Welcome to 70 Faces of Israel. To celebrate 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel, we’re looking at 70 people whose remarkable stories have changed our country and the world.
Name: Uri Geller
Date of Birth: 20th December 1946, Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
Claim to Fame: Illusionist and Self-Proclaimed Psychic
In 1975… Geller published his autobiography, My Story
Israeli-native Uri Geller is a tri-lingual performer of Central European origin. He grew up in Tel Aviv, before his family moved to Cyprus where he attended high school and learned English. At age 18, Geller joined the IDF’s Paratrooper Brigade; he served with them in the 1967 Six Day War.
Geller claims that he realised he had psychic powers when he was just five years old: a spoon curled up in his hand and broke at a meal. He developed his skills and began performing as a night club entertainer in the late 60s. His reputation spread around Israel and was eventually picked up globally: by the 70s he was a household name across Europe and America.
Uri Geller claims to have a range of mind control powers, including telepathy (receiving another’s thoughts and feelings via extrasensory perception), dowsing (detecting precious metals and materials under the Earth’s surface), and telekinesis (moving items at will).
He is probably most famous for his acts of telekinesis; in particular, his ability to bend spoons. In fact, Geller is so synonymous with spoons that his most famous work is his spoon-covered car. He has performed this trick thousands of times across the world. He also claimed to be employed by industry leaders who used his dowsing skills to discover minerals.
Obviously, people have questioned his reputation as a paranormalist. Geller has been the subject of scientific investigations examining his apparent powers. One test showed his powers to be genuine; others have dismissed him as a very good magician and con artist. Famously, his predictions are always off. Most recently, he predicted that Israel would win their Mondial match against Croatia:
Regardless of the veracity of his powers, Uri is certainly one of the most famous Israelis in the world. He uses his fame for good, too: the Uri Geller Charitable Foundation raises money for a range of causes close to his heart. Uri is the chairperson of Friends of Magen David Adom, the fundraising group for Israel’s ambulance service. He is also a well-received published author and TV personality who has hosted and judged several shows in different languages.
Previously: 1974: Yitzhak Rabin
Up next: 1976: Yoni Netanyahu