by Dudi Caspi
Earlier this week, the TBS funnyman showed a special report, in a segment that “tackled” the ongoing political tension between Israel and Iran, which featured footage shot in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The special report features comedy website Funny Or Die’s own “Billy on the Street” host, Billy Eichner, in his sophomore sketch on “Conan”.
Eichner previously covered last February’s Super Bowl XLVI for O’Brien, and in a twist focused on Madonna’s much publicized halftime show, stated “I hate football!”. Needless to say the current events were not the topic this time around as well, but rather the launch of Madonna’s tour.
In the new sketch, Eichner starts off abruptly addressing people on a New York City street, asking for their thoughts on the Iranian nuclear threat, but soon changes the subject to his favorite topic – Madonna. He then travels to Israel to get a closer in depth view of the excitement, or lack there of, ahead of Madonna’s concert. He even sneaks backstage and grabs one of her boots.
And if the momentum of airing the report seems a little too late, as the show actually took place four weeks ago, the promoters intent is probably to remind US audiences that the material girl will hit North American stages in the fall.
Mario Balotelli, the black Italian soccer star whose goals have fired Italy into the final of the Euro 2012 soccer championships on Sunday, was raised by a Jewish Italian foster mother from the age of three.
The eccentric, talented, headline-making forward, who was born Mario Barwuah to immigrants from Ghana in Palermo, rushed over to embrace his foster mother, Silvia Balotelli, after Thursday’s win over Germany, which was secured by two Balotelli goals, had given Italy a place in Sunday’s final against Spain.
Along with other members of the Italian team, Balotelli had visited Auschwitz earlier this month before the start of the tournament, which is being co-hosted by Poland, and he was reportedly the player most affected by the visit.
According to a Radio Netherlands report earlier this week, Balotelli sat down alone on the train tracks at the death camp, staring silently ahead. “A while later, he tells his team-mates about a box of letters that his Jewish adoptive mother kept underneath her bed. He had never told anyone.”
Some neo-Nazi groups, in Italy and beyond, who had already been abusing the player because he is black, are now also targeting him for his Jewish “ancestry.” One racist on an extremist web-site, Stormfront, wrote recently: “Balotelli’s black and he’s Jewish. He should play for Israel, not Italy.”
Balotelli, 21, was one of four children born to Christian parents Thomas and Rose Barwuah, immigrants from Ghana. He suffered with life-threatening health issues, requiring frequent intestinal surgery, and his poor health put a heavy strain on his already impoverished family. After they sought state assistance following a move to Milan, the authorities suggested he be placed into foster care, according to the Radio Netherlands report, which is partly based on his biological parents’ account:
“That’s how Mario Barwuah came into contact with the Balotellis” — Francesco and Silvia – ”a white family who lived in a villa in a small nearby village. At first, he stayed at the Balotellis during the week and returned to his family on weekends. But after a while things changed. Mario started to treat his (biological) parents with indifference. Ultimately, he took his weekday family’s surname.”
When he became successful as a soccer player, his biological parents sought to re-enter his life, but Balotelli rejected them as “glory hunters.”
Despite his unpromising health and complex family background, Balotelli proved to be a soccer prodigy, becoming the youngest player ever to play in Italy’s third division, at age 15, and ultimately impressing as a player for top Italian side Inter Milan. He then moved to England’s Manchester City, with whom he won the Premier League title this past season.
At the same time, he has been a figure of controversy, ridicule and affection over the years — sporting eccentric hair-styles, once having his UK home set on fire by errant fireworks, and being sent off intermittently for undisciplined behavior on the field.
At the Euro championships, however, he has been one of the players of the tournament. As regards racist abuse, his coach Cesare Prandelli said this week: “This is a social problem. If Mario gets any problem, I’ll hug him on the pitch.”
Prandelli has had his difficulties with Balotelli too, dropping him from one of the tournament’s earlier games, but his performance against Germany seems certain to ensure he’ll play in the final.
The player described the victory against Germany as “the most wonderful night of my life so far,” adding, “but I hope Sunday is even better.”
Dedicating his goals to “my mother,” who had come from Italy to watch him play, Balotelli said: ”At the end of the game when I went to my mother, that was the best moment. I told her these goals were for her. I waited a long time for this moment, especially as my mother is not young anymore and can’t travel far, so I had to make her happy when she came all the way here. My father will be in Kiev for the final too.”
Source: Times Of Israel
Just as Lior Eliyahu seemed as far off the NBA radar as it’s possible to be he has suddenly reappeared as the proverbial “throw-in,” in a trade between the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Eliyahu, who was drafted by the Orlando Magic six years ago and subsequently traded his rights to Houston, was never given serious consideration by the Rockets. Now his NBA dreams seem to have found a new lease on life with his acquisition by the Timberwolves, announced this week.
Houston traded forward Chase Budinger and the draft rights to Eliyahu for Minnesota’s 18th pick in the draft, in an effort to sweeten a deal they are putting together in the hopes of obtaining Dwight Howard from Orlando.
Eliyahu will be going the Wolves summer camp with the aim of winning a roster spot. But people here are already wondering how realistic are his chances of joining Omri Casspi as the only Israelis in the NBA. In terms of natural talent and athletic ability Eliyahu is more than Casspi’s equal. His main problems throughout the years have been inconsistency and mental errors. When on form, he could certainly hold his own in an NBA contest.
The Timberwolves are a team with many needs, so Eliyahu will definitely get an opportunity. They began this past season surprisingly strong with Kevin Love having a breakout season and becoming a superstar and rookie Ricky Rubio dazzling the league with his inventive playmaking. The Wolves slumped badly on offense and defense after Rubio went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, with few experts having realized what a valuable defender the Spaniard had been.
What the Wolves desperately need are effective perimeter players, and Budinger and his outside shooting skills will definitely help. Outside shooting is hardly Eliyahu’s forte and his close-to-the-basket game could interfere with Love’s style of play.
On the other hand, David Adelman is a veteran coach who is excellent at getting the most out of his players, and Rubio, after his recovery, should continue to improve the game of all his teammates.
With local fans wondering who could possibly be the next Israeli on the NBA horizon, Eliyahu has unexpectedly become the answer.
Italian ice cream shop La Genda created the flavor with ground chickpeas, tahini, vanilla, sugar and stabilizers.
“I am a hummus freak. I always thought that one day we should make ice cream out of hummus, and after many experiments, we checked the right temperature, the right kind of grains, and achieved the perfect product,” said owner Michael Mina to an Israeli television station.
Ice cream maker Boris Schwartz said the flavor has the familiar taste of hummus but that “it is a little sweeter than usual.”
“It is a little strange, not for everyone, it’s for people who like special things,” said Schwartz.
One taste tester wrote, “It is supposed to have some chickpeas and olive oil in it as well, but it actually tastes the most like lemony Halva (halva is made from tahini and honey or sugar(sic)).”
Afraid to try the dip-inspired treat? The chain offers over thirty flavors for patrons trying to beat the heat.
“We have prepared a few other kinds of ice cream, an avocado ice cream, and two weeks ago tried garlic ice cream. We are trying to renew ourselves,” said Schwartz.
Miri, whom Obama called an “outstanding talent,” was delighted to be an advocate for the President’s re-election.
“It was a great honor to support President Obama and his vision to move the country forward. I moved to America from Israel without my family, without money, I hardly spoke English; I had my violin and a dream. Supporting President Obama gives me the chance to support this American dream,” she says.
Miri Ben-Ari is also the CEO and co-founder of Gedenk (“Remember”), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness among young people about the Jewish Holocaust.
The fundraising reception does not mark the first time Miri Ben-Ari has shown her support for President Obama. In 2011, Miri performed at the White House at a women’s mentoring event hosted by Michelle Obama, who had invited 22 remarkable women from different walks of life to mentor and inspire young students.
About Miri Ben-Ari
A Grammy Award-Winning violinist originally from Israel, Miri Ben-Ari has created her own unique sound by a revolutionary fusion of classical style with jazz, R&B and hip hop. This classically trained musician has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Patti Labelle, Brandy, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson and John Legend. She studied under the late classical master Isaac Stern and has earned the honor from New York’s Apollo Theater as an Apollo Legend. She is also known as The Hip Hop Violinist, the title of her latest album (Universal Records).
Miri was honored as an “International Jewish Women to Watch” in 2007, she received the 2008 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award, the American Society for Yad Vashem 2011 Young Leadership Associates Remembrance Award and is the first Israeli to receive the Martin Luther King Award from Israeli President, Shimon Peres. In 2011 Miri Ben-Ari was invited by America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, as a “Remarkable Woman” Mentor to be a part of the annual celebration of Women’s History Month and to perform at the White House.