Israelis ante up ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Viral awareness campaign gains support from celebrities and politicians in Israel.

Screen shot from the television host Guy Lerer movie

Screen shot from the television host Guy Lerer movie

There is no way Bostonian ALS sufferer Peter Frates could have known that people across the world would take him up on his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But after the former Boston College baseball star called on his athlete friends to dump buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the campaign spread to the world of celebrities, politicians and the general public, helping raise a total of $22.9 million for the charity so far.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon is thriving in Israel, too.

Television host Guy Lerer upped the ante as he decked out in a flak jacket and helmet before a tractor dumped half a ton of ice water over his head.

Lerer was nominated by Rahav Rosenberg, just your average Israeli guy, who says on his YouTube clip that he wants to make the Ice Bucket Challenge in Israel as popular as the one in the US.

Sholli Ber Kestecher, who immigrated to Israel from the UK, posted a video titled “ALS ice bucket challenge in Israel (under rocket fire).” As the title suggests, Kestecher has to do the icy deed quickly as he runs for cover.

The Ice Bucket Challenge requires anyone who undertakes it to nominate others. Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor nominated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “who spends most of his time trying to break the ice between countries,” to answer the challenge. He also called on Israeli singer Rita to take part.

Prosor quipped to the camera that taking the freezing-cold plunge was an easy choice for him, noting that he’s used to getting “a chilly reception in the United Nations.”

The “ice bucket challenge” idea has been used as an awareness campaign measure for years. But the latest ALS charity campaign is the most successful by far. Millions of dollars have been pledged to ALS foundations since Frates challenged his friends, who challenged their friends, who challenged the world.

US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro stepped up to the plate.

Singer Eyal Golan dunked himself in ice and called on Israeli publicist Ran Rahav to do the same. Rahav took up the challenge and in the process called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as model Bar Refaeli and actress Noa Tishby to brave a chilly shower of ice. This was Refaeli’s second call to take part in the viral campaign, as Israel’s tennis star Shachar Peer also gave her friend a 24-hour notice.
Rahav’s reaction was so funny that journalist/musician Noy Alooshe created a remix video of it.

Meanwhile, three reserve IDF soldiers have called on the world to take the Hamas vs. Hummus Challenge. “Hamas is a terrorist organization that threatens the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. Hummus, on the other hand, is delicious,” Corey Feldman, one of the founders of the campaign, says to the camera, in explaining the goal of the new campaign.

Those named in the Hamas vs. Hummus campaign must smear the chickpea spread on their face or give a donation to Friends of the IDF. Feldman, who came to Israel from New York for two weddings but stayed when he was called back to reserve duty to the Givati Brigade, says he started the campaign to “show another side to Israeli soldiers and raise money at the same time.” See Post by Corey Feldman.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.