Omri Casspi was the first Israeli to play in the NBA, the world’s best basketball league, and this season he is proving that he belongs there, winning acclaim for his performance on the court as the Houston Rockets forward.
As a high-profile Israel in the United States he has also won a great honor: Casspi will soon replace his Rockets jersey with a festive suit and travel from Texas to Washington after being invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama and light Hanukkah candles, as part of the White House’s traditional-symbolic menorah lighting ceremony which will be held next Thursday.
Like a good Jewish son, Casspi will bring along his mother, Ilana, who had already scheduled a trip to the US to visit her boy. Now she will also get to meet America’s No. 1 citizen.
Casspi told US media after receiving the prestigious invitation, “I’m so excited. A dream come true to be invited to the White House. I always thought it would be as part of a championship-winning team, but this is great.
“I will represent Israel and the Jewish community,” he added.
Casspi, 25, fulfilled every basketball player’s dream when he was drafted for the NBA by the Sacramento Kings in 2009. He played there for two seasons, and in 2011 he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons.
In July 2013, he signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent, and has so far demonstrated great abilities in the team’s uniforms. Yet Casspi is no longer the only Israeli in the NBA, after being joined this season by Gal Mekel of the Dallas Mavericks.
Walla said the Israeli beauty also used her clout at the firmto get a job for her handsome younger brother in an ad.
Stories about Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan’s alleged double life have been circulating for years.
Now, the Israeli businessman behind hits like “Pretty Woman,” ”Fight Club” and “LA Confidential” has finally come forth with a stunning admission – for years he served as an Israeli spy, buying arms on its behalf and boosting its alleged nuclear program.
In a far-reaching interview aired Monday with Israel’s Channel 2 TV’s flagship investigative program “Uvda,” Milchan detailed a series of clandestine affairs in which he was involved and particularly how he helped purchase technologies Israel allegedly needed to operate nuclear bombs.
“I did it for my country and I’m proud of it,” said Milchan, who ran a successful fertilizer company in Israel before making it big in Hollywood.
Even there, he says he continued with his clandestine work while maintaining close ties with Israel’s leadership.
According to an unauthorized biography published two years ago, Milchan worked for Israel’s now-defunct Bureau of Scientific Relations, known as Lekem, which worked to obtain information for secret defense programs. The bureau was disbanded in 1987 after it was implicated in the spying affair for which Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, was sentenced to life in prison.
Milchan also says other big Hollywood names were connected to his covert affairs.
“When I came to Hollywood I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted – filmmaking,” he said. “(But) sometimes it gets mixed up.”
The 68-year-old Milchan founded the New Regency film company and has produced more than 120 movies since the 1970s, working closely with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Sergio Leone and Oliver Stone.
He forged an especially close relationship with Robert De Niro, who along with actors Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, is featured in the “Uvda” broadcast.
“I had heard but I wasn’t sure,” De Niro said, of Milchan’s activities. “I did ask him once and he told me that he was an Israeli and of course he would do these things for his country.”
A kickstarter campaign supported by Natalie Portman, now we’re talkin’… and it’s all for:
The filmmaker speaks:
“Seven years ago I proposed to Ohad Naharin that we set off on a journey. For years he’d refused to allow a camera into his studio, when finally I earned his trust. Since then, I have traveled with him to seven countries, and filmed more than 650 hours of footage. Hours of intimate moments in the studio and of Ohad’s personal life, together with rare archive footage.”
Two years after its last successful visit, veteran British rock band Deep Purple is returning to Israel this winter for one concert at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena on February 22.
The band will arrive in Israel as part of its “The Best of Deep Purple” concert tour, which will include performances of its greatest hits as well as songs from its new album, “Now What?!”
Ticket sales will begin on Tuesday, with prices ranging from NIS 199 ($56) to NIS 999 ($280), depending on the seat’s location in the arena.
This is in fact Deep Purple’s third visit to Israel. In 2008, the band members held a successful mini-concert tour in Caesarea and Tel Aviv, and returned again in 2011.
This time, the band will arrive directly after a concert in Bucharest, Romania, as part of its tour in Europe which includes Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary and Serbia.
Since its establishment in 1968, Deep Purple has been among the leading names in the world of classic rock. The band has released some 20 studio album, live albums and different compilations.
Over the years the band split and reunited several times, with the last reunion taking place in 1994. Since then, its members have resumed their activity together, recording albums and going on concert tours.