Debuting at the age of thirteen, Israeli American actress Natalie Portman is today one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. Her movie list is impressive with successful projects like Black Swan, Jackie, Star Wars, Closer and Thor. While pursuing her passion for acting, the Academy award winning actress also ensured to complete her studies and graduated from Harvard University.
Abraham is an important historical character, considered one of the fathers of the human race by the Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Abrahamic religions believe that Abraham was in contact with God; his story and life events have inspired several important paintings, sculptures, works of literature, and music.
Mary Magdalene was an important biblical figure. It is said that she witnessed many of Jesus' miracles and life events, including his crucifixion and the subsequent resurrection. Since it is claimed that Magdalene was a prostitute, she has been viewed as the patroness of wayward women in the modern era. Her life has inspired several important works of art.
Co-founder of the rock band Kiss, Gene Simmons is also known by his stage persona, The Demon. With his band, he has over 25 gold-certified albums. A devoted philanthropist, he has donated to charities related to underprivileged children. He created an animated series and owns a magazine and a label.
The mother of Jesus Christ and the wife of Joseph, Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, finds mention in both the New Testament and the Quran. Though most Catholic scholars believe in traditional Marian dogmas, Protestants have often argued, questioning ideas such as the Assumption of Mary.
Judas Iscariot was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is remembered for betraying Jesus Christ by kissing him and thereby revealing his identity as a rabbi in front of the authorities who had come to arrest the rabbi. Judas remains a controversial biblical figure and his name is used synonymously with treason or betrayal.
King David of Israel remains a significant figure not just in Christianity, but also in Judaism and Islam. The Books of Samuel describe him as a shepherd. Legends also mention how he killed the giant Goliath and had an affair with Bathsheba. He was also a poet and a psalmist.
Inbar Lavi is an Israeli actress best known for her performance in the American comedy-drama TV series Underemployed. Lavi is also credited with playing important roles on other American TV series like Gang Related, Prison Break, and Lucifer. Her popularity increased when she landed the lead role in the dark comedy television series Imposters where she played Maddie.
Born in present-day Ukraine and brought up in the United States, the phenomenal rise of Golda Meir to become the prime minister of Israel was driven by her sheer leadership qualities. She steered her country amid hostilities from its neighbourhood during her eventful term as premier which also saw the Yom Kippur War. She is remembered as a strong-willed woman.
Jeremiah was one of the major prophets, according to the Hebrew Bible. As per Jewish tradition, he authored the Book of Lamentations, the Books of Kings, and the Book of Jeremiah. According to Judaism, Jeremiah is the second of the major prophets and the Book of Jeremiah is often considered a part of the religion's canon.
Odeya Rush is an Israeli model and actress best known for playing lead roles in American films like The Giver, The Bachelors, and Let It Snow. In 2016, Rush was honored at the Young Artist Awards with the Best Performance in a Feature Film award. In 2017, she received the Awards Circuit Community Award for her performance in Lady Bird.
Known as much for his basketball skills, as for his towering 6’10” height, Amar'e Stoudemire has played for major teams such as the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns. An Olympic bronze medal winner, he now coaches the NBA team Brooklyn Nets. He also founded the Each One, Teach One foundation.
The current Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Israel. Before becoming a politician, Netanyahu had a prolific military career; he played important roles in the Yom Kippur War and the War of Attrition and participated in missions, such as Operation Isotope and Operation Gift.
Thomas the Apostle was one of Jesus Christ's Twelve Apostles, according to the New Testament. He is often called Doubting Thomas as he doubted Jesus' resurrection. Widely considered the patron saint of India, Thomas is believed to have traveled to present-day Kerala, where Christianity is a major religion. Hence, he is credited with popularizing the religion in South India.
Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.
Born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, military leader/politician Moshe Dayan, grew up to be an revered for his exploits against Israel’s Arab neighbors. His invasion of the Sinai peninsula is etched in his memoir, Diary of the Sinai Campaign. Following his death, his eye patch was sold on eBay for US$75,000.
Yael Grobglas is an Israeli actress known for her performance in the popular American satirical telenovela Jane the Virgin. After appearing in a couple of Israeli films, Grobglas achieved international recognition when she played Shir in a horror film titled Rabies. She then established herself in the American TV and film industry by appearing in projects like Jane the Virgin.
Oded Fehr is an Israeli actor best known for playing Ardeth Bay in the 1999 film The Mummy. Fehr went on to reprise his role in the 2001 sequel The Mummy Returns. His portrayal of Ardeth earned him similar roles in films like Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Over the years, he has also established himself as a TV actor in America.
Melchizedek was the priest and king of Salem. He is mentioned in the Book of Genesis and is the first person to be given the title priest in the Hebrew Bible. Melchizedek is considered an important figure in Christianity and Judaism.
Mentioned in the biblical Book of Judges, Samson was an Israelite warrior, known for his long hair, which was the reason behind his superhuman strength. He had killed a lion with his bare hands but was eventually betrayed by his lover, Delilah, who cut his hair while he slept.
Israeli politician, statesman, and general, Yitzhak Rabin, served two stints as the prime minister of Israel. As a young man, he joined the military and served for nearly three decades. He had an extensive political career as well and played a key role in embracing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He was assassinated in November 1995.
Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn gained fame with his Miracle Crusades held in stadiums across major cities and broadcast worldwide on his show This Is Your Day. He incorrectly predicted twice that the world would end. He has also authored several books, such as Lord, I Need a Miracle.
The Book of Ezekiel, or The Prophecy of Ezechiel, of the Hebrew Bible talks about Ezekiel, the prophet. He is said to have lived near the Chebar River during the Babylonian Captivity. In about 592 BC, Ezekiel received a religious call, having viewed the “throne-chariot” of God in a vision.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin who finds mention in the Gospel of John. According to the gospel, Nicodemus provides the embalming spices required to prepare the body of Jesus for burial after the Crucifixion of Jesus. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and in the various Eastern Churches.
The Book of Jonah of the Old Testament talks about Jonah, the prophet. Jonah apparently set sail to Tarshish instead of listening to God and traveling to Nineveh to warn its citizens of God’s wrath due to its wickedness. However, shipwrecked, he eventually ends up warning Nineveh of the impending danger.
Though seriously hindered by leprosy, Baldwin IV, who came to power at the age of 13, was successful in defending his Jerusalem kingdom during his nearly 11-year rule. His reign was marked by his confrontations with Saladin, the ruler of Egypt and Syria. Also known as The Leper King, Baldwin slowed Saladin’s military campaigns. He was succeeded by his nephew.
The wife of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba was bathing on her roof when David saw her and had her brought to him. He then got Uriah killed and married Bathsheba. David and Bathsheba’s first child died as a punishment for his sins. She was also the mother of King Solomon.
Eurovision Contest-winning Israeli artist Netta Barzilai won hearts with her track Toy, a song that spoke of women empowerment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she experimented with a podcast and performances from the balcony of her Tel Aviv apartment. She also performed the track Cuckoo for an online Eurovision event.
Ayelet Zurer is an Israeli actress best known for playing the female lead in the American mystery thriller film Angels & Demons. A celebrated actress in Israel, Zurer has won many prestigious awards, such as the Israeli Film Academy Award and Israeli Television Academy Awards. In 2003, she was honored with the Best Actress award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
An important figure in the Tanakh and the Quran, Ishmael was the first son of Abraham according to the Bible. He is considered to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites and patriarch of Qaydār. According to the Genesis account, he was the son of Abraham and Sarah's Egyptian handmaiden Hagar and reportedly died at the age of 137 years.
Alona Tal is an Israeli actress known for playing supporting roles in popular American TV series like Veronica Mars and Supernatural. Tal is also known for her singing skills; she has recorded a song with popular Haitian rapper and musician Wyclef Jean. She has also appeared in several American films like Half Past Dead 2, Broken City, and Opening Night.
Ariel Sharon was the Israeli prime minister from 2001 to 2006. As a commander of the Israeli Army, he had participated in the Palestine War of 1948 and the 1967 Six-Day War. He was removed as the defense minister after he led the massacre of Palestinians in the Lebanon War.
Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor currently serving as the general music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He has previously been the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, and La Scala in Milan. He is a recipient of Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Award among others.