What’s Cookin’ In Israel? Not Apartheid Apparently

Meet the finalists of the Israeli version of MasterChef (hat tip: Michael Dickson).



That’s Salma (an Arab-Israeli) Tom (a German convert to Judaism) and Jackie, an Orthodox Jewish woman.

If that’s not enough to give the Israel-haters and BDSholes an aneurysm, here’s an article from late last year that deals with the friendship between Salma and Elinor Rahamim, one of the other contestants and a Jewish “settler” from Tekoah (translation taken from here)


Photo: Oded Karni

Contrary to early expectations, the closest friendship among the competitors of this season’s Israel’s Master Chef was formed between Elinor Rahamim, a Jewish settler from Tekoah (Gush Etzion) – an Israeli settlement in the northern Judean hills in the West Bank and Salma Fayumi, a Muslim nurse from Kfar Qasm.This unique combination didn’t surprise these two female cooks: “I guess we’ve disappointed all those who were expecting action and quarrels. The good bond between us was formed because we think alike about people”.

This friendship was formed on the set of this season’s Master Chef – Israel. Among pots and pans, Salma and Elinor discovered that two women coming from opposing sides of the Israeli society, had more than a few things in common.
“On the set, I didn’t see a difference between Salma and the other female competitors” says Elinor “but on the screen, when I saw how the photographers captured Salma and I on the same shoot, I realized how big this connection was”.
“I don’t judge people by looks” says Salma “Some people radiate goodness and you fall in love with them right away. Lots of people noticed my connection to Elinor because they thought we had similar personalities”.

“When I met Salma” Elinor continues, “I saw a wonderful person. I didn’t see a flag, I saw a person and the same thing applies to my friendship with Maya, the Jewish vegan competitor who holds left-wing viewpoints and opposes the fact that I live in a settlement in Gush Etzion, in the northern Judean hills in the West Bank. Every person has strong beliefs and viewpoints that lead him/her throughout life but those beliefs don’t affect who they are as human beings”.

“I’m not representing anyone” says Salma
Elinor: “Do people in your village say anything about the fact that you have a friend who’s a settler?”
Salma: “No one said anything”
Elinor: “People gently told me “we saw you hugging Salma”
Salma: When I entered the show, I didn’t think I would become friends with the Jewish religious competitor”
Elinor: “Neither did I. There are Arabs from your village who work in our settlement so I’ve had some interactions with Arabs before but never did I have a female…Arab friend?”
Salma: “Indeed, I’m Arab, aren’t I?”
Elinor: “Or should I say “Muslim?”
Salma: “A Muslim Arab”
Elinor: “Ok, so I’ve never had such a relationship with a Muslim Arab woman”

Elinor works at the Mushroom Farm in Tekoa and Salma is a nurse and a Research Coordinator of clinical trials on Altzheimer’s.

The two young women provide the required recipe needed to bring peace and love between Jews and Arabs but their relationship also provides a glimpse into the deep conflict, the prejudice and the fear that lie between us. For example, when we wanted this interview to take place in one of their houses, it didn’t work out.

“I’m really sorry I didn’t want to come to your house” Elinor says to Salma “but I’m scared. I have this deep fear inside of me. I know Salma and I trust her completely but I don’t want to come to a place where everybody’s going to stare at me.

Salma didn’t want to go to Elinor’s house either because she was afraid of the Jewish settlers. “What am I going to do in a settlement? How will I be looked at? On the other hand, if Elinor comes to my village, I’m sure nothing bad will happen to her. People in our village respect Jews but she thinks it’s scary and I am scared of going to Tekoa”
The compromise for the meeting was a Kosher Café in Tel Aviv.

“Here, in Tel Aviv, it is more acceptable. Tel Aviv is more open to these things” Elinor says.
“I said that it would be better if we met somewhere in the middle, at this point, but it doesn’t mean I will never come to visit Elinor in Tekoa” Salma adds. “My husband knows Rabbi Froman, the Rabbi of the settlement Tekoa and loves him”

Elinor: “Salma, wouldn’t you like to live in a Palestinian country?”

Salma: “I would like to live in a country that makes me feel like I belong, that doesn’t prevent me from serving in its military because I’m Arab, but, right now, when I see what goes on in Arab countries – I don’t think I would like to live anywhere else. There’s more order here than what we see in other places around the world. We feel good here. I have a life, work, people I know and love.

I would love it if this friendship with Elinor will cause people to think that there’s another way but I’m also realistic and I understand that this friendship won’t bring peace”.

Elinor: “we want to live in peace, without sirens, without wars. And it all begins with the common people”
The war between Israel and Gaza posed a first obstacle in this new friendship but even the rockets fired from both sides a week and half ago didn’t shake their peaceful viewpoints.

“It wasn’t Salma who fired those rockets from Gaza” says Elinor

“I heard some responses from people living in Gaza who said they didn’t want to be a part of all this war”

Update: Tom’s involvement in the show has made the German media.

Update: In last night’s final, Tom won, followed by Salma in second place and then Jackie the Jewish woman.

I wonder how many of the Israel-haters will claim Salma did not WIN because of apartheid!

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

4 incoming links

Reality of “Apartheid” In Israel | Israellycool
24 March 2013 at 12:03pm
[...] by the previous post, a whole number of other apartheid fails, and the fact posters ...
Blind Taste Test | Israellycool
05 January 2014 at 9:01am
[…] last year’s Israeli Master Chef final read like a 3 people walk into a bar ...
Yet More Apartheid Failure On Israeli TV | Israellycool
06 April 2014 at 4:04pm
[…] another massive failure in the much discussed Israeli Apartheid system. Like ...
Now we’re cooking | Israel Active
11 September 2014 at 3:09am
[…] The three finalists in the Israeli version of Masterchef are Salma (an ...

Facebook Comments

  • Inessa

    Great post. Kol Hakavod to all the finalists.

  • http://forum.football365.com/ RightSaidFred

    For every one of these articles showing Arabs and Jews playing happy families, there are countless more showing the opposite.

    Its pathetic that there is a need to highlight an event that would be such a trivial matter in most countries in the western world.

    If anything it highlights how backwards Israel is and reminds me how thankful I am that I don’t have to live in such a hate infested land anymore.

    • jpl

      You are partly right, there are plenty of unhappy stories–like Arab Israeli citizens driving their vehicles into innocent pedestrians, or becoming suicide/homicide bombers, etc. But the stories that show that the main of Israel is accepting of the 2 million Arab citizens (including in government, business and the courts) are not given much coverage in Western media, and virtually none in Arab media. Arabs walk freely around Israel, not really a hate-infested land. Can you say the same for Jews, or any non-Muslim in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, etc.? But I guess you’d rather live there.

    • juvanya

      It sure is a hate infested land. Those Muslims just cant stand filthy nonMuslims having any rights.

    • Yoni

      You have it backwards: the reason why this stuff is news, especially on a pro-Israel blog, is because people like you, and much of the international community, DEMONIZE Israel in the first place.

  • Inessa

    You’re completely off the mark. The article talked about the unlikely friendship but also the difficulties, but the attention is specifically because it’s on MasterChef. Reality competition shows are big news everywhere now. In Australia, the election debate was moved to another night, because it clashed with the previously advertised MasterChef final. Not saying that Australia is a beacon of intellectual renaissance, but the accusation of relative backwardness is unfounded.

    • http://forum.football365.com/ RightSaidFred

      Oh really??

      So this is big news? This is what’s captures the attention of your typical Israeli these days?

      I thought that the reports of Israel admitting for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

      Or the earlier reports that revealed blood donated by Ethiopians is frozen and disposed of, as its deemed not worthy of by Israelis.

      But alas no!

      This site would prefer to discuss the merits of a culinary show.

      Big news indeed.

      • Jim from Iowa

        So if IsraellyCool fails to meet your standards for the breadth of subjects you want covered, why not just move on?

        • http://forum.football365.com/ RightSaidFred

          Ah here he is. Not the sharpest tool in the box but he’s consistent.

          You see Jim, if I wasn’t here who would open your beady little eyes to such subjects?

          You should be grateful that you are in the company of such an informative and insightful poster.

          Now I’m sure there’s some lame article waiting for an equally unfunny post to be made, so run along.

          • Norman B.

            Since you are an “informative and insightful” expert on Ethiopian Jews, please explain why there has been no clamor by them for repatriation to the land of their origin, but are instead getting elected to the Knesset.

          • BigHabsFan

            Go troll somewhere else. You obviously have never spent any time in Israel. I dare you to find me one other country in the Middle East where people are free and can live their lives as prosperously as in Israel. I dare you to find any Arabic country that enjoys the same standard of living for all their people compared to an Arab who lives in Israel. I hear crickets because there are 0. And you are a weasly little cretin for dissing Jim … he adds a certain je ne sais pas quoi to my day when I read his posts. You go Jim!

          • Abu Zibby

            So there’s nothing that interests you about Israel and you have absolutely no connection to this hate infested regime.
            And yet you are here. That’s because it you are obsessed with Israel, you are hate infested, you are trolling for attention because nobody in real life wants to year your retarded anti-Israel rant anymore.
            You are a sick fuck. And now get lost.

      • http://www.israellycool.com/ Aussie Dave

        Nice try, but 1) I’ll blog about whatever the hell I please and 2) I prefer to blog stories countering the nonsense assclowns like you disseminate.

        If you truly want to read more about the birth control story, see here.

        My bullshit tolerance is extremely low, I’m afraid, as is my tolerance of rude ignoramuses. So scurry along now and don’t bother returning.

      • jpl

        Breaking news: Israel is not perfect. But it seeks to improve. What is Hamas seeking? Or Morsi? Or (who made him) “King” Abdullah?

      • juvanya

        Do some more research, Dr Hate. Israel made no such admittance.


  • Jonah

    I think that in this case it was obvious to everyone who watched the show that Tom deserved to win.

    I watched the whole season and his dishes consistently wowed the judges and they were also the most appealing in terms of presentation.

    Do Israelis have prejudices? Sure, we’re only human.

    But Israelis are also very fair and honest, and don’t let preconceived notions get in the way of acknowledging talent.

    The bottom line is that Tom won because he was the best chef and that’s the way it should be.

  • Jeffrey

    What a terrible programme. How dare Israel show something truthful and honest that contradicts the carefully constructed lies of those who seek to distort its true nature. Surely Israel should be condemned because it does not actually match the hate-filled image painted by its enemies. After all, they will have to condemn Israel for something.

    Congratulations to the winner.

  • Pingback: Reality of “Apartheid” In Israel | Israellycool()

  • Pingback: Blind Taste Test | Israellycool()

  • Pingback: Yet More Apartheid Failure On Israeli TV | Israellycool()

  • Pingback: Now we’re cooking | Israel Active()

Israellycool is testing Sovevos. Click for more info.