In some countries, reality television offers contestants fame and fortune. In Israel, the winner gets the equivalent of a job with the civil service.
The latest reality programme to catch the country's imagination is The Ambassador, in which 14 contestants compete at defending Israel's reputation abroad.
The winner will receive a year's contract at an agency set up in New York to promote the country in the United States.
The show's popularity and the prize it offers reflect, say academics, domestic confusion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how it is perceived around the world.
The 14 contestants must carry out a variety of diplomatic tasks in Washington, New York, France, Britain and Israel. The judges are a former spokesman for the Israeli army, a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency and a television political correspondent.
The winner will be the person who best demonstrates the qualities of a professional advocate and presents Israel in the most positive light.
The first edition of The Ambassador featured a debate between the seven male and seven female contestants at the Cambridge University Union.
Appearing for the men, Tzvika Deutsch asked the audience how they would feel if a football game in Manchester was cancelled because the stadium was threatened with rocket fire from militants. "For the people of Manchester this would be a very bad joke. But for people in the Israeli city of Sderot this is the reality."
Ravit Shemtov, for the women, said Israel had offered the Palestinians many peace solutions but they had all been rejected. "Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority has declined every opportunity the Israeli government offered them."
Under hostile questioning, one contestant, Ofra Bin Nun, was prompted into saying: "Israel has not taken anything from anyone." The audience groaned in response.
The judges ruled that Ms Bin Nun had made a major error and she became the first contestant to be expelled.
Candidates must strive to spin Israel's story most effectively and need not pay much attention to reality or the Palestinian point of view.
source: Guardian Unlimited
Oh yeah, after all, this whole conflict is as much as a game that went a bit wrong... :vomit: