Gene Simmons in Israel, Facing His Past

June 29, 2011

Last night on Gene Simmons Family Jewels, we continue following the odyssey of Gene confronting his own fears and demons. Shannon, Gene and son Nick went to Israel. Sophie had to stay behind as she has just begun college. Upon arrival in Haifa, Gene gave a short press conference, telling the Israeli media that his visit is a personal one, retracing his early roots. Gene was born there and his real name is Chiam Weitz. After that, Shannon arranged for a tour down memory lane, thanks to her conversations with Gene′s mother, Florence.

gene simmons visits Israel

This week on Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Gene returns to Israel and meets his long-lost relatives. Image Credit: Adriana M. Barraza /

First stop was the home where Gene grew up. His mother and he left when Gene was 7 years old due to his mom and dad splitting up. Gene′s memory took a bit to click and start recalling things. After all, it has been 54 years! The first thing he remembered was when he saw a hill nearby the house. Gene recalled climbing up the hill and picking fruit from its trees. Other memories then began to rush in. They later stopped by the actual hospital where Gene was born. A doctor took the time to pull out old ledgers and found his birth records.

That evening, Shannon arranged a very special dinner. Upon arriving at a restaurant, Gene met 19 members of his family, including a step-brother, Kobi, and three sisters, Drora, Sharon and Ogenia. Sharon and Ogenia are twins. Many of their children bear a striking resemblance to Nick and Sophie. Needless to say, it was an emotional moment for Gene.

The next day, they visited Kobi at his home at Kibbitz Eyal. Family photos albums came out, as well as home movies. Stories about Gene′s father struck home, as Gene′s own recollection of his dad was very negative. But now he learns the other side of the story. How his father did come to regret many of his own past indiscretions and spent his later years focused on his family. During the 54 years in America, Gene had only written his father one letter, and it was still well preserved by his Israeli relatives. Phone calls with his mother and Sophie helped make them feel part of the whole experience.

The last stop was to the grave site of Gene′s father. Kobi read a letter that their father had written, but never sent to Gene. Shannon and Gene′s newly found sisters literally had to prop him up as he began to breakdown from the emotions. After which, they gave Gene some time alone as he knelt at his father′s grave and cried. Could this experience forever change the Lord of Rock and mellow his heart? Stay tuned for next week′s episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels as Gene actually discusses marriage with Shannon!


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