Israeli Comedian Nadav Abecassis comes out

In an interview published this weekend in Yediot Aharonot, Israeli stand-up comedian and actor Nadav Abecassis finally comes out of the closet and tells all about the difficulties as a gay man who grew up in a very religious society.

Nadav Abecassis, who is taking part in the new season of the Israeli reality show “Connected”  on cable TV,  felt he was different from an early age. He hid his sexual preferences for years, and this weekend he officially came out publicly, in a big interview in Yediot Ahronot. “As a child I always wanted to go to a mixed school [instead of an all-boys boarding school]. I thought that if I went to a school with girls, my “gayness” would pass. I knew that I was defective, I knew I was damaged, and I thought maybe it could be fixed. When [other kids] brought porn magazines into the Yeshiva, I’d be looking at the boys in the pictures. I was terrified that someone would find out,” he says.

In the army, he served in Lebanon as a Golani platoon sergeant. “It was a period when there were lots of explosive charges, lots of pressure, and in it I was hiding from everyone that I’m gay. I was trying to be the most popular, the funniest guy. That’s what had always saved me, the humor in a very masculine society. But I often felt suicidal in the army. I was in a constant fear: people were about to find out about me, and if anyone knew I was gay, I would shoot myself. The gun is here. Every time I heard about a soldier who committed suicide, I was sure he was gay. ”

Why were you hiding all these years?

“Eighteen years ago I dropped the bomb on my parents and and then changed my mind. There was a huge amount of crying. My mother went to the righteous graves [to ask for a ‘cure’]. This is, by the way, one of the first jokes in my new show: my mother went to the graves of the righteous and brought me holy water. ‘Take it – it will help you,’ she said. And it really helped: studs started to hit on me like crazy. ”

Nadav Abecassis quit religion in his early 20’s and started working as a driver and delivery guy for mineral water. In 1997 he was discovered at a radio show during a competition to find the funniest guy in the country. Nadav won the contest and joined the cast of the most famous radio show in the 90’s- “Didi Locally” – that was broadcast daily in a syndication around Israel. Later, he began doing TV stand up gigs on talk shows, including on the successful talk show of Yair Lapid.

Nadav Abecassis (in the middle) with the cast of “connected”