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April 18, 2014

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 18, 2014 Tom Shaw/Getty Images Sport Bar Refaeli at the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards. By Jana Banin Bar Refaeli's racy com- mercial HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (JTA)--A risque ad featur- ing Bar Refaeli in bed with a purple, mustachioed Mup- pet has been banned from running before 10 p.m. in the holy land, Walla Israel news website reports. Per a governmental council called The Second Authority for Television and Radio, the ad for local fashion brand Hoodies has "too many sexual insinuations" to be seen dur- ing prime time. The spot opens with a post-coital shot of the Israeli supermodel and her puppet ): friend, a guy named Red Orbach, with whom many Israelis are already familiar. For some background on the swarthy Muppet, we turn to The Hollywood Reporter: "The character Red Or- bach emerged locally from an all-puppet classic rock group called Red Band and his stereotypical persona is that of an aging 1960s American rocker. This past year, Red Orbach co-hosted late-night The Red & Dvir Show with actor Dvir Bene- dek on Channel 2's franchiser ReshetBroadcasting." Anyway, the purple rocker/ TV host/skilled lover goes on to imagine what it would be like to be dating not one, but three Refaelis. This involves sexy scenes from a car wash (referred to here as a "Bar wash"), a photo booth and a game of strip poker. R-rated, weird or both? You decide. Amy Winehouse hologram tour not happening If you thought rumors of a concert tour featuring a hologram version of the late Amy Winehouse seemed too good to be true -- or per- haps creepy -- you would be correct. Last week, the UK news- paper The Sun reported that billionaire Alki David was planning to use 3-D computer technology plus an orchestra to bring the singer back to the stage. The same high-tech meth- odwas used to resurrect mur- dered rapper Tupac Shakur for the Coachella festival in 2012. Unfortunately for Wine- house fans, her dad, Mitch, who controls her image, made it very clear on Twitter they won't get to watch her perform "live" anytime soon: No truth in the Hologram story. Utter rubbish as usual. Mitch -- mitch winehouse (@mitchwinehouse) March 29, 2014 Sorry guys. Watch: Joan Rivers back on 'Tonight Show' after 26 years, cracks Holocaust, genitalia jokes It's been 26 years since Joan Rivers has been on "The Tonight Show," and in the meantime, it seems, she's been working diligently on Holocaust and vagina jokes. Rivers technically returned to the show for the first time since being banned by Johnny Carson nearly three decades ago for Jimmy Fallon's inau- gural episode. But that was just a cameo. Last Thursday night, she actually sat down with the new host, who cringed for a significant part of the seven-minute chat. It wasn't all jaw-droppingly shocking, though. Tamer moments included FaIlon producing a photo of a young, pre-plasticized Rivers from her second-ever "Tonight Show" visit and Rivers talking about ideas she pitched to the "Tonight Show" during her ban, including "a Jewish re- ligious show called '700 Club And That's My Final Offer." Not a penny more! Julianna Margulies lays 'Jew guilt' on 'The Good Wife' co-star Josh Charles What to do when a key player on your hit series has one foot out the door? In- voke your bubbe at her most manipulative. At least that's the route "The Good Wife" star Julianna Margulies took when trying to convince co- star and friend Josh Charles to stay on the show, Enter- tainment Weekly reports. At a Charlie Rose-mod- erated panel discussion, the conversation turned to Charles and his "Good Wife" contract, which expired at the end of the fourth season. Charles was feeling "fried" and ready for something new. Well, that didn't exactly sit well with Margulies. "I called Josh, and I gave him terrible Jew guilt," the Jewish actress said. "I knew he was about to get married and I said, 'Josh, how about this? Fifteen episodes? Think about it. Money in the bank for 15 episodes. You're about to get married. Do you know how expensive it is to have a baby in New York?' I went right to the kid thing." And the school thing: "We were looking at kindergarten for our son at the time, and I was like, 'Do you know how much private school is in New York?' I went on this whole thing about kids and family, and he was like, 'Well, 157 Let me think about that.' And I said, 'And two directing slots!' It worked. Now Margulies can start pressuring her friends to make that baby. Watch: 'Pedestrians In Bars Eating Toffee,' a parody of Seinfeld's Web series From the music to the edit- ing to the way the host paces himself and interrupts his guests, "Pedestrians In Bars Eating Toffee" (featured on CollegeHumor and Laughing Squid) is very much a spot- on spoof of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." Oh, and this parody, fea- turing Gabe Oppenheim and Samuel Goldberg, also has that underlying New York Jewy thing going on. Our favorite moment: Mid-toffee munching, Jerry stand-in Gabe begins floss- ing. Samuel, this episode's guest, doesn't like flossing. It makes his gums bleed. "What kind of torturous exercise do you think flossing is?" Gabe asks, after pointing out that gums bleed when they are unhealthy, not be- cause flossing is bad. "I'm Jewish," Samuel offers up as a response. For the latest Jewish celeb- rity news, visit JTA's 6 Degrees (No Bacon) biog. By Norma Zager Those of the mindset that religions are inherently atwar with one another must have a difficult time reconciling the friendship between the State of Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Yet, in the real world, it makes perfect sense. Muslim countries that use Islam--a traditionally peaceful religion with a rich tradition--as a weapon to stifle religious freedoms are indeed abundant, so what is different about Azerbaijan? Friedman & .man Excellence in Real Estate Jeffrey and Barbara Friedman t 407-222-6059 - Direct One Team. Twice the Knowledge, Service and Experience Serving the Central Florida Jewish Community for over 12 years Azerbaijan is a moderate, progressive, and democratic majority-Muslim nation that suffers the same slings and arrows as Israel regularly does from its militant neighbors, who suppress and murder those who oppose their ex- tremist views. Israel, the Jewish state, was founded on the Western principles of democracy and the rule of law and has been falsely accused of suppressing other religious groups and minorities. That is exactly what these two countries have in com- mon, and one of the things that allows them to share a strong friendship and part- nership. Although religious prin- ciples guide their nations, as is the case with most Western-oriented nations, the tenets of religious free- dom and equality for all are a basis for their governments and policies. Azerbaijan is a secular Mus- lim state with a constitution assuring freedom of worship and equality to everyone. It is not uncommon to see young people listening to pop stars on their iPods, and covered women are not, at all, the norm. The streets of Baku teem with moderns, dressed in the fashion of any upscale Western capital. The president's wife, Meh- riban Aliyev, is an educated and decidedly modernwoman with a career in medicine (an ophthalmologist) and a penchant for stylish designer clothing. In her role, she encourages women to be educated, independent and sophisticated in their life choices. Pop stars like Jennifer Lo- pez travel to Azerbaijan for concerts, and in a Gallup poll, itwas revealed thatAzerbaijan "is one of the most irreligious countries in the Muslim world, with about 53 percent of respondents indicating the importance of religion in their life as little or none." On the flip side, in many other Islamic republics wom- en are stoned, subjugated to men, and held to rigid stan- dards of dress and behavior. Azerbaijan neither stifles nor represses its young women, but rather provides them with role models for a contempo- rary Muslim woman. It is a place where Muslims partici- pate in a modern lifestyle, and still value and protect their religious ideals. This is also the policy of Israel, a country that--de- spite the propaganda and lies that regularly infect the world media--is an open society where Jewish people of all walks and Arab Israelis of all religious attitudes are not only welcome, but also govern the country in the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and public offices. So why are perceptions so opposed to the truth about both Israel and Azerbaijan, two quite accepting and open societies? In Israel's case, it is quite obvious that the use of such lies and propaganda are de- signed to alienate and separate the Jewish state from the good graces of the world--to yet again villainize Jews and set them apart from the rest of society. For Azerbaijan, it is partly a case of mistaken identity. Although the results are the same for both countries, the intent is different. Azerbaijan is lumped in among a cadre of countries that have too loud a voice and behave badly on the world stage. This is much like a child who is related to a criminal by birth, and spends his life doing good deeds with the hope of separating himself from his evil relative. Exacerbating the situation is the penchant for Westerners to simplify issues. In this case, the perceptions are "all Muslims are bad;" "all Mus- lims are Arabs;" "all Arabs are Muslims;" and "all Muslims are the same." Of course, none of these statements are true. Azerbaijan and Israel have found a friendship in their commonality of shared open societies. Yet one is Muslim and one is Jewish, so how can this be? Watching these two countries coexist and deal with one another, it is actu- ally quite easy to understand. Each year their trade and joint scientific, military, ag- ricultural, and other business projects increase, and each nation is welcome and invit- ing to one another.Azerbaijan and Israel are regularly visited by each other's high-level of- ficials, and all are welcomed with deserved pomp and circumstance. But it must be said that Iran and the other evil empires in the Middle East put enormous pressures on Azerbaijan to fall in lockstep with their worldview, and the threats are tough and genuine. Azer- baijan is a thorn in the side of Iran, a country that seeks to control the world through an extremist Islamic caliphate. In Iranian eyes, a modern Muslim nation likeAzerbaijan that is thriving is a deterrent that must be dealt with in the harshest of terms. Azerbaijan often finds itself between its own moderation and the pro- verbial "rock and hard place" known as Iran. As Iran grows stronger, and it seems the current U.S. administration is determined to allow this sad state of affairs to occur, there is no doubt Azerbaijan will feel the sword of its neighbor bearing down. One cannot predict how this will influence religious practices or its strong alli- ance with Israel, but from past encounters it seems Azerbaijan is resolute to walk its own path and control its own destiny. No matter how far the friendship with Israel progresses, one must applaud this young nation of only 22 years for its fortitude and unwavering battle against the stereotypes and the pressures of militant bullies. Azerbaijan stands alone in its success as a prosperous and open Muslim society, and its friendship with Israel is proof there is room for a progressive, secular Muslim nation on the world stage. Norma Zager is an award- winning international jour- nalist and a professor at California State University, Los Angeles.