gaza, Druze

Shuli Rand, Remember Him?

By Nathan Jeffay

Remember Shuli Rand, the actor who took the lead role in “Ushpizin,” an internationally acclaimed Israeli movie made in 2004? Well that role is pretty much the extent of the actor’s exposure outside Israel since he returned to the ways of his Orthodox upbringing and became ba’al teshuva, or newly religious, in 1996. But in Israel, he has become a huge musical star.

In 2008 he managed the unlikely achievement of writing an album based on the teachings of his religious mentor, the late Hasidic leader Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The album went gold, with buyers across the religious spectrum.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rabbi Nacham Breslov, Israeli, Israel, Ba'al Teshuva, Shuli Rand, Ushpizin

RIP Israeli Burger King

By Royal Young

Israelis have been shunning Whoppers, causing Burger King to shut down all of its 55 locations over there, according to an article on JTA’s website.

I never thought my health-conscious American Jewish parents’ refusal to let me eat any fast food growing up, echoed the sentiments of our homeland. Though unlike my folks, instead of being replaced by organic treats, former deep-fried locations will morph into Burger Ranch chains, which offer more Mediterranean style morsels.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wendy's Dunkin Donuts, Whopper, Starbucks, Mediterranean, Jewish, Israeli, Israel, Burger Ranch, Burger King

Food & Wine Magazine Honors Israeli Chef

By Josh Tapper

Defining Israeli cuisine is tough work, as Forward Ingredients columnist Leah Koenig recently pointed out. But difficult or not, Israeli food culture is thriving, and the global gastro community is taking notice.

Food & Wine, the influential American culinary monthly, named Israeli Yonatan Roshfeld a top “Rising-Star Chef” in its 2010 list of the 100 “Best New Food & Drink Experiences.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tel Aviv, Rising-Star Chef, Roshfeld, Tapas, New York TImes, Momofuku, Leah Koenig, Israeli, Herbert Samuel, Frank Bruni, Food And Wine, Adad Ha'am, Cuisine, David Chang, 100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences

Food Programs Define Israeli Cuisine

By Devra Ferst

If you think Israeli food comprises just hummus, falafel and shawarma you have a lot to learn (and taste). Modern Israeli cuisine is hip, fresh, local and heavily influenced by the loads of immigrants living there. For your convenience, we’ve found two food programs, both happening this week, sure to bring you and your taste buds up to speed.

Photo by Michael Lionstar

Celebrity Israeli Chef Haim Cohen, host of the cooking show “Garlic, Pepper and Olive Oil,” will be preparing a dinner at the venerable James Beard Foundation tonight in New York. Serving up dishes like whitefish ceviche, labaneh filled torellini, and seared calamari with hummus, he’ll incorporate traditional and new Israeli ingredients into the meal.

For a more in-depth look at modern Israeli cuisine, you can sign up for the New York Times’ course “The New Israeli Cuisine,” a week-long online seminar led by Times food writer Joan Nathan and Janna Gur, editor of Israel’s leading food magazine, On The Table.

Leave the schnitzel and falafel at home.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: torellini, the new israeli cuisine, shawarma, pepper and Olive oil, on the tabel, new york times, labaneh, janna gur, james beard foundation, israeli, immigrants, hummus, haim cohen, galic, food, cuisine




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