Israeli actress Odeya Rush (L) and American singer-actress Selena Gomez.
(photo credit: INSTAGRAM)
One of Israel's biggest success stories in Hollywood has been the subject of controversy in recent days after online zealots made death threats against her for appearing in a photograph with fellow starlet Selena Gomez.
Odeya Rush, the Haifa-born thespian who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, sat alongside Gomez in Paris for a fashion show put on last week by the popular high-end brand Louis Vuitton.
The story was first reported by The Jerusalem Post
's Hebrew-language sister publication Ma'ariv
Gomez was excoriated this past summer during Operation Protective Edge for tweeting her sympathies for Gaza, even though she later backtracked and only claimed that her wish was for "peace for the children of Gaza."
Gomez entered the fray when she posted an Instagram photo picture, “It’s about humanity – pray for Gaza.”
“Please pray for those families and babies today. Please always remember what’s important in life. It’s not any of this. We are here to help, inspire and love. Be that change. #wearethenextgeneration.”
That post generated 665,000 likes and commentators on both sides of political spectrum weren’t exactly shy when it came to telling the pop star what they thought of her post.
The pictures of Rush and Gomez prompted Israeli users of Facebook to post threatening messages on Rush's father's account.
"The picture of Odeya sitting next to Selena Gomez in the front row of the Paris fashion show caused a number of people to send us vicious messages," Shlomo Rush wrote in a status post on Facebook. "Contrary to what has been written, they are not friends. Those stories are nonsense."
"They were invited to the show separately," he wrote. "They exchanged pleasantries, and that's it. Just because Gomez once tweeted 'Free Palestine' means that Odeya was supposed to get up and leave an event to which she was flown especially by Louis Vuitton?"
"Who are these people who are making these threats? Judging by the nature of their comments, this is their substitute for full military service, if they serve at all."
Celebrities and public figures in the arts who have weighed in on Israel-Palestine ignited debate and invited condemnation from those on the opposite side of the argument.
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem came under fire for their letter penning support for the people of Gaza. The married couple signed an open letter by Spanish artists condemning Israel's "genocide" in Palestine. Cruz (but not Bardem) issued a statement retracting her position a few days later.
"I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a ceasefire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace," the statement read.