When the soldier beat the dodger?

MK says 'Kochav Nolad' runner-up lost because she'd skipped the army.

By AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN, JTA
August 30, 2007 22:25
1 minute read.
When the soldier beat the dodger?

mauda 88. (photo credit: )

 
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A day after IDF soldier Boaz Mauda, 20, became the fifth winner of Channel 2's blockbuster Kochav Nolad, the focus turned to his runner-up, Marina Maximilian-Bluming. MK Yisrael Hasson (Israel Beiteinu) said disclosures during the contest that Maximilian-Bluming, 19, had not served in the army had cost her the crown. "The viewing audience has a hard time supporting draft-dodgers," Hasson wrote Maximilian-Bluming in a letter leaked to Israeli media Thursday. "For me, it is shocking that you decided to skip national military service or community service." Hasson called on the singer to don a uniform, saying it would help her career and conscience. "Your influence as a great artist would be greater, at times, than that of a legislator," he wrote, adding that Maximilian-Bluming had no chance of representing Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest - another major stepping-stone - unless she first committed to performing national service. Maximilian-Bluming had no immediate response. Mauda won the Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born; the local version of American Idol) contest on the shores of Lake Kinneret late Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 40,000. A poignant moment came when he embraced his disabled mother watching in a wheelchair during his victory encore. It appeared that viewers may have voted for Mauda, whose image was that of a "Yemenite cowboy," partly because he served in the IDF, following an outcry over at least four contestants evading service. Though the four celebrity judges had placed Mauda a close second after Maximilian-Bluming, his stronger solo performance with a song called "Menagen Veshar" (Play and Sing) won him 50 percent of the popular vote. A record 900,000 votes were tallied, according to presenter Zvika Pik. The Shabbat-observant Moshav Elyakim resident with a bell-like voice was feted far into Thursday morning by fans and a huge extended family. Producers of Kochav Nolad previously rebuffed public censure on the IDF issue, saying that contestants who had not been drafted had sound legal reasons. Last year's winner, Jacko Eisenberg of Netanya, elicited angry responses when he justified draft-dodging, saying he did not think serving in the IDF was necessary. Eisenberg, who later apologized, appeared in Wednesday's night's final concert, singing a song from his new album. This time, he was well received.

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