Israeli TV star lands on Out list

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The U.S. culture and entertainment magazine Out has voted Israeli television presenter Assi Azar as one of the 100 most influential gays in the world for 2009.

Out magazine’s annual list mostly consists of gays and lesbians, but also includes straights who have contributed or influenced the gay community.

Azar is an openly gay man on a hit TV program in Israel, “Big Brother.” In addition, he made public statements and wrote a column for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth after a shooting at a gay community youth center in Tel Aviv.

“It’s very exciting,” Azar said last week. “I find it a bit odd that someone in New York heard about what I do in Israel, but if this is my contribution to representing our country abroad, then I’m happy I could have done something.” —