Israeli Judo Champion (and olympic bronze medalist) Arik Zeevi, along with my
left eye and my husband's right ear. We're not that short; he is actually that tall.)
So far, I've seen the singer Miri Mesika in a mall, the fat and thin guys from the Israeli Amazing Race in a Tel Aviv coffee house, and some girl from the "Mifratz HaAhava" (who I'm ashamed to say I recognized) in a pizza shop around the corner. I've also actually met the Israeli judo champion, Arik Zeevi... and thanks to this post, I'm Facebook friends with Maya from the Israeli Amazing Race. My husband regularly sits next to the Israeli equivalent to Dr. Phil on the train to Tel Aviv.
This list isn't all that impressive, but in my defense, reality TV stars become actual stars more quickly in Israel than in the US. (The blondiniots from the Israeli Amazing Race are now doing condom commercials.) Yet in 24 years of life in the US, my closest encounter with a celebrity came from knowing someone who went to high school with people who went to high school with Christina Aguilera. I never once saw anyone I recognized from national TV without specifically going somewhere to do so. By contrast, we ran into all of the people in the paragraph above within the last year.
Here's the thing: Israel is really, really small. You are likely to run into people you see on TV because there simply aren't many places for them to go. National news in Israel is equivalent to local news in the US; you see a house fire and probably know someone who lives near that street. (This might be one reason why Israelis watch the nightly news obsessively, gasping at any act of violence, shocked that someone in their "neighborhood" could be capable of murder or theft.) Imagine if every reality TV show cast only people from the three cities closest to your home. If you don't see someone you recognize from TV in Israel, you probably just don't pay enough attention.
Have you had any close encounters with celebrities in Israel or in the US?