Rising star

The first ever Israeli live TV talk-show was born in 1992. It attracted thousands of devoted viewers and became the prototype for Israeli TV journalism today. Truth be told, it was more of a shout-show than a talk-show, with participants sometimes leaving the studio angrily live on TV. Much to the delight of the national audience, some renegade politicians even came close to taking a punch. Phrases born out of those very rough exchanges are still thrown around on current affairs programs today. Israeli TV is a tough place, and reading the news is the toughest job of them all. 

Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, the first Druze woman to serve as the Hebrew anchor on the Israeli TV news, is one tough lady. She is the first non-Jewish woman to be granted that unenviable job of reading the news. She also scored a first in that it was the first time the Hebrew news was read with an Arabic accent. It was also the first time Israelis found it difficult to pronounce the news reader’s name. Not only did Gadeer possess the sharp wit required to fight off the high levels of political Testosterone live on TV, in doing so she was the first woman to break a Druze cultural glass ceiling. 

Born in a Druze village on Mount Carmel, to a mother who was a housewife, and father a contractor, the highly-educated, secular and academic Gadeer’s first memories are that of her father decorating his car with Israeli flags for Independence Day. Gadeer was born with a passion for Israel and the bug of journalism. Even in school, she would submit her projects in video form, often pretending to be this or that famous newscaster. But pragmatically she first chose to study Medical Imaging and later did her Masters in International Relations, before specialising in media communications.  She graduated with honours in every single subject, and it wasnt long before she was snatched up by Israeli national television. Her pedantic nature, her diligence and her Arabic all proved to be a huge advantage. Before every broadcast she would scan the Arab media, to learn and make sure she is aware of all that is being said. 

At the beginning of her media career, some of the Druze clergy objected. They thought it  inappropriate for a wife and mother of two to work in the evenings . Over time she gained more acceptance and love from her community. When the leader of the Druze community gave his blessings, it brought her to tears. 

Gadeer went from strength to strength. Three years ago she made history again by becoming the first Druze woman to be elected to the Knesset,. Less than a year ago, this Druze woman joined theJewish Agency – no less – and today serves in Washington DC as the senior emissary.