Twitter Poll: Shockingly, most Arab News readers in favor of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Cleopatra

Israeli actress Gal Gadot previously played the role of Wonder Woman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 October 2020

Twitter Poll: Shockingly, most Arab News readers in favor of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Cleopatra

  • More than 70% say yes she is appropriate for the role or will decide once the film is shown
  • British actress Elizabeth Taylor previously played the role of Cleopatra in the 1963 blockbuster

DUBAI: An overwhelming majority of respondents to an Arab News Twitter poll said they believed the Israeli actress, Gal Godot, was suitable for the role of Cleopatra in the upcoming new film of the same name by director Patty Jenkins.

Announced earlier this week, the decision was initially met with some level of disdain, with people saying the decision to cast the Wonder Woman actress as the legendary Egyptian queen was “just another stroke in the long history of white-washing.”

But 60.9 percent of respondents to the Arab News poll, asking readers if they felt her casting for the role was appropriate said it was – a further 12 percent said they would decide once the movie was finished, while 27.1 percent said she was not.



 “Yes. She is Mediterranean just like Cleopatra's Greek ancestors,” tweeted @Scripteladora.



And @EinatWilf added: “Seems to me @GalGadot  comes from the perfect geographical/ethnic background to play #Cleopatra...”



The Israeli actress is not the first to play a character from country different to their own – the British actress Elizabeth Taylor famously played the role of Cleopatra opposite her one-time husband Richard Burton in the 1963 movie of the same name.

“Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra in the 1963 movie She was JEWISH!!!!!!!!!!!” tweeted   @herbyg72



And @TeddysMom8 said: “If Omar Sharif could play Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl beauty Gal Gadot can play Cleopatra.”



Meanwhile @Monahassan1111 questioned the timing of the announcement, which coincided with the signing of the Abraham Accords.

“It is not a coincidence that actor Gal Gadot  would represent Cleopatra and that coincided with the peace processes in the Middle East ..!Any way Art maybe success to achieve peace with ppl and create Dialogue language between ppl instead limited with Diplomatic room!”



Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

Updated 25 November 2020

Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

  • Tennis star Novac Djokovic has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a ‘paradise on earth’

VISOKO, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With tree-covered slopes that rise to a pointed summit, the mountain overlooking the Bosnian town of Visoko resembles any other ordinary hillside in the Balkan state.
Yet thousands of yearly visitors – including high-profile stars like Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic – don’t see it that way.
Despite scientists’ efforts to debunk the claims, large numbers of people still believe the hill is part of an ancient man-made pyramid complex with healing powers.
Djokovic, who is known for his new-age spiritual interests, has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a “paradise on earth.”
The mountain is now part of a controversial pyramid park founded by Semir Osmanagic, a 60-year-old self-styled explorer who “discovered” the site just outside of Sarajevo in 2005.
“I saw this hill covered with fir trees and vegetation, its slopes perfectly oriented toward the cardinal points,” Osmanagic, wearing a leather jacket and Indiana Jones-style hat, said on a recent weekend while leading a tour group through the site.
“It was obvious to me that it was not a natural hill but the construction” of a “technologically superior civilization,” he said, insisting it is the “largest and oldest pyramid ever built.”
Archaeologists have long ago disputed this theory as pseudo-science, saying the hill is a natural geological structure.
In a letter to Bosnian authorities in 2006, European archaeologists denounced the support given to a “cruel hoax on an unsuspecting public” that “has no place in the world of genuine science.”
But this did not prevent Osmanagic, previously a US-based businessman, from carrying out “archaeological excavations” on the hill with hundreds of volunteers from abroad.
He bought a piece of surrounding land, which includes a network of tunnels he says emit a curative energy force, and a few years later opened the park through his “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” foundation.
Today, the park is buzzing with visitors, who have come in even higher numbers since two recent trips from Djokovic.
In July and October, Djokovic made pilgrimages to the park and invited “all athletes” to take advantage of the healthy oxygen levels.
“I know there are many doubts and dilemmas about the authenticity (of the place),” he said in October.
But “in order to fully understand what is going on here... you have to come.”
After a quiet spring subdued by the pandemic, weekend crowds are back at the park, consisting mostly of visitors from the region.
“The beginning of the season was catastrophic, but since Djokovic has been here, it’s been a joy,” says Nermin Alihodzic, 47, who sells tourists colorful mini-pyramids and pieces of quartz.
While the government stopped backing the park over a decade ago, local authorities have helped finance the construction of roads, parking lots and other infrastructure to encourage tourists.
A five-euro ($5.94) entry fee for the whole park also includes access to the underground tunnel network which Osmanagic claims emit healing electromagnetic waves.
In his tour of the park, Osmanagic takes groups down to the chambers, urging them to hold their hands over a smooth rock and feel the “energy” rising.
Dzenana Halepovic, a 67-year-old from Sarajevo, is a frequent visitor.
In the tunnels “I feel good, I breathe well, I feel light. I simply feel like I’m receiving energy there,” she said.
For Enver Imamovic, a professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Sarajevo, the project is pure scam.
The tunnels are likely “remnants of an ancient gold mine” while wedges of stones on the hillside, which believers consider to be the building blocks of the pyramid, are “nothing more than natural geological formations,” he said.
“Everything that is said about the pyramids is absolutely unacceptable.”
Founder Osmanagic has also been promoting the site as a place to “boost immunity” during the coronavirus pandemic.
While he insists no cures are guaranteed, he cites other alleged miracles in which people have been healed of ailments like hypertension, diabetes or even cancer after a trip to the underground tunnels.