Eviatar Korkus and his Mizrahi twang may have won Israel’s “Rising Star” reality talent show, but the haredi Orthodox Gat brothers captured the hearts of Israelis.
“The country loves you,” popular Israeli singer Rita, one of the judges, said following the brothers’ loss in the finals. Rita, who said during the audition stage that she would eat her hat if the brothers made it to the finals, took a bite out of her green hat as the brothers took the stage for the finals.
Korkus ended with 63 percent of the public’s vote to 60 percent for the Gat brothers, who could be seen silently praying as it became clear that Korkus would surpass them. Viewers could vote on a special smartphone app or online. The brothers sang Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” in the first round of the finals, and it very nearly was.
Gil Gat, the younger brother, began his parting words by thanking God. Many of those whom the brothers thanked in their final goodbyes would not hear them because they do not own or watch televisions.
The brothers, who became ba’alei teshuva, returnees to religious observance, more than a decade ago, continue to perform classic rock favorites on the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem.
They reportedly received rabbinic approval to participate in the show and, though I do not know if it was by design or not, never sang a duet with a female contestant.
Though they didn’t win the contest, the Gat brothers will always be rock stars in the eyes of many Israelis from all walks of life. I can’t wait for their first cover album!