Post Date Jun 10

Big Brother 5 Israel– My Thoughts as an Expatriate (Part 1)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Good day to all:

If you’re interested in modern-day, 2013, Israeli society, or are incensed by injustice, this post should be very interesting (I hope). We may not all agree, but at the very least it’s a forum for expression and open dialogue.

For those of you stopping by my blog for the first time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gigi Scott (an assumed name, as the FBI is involved in protecting me from a vindictive ex-husband). About six months ago I finished the first edition of my memoir, If I Only Knew… 

In my book I write about my life in Israel. I don’t paint a rose-colored view of my life in the land of milk-and-honey. In fact, much of what I wrote about is quite controversial in the publishing capital, New York, where most editors and publishers are Jewish. It’s important for me that you know this– although my life’s story in Israel was less than glamorous, I am an absolute patriot. I am proud of being Jewish, and believe in the state of Israel’s right for peaceful existence. My daughter was born in Haifa. My mother is buried in Israel. I have ties to Israel not only physically, but in spirit and soul. Much of my book covers my experiences as a young orphan (I escaped the Russian occupation of the then Czechoslovakia in 1968). I was thirteen when my mother felt it was ok to send me all by myself to the promised land of the Jews. It was a nightmare! As many young Eastern European women are treated like whores. In the last couple of decades, the stereotype of Russian young women is that they belong gyrating on and around the pole. Again, I am an absolute patriot, but was thrilled to have the opportunity to leave Israel in 1986 and landing in the United States; daughter and two dogs in toe.

My daughter, a very bright woman, has unresolved feelings about leaving Israel and is much more enamored by the people and culture than her overbearing Jewish mother is (her words, not mine!). For the last two years, she’s been watching a reality show modeled after the Big Brother in the US. In Hebrew, it’s referred to as the Ach Ha Gadol (האח הגדול). In the past five years our lives have been full of travails, so for her, this was a good escape from the day-to-day stressors, and a chance to brush up on her Hebrew (well, that depends on the house guests!). More on that in a bit..

Each new season she would tell me about all the different personalities. It provided for a lot of laughter for her and her friend, Liat. My daughter is generally a  very serious woman, and quite introverted, so I was happy for her that she found a forum to laugh and feel a connection to Israel. The third season of Big Brother Israel 3 (האח הגדול 3) my daughter told me about two women, one of them stood out till today, her name is Freeda Hecht. Although a rebellious figure, Freeda stood out to us both because of how giving she is, not to mention her Hebrew lexicon. Many Israelis speak in slang, and vulgar words roll off their tongues like water streaming from a faucet. So if there was anyone to watch, and learn Hebrew from, it was Freeda. She has a kind heart and is extremely altruistic. She cooks from the heart and feeds the homeless, the poor and elderly, and from my understanding, provides very affordable warm home cooked food for her patrons. Freeda owns a restaurant in Tel Aviv, called Freeda Hecht, 20 Ben Yehuda Street. She’s recently fallen on hard times, so if you’re in the area, and wish to experience delicious ethnic food (both Ashkenazi and Sepharadic), I highly recommend you venture over there on your next visit to Israel. The food on her Facebook page looks delicious! It’s a mitzvah (good deed) to increase the patronage to her feel good home establishment.

I digress, though…. The point of today’s blog post is to write about my first experience watching a so-called Israeli reality show. It’s more like a social experiment, where people are placed under a microscope (the cameras), in what can only be described as a pressure cooker. My daughter invited me to watch 5 האח הגדול (Big Brother Israel 5) which began airing last month. My feelings are mixed. In my experience, the Israeli society is a polyamorous society (I am referring to the open society, not the reclusive Orthodox community), where sex is just a matter of fact. To describe it as casual is an understatement. In any event, I began watching, and my expectations were low to begin with. Although, there are two outstanding characters (in all senses of the word) that completely exceeded my expectations– father-and-son team, Gili Meili (גילי מיילי) and  Roni Meili (רוני מיילי). Although it is safe to write that these men and I would never have any interaction (as we both come from two different backgrounds) if I lived or visited Israel, I have the utmost admiration for them. They have experienced gross injustice (the premise of my book), and it all centers around a 25-year-old woman, called Tehunya Rubelטהוניה רובל). Tehunya, at first glance, is a beautiful Ethiopian tall woman, who looks like queen Sheeba. However, in my opinion, she is satan disguised in a human’s body. She is a great disappointment to my memory and impression of Ethiopian Jews. In 1985, six months before I left Israel for good, there was a diaspora of Jewish Ethiopians in which I was lucky to have been a part of. They arrived to Israel with sheets on their backs holding their most valued possessions. The sheets were their sacs. I will never forget their timid gestures, and the fear in their eyes! It was heartbreaking, but gratifying at the same time. I was excited to welcome them to my small Israeli town. It was Hannukah 1985. I made hundreds of sufganyot (jelly donuts) and brought them with me to hand out to them. My friends from New York were there to experience this monumental event too (they later arranged to have 500 pairs of new shoes shipped to my town for donation). I write this because it’s important that you as the reader understand that I am not a racist, prejudice or the like. What infuriates me is that the race card is played in Israel as well. Anyone that voices their disdain about Tehunya Rubelטהוניה רובל) is accused of being a racist, or in Hebrew גזען. Not the case!

The thought of the Israeli society and way of life awakens so many negative emotions in me. My second part of my book centers around the injustice and corruption I experienced in Israel! So much of Israeli life is based on dishonesty and injustice. Unfortunately, watching Big Brother Israel 5 (האח הגדול 5) has brought those feelings to the surface.

The injustice centers around the producers of Big Brother Israel (האח הגדול), Tehunya Rubel (טהוניה רובל), Gili Meilie (גילי מיילי) and his father, Roni Meilie (רוני מיילי). The injustice, lies and corruption of the show which chooses to accept the cursing and violent threats of a woman, and the crucifixion of Gili and Roni Meilie is appalling! If you’re against injustice, care about the state of Israel, and are interested in Israeli society, I urge you to read part 2 of this blog post. At the very least, I hope it opens up a much-needed dialogue for the sake of the advancement of a civilized society.

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, and have the chance to do so, I 100% stand behind Gilie and Roni Meilie. They have restored my faith in authenticity and despite the elder Meilie being ousted from the show, they continue to show class and fight for what is right. They are 100% just.

Part 2 to follow.