Film fans across the globe are currently packing movie theaters to watch this summer's blockbuster, Wonder Woman. But the people of Israel are even bigger fans of the real-life heroine portraying the DC Comics superhero - actress, model, and IDF veteran, Gal Gadot. The Associated Press' Aron Heller tells us of the Jewish state's love affair with the Israeli turned international superstar:
For a country that takes pride in even the smallest successes of its international celebrities, the debut of Wonder Woman has sparked an Israeli lovefest for homegrown hero Gal Gadot.
A huge billboard overlooking Tel Aviv's main highway is tagged with a provincial "we love you" greeting, her Hebrew-accented appearances in the international media are reported upon daily and throngs of fans cheer wildly upon seeing her on the big screen. Even Lebanon's ban of the film hasn't dampened the mood in Israel, where Gadot's superhero status has been embraced as a national treasure.
"It's so cool that someone from here is succeeding and is famous overseas. Everyone in the theater was so excited," said 20-year-old Ela Hofshi of Jerusalem, who watched the movie on opening night. "I think all the enthusiasm here is very supportive and encourages her to keep growing in the world and representing us."
Eager for diversions from politics and conflict with the Palestinians, Israelis often rejoice when one of their own breaks through on the international stage, whether it's Omri Casspi in the NBA, medal-winning Olympic athletes or big-name model Bar Refaeli. But Gadot's ascendance to stardom has entered a whole new stratosphere as she has assumed the identity of Wonder Woman in a box-office smash that raked in more than $100 million in its first weekend in theaters...