18 Things to Know About Amit Rahav, AKA Yanky in ‘Unorthodox’

If you think Yanky from Unorthodox is kind of hot, we’re here to tell you, you’re not alone. Amit Rahav plays the devoted, jilted ultra-Orthodox husband of Esty in the Netflix miniseries, who goes all the way to Berlin to find his wife (played by the astounding Shira Haas). His passion and longing stares may be misguided, but they are also, well, pretty dreamy, if we do say so ourselves.

So yes, we get it, you want to know more about Amit Rahav. Here are 18 things about this rising Israeli star that we need to see more of.

1. He was born in 1995 in Israel. His mother is British and his dad is Israeli. English is actually his mother tongue.

2. His first acting roles were in theater and in the Israeli TV show Mispacha Sholetet (Family Rules).

3. He did his military service in the Israel Defense Forces theater. Here he is with the Wicked songbook, because, of course. We need an Amit Rahav rendition of “Defying Gravity,” please and thank you.


4. He had a small role in the show Dig, the short-lived USA drama (starring hot Jewish dad Jason Isaacs) about an FBI agent uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy in Jerusalem.

5. He was a Jewish summer camp counselor in Atlanta for three months through the Jewish Agency for Israel. Oh, those lucky campers.


6. In 2016, he made Israeli TV history when he played the first character to come out in a teen television show on the Israeli TV show Flashback. In an interview with Ynet, he says he got amazing responses from LGBT+ youth about how his portrayal made them feel seen and validated.

7. Amit is also gay. In an interview with Ynet, he talked about his experience coming out, which was, well, pretty uneventful. “It wasn’t a surprise for my family because there really wasn’t a closet to come out of… Everyone knew and everything was on the table from very early in my life. There was no dramatic conversation. There was no agony. It was almost a joke. I went to my mom and I told her how I feel and she smiled at me and said ‘it’s really the surprise of the year.’ It wasn’t a big deal for anyone else in my family, including my grandmother and grandfather. That’s how it should be.”

8. He played a hot, well-intentioned, but, well, not exactly whip-smart swimmer called Stav in the Israeli TV show Trening (Tracksuit).

9. He only did one swim training to prepare for that role. His favorite swimming style: the backstroke, because it’s easier to do, it doesn’t mess up his make-up, and lets him have conversations. We hear you, Amit.

10. He likes sweatpants and hates jeans. He’s an Olympic champion at eating desserts. He dances to the Frozen soundtrack. He loves listening to live shows. Basically, Amit Rahav is all of us during quarantine.

11. He was in a military horror movie called The Damned (2018) in which he plays one of three soldiers who start losing their minds after being cursed by a Bedouin woman.


12. In case you had any doubt (okay, we know you didn’t), he’s very photogenic. Yes, we’re just mentioning this because we want to embed a picture of him being good looking. Here’s one. He is very good with chairs.

Also stairways. A+ sitting on stairways, right here:


13. This photo of him with an elephant in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand is sure to make you smile:


14. Like castmate Shira Haas, Rahav had to learn Yiddish for his role in Unorthodox. He had never spoken the language before.

15. Speaking of Shira, the two have been friends for a while. They’ve known each other for almost a decade since they were high schoolers. They practiced the shidduch (matchmaking) scene over the phone the night before the audition because #FriendshipGoals. Look how cute they are together!


16. Amit was cast for Unorthodox while he was still in acting school, at the Yoram Loewenstein Performing Arts Studio in Tel Aviv. He got the call that he got the role during a break between classes. Amit had to defer his studies to shoot Unorthodox, and re-audition to get back into the school. He’s currently a second-year student.

17. On his character Yanky, he said he could not have a personality more different than his own. He thinks that in real life, he and Yanky would probably not get along. But where he really connects with the character is his passion — for the things and the person that he loves.


18. Amit says he spent his quarantine like all of us — watching Tiger KingIs he #TeamCarole or #TeamExotic? We need to know.

Header image via @amitrahav8 on Instagram.

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