Simon Cowell has announced he will be head judge on Israel’s version of his show The X Factor – making the Jewish state the first country after the UK and America where he has been part of the panel.

“Over the years the X Factor format has discovered amazing talents all over the world,” he was quoted as saying. “I can’t wait to see what Israel has to offer.”

Jewish News reports that Cowell discovered his father Eric was Jewish only after he passed away. Since then Simon has supported a number of Jewish charities and faced a barrage of online abuse after attending a dinner by the Friends of the IDF in Beverley Hills where he made a donation of $150,000.

Reacting to the news, the Reshet 13 network, which runs the talent show in Israel, said: “This is a huge achievement for Israeli TV”, adding he would be helping to pick his fellow judges. “Cowell is one of the biggest and most influential music figures in the world and his participation as a judge provides an an opportunity for international exposure for Israeli singers,” Variety quoted a Reshet statement as saying.

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