Jew-Arab wife swap gets ugly
THEY exchanged the meat-eater with the vegetarian, the religious with the secular. Yet only when the Israeli producers of television's Wife Swap exchanged an Arab for a Jew did the wheels come off.
Amal Ahmed Abdullah, 28, a Muslim from an Arab village near Jerusalem, tearfully packed her bags and quit the reality show early.
She bade her Jewish "husband" a terse farewell, unable to bear the increasingly rancorous arguments.
By contrast, Ayelet Movsowitz, 39, felt at home and went out of her way to fit in with her Muslim "spouse", a world away from her farming community home in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee.
Kuperman, an Israeli production company, bought rights to the hit television series Wife Swap - where two matriarchs from two households trade places - and decided to take the show to the frontier of the country's eternal conflict.
Ms Movsowitz, a part-time secretary and mother of three, found herself welcomed into the Ahmed Abdullah family, which is liberal by Arab standards.
Like her "husband", Karim Ahmed Abdullah, 36, a gentle construction worker, she made the effort to adapt.
The pair developed a bond, and Ms Movsowitz even tried out her stumbling Arabic for the children.
In contrast, Ms Ahmed Abdullah and her "spouse" Sean Movsowitz, 41, started off badly when he revealed he was not comfortable with her being alone with his children.
The pair squabbled incessantly. She wanted to watch al-Jazeera, he decreed CNN. She forgot Jewish dietary laws and mixed dairy with meat, to his consternation.
The quarrel grew heated. Ms Ahmed Abdullah could not bear the tension any longer and packed her bags.
Roy Oz, the executive editor of the show, said: "Their differences were not cultural but personal.
"The cultural and religious differences only served as the point of conflict for these two. The reason they couldn't get on was simply because they are such different people."