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Simon Cowell has pulled out of judging duties for the upcoming season of X Factor Israel.
The British producer and reality TV personality, who is currently appearing as a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, was set to also assess contestants for the Israeli version of The X Factor. But over the weekend, Reshet, the Israeli company that produces X Factor locally, confirmed Cowell canceled without elaborating on the reasons for his decision.
Rumors Cowell was pulling out of the show began last week in the wake of renewed violence in the region between Israel and Hamas and with reports of confrontations between Jewish and Arab Israelis in the streets of the country’s cities. Cowell has not commented on the move through a report in Jewish News, Britain’s largest Jewish newspaper, citing an unnamed source close to the media mogul that claimed Cowell could not take part in the show for “a number of reasons” and was “bitterly disappointed.”
Cowell broke his back in a bike accident last year and was forced to take a break from television to undergo surgery and extensive rehab.
Cowell, who created the original version of The X Factor in Britain, announced in December that he would appear as a judge on the fourth season of X Factor Israel. At the time, Cowell said he could “barely wait to see what the Israelis have to offer.”
Cowell’s team also helped the local show select judges for the new season, including Israeli singer and former Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai, alongside Israeli singers Aviv Geffen, Ran Danker, Miri Mesika and Margalit Tzanani.
For the first time this year, the winner of X Factor Israel will represent the country in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. The new season is set to air on Israeli TV channel Reshet 13 later this year.
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