Same-sex couple in Israel's "Dancing with the Stars"

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Two Israeli women teamed up on Tuesday to become the first same-sex couple to compete in a version of the internationally popular “Dancing with the Stars” television series.

Gili Shem Tov, a TV sportscaster, performed the cha-cha with Dorit Milman, a professional dancer assigned by the show to perform with her.

BBC Worldwide Productions, which licenses the series’ format globally, said it was the first time a “Dancing with the Stars” competition had featured a same-sex pairing.

Shem Tov, who is a lesbian, said “it felt natural” to dance with a woman.

“If by doing that even a few people will be more tolerant and open-minded, I achieved my goal,” she told reporters.

The “Dancing with the Stars” format, in which celebrities are paired with professional dancers and compete for the votes of judges and viewers, is broadcast in more than 75 countries.

Shem Tov said she and Milman would take turns leading in their performances in the 12-couple competition.

Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Mark Heinrich