Azar. Significant contribution
Lambert. Runner-up on American Idol
Israel's pride and joy: Renowned US culture and entertainment magazine "Out" voted Israeli television presenter Assi Azar as one of the 100 most influential gays in the world for 2009.
Out Magazine, which is considered one of the leading gay and lesbian magazines in the United States, complies the list annually. The list mostly consists of gays and lesbians, but also includes straights who have contributed or influenced the gay community, such as pop singer Katy Perry who was honored in last year for her song "I kissed a girl."
"It's very exciting," Azar said Tuesday. "I find it a bit odd that someone is New York heard about what I do in Israel, but if this is my contribution to representing our country abroad, then I'm happy I could have done something," Azar added.
In addition to Azar, Out chose such prominent current figures in entertainment as Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, actor Neil Patrick Harris and singer Adam Lambert, who came in second on American Idol's last season.
The magazine's editors claim that the list is meant to honor the women and men of the gay and lesbian community worldwide who have made significant contributions in the fields of culture, society and politics.
The editors explained that Azar was voted, among other reasons, for his contribution as an openly gay man presenting a popular hit program 'Big Brother' on prime time in a leading Israeli TV channel. He was also voted for statements he made following the shooting at the gay community's youth center in Tel Aviv, which included a column he wrote in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.