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German stirs up Israeli TV cooking show

The Local · 29 Jan 2013, 07:22

Published: 29 Jan 2013 07:22 GMT+01:00

Tom Franz, 39, is from a town near Cologne but has lived in Israel for nearly a decade having fallen in love with the country as a schoolboy. Now, he's a minor celebrity and finds himself posing for photos and signing autographs in Tel Aviv several times a day.

At 1.95 metres tall and ash blonde, he stands out. But Franz both speaks fluent Hebrew and has converted to Judaism. “It was really hard,” he said, before explaining that the government authorities did not make the two-and-a-half-year process easy.

Despite his obvious knack for cooking, Franz never professionally trained in the kitchen. He studied law before moving to Israel. “I always cooked for friends,” he said, adding that it was his wife who gave him the push to make more of his talent, by nudging him to apply for the competition.

“She cried with excitement when she tried my cooking,” he added.

Converting from Catholicism to Judaism meant a lot of changes, especially in the kitchen. Franz now cooks kosher, and will be doing so in the final Masterchef cook-off on Tuesday.

And although he said switching to a Jewish lifestyle had meant having a much healthier lifestyle, a trip to the German island of Sylt made him realise how much he missed crabs – shellfish is not kosher.

Of course Franz has not divulged what he plans to cook on Tuesday but during one of the earlier rounds his trout and potatoes blew the judges away.

Through cooking, it seems that Franz is in his own small way, helping to cultivate German-Israeli relations. “Suddenly something German is good and considering the history between our two people, this is really something special,” said Masterchef judge Ejal Schani.

Story continues below…

Even the German ambassador to Israel expressed his delight at Franz's success on the show. “This is about more than cooking, Tom is Israeli but here he is also the face of modern Germany.”

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:19 January 29, 2013 by mobaisch
"is from a town near Cologne but has lived in Israel for nearly a decade."

"and has converted to Judaism"


he is an israeli and not german.. ah i forgot, all israelies are from some country! and they enjoy living in my HOUSE!!! in my STREET!!!

Damn you global standards, you have no problem in Palestinians being destroyed, humilated, expelled,, just because israel told you they are "muslim" and "extrem".. well they managed to let you know that "hamas" is the title for palestine.

p.s. we also will never forget!
11:16 January 29, 2013 by DerHirsch
Interesting article. I must ask though. You describe this German Chef as 1,95m and blonde... uh,... did you look at the photo on the page. The guy isn't blonde.

I often wonder, if the Local proof reads their articles prior to submitting for placement. I often see many, many errors in the text. Just wondering.
12:03 January 29, 2013 by maorsh
The first commentator, mobaisch, has used this article to incite against Israel (a typical conduct in replies to articles on any issue involving Israel).

His wild accusations and demonization deserves a proper response, but I will not make the effort here. Those who want can find sufficient information about Israel and the history of the Middle East conflict (Wiki articles are the best since they are relatively balanced and are the result of efforts from both sides of the conflict).

But mobaisch should know that there are three contestants in the final of the Israeli Masterchef: One is Tom, a nice German guy with a lot of fans in Israel. The second is Jackie, a Jewish woman from a Jewish-Arab (Mizrahi) family, whose grandparents came to Israel after being expelled from Arab countries (together with around one million Jews).

And the third contestant - Salma, a PALESTINIAN, Muslim woman, who wears the veil. Yes, a Palestinian woman in the final of a prime-time Israeli reality show. And this is not the first time. Palestinian citizens of Israel are equal citizens and integrated into all spheres of life in the country.

Here's a report about Salma I could find in English: http://jandeane81.com/showthread.php?6217-Co-existence-on-the-set-of-Master-Chef-Israel

I would recommend all readers - don't give in to hatred against Israel! There is a huge campaign of delegitimization and demonization against Israel and its people. All those who care about peace and tolerance in the world should condemn this campaign of hate and help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace.
15:01 January 29, 2013 by Edin
While the article really does not have to do anything with Israel vs Palestine problem, only from those comments above one can see what the real problem is.

Palestinians, are not articulate and always react in impulsive way which makes them sound aggressive. Only those who went through the same experience can actually understand them, ie, living as refugees entire lives with no basic human rights and really no one to hear them.

Israelis on the other hand are very profound in their aggression. The above mentioned example of maorsh shows exactly how subtle they are. One day the declare the building of thousands of new settlements on what entire world knows is not their land, and the other day they bring a Palestinian cook onto the national TV, make her a star to show everyone how caring they are.

To all those who cannot understand what I am talking about… please have a look at what Israel¦#39;s ¦quot;General¦#39;s Son¦quot; Miko Peled has to say. http://youtu.be/TOaxAckFCuQ

I would really like to here from you maorsh after you watch this Video
15:20 January 29, 2013 by maorsh

It is very unfortunate that you chose to generalize personality traits and tendencies to two entire people.

I don't know what is "they" for you. I did not decide to build settlements (definitely not "thousands of new settlements" as you ignorantly wrote). I am actually against the settlements and in favor of a Palestinian independent state, like most Israelis that you include under your "they".

I also didn't "bring a Palestinian cook onto the national TV". If there was a collective decision of the Jewish people in a secret meeting to bring a Palestinian to a cooking show, I should probably be offended that I was left out. I also don't think that the Israeli leadership or the government' minister for cooking shows decided to bring a Palestinian into the show his ministry is responsible for.

I am an Israeli living in Germany. I have Palestinian friends in Israel and in Germany, and I am involved in joint initiatives to bring peace. My Palestinian friends would mostly disagree with the aggressive demonization portrayed above by mobaisch. They would also disagree with "Miko Peled", a known anti-Zionist propagandist who is a part of the demonization campaign. And I would not agree with the radical Israeli settlers or the Ultra-Orthodox. Because we are two people engaged in a conflict that is more ideological than ethnic, and within each of us there are big variations of views and perspectives.

Israelis and Palestinians don't need this hate anymore. They don't need Miko Peled's lies and distortions. They need to work together to achieve a just and fair compromise that will enable each people to achieve their national rights and to live in security and peace. This will not happen if one acts against the Israelis, or against the Palestinians, but only in favor of both.

So take your hate somewhere else ok? Unfortunately there are many people who would be happy to engage in it.
16:01 January 29, 2013 by Edin

See how nice, clever and subtle you are. You present your self as a centered Israeli who would like to make only peace and nothing else, all that under Zionist ideals.

Lets then open a discussion about it. As centered as you present your self, you are in support of Zionism, which by the very definition in the first sentence states:

¦quot;Zionism (Hebrew: ציונות, Tsiyonut) is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in the territory defined as the Land of Israel¦quot;

My question is: What would be a two state solution by the Zionist definition, when the Land of Israel means entire Israel including all Palestinian territories? It is exactly what Miko is saying, there is an ideological, religious, very deep aim to wipe out the entire ¦quot;Land of Israel¦quot; from Palestinians, and it is being implemented for the past 100 years.

Well we all know the answer… but hay we just want peace. You couldn¦#39;t even watch the video, calling Miko Peled a liar…I guess it must be vary hard to get out of the Matrix. And when I say they, I mean Zionists. You seem to know very well what hate is.

And please do not use those ¦quot;strong words¦quot; like ¦quot;Demonizing¦quot; and ¦quot;hate¦quot; etc… which you seem to find very useful when living in Germany. I am not a German and have absolutelly no reason to make my self inferior to you or anyone. In fact, my people saved thousand of Jews in the WW2 by smuggling them from German theritories to Italian ones so they didn¦#39;t get killed.
17:10 January 29, 2013 by maorsh
Dear Edin,

Thank you for the compliments. I'll try to answer your particular question without referring to insults, psychological attributions and generalizations you made:

"What would be a two state solution by the Zionist definition, when the Land of Israel means entire Israel including all Palestinian territories? "

A two state solution would be accepting the existence of a Jewish nation state (Israel) in its internationally recognized borders, and the creation of a new state, a Palestinian nation state, in the Palestinian Territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), based on the pre-state autonomous Palestinian Authority.

Zionism is a broad term referring to the Jewish collective national movement of liberation, which resulted in achieving Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people. Within Zionism back then, and today, there are different ideological camps. The most radical camp speaks about a Jewish exclusive state over the entire land of Israel. This camp today is so minor, that the political party representing it ("Otzma Le'Israel") couldn't get even one sit in the parliament last week. There is no major political force in Israel that speaks about Jewish exclusivity. There is however, still, a major political force among the Palestinians which speaks about Palestinian exclusivity.

I see myself as a part of the Zionist camp who is proud in the achievements of the Jewish people and its history, and wish to promote a liberal Jewish state, the only and tiny Jewish state in the world. I am also pro-Palestinian, since I understand that there is another nation in this land with national rights, that should manifest in the creation of an independent, and hopefully liberal Palestinian state.

Miko Peled is lying by demonizing and delegitimizing Israel - that is, by attributing evil intentions to the Jewish/Zionist people, the same people who survived persecutions and defended themselves from wars of extermination by their enemies, and by denying the Jewish people the same rights that are granted to other people - the right for independence and sovereignty. The Jewish people deserved this right and it has achieved it.

Now it's the Palestinians' time to get their national rights too. History was not kind to both people, but there are people from both sides who want to overcome this and give both sides a better future. I'm happy that you don't see yourself as inferior to me or anyone - no one should ever feel inferior.
18:45 January 29, 2013 by guliver

as an Israeli I am sorry for all the negative comments which come out from a wonderfull cook program ,one of the few happy time which is doing here to all the simple citizen here Salma,Tom,Jackie people who just wish to live their lives here to work and to raise their family without fear and sadness, for these participants of

masterchef and also for the simple people who sit in their houses these kind of programs open an hope that maybe it can be better and all of us will be able to live on this land without hate, hopefull that our leaders will be able to reach a solution, meanwhile I can assure all "Negativists" that the civilians here enjoy this kind of programs no matter if they are Christians,Jews,Moslems and dream to have one day a peacefull together living.
21:40 January 29, 2013 by Edin

Let me try answer in inline, since my words just like MIkos seem to bounce off,

"'There is no major political force in Israel that speaks about Jewish exclusivity."

Haaaa, they do not speak about it they implement it. All historical facts show only a consistent ethnical cleansing of the "Land of Israel", even today with new settlements. The laws in Israel are apartheid, by the merits of all human rights org. in the world. Again as Miko says civil law for Jews and military law for Palestinians. The very foundation of Jewish state, requires exclusivity for Jews only. Palestinian refugees are and never will be allowed to return to their homes, even when accepting the state of Israel. These are the pure facts which even I as total foreigner thousands kms away know.

" This camp today is so minor, that the political party representing it ("Otzma Le'Israel") couldn't get even one sit..."

And how would you rate past and current government with Lieberman and Natanjahu? They are rated as right extremists in all political circles in western countries including Germany and USA as friends of Israel. How can you as a liberal, you say you are, identify with those guys? And hay, they represent the majority of Israel.

" the same people who survived persecutions and defended themselves from wars of extermination by their enemies, and by denying the Jewish people the same rights that are granted to other people - the right for independence and sovereignty."

It is amazing how you use the tragedy of your own people committed by your now friend country, as an excuse to do almost the same to another people. Anytime someone says anything about Palestinian rights to their land, their human rights to return to their homes to live decent lives of a human being, you call upon the WW2, accuse people of hate towards Jews. Which rights of the above are granted to Palestinians in Israel? As Miko nicely explains It is a propaganda which you are thought from an early age, in the schools over media etc. I know you believe in it 100%, and believe it for a grater cause of your own people and a country, but it is wrong.

Other than blunt accusations for lies, Demonization and hate, can you provide any actual facts and proofs to show that MIko is a liar? What he is saying is consistent to all historical and political facts, and to all world human rights org. Which facts speak against those please?
22:01 January 29, 2013 by maorsh
Dear Edin,

I'm afraid your attempt to campaign here against Israel with the same lies and propaganda we hear all day long from the anti-Israeli crowd is not going to be successful - at least not with me. This is really not the place and it was never my intention to engage in something like this here. I'm doing it gladly in the appropriate discussion groups.

But since I know your response is likely to be something like "he doesn't want to argue because he knows I'm right", I'll write these brief points:

1. The accusation of "ethnic cleansing" is ridiculous and quite foolish. The Palestinian population in the land of Israel/Palestine increased more than 7 times since 1948. If anything, these are the Jews who successfully prevented an ethnic cleansing campaign against them, in five wars by Arab armies. Unfortunately, the entire Arab world was completely ethnically cleansed from Jews in the years after 1948. One million Jews were expelled and found refuge in Israel.

2. The Israeli law is equal to Jewish and Palestinian citizens. That's an irrefutable fact. Israel controlled Gaza from 1967 till 2005. Israel still controls parts of the West Bank (areas C, see Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority). The Palestinians are subjected to the Palestinian law. The sides started a peace process toward a Palestinian State, and when this process is completed, the temporary state of laws and citizenship in the West Bank will end.

3. You should really be ashamed from using the Jewish holocaust against the very people who survived it and successfully prevented its continuation in the place they found refuge and were finally free. You are the one who used the holocaust in this discussion, not me.

At the end of the day, your bigotry doesn't contribute anything to the Palestinian or to the goal of achieving peace in the Middle East. I am optimistic, because most people from both sides reject your hate, and are willing to work together to resolve their problems.
23:07 January 29, 2013 by Edin

I am not a Palestinian nor an Arab, and have no hate for you or your people, I am just sick of those same old propaganda "We just want peace". Luckily for me I not a German either, otherwise you would call me a Nazi. You just keep repeating it all. I asked you to give me one single proof that Miko Peled is lying, that those Human rights organisations are wrong, and all you give me is your propaganda. I really see no hope for any peace there with such "liberals" like you.

Only hope is that UN and the rest of the world will some time in the future live up to the human rights ideals, and standards for which they should stand for, and really stand for it. Latest vote in UN shows that there is some hope.
23:50 January 29, 2013 by maorsh

I suggest you stop worry so much about what I would say or what I would do, and start worry about what you say and what you do. Unfortunately, the latter don't help anyone.

Oh, and the German guy won the "Masterchef" Final!
17:44 January 30, 2013 by guliver

Tom won the Masterchef with all right and also Salma was very good as arrived to second post.


the Israeli arabs are the same civilian right as all citizen -jews ,moslems, christians,druze,bahai ecc.

the palestinians in the occupied territories which are not controlled by the Palestinian Authority are under occupation, and here you are right, but it is possibile to reach an agreement you just need two for a tango
00:56 January 31, 2013 by RainerL
Mastchef. Heck > What next? Don't People have a life to live instead of sitting in front of a Box and watch some dudes cooking up a steam? I have much better things to do.
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