In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with ! magazine, illusionist and magician Uri Geller reveals he is quitting the UK to return to this native Israel – and says he wishes Roy Hodgson had taken him to Brazil to inspire our footballers with his psychic powers.
The spoon-bending psychic and his wife Hanna are quitting their magnificent Berkshire home of 34 years for a small apartment in Jaffa.
“Ever since I left Israel, in 1972, there was always a spiritual magnetic urge for me to go back,” he said. “I think it”s like that for almost every Israeli. If you”re born there, there is powerful mystical energy that gradually pulls you back. After roaming the world for 40 years, it’s time to go back to where I started.”
Uri told ! that he will be moving into a “tiny” apartment that he picked because of its unique location.
“Hanna and I acquired an incredible tiny apartment that could probably fit inside this living room. But it’s the view that makes it so special. When you look out of the living room window you see the Tel Aviv Promenade, the Mediterranean Sea, an old Greek church and beautiful palm trees.
“You could say I was coming full circle. I was born in Israel and I grew up in poverty. I lived with my mother in a one-bedroom apartment, but when the first spoon broke in my hand [aged five], I told my mother I was going to make it and make a better life for her.”
In the interview, Uri says he would be happy to lend his powers of persuasion to help England’s fortunes in the World Cup – as he said he did during a 1996 England World Cup win telling ! “I would be more than happy for England manager Roy Hodgson to invite me to Rio to help the team, but he hasn”t.
“He could have invited me to Brazil, I would have walked into the dressing room and I would have inspired the footballers and it would have something positive. He should have flown me out there. I”m still willing to get on a plane today and fly now. But managers are afraid of controversy, usually, and afraid of what the press will say.”
Uri also says he is hugely flattered that he influenced today”s generation of illusionists. “People like David Blaine, Criss Angel, Dynamo – they all have coolness to them, they”re very high-tech entertainers,” he says. “I”m flattered when people tell me they”re inspired by me. It”s emotional to think I started it.
“They all want to understand how come I”m still around. The longevity is something that”s very difficult to achieve. I tell it”s a combination of different things – chutzpah, charisma, character and personality, these things are more important than your act.”
Read the full exclusive story in ! magazine, out now.