PETITE ACTRESS Liraz Charchi will celebrate her 31st birthday on May 31 in New York. Charchi, the niece of singer Rita, flew last week to the Big Apple for the shooting of the thriller movie Fair Game - but she almost didn't make it. In fact, due to bureaucratic wrangling, her departure from Israel was delayed by a week. The reason: Charchi is of Iranian background, and the Americans are wary of issuing visas to people with roots in that part of the world. The fact that she's Jewish and an Israeli citizen didn't hold much sway.
ISRAELI ACTRESSES seem to be on a career roll in the US. Noa Tishby is among the current crop of trailblazers, and Ayelet Zurer is now costarring with Tom Hanks in Angels and Demons. Zurer has been in Hollywood for quite a while and has several other credits under her belt. Model and actress Gal Gadot is also capturing headlines with her performance in Fast & Furious, and she made a sufficient impression on the advertising department at Bloomingdales to have the prestigious chain choose her as its presenter for its next season. Gadot, who on the home front is the presenter for Castro, celebrated her 24th birthday three weeks ago, and the Bloomingdales offer was a perfect birthday gift.
FORMER MAARIV editor Amnon Dankner, who in his younger years was a spokesman for a government ministry and later for the Jewish Agency before embarking on a career as a journalist, is also a well known author and television personality. Now, at age 63, he's moving on to yet another career as an actor in the new television series Polishuk. He will play Humi Schalit, a character modeled on his good friend, the late Tommy Lapid. People who were familiar with both of them and who recently saw a preview episode of the series, which will premiere in June on Channel 2, say that Dankner has uncannily captured Lapid's persona.
MABAT VIEWERS with an eye for detail may have noticed that Merav Miller is wearing a sparkler on her ring finger. The Channel 1 news presenter recently got engaged to Eyal Sherman, who has been her significant other for the past two years.
THE FACT that she's in her eighth month of pregnancy did not deter Keren Yedaya from attending the Cannes Film Festival, where her film Jaffa (known in Hebrew as Kalat Hayam) was shown at a special screening. Also on hand were the stars of the film: Dana Ivgy, Mahmud Shalaby, Ronit Elkabetz and Moni Moshonov. Set in Jaffa, the film is about a romance between a young Jewish woman and a handsome Arab with captivating eyes. Elkabetz and Moshonov appear as the young woman's parents.
AMONG THE other Israelis who were in Cannes last week was Haim Tabakman, director of the controversial, taboo-breaking drama Eyes Wide Open, along with stars of the film: Ran Danker, Zohar Strauss and Tinkerbell, with clean-shaven Danker and Strauss bearing absolutely no resemblance to the ultra-Orthodox characters they play in the film.
DUE TO tie the knot next month, actor Ori Pfeffer - who divides his time between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles - and model and actress Yael Goldman - who among other assignments is the presenter for international high-class jewelry company H. Stern - stopped off at one of the better-known branches of the chain to purchase a wedding band. Nava Barak and Shalom Zinger visited the same branch to choose an engagement ring. Until falling in love with Goldman at first sight, Pfeffer used to be known as one of the most eligible and elusive bachelors. His name was linked with a number of actresses and models whom he squired for more than just a date or two. One of the actresses was Efrat Boimwald, who last week married businessman Ofer Eisenberg.
DURING HER most recent visit home, Moran Atias, who is a television superstar in Italy, had two major reasons to be excited. One was that together with Julio Bazo, she was mistress of ceremonies at the spectacular peace concert in the Beit She'an Amphitheater in honor of Pope Benedict XVI that was broadcast live to 26 countries. The other was the celebration of her 28th birthday. Both events were slightly marred: the first because her hairdresser didn't show up - but that problem was soon overcome by a Tiberias hairdresser who responded to an emergency call. The second was at the birthday party organized by Hamashbir CEO Assaf Ben-Dov at the High Windows Club in Tel Aviv. When she's in Israel, Atias is the presenter for Hamashbir, and it was therefore perfectly natural for the head of the department store chain to throw a celebration in her honor. The problem was that the bouncers had not been primed that Atias's mother Yael, who lives in Haifa and had specially come to Tel Aviv to join in the festivities, was among the invitees. Mama had to wait outside for nearly a quarter of an hour until the bouncers relented.