Meet Love Island's first Jewish contestant

Participants on the British reality dating show struggled to pronounce Eyal Booker's Israeli name.

Eyal Booker, the first Jewish contestant on British reality TV show 'Love Island' (photo credit: ITV)
Eyal Booker, the first Jewish contestant on British reality TV show 'Love Island'
(photo credit: ITV)
He has tousled, golden curls, rock-hard abs and a Hebrew name. And he’s a contestant on Love Island, the UK’s hugely popular reality dating series.
Eyal Booker, 22, a model and former pop singer from London, has an Israeli mother and went to the JFS Jewish day school in London. Since last week he’s been appearing on the reality TV series that has once again captivated much of the nation.
Love Island, back for its fourth season, officially became the ITV channel’s most-watched series ever when it returned to the airwaves on June 4, garnering more than 3 million viewers.
According to The Sun, Booker is the first Jewish contestant to ever appear on the show. In the week he has been on the series so far, Booker hasn’t made too many controversial waves, and his chiseled good looks have earned him thousands of new fans.
But, according to his family, he’s really just a nice Jewish boy from London.
Booker has two older brothers, Ariel and Tal, and a younger sister, Oriane. In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Tal said that he’s certain Israel and Judaism will come up during Eyal’s hopefully eight weeks on the show.
“Our mum is Israeli and that will come through on the show at some point, I am sure,” Tal said. “Israel can often be controversial to mention, but Eyal is very connected to it... He loves Israel, and Jewish values are very important to him, so I am sure it will come up.”
Judging by his Instagram feed, Booker was last in Israel in August 2016, when he enjoyed a couple of weeks tanning on the beach, spending time in clubs, working out and even doing some modeling. In October 2015, Booker donned a kippa in Tel Aviv to celebrate his mother’s wedding.
Booker appears to regularly spend time in Israel each summer, sharing a photo in August 2015 of “the most beautiful view of Tel Aviv and the only place I want to be spending my Saturday.” He also shares plenty of snaps with his family, including his sister Oriane, to whom he wished a happy bat mitzva two years ago.
Love Island, like many reality dating shows, is among the trashiest TV available. At the outset of each week, everyone in the villa on Spain’s Mallorca Island must couple up. At the end of the week, they get to decide if they want to stay with their partner or choose someone new. Whoever is “dumped” each week must leave until just one couple remains and is awarded £50,000 (NIS 240,000).
So far, Booker has been coupled up with Hayley Hughes, but she has a hard time pronouncing his given name (which means “strength” in Hebrew). Two days after their coupling, Hayley appeared to forget Booker’s name entirely, which doesn’t bode well for their future relationship. But there are still seven weeks left to find out.
Will Booker behave himself on the island or will he make his mother, Michal, turn away from the screen? “I’m a bit nervous but I think anyone would be!” Booker said in his pre-show promo interview.
“My parents, my sister and my Gran might see something that they don’t necessarily want to see. Besides that, I’m excited.”