Picture of logo of the Israeli version of Celebrity Big Brother.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 15 people who entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in the outskirts of Jerusalem on Saturday evening could hardly be classified as famous.
Many, if not most of the faces are unrecognizable to average Israelis. But two of the names stood out on the list of D-listers and social media influencers: Orly Revivo and Hisham Suleiman.
Revivo won’t be recognized from a TV series, a film or even from social media. Rather, she’s best known to Israelis as “Aleph,” the main accuser against former president Moshe Katsav
, who in 2011 was sentenced to prison for rape. Revivo, who worked with Katsav when he was tourism minister, accused him of raping and sexually assaulting her. Throughout the trial, Revivo was only known as “Aleph” – but in 2013, after Katsav was in prison, she came forward and told her story in a documentary.
“They called me a whore, they called me a femme fatale, they said horrible things about me,” Revivo said in a promo video for the Reshet reality show. She said it took a lot of strength and therapy to get through the experience, and explained the decision to reveal her identity years ago. “The fact that I was hiding: what was I hiding? And why should I have been hiding?”
Suleiman, meanwhile, is known to viewers around the globe for his role in the first season of Fauda
as Taufiq, a Hamas terrorist.
“After great deliberation, total refusal and then falling in love with the idea, I’ve decided to enter the house,” Suleiman wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “[I was driven by] the desire to have an impact, and for the opportunity for you to get to know me as a person, a creator and a varied artist – who finds his country important and the people in it incredible. I’m excited to enter the most famous house in the nation.”
Revivo and Suleiman will be competing alongside journalist Neri Livneh, who was one of several women to accuse Keshet CEO Alex Gilady of sexual assault; Aviva Tavori, the ex-wife of singer Shimmy Tavori and mother of Ben-El Tavori – half of the pop duo Static and Ben-El; model Nataly Dadon; and a range of other personalities.
The premiere episode of the show was watched by 27.4% of the Israeli viewing public, an unusually high rating for Reshet – which, come Wednesday, will finally merge with Channel Ten.
Separately this month, the newest season of the Israeli reality series Goalstar
– which turns well-known Israeli personalities into a soccer team – began filming. Among the participants is another well-known face – for her role in a prominent Israeli trial. Only in this case, she’s a convicted criminal.
Shula Zaken, the former aide to prime minister Ehud Olmert – and who served around seven months in prison for bribery and fraud – will be back on TV screens later this year when the HOT series premieres.
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