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(photo credit: Courtesy )
HOLLYWOOD HOPEFULS Aki Avni and Michal Yanai were back in Israel last week to shoot the first episode of the new YES drama Maybe this Time, which deals with the hopes and frustrations of the dating game. Both actors' US careers are on the upswing: Yanai will appear next year in 88 Minutes, a psychological drama with Al Pacino, while Avni will appear in Homeland Security, an action comedy headlined by Antonio Banderas and Meg Ryan.
ACTOR AND SINGER Haim Topol has played Tevye the Dairyman more than 2,000 times in different productions of Fiddler on the Roof. The Tel Aviv-born actor portrayed the character more than 400 times on the London stage alone before starring in the 1971 Hollywood version of the musical, receiving an Oscar nomination the following year.
After traveling to Australia 35 years ago to promote the movie, Topol returned Down Under a year ago to play Tevye in a two-month theatrical run of Fiddler in Sydney. At 70 years old, the actor won over his critics, one of whom described Topol as "every bit as energetic and engaging as he is in the film version" despite the passage of time.
Topol recently received another call from Down Under, and in January will travel to Australia to play Tevye in Perth. While he's there, the actor will visit business tycoon Frank Lowy, a personal friend who's also the second richest person in Australia. (He's ranked 174th on the Forbes list of the world's richest people.)
A generous donor to Jewish causes, Lowy has a luxury home in Israel.
MORE THAN 20 years ago, print and broadcast journalist Gideon Reicher was chastised by the Israel Press Council for appearing in commercials. Reicher was not the only journalist making extra money this way, but at the time he was the only one whose face appeared in commercials.
The furor eventually died down, but the issue may reemerge now that former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner has been elected Press Council president. Ethical issues which have long lay dormant are now being revisited, with the current Press Council threatening to take disciplinary action against journalists in breach of certain professional guidelines. Any journalist whose face or voice are used in commercials may be summoned to a disciplinary tribunal.
The most flagrant offender at the present time is Yediot Aharonot columnist and Channel 2 talk show host Yair Lapid, whose bank account has grown since he started doing commercials for Bank Hapoalim. Another potential target of Dorner's revitalized Press Council is Gaby Gazit, who over the years has promoted a variety of products despite the objective outlook he's supposed to maintain on his current affairs show on Israel Radio.
IN ANOTHER instance of Annie Get Your Gun syndrome - a condition characterized by "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better"-style thinking - TV production company Reshet is opening a school to teach aspiring television performers what to do, and what not to do, in front of the camera.
Reshet's announcement follows a similar one by the Israel Broadcasting Authority, which will also be offering a course for would-be radio and television journalists. The course offered by Reshet will be slightly more expensive than the IBA's, with the latter charging NIS 5,000 and Reshet charging NIS 6,930.
Reshet's program will be run by veteran broadcaster Avri Gilad, who hosts the Reshet-produced The World This Morning on Channel 2.
THE INTERNET is abuzz with stories about the impending marriage between Borat comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and actress Isla Fisher, one of the key players in the 2005 comedy smash Wedding Crashers. After almost a year of conversion classes and lessons in Jewish cuisine, Fisher is on the verge of doing a double plunge in the mikve. The first will be part of the conversion process and the second will be on the eve of her wedding.
MOST PHOTOGRAPHS of Bar Rafaeli show the Israeli model in a swimsuit or sexy underwear. On a visit home last week for the birthday of her brother Tom, Rafaeli diverged from her normal routine, posing fully dressed - and with the slimmest cell phone on the market perched not at her ear, but in her mouth. Rapidly ascending the global modeling scene, Rafaeli signed with the cell phone's maker, Samsung, to promote its newest product last month.
IN AN interesting twist of fate, the election of Segolene Royal as the French Socialist Party's presidential candidate has triggered the resurrection of another famous Frenchwoman, Edith Piaf. No sooner had Royal outpaced her rivals than radio DJs began digging up classic Piaf recordings from the archives. The most frequently played of Piaf's songs in Israel is one of her best, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."