Attention: WE HAVE MOVED!

ABBANIBI will continue to provide you the best of the best
of entertainment, gossip, and culture from Israel, but now it’s on our own
website! You can log on to
to get our featured Israeli artist of the week, peek at the calendar of Israeli
and Jewish events in America *AND* get your favorite blog items as a “Candy”!!

Also, instead of bothering our subscribers with a separate  email of every story that was uploaded, if you
subscribe now (here or on our new website) you’ll receive an email only once a
week, with a round-up of what’s happening in the Israeli culture etc., as well
as a glimpse of our featured artist of the week.

See you there!



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Next Jewish Star 2011: We Have a Winner!

Mexican singer Adam Kleinberg was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Hallelujah singing competition Thursday night in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. The team of judges, headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon and comprised of well-known Israeli musicians and producers such as Kobi Oshrat, Noam Gilor and DJ Skazi awarded Kleinberg the $8000 prize and the opportunity to record a duet with an Israeli artist. Kleinberg’s runner up is Oliver Ghnassia from Brussels, 19.

“I am so excited to be in Israel, it is a special feeling for me,” said Kleinberg after the contest. “The Hallelujah project was an amazing gift and coming in the first place is a dream come true.”

Hallelujah global Jewish singing contest was formed in 1992 by Eitan Gafni, and ran for three years, but a lack of funds led to its cancellation. In the beginning of 2011, Gafni decided to put his song contest out there again, after a friend of his son’s, who was a teenager at the time of the original contest ,returned home to Israel from an extended stay in Australia and encouraged him to help young Jews in the Diaspora reconnect to Israel through song.

Seven months later, and 30 finalists, ages 16-26, representing Jewish communities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, England, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Uruguay, arrived in Israel for a three-week tour of the country, and to work on their songs ahead of the competition.From these contestants ‘The Next Jewish Star’ was crowned, and now is headed for performances in Jewish communities around the globe.

A DVD of the contest is also being put together for distribution in Jewish venues around the world.

Contest plans for next year include holding auditions and semifinals in Jewish communities in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jewish Lifestyle, Music

Why Film ‘Jerusalem’ in Malta?

IT MIGHT SEEM ODD, BUT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS movies that are set in Jerusalem are actually filmed very often in other Mediterranean countries, like Malta, Morocco and Greece. Now Israel is trying to cash in on the multibillion-dollar industry and lure Hollywood producers to film in the Holy Land, by promising better tax breaks, terror attack insurance and handouts of up to $400,000.

According to conventional wisdom in Hollywood, Jerusalem is too volatile to ensure smooth filming on location. International insurance companies have traditionally refused to provide terrorism risk coverage, or have offered it at exorbitant prices.

For a long time, it didn’t make financial sense for the producers. While Israel in the 1980s attracted such star-studded productions as Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo 3” and Chuck Norris’ “The Delta Force,” it later lost out to other countries that started giving big tax incentives to producers.

Nowadays, most major Hollywood productions have preferred to set up their movies about Jerusalem elsewhere: “World War Z,” the new Brad Pitt movie, part of the plot of which takes place in Jerusalem, but is actually being currently filmed in Malta. “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” opens with Kevin Costner escaping from a prison in Jerusalem – but the movie was filmed in England and France. In Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” about Mossad assassinations of Palestinians who killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, a Tel Aviv beach promenade scene was filmed in Malta.

Part of the push to get Jerusalem into movie theaters is to present a more positive image of the city than the conflict seen in the news – “the Jerusalem that more than 3.5 billion people of faith around the world wish to see,” said Stephan Miller, spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

NBC has Picked Up Another Israeli Drama

Israeli formats continue to be hot in Hollywood. After ABC picked up the rights to ‘Gavoha & Greenbaum,’ now NBC has picked up the rights to the Israeli drama ‘Timrot Ashan’ (‘Pillars of Smoke’), created by Noah Stollman and Oded Davidoff.

The mystery drama, whose second season is about to start in Israel, is set in the rural Golan Heights area of Israel and follows the police investigation into the disappearance of a remote cult form the area.The police uncover the darkest secrets of the region and its inhabitants, as well as a grander political conspiracy and environmental disaster from which the cult members are attempting to escape. NBC executives describe the show as a mixture of ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Northern Exposure’ and ‘Lost.’

Peter Traugott (‘Samantha Who’) will executive produce the NBC version with his development executive Rachel Kaplan. Alongside Traugott, Israeli producer Alon Aranya, who imported the series stateside, is also listed as a producer for this project, in addition to him co-producing another Israeli drama-The Naked Truth- with former Dexter showrunner Clyde Phillips.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV

The Hit List: This Week’s Hottest Entertainment in Israel (Week 35, 2011)

Israel has gone on a Smurf-craze since ‘The Smurfs’ was released, and this week, even when the movie grossed a lot less than the weeks before, it’s still very high above the average grossing for a #1 Israeli movie. It has made more than $600,000, leaving ‘Rise of Planet of the Apes’ as a non-mover at number 2. ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, is this week’s highest new entry in the blockbusters’ chart.

In music, while there’s no change at the top 5 in the international air-play chart, there’s still a new number 1. The bizarre ‘Pata Pata’ gains 90 spins on the Israeli radio stations this week, and is brought to the top of the chart. In the domestic air-play chart, however, there’re a lot of changes. Last week’s number 1, Idan Yaniv, is kicked out of the top five, while former Israeli idol Idan Amedi is making a new entry at number 1, and there’s another new entry at #3 for the highly successful Mediterranean male vocalist, Moshe Peretz.

In television, we gave you a glimpse of what Israelis are watching on the biggest commercial channels in Israel, and besides the weekly news there’re two shows that are actually the biggest and most talked about at the moment.

The Israeli version of ‘Master Chef’ which airs twice a week and amazingly gets the #1 and #2 spots, and new original comedy ‘Sabrey Maranan,’ that follows the big Jewish family of a newly wedded couple. The comedy’s secret ingredients are its actors, most of them hugely famous in Israel for years, both on TV and in theater: Yehoram Gaon, Sandra Sade, Tuvya Tzafir and Yona Elian.

Music: Airplay Chart – International

1. Milk and Sugar Feat. Miriam Makeba and Jungle Brother – Hi-A Ma (Pata Pata)

2. Bruno Mars – Marry You
3. Sak Noel – Loca People
4. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
5. Maroon 5 Feat. Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

Music: Airplay Chart – Domestic (Israeli)

1. Idan Amedi – ‘Elayich’ (‘To You’)

2. Avihu Shabbat – ‘Ei Efshar Itach’ (‘Impossible with You’)
3. Moshe Peretz – ‘Elef Pe’amim’ (‘A Thousand Times’)
4. Yhuda Poliker – ‘Puma Puma’
5. Adir Getz – ‘Boey Nered El Hayam’ (‘Let’s Go Down to the Beach’)

Movies: Box Office Chart

1. The Smurfs ($652,237)

‘The Smurfs’ Israeli Promo: This is how it sounds in Hebrew

2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($235,427)
3. Horrible Bosses ($82,932)
4. Cowboys & Aliens ($70,616)
5. Captain America: The First Avenger ($69,749)

Rating: This Week’s Biggest Shows in Israel (Domestic, Commercial channels)

1. Master Chef – Israel (Wednesday) (740,000 Viewers)
2. Master Chef – Israel (Thursday) (705,000 Viewers)
3. Channel 2 Weekly News (Saturday) (667,000 Viewers)
4. Sabrey Maranan (Saturday) (665,000 Viewers)

5. Sabrey Maranan (Wednesday) (660,000 Viewers)


(Music Charts are provided by Media Forest, TV Chart by Keshet-Channel 2, Box Office chart is powered by Box Office Mojo)

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies, Music, The Hit List, TV

Sarai Givaty Covers Bruno Mars

While R&B Sensation Bruno Mars is currently at #1 with his recent hit ‘Marry You,’ Israeli singer-songwriter-model-actress Sarai Givaty releases a cover of his famous hit ‘Grenade,’ in her native country this week.

Earlier this year, when Sarai toured radio stations in Israel in order to promote her 1st single ‘Paris,’ she performed this song live in several studios. The good responses encouraged her to record the song with talented American producer Michael Wandmacher (“Khursor”) who usually writes music for movies and Television (“Piranha,” “The 6th Day”).

Also this week, Sarai is on the cover of “Pnai Plus” (The ‘Entertainment Weekly’ of Israel), revealing that the first time her music talent was discovered was on the set of an Enrique Iglesias music video. “I was shooting this video with Enrique in 2007, and in between shooting I played the piano that was on set,” she told the magazine. “It really got everyone’s attention there and people wanted me to meet some people in the industry in order to go forward as a musician, and I just went on with it. We formed a band and I toured the clubs in LA. Each night we played there were like
400-500 people in the crowd.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Uri Geller Amazes Nigeria, Plus New Show in Ukraine

Uri Geller, an international phenomenon who is mostly known for bending spoons with his mind on live TV and stopping the Big Ben in London, is now mostly a motivational inspirational speaker who goes around the world and gives fascinating lectures, based on his extremely wide experience.

Earlier this week he visited Lagos, Nigeria, addressing leaders of the business community, saying that he believes that the secret of success in business is originality. “If you are original in your thinking you will succeed,” he said. “You don’t try one thing and when you fail you give up. No! You try many things because the more you try the more opportunities that open for you and you don’t close your mind on one track, you open up your mind for many possibilities.”

Uri also commented about the partners one should choose for a business. “You become a partner to somebody you trust. Get somebody to share the risk of the business with you and encourage everyone to use their minds in the success process . The secret of success is to visualize what you want to achieve,” he said. “Play it in your mind like the movie and say to yourself that this is going to work, this is going to happen and come to my life. When we think about anything we are creating energy, mind energy.”

This week Uri Geller heads to the Ukraine, to launch a live TV reality-based show, “Phenomenon”, that aims to find the next Uri Geller. The show is based on an Israeli show that aired a few years ago and crowned Lior Suchard as the next Israeli Uri Geller. Since then Suschard has had international success, had his own show in Vegas, and appeared on several talk shows, including Tonight with Jay Leno. The next Ukrainian Uri Geller premieres on August 29, and will continue every Monday for 11 weeks.

Later this year Mr. Geller is scheduled to speak in England (September 22) and Finland (November 26).

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle