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Wake-up call

Israel’s ‘Big Brother’ contestants awakened by rocket sirens

Competitors on the show, who are normally cut off from outside news, were informed of the ongoing escalation with Gaza after a rocket was intercepted near the ‘Big Brother’ house

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Contestants on Israel's 'Big Brother' asleep just before an air raid siren sounded in the house on August 7, 2022. (Screenshot)
Contestants on Israel's 'Big Brother' asleep just before an air raid siren sounded in the house on August 7, 2022. (Screenshot)

Contestants on Israel’s “Big Brother” became a little less cut off from the outside world on Sunday morning when they had to run for shelter after incoming rockets triggered sirens in the house.

Sirens sounded shortly after 8 a.m. in Neve Ilan, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where the “Big Brother” house is situated, when terrorists in Gaza fired a volley of rockets toward Jerusalem that fell short.

The competitors were instructed by producers to enter the reinforced room located inside the “Big Brother” house. The rocket that triggered the siren was intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Producers on the show, which airs on Reshet 13, had chosen not to update the contestants on Operation Breaking Dawn, which began Friday afternoon. In a statement following the sirens, Reshet said it had since informed the competitors about the situation.

On Saturday, Reshet said it was opening access to its 24/7 live feed of the house to everyone in Israel for free in light of the security situation — as a way to provide entertainment for those stuck at home. TV providers Yes, HOT, Cellcom and Partner also opened up many of their channels for free across the country.

At the time of the siren in Neve Ilan, Reshet cut the live feeds from inside the house and viewers did not see the residents running for shelter. It is unclear if the show will air Sunday evening on Reshet 13 as planned in light of the ongoing operation.

Sunday was not the first time that competitors on Israel’s “Big Brother” experienced air raid sirens while inside the house.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, contestants on the show’s sixth season heard air raid sirens multiple times when rockets were fired toward Jerusalem.

Then as well, the residents of the “Big Brother” house had not been informed of the escalating violence. Following the first siren in 2014, production told residents that it was triggered by a technical fault, and only informed the contestants about the military operation after a second siren was heard.

For the rest of that season, the show aired its live evictions without a live audience gathered at the studio due to the ongoing war.

In 2020, the show opted in mid-March to inform residents in the house of the escalating COVID-19 situation in Israel and around the world.

During the most recent flareup in violence between Israel and Gaza in May 2021, there was no active season of “Big Brother.”

The Israeli version of the reality show is one of the most popular TV shows in Israel, drawing in hundreds of thousands of viewers to the primetime broadcasts.

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