Group of Hollywood stars gets taste of the Holy Land

Delegation of silver screen and TV actors take part in visit to Israel, meet with prime minister, PA leaders in Ramallah.

November 17, 2011 01:47
2 minute read.
Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette. (photo credit: Reuters)

A delegation of silver screen and TV actors are taking part in a visit to Israel this week, during which they will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

Already on their trip, the group has met with Palestinian Authority leaders in Ramallah.

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At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday, the actors spoke about their impressions of Israel, including their visits to the rocket-battered town of Sderot, an Ethiopian absorption center and the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem. All expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about visiting Israel, though their excitement appeared to be tempered by some serious travel fatigue.

The week-long trip is being led by the “Creative Coalition,” a politically active group made up of American entertainers, in collaboration with the American Israel Education Foundation, an organization affiliated with AIPAC.

The actors on hand at the press conference included Patricia Arquette (True Romance and TV’s Medium); Richard Webb (known as “that guy from Wings”); Richard Schiff (Toby from The West Wing); and Rob Morrow, who played a Jewish doctor in Alaska on Northern Exposure in the ’90s.

Patricia Arquette spoke first, saying “as actors I feel that it’s important for us to say that the arts are for all people and we are nondenominational and that applies to Israel as well.”

“We look forward to learning about the Arab side of the conflict as well and how we can as human beings bring art as a healing force.”

Richard Schiff said that “for us living in the states, especially in Los Angeles, real life seems elusive...coming to Israel for the first time and feeling on a personal level the history of the nation is quite moving for me and what’s so impressive about this country is that there’s such a great sense of service among the people of Israel.”

For her part, KayCee Stroh of High School Musical said she expected there to be more conflict and to “see people spitting at each other on the street” in Israel, and was pleasantly surprised by “how respectful of how everybody is of each other.”

The visit wasn’t without its naysayers however, in the form of 5 Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions activists standing outside the hotel holding signs reading “Shame on you Hollywood” and “No culture in white-washing apartheid.”

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