Icelandic Israeli

Did you know that the President of Iceland has an Israeli wife? Now I do, thanks to this article from Ha’aretz, brought to my attention by Hatshepsut.

Two weeks ago Friday, Dorrit Moussaieff, the Israeli-born wife of the president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, remembered that it was the eve of Hanukkah and that the first of eight candles had to be lit to mark the holiday. There is no Hanukkah candlestick in the presidential residence in a suburb of Reykjavik, the capital. Finally a solution was found. A menorah that a former president of Iceland received on a visit to Israel several decades ago was brought to the table. It was something of a surrealistic scene: Outside the winds howled, the snow piled up and the lake next to the residence was frozen over, while inside, in a room crammed with thousands of books, the president of Iceland and his wife had a shrimp dinner by the light of Hanukkah candles. The president was astounded at the candle-lighting ceremony: He knew nothing about the customs of Hanukkah. Later it would turn out that there are other Jewish and Israeli customs he is not familiar with, either. “If we lived in Israel, I wouldn’t have been able to marry you,” his wife tells him, after the president was surprised to learn that there is no civil marriage in the Jewish state. “If we had not been able to wed, Israel would have lost a wonderful marriage,” he replied. The people say yes Dorrit Moussaieff, 53, is the daughter of the London-based jeweler and renowned Judaica collector Shlomo Moussaieff and his wife Aliza, a successful international businesswoman. Dorrit also designs and sells jewelry, is part owner of and a reporter for the British magazine Tatler, and speaks fluent Hebrew. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, living there until the age of 13. In the early 1960s, she moved with her parents and her sister Tamar to London. Her younger sister, Sharon, was born in London and lives in Tel Aviv.

What is equally as interesting, though, is the fact that not everyone seems too willing to publicize Dorrit’s Israeli origins.

He was married to Mrs. Gudrun Katrin Thorbergsdottir from 1974 until she passed away on 12th of October 1998. Their twin daughters, Gudrun Tinna and Svanhildur Dalla, were born in 1975. In May last year he announced his engagement to Dorrit Moussaieff (50), Egyptian-born British jewellery designer and journalist.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media