Clutching a poster of dying chickens bordered by the Hebrew words for “Small cage, large abuse” and standing between two tablets that read, “Thou shalt not kill animals,” Canadian-American actress Pamela Anderson stopped for dinner on Tuesday night at south Tel Aviv’s vegan Buddha Burger restaurant.

She was surrounded by Israeli paparazzi and fellow animal rights activists clamoring to speak with her.

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“We thought we would go to this great vegetarian restaurant – this is my first stop,” Anderson said, her perfectly straight blonde hair and button-up shirt dress catching eyes from down the block, as she spoke to reporters in the outdoor seating area. “There are some really forward- thinking and wonderful animal rights activists here like us.”

After gracing Israeli television this fall as a judge on the Israeli version of Dancing With the Stars, Anderson returned on Tuesday for a two-day trip that involved a fashion photo shoot for lingerie company Bonita de Más, as well as this detour to Buddha Burger on Rehov Yehuda Halevy for some dinner and animal rights advocacy.

Anderson was joined by PETA vice president Dan Mathews, who flew in for three days after a fashion event in Paris, and her Israeli friend from Los Angeles Elad Hayun.

Among those crowded around Anderson was MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who drafted a Knesset bill banning the trade of animal fur in Israel – excluding fur in haredi apparel, such as streimels – in conjunction with Israel’s International Anti-Fur Coalition. The bill is being prepared in the Education, Culture and Sports Committee headed by MK Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) for its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset plenum.

As an aroma of Asian spices wafted through the air and journalists shouted questions from every direction, Anderson paused to take a phone call early on from Miller, whom she urged to push the bill along as quickly as possible.

“There are a lot of really great animal rights [activists] here, really good, sympathetic people, and I think they’re making a lot of progress even with passing this fur bill, which is a landmark bill, and it’s very important for the rest of the world,” Anderson told The Jerusalem Post. “It just seems like everyone is very passionate [in Israel]. There’s not a lot of small talk – people really talk about important things, and it’s really incredible the people that I’ve met. We have great conversations.”

For PETA, Anderson is an “honorary director,” according to Mathews, who praised her for being an ambassador for animal rights all over the world.

“Pamela always tells PETA where she’s going and [asks] if she can ever be of any help – the press is crazy about anything she’s doing,” Mathews told the Post later in the evening, after Anderson left the restaurant. “So she’d rather focus it on a cause and go to a cool veggie restaurant rather than just go to some glamorous nightclub and not talk about anything meaningful. She always asks us to engage in her schedule and build something in so that she can talk about something she’s passionate about, and as a result, we’ve been able to keep animal rights issues on the public agenda.”

Throughout the evening, Mathews had been distributing PETA flyers of a bikiniclad Anderson with different parts of her nearly naked body labeled in Hebrew, with the slogan “In all living things, there are the same organs,” and an illustration of a cow.

The staff members at Buddha Burger were happy to host Anderson, who they feel embodies the values of their restaurant.

“We try to convince people that abandoning meat is healthier for people, for animals and for the environment,” said owner Aryeh Rave, whose menus feature dishes such as “lentil and flax balls in curry” and countless combinations of tofu. “We’re always grateful for people who want to support us and visit us.”

Local activists hoped that the publicity generated by an Anderson visit would help attract the public’s attention to the fur industry and pushing the bill through the Knesset. One representative from the Anti-Fur Coalition, Jane Halevy, said her group had been waiting for four months for the bill to progress to the next stage, a step that has been slowed by haredi protests.

“Of course it’s going to pass – it’s unbelievable to think that animals are being skinned alive and tortured for something that’s as unnecessary as fur. This is big, and so important for Israel,” said Mitzi Ocean, also a leader of the coalition, who was responsible for translating the anti-fur bill into English.

“We have this amazing opportunity – the world knows that this law is on the table and if it doesn’t pass, it looks very bad for the government, too. If they don’t care about animals, they should care about the way Israel looks to the world,” Ocean said.

Regarding Anderson’s visit, Ocean added, “I think it’s beautiful – we need more angels.”

Meanwhile, Reut Horn and Hila Keren, spokeswomen for the group Anonymous for Animal Rights, were excited to see Anderson holding their poster condemning battery cages, and hoped that her public appearance would help their effort to make such chicken coops illegal.

When asked her opinion on Israel in light of worldwide criticism, Anderson expressed no such disapproval of the Jewish state.

“I love Israel, I think it’s a beautiful place, very forward-thinking people, really wonderful,” she said. “And it’s gorgeous and beautiful here, and I think it’s a really important part of the world.”

When someone in the crowd shouted that she should take a family vacation here, Anderson responded, “I need to bring my boys, yes, I do. They’re in school right now.”

As Anderson, Mathews and Hayun posed for one last photo-shoot before heading into Buddha Burger to enjoy their quick dinner, they waved their hands in the air and yelled, “L’chaim!”

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