Many of Israel’s big stars are taking part in a special campaign aimed at encouraging Israelis to vote in the upcoming Knesset elections under the banner: ’2013 elections – this time we’re all voting.”
The campaign was initiated by social protest activists Regev Contes, Shir Nosatzki and Roee Neuman, who have managed to recruit dozens of artists, television presenters and journalists to urge Israeli citizens to go to the voting stations on Election Day.
The campaign’s stars include the cast of satirical television show “Eretz Nehederet”; singers Rita, Ninet Tayeb, Omer Adam, Shlomi Shaban, Efrat Gosh, Shiri Maimon, Ivri Lider and Ze’ev Nehama; actors Gila Almagor, Keren Mor, Menashe Noy, Ze’ev Revach, Yuval Scarf and Amos Tamam; television presenters and journalists Haim Yavin, Orly Vilnai, Guy Meroz, Miki Haimovich, Guy Pines, Erel Segal, Guri Alfi and Assi Azar; model Rotem Sela and chef Eyal Shani.
On this popular Food Network show, now beginning its third US season, four contestants compete for $10,000 by whipping up what Tel Aviv native Ben-Israel deems the best “genius” dessert incorporating odd ingredients such as pink beans, hot sauce, black radishes, Tofurky, lemongrass, dried mushrooms or even the Passover flatbread matzoh.
Yet despite his rock-candy exterior on the show, the 55-year-old baker reveals his friendly, easygoing inner self in an interview with ISRAEL21c. After all, Israelis are often called “sabras” because, like the sabra cactus fruit, they are known to be prickly on the outside and softly sweet on the inside.
“The show changed my life,” says Ben-Israel, who was discovered by domestic doyenne Martha Stewart in 1996 and opened the award-winning Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood in 1999. “It’s a big bracha [blessing] for me,” he adds.
“I never thought of myself as the ‘sweet genius,’” insists the man dubbed “the Manolo Blahnik of cakes” by The New York Times.
“I was interested in the concept of inspiration. I wanted to show people that a pastry chef has to make delicious food that first we ‘eat’ with our eyes. It’s hard to do a main course inspired by Buckingham Palace, but in a cake form it will be ideal.”
The exquisite (and exquisitely expensive) Ron Ben-Israel cakes produced for fancy weddings and parties are seen only by guests at these galas. But his 12-foot-high, eight-foot-wide cake fashioned with the aid of 17 pastry chefs for the glitzy 2007 centennial of New York’s Israeli-owned Plaza Hotel was a public showstopper.
“I would love to do something on this scale again,” he says.
The creations take weeks to perfect, with help from eight fulltime artisans and chefs, plus interns he chooses from pastry departments of culinary schools in New York.
Ben-Israel has no such formal training – at least not in cake design. He was a professional dancer for 15 years before swapping ballet slippers for spatulas.
He was named CNN named him one of 10 remarkable people the world is yet to know of. He began his career in art as a newspaper cartoonist, and the cartoonist’s bold line — and dead-on eye for truth — still powers his art. His work spans painting, sculpture, installation, film and performance, always linked by his challenging opinions on identity, conformity, gender, celebrity, ceremony.
He was the Keynote speaker at the cities summit conference in Tel Aviv…
His post on Tel Aviv’s facebook page:
“Thank you Tel Aviv, for hosting me at the Cities Summit. I really LOVED being there.I was blown away by all the amazing innovations coming out of Tel Aviv. I know I will return soon. I loved the Design museum in Holon as well. Hats off the organizers of the Cities Summit for putting together a great conference. I was honored to present the keynote address! and ofcourse I loved your mayor Ron Huldai! Cheers and thank you, warmly Raghava KK”
Well, this is called ‘acting.’ But did you feel like an ambassador of the Israeli gay community? Even though you’re not one of them?
“Of course. I talked a lot about Tel Aviv and how modern it is, and how it has become a gay tourist destination. Israel is a very liberal country. I think it’s very important to say it all the time: how liberal Israel is. I also told them about the beautiful beaches in Tel Aviv and how many hot shirtless guys they can find there,” he laughs.
Even though this is the first time Oz is playing a gay character, he says that he jumped on the role when it was first offered to him, especially because he was aware of the success of the movie ‘Yossi & Jagger,’ to which ‘Yossi’ is considered a sequel, around the world. “I think that was one of the main advantages of making this movie,” Zehavi says. “When I got into this project I kind of knew that it was going to be talked about all over the world. To tell you the truth, it was one of the reasons I wanted to do this movie, as a part of my development as an actor globally , and now in the US . Also, I wanted to work with Eytan Fox. He brought out of me something that I haven’t done before. It’s very different than the roles I had usually done in Israel.”
The World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media (WAALM) has decides to give its annual award in the pop music category to Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita for her new album, “My Joys,” in which she sings in Persian.
Since its release, the album has created a lot of interest worldwide as it is being sold in Iran’s black market despite the tense relations between Israel and the Islamic Republic.
The news about the award took Rita by surprise. An email sent to the singer’s website informed her of the decision. The announcement stated that the Academy rewards intellectuals, journalists and artists who have left a unique mark on their professional field.
“The decision to select my album is very exciting and charming,” says Rita. “The truth is that it’s strange the Academy even heard of my album, and it’s not an obvious thing at all.”
She will receive the prize in London soon.
“Since the album’s release, I’ve been encountering many surprises,” Rita adds. “I suddenly get phone calls from China, from Japan, from France. It amazes me how this project, which began from something musical, has created such a social buzz.”
WAALM was founded in Hungary in 2005. Israeli singer Idan Raichel has received one of its awards in the past.