‘Kive-mania’ showed no signs of fading as Israeli star Michael Aloni made a successful return to the UK this week. Brought over again by JNF UK, the star of hit Israeli shows ‘Shtisel,’ ‘When Heroes Fly’ and ‘The Voice Israel’ delighted two packed-out audiences in London and Manchester. The London event was sponsored by the Israel Engagement Department at Mill Hill Shul.
Photos from the event can be seen here.
Hosted by veteran Israeli journalist Elad Simchayoff, the events opened with an appeal for JNF UK’s work supporting lonely Holocaust survivors in Israel – which was especially poignant since Michael has two grandparents who are survivors.
The audience watched a specially-recorded video from Batsheva Dagan, a survivor whose life has been transformed by Project Connected, the subject of JNF’s fundraising appeal. Project Connected partners lonely survivors with teenage volunteers, who are not only companions but also provide an introduction to digital technology. Batsheva described how receiving the computer that JNF UK had purchased for her had been “like a dream fulfilled” that made her “feel young again.”
After the appeal, Michael arrived on stage to talk the audience through his life and work. Opening by revealing that prior to acting he had initially intended to become a scientist, Michael gave an extensive presentation on the highlights of his career.
The focus of the evening was on his career-defining role in Shtisel, the hit Israeli show set in the ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem. Michael discussed the effort that went into realistically creating the world that his character, the artist Kive, lived in. He also noted the unique appeal of the show, which has gained fans across the globe – revealing that he has even been recognised by a fan in Brazil!
The events concluded with raucous question and answer sessions, with the audiences nonetheless abiding by Simchayoff’s quip to avoid both statements and marriage proposals. Subjects included the possibility of Michael treading the boards in London’s theatre scene, the history of his dog, and of course the future for Kive and Shtisel.
Perhaps the most intriguing point was raised by Michael’s joke that his visits always seem to coincide with Israel’s elections – and, given how unpredictable Israel’s political scene is, that therefore there is every chance he might return sooner rather than later. Going by the response he received this week, there are plenty who will be counting down the days.
Yonatan Galon, CEO of JNF UK, commented:
“JNF UK is delighted to once again be partnering with Michael Aloni, providing a behind-the-scenes look at some of Israel’s biggest shows. His undeniable star appeal has also helped us support lonely Holocaust survivors in Israel – just in time for them to have a sweet New Year.”