The way she played the game

Surprise 'Survivor' winner Na'ama Kasri proves there's more to winning than being the best.

Naama Kasri 88 224 (photo credit: Alon Algem)
Naama Kasri 88 224
(photo credit: Alon Algem)
The first season of the reality show Survivor (Hisardut) came to a surprising end Saturday night as finalist Na'ama Kasri was voted "the last survivor" by her fellow castaways. Kasri defeated crowd favorite and Go Magazine's "Israel's Sexiest Man" Noam Tur by five votes to four, while island villain Dan Mano, also a finalist, received zero votes and zero sympathy from his peers. Prior to the live filming of the final episode at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena, which raked in record-breaking ratings of 32-36 percent of viewers (1,206,000 people) for Channel 10, no one had given the 29-year-old mother-of-one from Karmiel a chance to win. In fact, according to the 400,000 viewers who text messaged in their votes Saturday night, Kasri only received 14% to Mano's 18% and Tur's overwhelming 68%. But for those that actually played the game with her - those whose vote really mattered - Kasri was deemed most deserving, or, at any rate, she was the one who deserved to lose the least. Mano, who offered to donate half the prize to needy children if he won, received a stinging reality check from those he ruthlessly and tirelessly plotted against for the entire 52-day stay on the Caribbean island. His fellow castaways decided to base their votes on the credo that "the ends do not justify the means," thus exposing the ultimate flaw in his scheme: Those that you've voted off in order to reach the final still must like you enough as a person to make you the winner. Tur, on the other hand, was well-liked and respected as a "worthy" adversary for his sportsman-like ethics, but wasn't considered a good strategist. And the fact that he spent most of his time alone on the island - after being voted off by his tribe - and didn't have to deal with the ugly social aspect of the game, worked against him. In the end, the castaways' final vote for their winner offered one simple message, which hopefully will resonate with the younger viewers: It's not only whether you win or lose that counts, but how you play the game.