Tel Aviv’s most famous part-time resident, Quentin Tarantino, praised Israel’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and discussed his mastery of “Sesame Street” Hebrew on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show Tuesday.
Tarantino wed Israeli model and singer Daniella Pick, daughter of local pop legend Tzvika Pick, in 2018. The couple welcomed a baby boy, Leo, after they settled into a rented house in north Tel Aviv in February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic changed the world.
Tarantino told Kimmel: “The idea was that we would spend three to four months in Tel Aviv and four months in Los Angeles. But then COVID hit. So three to four months became nine to 12 months in Tel Aviv.”
When asked what it was like to spend so much time in Israel, the Oscar-winning director replied, “I would have rather not been out of my own country against my will for a year.”
But he said that "if I have to be in another country, the country that handled COVID the best is probably the best country to be in.”
Tarantino revealed that 16-month-old Leo had spoken his first word, abba – Hebrew for father. Leo, he said, was named after his wife’s grandfather, though they hesitated when choosing the name for fear most people would assume he was being named after Leonardo DiCaprio, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
But the couple's affinity for the name won out because “in our hearts he was our little lion.”
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When asked whether he had picked up any Hebrew during his extended stay in Israel, Tarantino said:
“I’ve learned a lot of words. I haven’t actually learned enough to carry on a conversation or even to string anything but a perfunctory sentence together. But I’m actually learning a lot with Leo, because he’s watching these 'Baby TV' kinds of things. And it’s all in Hebrew.”
He proceeded to rattle off animal names: “Cat is hatul, horse is sus, cow is para. I’m learning the 'Sesame Street' version of Hebrew.”