Simon Cowell to be judge on X-Factor Israel
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Simon Cowell to be judge on X-Factor Israel

Music mogul will return to action following a bike accident earlier this year on the show presented by Bar Rafaeli

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Simon Cowell will be head judge on Israel’s version of his show The X Factor – making the Jewish state the first country after the UK and America where he has been part of the panel.

His surprise entry will sprinkle additional stardust on the hit programme’s third series, which will once again be hosted by Bar Rafaeli. “Over the years the X Factor format has discovered amazing talents all over the world,” he was quoted as saying. “I can’t wait to see what Israel has to offer.”

The news comes only months after the mogul underwent back surgery following a accident on his electric bike at his home in America.

Cowell discovered his father Eric was Jewish only after he passed away and spoke of his delight – but lack of surprise – at the revelation to Jewish News at his first appearance at Norwood’s annual dinner in 2008. He was interviewed on stage on that occasion by Piers Morgan and went on to support the charity by appearing at the event on at least two further occasions, while his son with Jewish American partner Lauren Silverman was named after his dad.

Jewish News created a special front page – and a personalised kippah for Eric – to mark the new arrival in 2014.

Jewish News created a special front page – and a personalised kippah for Eric – to mark the new arrival in 2014.

Cowell faced a barrage of online abuse after attending a dinner by the Friends of the IDF in Beverley Hills and making a donation of $150,000.

Reacting to the news, the Reshet 13 network, which runs the talent show in Israel, said: “This is a huge achievement for Israeli TV”, adding he would be helping to pick his fellow judges. “Cowell is one of the biggest and most influential music figures in the world and his participation as a judge provides an an opportunity for international exposure for Israeli singers,” Variety quoted a Reshet statement as saying.

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