Jewish Journal

Snippy Miri Ben-Ari

by Dikla Kadosh

February 25, 2008 | 3:02 pm

I hate to bash my own people, but I have been quite disconcerted by Israeli women in the media limelight recently.

Bar Refaeli, who was the subject of several blog posts over the past few months, is an arrogant air head with no sense of loyalty to her country and a personality that’s as bland as she is beautiful.

Quoting from the Sports Illustrated Q&A: Refaeli’s favorite thing to do on a rainy day: “stay in bed and watch movies.” If she had nothing important to do tomorrow, she would “go to bed, watch some TV and sleep.” If she had $10 to spend right now, she would “go to the movies.”

How dull can you be?

Then there’s Ninette Tayeb, Israel’s reigning diva. Tayeb won Israel’s version of American Idol in 2003 and has become one of the most beloved celebrities in the country. She is the headliner for the Israeli Consulate’s “Live For Sderot” Feb. 26 concert, which raises funds for the children of the rocket-riddled town near the Gaza Strip and kicks off the Israel at 60 celebrations in Los Angeles.

I wrote a Jewish Journal article about the concert, which is also Tayeb’s U.S. debut, but could not get an interview with the pop icon.

I had to submit my questions, via the Israeli Consulate, to her PR people for approval, who were then supposed to set up a phone interview. Days went by and I heard nothing from Tayeb’s camp. Then at the last minute, a day after my deadline, I got word from the Consulate that Tayeb was sick and was “saving her voice for the concert.”

She managed, in the throes of her illness, to answer two of the six questions I asked, neither one of which was a riveting response worthy of a smart, successful Israeli superstar who is looking to make an impression on a discerning L.A. audience.

Last, and certainly the most disappointing of the Israeli women I’ve recently come across is “hip hop violinist” Miri Ben-Ari, who we’ve blogged about in the past in glowing terms. A stunning performer, she surprised me with her brusque manner in a phone interview about the “Live For Sderot” concert, at which she will be performing the opening song.

“I really don’t have time for this,” she said as soon as her publicist connected us. “This interview was not part of my schedule today.” Nice to talk to you too, Miri.

Then, when I asked her what she has been up to in the last few weeks, she retorted abruptly, “You know, you should really get a copy of my updated bio from my publicist and read what I’ve done for yourself.”

When asked if she had ever worked with Ninette Tayeb before, she snapped, “No, I’m not really familiar with her work. She’s an Israeli artist, right?” Unless Ben-Ari has been locked in a sound-proof studio since 2003, there is no way she has never heard of Tayeb. Every Israeli knows who she is - the now bald-headed singer and actress is everywhere!

Perhaps the answer lies in another one of her tart remarks: “I’m based in New York. I’m an American artist.” Really? Last time I read your bio, you were born and raised in Israel.

As international representatives of my country, I expect these women to be bright not just beautiful. Kind-hearted, not just talented. Proud, of their heritage and not just their own commercial success.

Am I asking for too much, ladies?

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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