The challenge: Aviv speaks of the IDF and MTV

This is a republication of an original article written by Jordan Magaziner in CampusJ on Monday, October 30, 2006.

Aviv, the winner of MTV’s Fresh Meat: Real World/Road Rules Challenge came to speak about her other challenging experience — being in the Israeli Defense Forces — as well as her life in Israel, and her interesting experiences on the reality show.

Born here in America, but with an Israeli family, she said Israel was a big part of her life. She claimed that she, “…grew up in a very, very multicultural, Jewish Israeli home.” She had heard all about the Israeli army from her mother, and as it was something she really looked up to, she couldn’t wait to join.

Her first significant time in Israel came as an exchange student in 11th grade, after which she graduated from high school early to make aliyah. Upon arriving at age 18, she lived on a kibbutz, and then joined the IDF as part of an intelligence branch of the Air Force. She explained her position as a type of secretive air traffic controller.

However, she was sent to secretarial work, she had some trouble — economically and emotionally.

Unhappy in the Army, she ended up coming back to America, to re-start life in school at Ohio State University. She said that while her experience in the IDF was not her best, it definitely made her a lot stronger.

Although she had never seen any of the MTV reality shows, her little brother called her to try and to get on one of them as a brother-and-sister team. Laughing, she explained that he wanted to utilize their minority status as a bonus: “He told me, ‘I’m gay, you’re cute, we’re Israeli, we can make it!’”

Although the audition process was somewhat grueling, with filling out 70-page questionnaires and going through lots of call-backs, she was finally informed that although she did not make the show she was originally trying out for, and although her brother didn’t receive a part, she made it for the Fresh Meat Real World/Road Rule Challenge, consisted of 12 new contestants and 12 alumni from the other shows, and a physical challenge. She said she was happy with that last element, considering that, “I wanted to be a tank instructor in the army! I felt I could handle any challenge.”

Aviv explained that the experience didn’t involve as much drama as the show indicates, that it a lot of editing changed it, and that a lot of the game was more mental, rather than physical, which is one place where she believes that her experience in the IDF helped her.

“I don’t regret joining the army because I had to do it on my own; if I hadn’t done it, it would’ve always been at the back of my mind,” she said, adding “But you don’t realize until you’re there, how much you’re really American — I really recommend going on a program there.”

Upon being asked about her MTV experience, she replied, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up on MTV,” adding “I said before every interview, ‘if it’s fate, I’ll make it.’”

Aviv then declared, “What I have to say is, try new things, whether it’s Israel, or whether it’s Real World.”

In comparison, she noted that although her hardest experience was her time in the IDF, it was also the experience she grew the most from. And although the IDF wasn’t her best experience, she absolutely loves Israel and told those in the audience to “try to make it, at least once in your life, to Israel; it’s amazing.”

Upon being asked what her advice is for someone thinking about aliyah for the near future, she helped, “Find out as much information as you can, if you could even go there ahead of time, that would be great. Ask as many people as you can, talk to a shliach, get as much information as possible. The worst thing is to get there by yourself and be lost.”

One thing that she said she hoped to get out of the show was good media for pro-Israel communities. Jokingly, she commented, “I was trying to be a good role model, as much as you can on MTV—hence my lack of air time!”

The talk, in general, was very informal, as she discussed her experiences, answered questions, gave advice but didn’t appear to be condescending in the least. Her speech didn’t seem planned; it felt like a genuine conversation, with her casually teasing us and having a good time, although it was obvious she was very passionate about Israel and wanted us to share in this passion.

About the Author

Jordan Magaziner is a beat reporter for CampusJ.