Gordon Tours Israel Blog

7 Israelis you need to know

Icon September 24, 2019
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Israel is known for it’s bustling high tech scene, delicious foods and fabulous beaches. Yet one of our most important exports is remarkable talent. Whether it’s in films, sports, business or music, Israelies are making waves around the world. Let’s meet some of these individuals, each of them highly successful in their respective fields.

Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot

Known for her stellar performances in movies such as The Fast and the Furious, Wonder Woman, and The Justice League, Gadot is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. After completing high school, Gadot served in the Israeli army as a combat instructor. These days aside from being one of Hollywood’s most famous stars, she remains a champion for women’s rights, and proudly identifies as an Israeli whenever promoting her projects around the world.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is an Oscar-award winning actress and director who was born in Israel. A proud Israeli-American, Portman’s extensive filmography includes huge blockbusters (such as Star Wars), as well as lower budget, local films such as Amos Gitai’s Free Zone. A Harvard graduate, and a social, environmental and political activist, Portman continues to be a strident defender of women’s rights and is a highly influential celebrity around the world.

Lior Raz

Lior Raz

Lior Raz is an actor and a screenwriter, best known to international audiences as the co-creator of the wildly popular, award-winning series “Fauda”. Currently available on Netflix, the show examines the complicated conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Having served in the Duvdevan unit in the Israeli army, Raz experienced firsthand the many dramatic and intense scenes he acts out on TV screens around the world. Fun fact: Back in 1993, before becoming a famous actor, he was hired by a security contracting firm to become Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodyguard!

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Dan Ariely

While born in New York City, Dan Ariely emigrated to Israel with his family when he was three years old. A Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, Ariely is known as a best-selling author (with three New York Times bestsellers as well as a widely popular advice column in the Wall Street Journal), a visionary businessman (co-founding several successful companies including Timeful, Genie and Shapa) and a popular speaker, generating over 15 million views over several of his Ted Talks on Youtube.

Ariely also produced and appeared in several films including The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies. In 2018 Ariely was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.

Omri Casspi

Omri Casspi

As the only Israeli currently in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Omri Casspi is one of the most well-known Israelies in sports. At only 29 years old, Casspi has made quite an impact on the game, playing for various NBA teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Always a proud ambassador for Israel, he was quoted as saying: “Being the only Israeli (on the team), I know a lot of people back home are following us. I don’t take that lightly.”

Nuseir Yassin, aka NAS Daily

With over 11 million Facebook followers, it’s hard to miss the charming, one-minute videos posted daily by Nuseir Yassin, better known as NAS Daily (“Nas” means “people” in Arabic). Yassin was born in the Galilee region in Arraba, Israel, to a Muslim-Arab family of Palestinian descent. All of Nuseir’s videos are made with simple, boiled-down but on-point observations about humanity in all of its complexity, offering exciting glimpses into amazing, lesser-known stories from around the world.

Netta Barzilai

Netta Barzilai

Netta Barzilai shot to international fame after clucking her way to the first place in the 63rd international Eurovision song contest. Her female empowerment hit “Toy” resonated with audiences and helped her earn Israel’s 4th win in the contest since its debut in 1973. Barzilai has been praised locally and internationally for her attitude, confidence, and talent and is currently recording her first, full-length debut album, in Israel.

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