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Mayim Bialik won’t light torch in Israel because invite came ‘too late’

Committee planning next week’s 70th Independence Day eve event said to drop Diaspora torch after failing to enlist ‘Big Bang Theory’ star

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Actress and author Mayim Bialik in Los Angeles, May 23, 2017. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
Actress and author Mayim Bialik in Los Angeles, May 23, 2017. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)

The “will she, won’t she?” question over “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik’s participation in this year’s torch-lighting ceremony on Independence Day eve has been resolved — she won’t, because the invitation was issued too late.

The Makor Rishon newspaper reported Sunday that the TV star could not cancel her filming commitments for the popular TV sitcom to come to Israel to light the Diaspora torch next Wednesday evening.

Bialik, who was also mentioned last year as a candidate for the Jewish People torch, had even publicly expressed her wish to be nominated and asked her Facebook fans to help.

The Diaspora torch was initiated last year by Culture Minister Miri Regev. The first two nominees, who lit the torch together, were Michael Steinhardt, co-founder of Taglit-Birthright Israel, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

This year, several names were considered and approved in addition to that of Bialik — among them actress and singer Barbara Streisand, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman and former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks — the latter with the backing of Natan Sharansky, the outgoing head of the Jewish Agency.

In the end, the committee decided not to have a Diaspora representative at all this year, the report said.

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