A Joan Ranger in Mourning


Joan Rivers was the best celebrity friend of gays, Jews and of Israel. She was stunningly unafraid to speak her mind, even with the cost of losing fans, and in many cases she did, even if just for a while.

During my time serving as a Hollywood correspondent for Israel, I’ve met Joan personally a few times. Before we got to the interview it was always important to her to know that my family in Israel was safe. It’s funny, we always started our interviews at a point where I felt she was like a Jewish aunt. She wanted to know everything about where I lived when I lived in Israel, and how it felt.

I’ve had the honor of attending Fashion Police’s tapings a few times, and every time it was a real treat: the stage manager wanted  gays in the front row all the time. That’s what Joan wanted because it inspired her. Our straight friends were seated in the back. Joan loved gays; she always said so. She officiated at a couple of gay weddings;  she was in the front line of celebrities in every gay rights fight with her dirty mouth and controversial humor, and the gays loved her for it. During the tapings she always came up to the audience to talk to us and show her appreciation for choosing to spend our time there. This women has never taken love for granted, and that’s also a side of her personality she was never ashamed to reveal.

More than a year ago, when a bunch of Israeli celebrities joined a campaign to raise awareness for equality in surrogacy for gays, I wanted to take the awareness a step further as a part of my work with the pro-Israel LGBT organization A Wider Bridge. I told Joan’s assistant about the campaign and received an answer about 2 hours later: of course Joan would do it. I created a sign and left it for her at the Fashion Police studio in Hollywood, and the photo showing the sign was sent to me later that day.


Today I’m a Joan Ranger in mourning. It’s unbelievable to me that she won’t be on my screen laughing about that celebrity’s vagina, the other’s lack of talent or a certain celebrity’s mega-talent in being a slut, and also joking about her own plastic surgeries (she claimed to have more than 700 of them) and how old she was.

I’m also angry that as in her life, in her death she was also hated. It was not long ago that she talked about her support for Israel, and about the Palestinians ‘deserving what they got because they started it.” She received a lot of criticism for that. But people who have met her know that expressions like this came from her deep and true worry for her people, the Jews, which I know she saw as family. And no one should mess with Joan’s family!

It’s so weird to say goodbye to someone who worked until the very last minute. She was in our face all the time and now she’s gone. I look at the news and still can’t believe it.

Thank you, Joan. For all of your support, your dirty mouth that made us laugh, and your good heart that made us believe that somewhere in Hollywood there was a person who really cared about Israel, about the Jewish people, and about gays.

Today I salute you, Joan.

About the Author
Yanir Dekel has a decade of experience in entertainment, journalism, and digital media in Israel and the U.S. He headed PR for Helicon Records - one of the top two Record Labels in Israel - for several years before moving to LA in April of 2009. Yanir now works as an "Online Outreach" and content administration freelancer, managing content and social media, as well as providing graphics for online and print.