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Inside That Ace Gift-Trip to Israel for Oscar Nominees

The rich get richer

Jonathan Zalman
February 12, 2016

The Academy Award nominees—all 26 of ’em—will be receiving $200,000 gift bags this year. And they’re stacked, because what isn’t stacked when it’s worth near a quarter of a million dollars? Here’s what’s included, according to The Daily Beast, complete with the brands giving them away:

• A year’s worth of unlimited Audi car rentals from Silvercar. Value: $45,000
• A 15-day walking tour of Japan. Value: $45,000
• Three private training sessions with Jay Cardiello, a “TV celebrity wellness expert,” or whatever. Value: $1,400
• Laser skin tightening from740 Park MD. Value: $5,530
• A Lifetime supply of skincare products from Lizora, some of which I think uses pu’er tea, which is fantastic—to drink, that is. Value: $31,200
• A Fit Club TV “Ultimate Fitness Package” in a private villa. Value: $6,250
• A Haze Dual V3 vaporizer (out of which they can smoke their bourgie marijuana that never comes in a bag, but instead a plastic box, and has names tagged onto it like “Polar Bear” or “Butter Chimes.”) Value: $249.99

Oh, whoops. I forgot to mention a 10-day, $55,000 trip to Israel—and back, if they’ll want to even leave. JTA has the scoop on what that trip will look like.

About $25,000 will go toward two first-class round-trip flights, and another $10,000 can be expected to cover fancy hotels, said Sam Gee, the COO of, which is putting together the trips.

For $1,000 a night, the Oscars elites could afford the sweetest suite at the luxurious Beresheet Hotel in Israel’s Negev. The Villa Deluxe Crater View room has a private balcony and pool with a view of the Ramon Crater, over which the boutique hotel hangs.

That leaves a generous $20,000 for transportation, security and, of course, fine dining—or $2,000 a day.

Dinner for two at Messa, arguably Tel Aviv’s best restaurant—think “shakshuka sashimi” followed by sea bass and lamb chops and washed down with a bottle of Israeli red wine—will only dent the daily budget, at under $200.

It may take a limousine ride under armed guard to Jerusalem’s bustling Machane Yehuda market—where street vendors will happily take some money off an American celebrity’s hands—to max out the budget.

So there you have it. For free, these celebs will now be able to get blazed off a vape, hop in their Audis and drive to LAX or JFK (or Vail; does Vail have an international airport?), and then live it up in Eretz Yis (that’s my slang for Israel, in Hebrew—my gift to you). The only question is: Why haven’t they been doing this all along?

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.