Begin's great grandson makes a splash - but not the right kind - on Ninja Israel

But this wasn't the year for a Begin to begin the Ninja finals.

By
August 12, 2019 16:28
1 minute read.
Begin's great grandson makes a splash - but not the right kind - on Ninja Israel

Matan Zalmanovitcz, the great-grandson of late prime minister Menachem Begin . (photo credit: HAGAY HACOHEN)

Fans of the wildly popular show, Ninja Israel, held their breath Sunday night to see whether Matan Zalmanovich, a great-grandson of former prime minister Menachem Begin (1913-1992), would make history of a very different kind from his illustrious ancestor by advancing to the finals of the competition.

But the lanky, bearded soccer player from Ness Ziona made a splash – but not the right kind – when he fell and landed in the pool. Zalmanovich, who started as a judoka and then moved on to soccer, playing for a number of professional teams before becoming a goalie for Sektzia Ness Ziona, picked himself up gracefully and trotted off.

In an interview aired before the competition with hosts Rotem Sela and Assi Ezer, Zalmanovich and his mother, Begin’s granddaughter, talked about being related to such a legendary figure.
 People constantly expect him to know details of his celebrated great-grandfather’s history, he said.

“Matan, tell us about the Altalena operation. What happened there?” he recalled being asked. He smiled and was a good sport as Ezer imitated the cadences of the legendary statesman.

Zalmanovich isn't the only recent contestant from a famous family who has recently tried to wiggle and swing his way to the top  Ninja Israel. Olympic medal winner Ori Sasson's brother appeared as a contestant, as well as Sheli Yachimovich's nephew and Avi Kushnir's son.

But this wasn't the year for a Begin to begin the Ninja finals.


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