An upscale Canadian 'shadchanit' is trolling Tel Aviv for her wealthy foreign clients.
By REBECCA BASKIN
A Montreal matchmaker has come to Tel Aviv in search of beautiful Israeli women - women looking for love, she says, not money or a green card - to set up with her foreign Jewish clients.
Margaux Chetrit has been matchmaking unofficially since age 10, but launched her matchmaking business, Three Matches, with her mother about a year ago. This is the company's first foray into the Israeli dating scene, and Chetrit is convinced that she will find women who are looking for more than an easy route to foreign citizenship.
"So many Israeli women want the green card, but we're stressing it's about love," she said.
Since her arrival in Israel, Chetrit has been trolling the streets, restaurants and beauty parlors of Tel Aviv, looking for women who fit the criteria of her wealthy foreign clientele.
Says Chetrit, "We have a lot of Jewish clients, foreign clients, from Montreal, New York and Miami, and they are all just looking for Jewish women but they are done with their city's scene... All Jewish men are very attracted to Israeli women, they think they are so tough because of the army, and beautiful because of all of the emerging supermodels.
"Wherever I am, I am looking for people," she says. "If I see a characteristic that might attract a client I already have, I approach them and give them my card and invite them for an interview," explains Chetrit.
She says that she has had mostly positive reactions because, as she says, "single people are always very excited to break their single-dom."
With the abundance of matchmakers already in Israel, Chetrit was unsure about how she would do here. However, she says that it is going "surprisingly well" - perhaps, she thinks, because of the foreign appeal.
Chetrit admits that there have been some problems with what she calls "green-card opportunism." She says that the intense interview process that she employs does a good job of vetting out those who would use her services for the wrong reasons.
"We invite all the women and men that seem appealing to us for an interview," she explains. "Not just a superficial interview - a two-hour interview. It's really intense, and we're asking serious questions."
Her foreign clients are not blind to the possible ulterior motives of Israeli women seeking Chetrit's services. "Some of the men see what women might be looking for, and they trust me to avoid opportunists."
She says that the interview is about sorting out these people, and that she sees herself as a "dating sieve."
"We can't know 100% [about peoples' intentions]; people can fool us," she says. "But most people are very transparent. They won't try to cover up [their intentions], or they won't do it in a smart way.
"Most people are honest about it, they will show us that they are into the American dream, and those are the people that we can't accept. We like the people that are really loyal to Israel."
Chetrit describes the process as "very sophisticated" and "almost foolproof," and says that the database is kept small so that each client can receive individual attention.
She says that most of the women she has been meeting have motives other than citizenship and wealth for pursuing a match abroad.
"Some people are just done with the Israeli scene, and are looking for more sophisticated men, a more international dating experience. I hear from a lot of women here that they find Israeli men too macho, and are looking for something else. Maybe movies are responsible for [their idea that] non-Israeli men are much more gentlemanly and chivalrous," she says.
Chetrit is, at this point, only looking to match her Israeli clients with clients abroad - not with each other. She is only looking for Israelis who speak English and are willing to travel.
She says, though, that many of her Jewish clients abroad that are especially looking for Israeli women travel a lot anyway, and have a strong connection to Israel.
The company's efforts have, so far, led to one marriage.
She says that, since arriving in Israel, she has "two really good matches... two women that I met here for two specific men. One in Montreal, one in New York. I think I also recruited some really good women for our database."
She says that her services differ from Web sites like J-Date because of the personal attention dedicated to each match.
"On J-Date," explains Chetrit, "you get to choose who you are going to date, and more likely than not you are going to go with the best-looking person. It's basically the looks that are playing the big role... With Three Matches, we are looking for connections. J-Date is more superficial, and [its matches are] more likely to fail."
At the price of $1,000 per year, membership in Three Matches is far from inexpensive. Chetrit describes it as an "upscale" service, and says that most of her clients are wealthy.
"That's why I am not intensely advertising, but personally recruiting people," she says, adding that, while she can't promise true love, she can promise "a date you'll be satisfied with."
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