Ariel Helwani (given name in Hebrew for “Lion of God”; surname Arabic for “Sweet”) was born as the youngest of four siblings to Mizrahi Jewish parents in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
His father is of Syrian descent but was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, and his mother is of Lebanese origin.
His father moved to Lebanon in his late teens before moving to Montreal with his family in 1967, and his mother moved to the same Canadian city in 1973 because “it was starting to get increasingly dangerous for Jews in Lebanon.”
Helwani is the maternal nephew of judoka David Saad, who competed in the men’s lightweight event at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad. Helwani speaks English, French, and Hebrew fluently and understands Spanish and Arabic.