‘Who are you?’ Israeli pop star connects with rabbi on plane

Without realizing that he was seated next to her, the rabbi turned to the woman on his left and asked, “Who’s Noa?”

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Two prominent Israelis from wildly different walks of life connected during a chance encounter on a Tel Aviv-bound flight, snapping a picture together that quickly went viral on Hebrew-language social media.

Pop star Noa Kirel, 22, represented Israel in the international song contest Eurovision, securing the Jewish state a third-place win during the competition held last Saturday.

On a commercial flight back to Israel transporting Kirel and her crew, all the screens on the airplane displayed a message reading “Congratulations Noa. We’re proud of you.”

According to a post by Kirel about the incident, Yosef Zvi Rimon, who is the Chief Rabbi of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, was perplexed by the message.

Rimon, who does not keep up with pop culture, was curious as to what the woman had done to deserve the public praise. Without realizing that he was seated next to her, the rabbi turned to the woman on his left and asked, “Who’s Noa?”

Kirel promptly replied “That’s me!” Rimon asked her what she had accomplished, and she explained that she came in third place in Eurovision.

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“She and her mother started telling me that her grandfather was a rabbi and a great scholar, and Noa said that at Eurovision, she recited the morning prayer and did not use her cell phone on Shabbat,” Rimon was quoted as saying by Ynet.

“She asked me what I do. I told her that I am the rabbi of Gush Etzion, and if she ever has a question, she can reach out. So she got excited and asked for my number. She took a selfie and sent me the picture.”

Kirel, who is one of the most popular singers in Israel, came under fire from critics for her Eurovision routine, which featured highly sexualized dance moves and a provocative outfit.

Radio commentator Shai Goldstein slammed Kirel’s performance after a video of the rehearsal was released, calling it “dancing that belongs in a dark strip club” and pushing back against the singer’s claim that the number was empowering for women.

“There’s no female empowerment here… just sexual exploitation of a young and confused girl, who sadly, people have been making money off of since she was a teenager.”