Once, as American actor and singer Mandy Patinkin stood naked in a locker room
shower after a concert, a man verbally attacked him for his support of the left
wing group Peace Now.
“How can you raise money for them?” the man asked
“In my nakedness, I said to him, ‘Look, I support Peace Now, If
you want to support peace later that is your privilege,’” Patinkin
The actor related this anecdote as he spoke Friday in Tel Aviv at
the second annual conference of the Israeli Left-wing camp, sponsored by Peace
He gave an emotional speech in support of their activities at the
start of the one-day event.
Patinkin is in Israel filming episodes of the
television series Homeland.
Since arriving last week, he has also spent
time learning about political issues here. He traveled with Hagit Ofran of Peace
Now to see West Bank settlements including Ariel and to Hebron with the
Left-wing group Breaking the Silence.
Patinkin recalled how he first went
to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron 30 years ago with his pregnant wife
Kathryn, while in Israel studying for his role in the movie Yentl.
described the teeming city he viewed as they drove up to the
Children immediately surrounded their car. A man offered to show
them the cave.
“He said, ‘this is where Abraham is buried.’ I said,
‘Which Abraham?’ He said, ‘The Abraham.’ I said, ‘You are kidding
Then the guide showed them the graves of Sarah and Isaac.
said, ‘Which Isaac?’ He said, ‘the Isaac.’ I said to Kathryn, ‘this is a sign.’”
They walked over to Isaac’s tomb and rubbed her belly on the stone, in hopes
that their unborn child would be blessed.
“That boy is going to be 30
years old on July 10,” he said.
Upon his arrival in Israel this week, he
returned to Hebron.
“Everything was a ghost tomb. Every beautiful place I
saw [before] was boarded up. The doors were sealed,” he said.
that only Israeli cars could travel on the main road leading to the
“We went into the cave and it was a very different feeling,” he
Initially, he said, he noted cups and saucers in the gift shop by
the cave, which stated Hebron. He thought they could make a nice
“By the time I left, I did not want a memory of this place the
way it is now.”
Even before this trip, however, Patinkin said he
supported those Israeli actors who boycott the settlements, particularly those
who did not want to perform at the Ariel Cultural Center.
He a signed a
petition in their favor and was surprised by the vocal response against
“There were thousands of emails sent out to boycott Mandy Patinkin
because he is a delegitimizer of the State of Israel. I was overwhelmed
and I was frightened,” he said.
“I call myself an American Disney Land
Jew,” he said. “We can do whatever we want. We can say whatever we want. We are
safe. We are never attacked. We live in freedom.
“I was attacked not by
anyone that I did not know, but by my own people in my own homeland [the US] and
I was frightened,” he said.
He feared that the issue would impact
attendance on a number of his upcoming concerts. He expected empty
Instead the performances were some of the most thrilling of his
“We are all afraid of many things,” he said. “It is our job
to walk into the face of everything we are frightened of not to be afraid."