esther de pommery.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With $80 million spent on toys and 57 hospitals dedicated, all on
behalf of “Jewish mothers” or “the people of Israel,” the countess
Esther de Pommery could teach the Israeli government a thing or two
about hasbara (public diplomacy).
Pommery regularly travels the world, seeking to help disadvantaged
youth and women with her donations, with the aim of increasing Israel’s
standing in the eyes of the world. However, her latest project – a
documentary about Ronit Bitton, an Israeli woman who has fought a long
battle to keep her son in Israel rather than with her estranged
non-Jewish husband in Belgium – is taking her philanthropy to a new
Moved after seeing news coverage of Bitton’s story, the
countess went to meet her and decided to make a documentary on the
case. She also supplied Bitton with the help of leading Israeli lawyer
Zion Amir, and Carlos Chiko – another highly successful lawyer and the
incumbent president of Peru, whom she befriended and brought over to
Israel especially for the case.
“I’m the voice of those who
don’t have a voice anymore,” de Pommery said on Thursday, two days
after the release of the 20-minute documentary, Ronit
Crouley, an American journalist who co-produced the film with the
countess, said, “I think it’s fabulous, all the things she’s done – the
human rights, the toys for peace. She helps everyone, with all their
The countess’s work around the world
certainly testifies to this. The Switzerland native, who commutes
regularly to Hollywood for her other documentary projects, has in the
past few years travelled to places as diverse as Bulgaria, South Africa
and Israel, to name a few, visiting disadvantaged children and women
and meeting each country’s ambassadors and politicians.
her most recent travels in Israel, she visited Ashdod, Sderot and
Nitzanim, where she met the residents, gave toys to the children and
listened to their experiences of living in cities under siege.
next projects are set to be similarly diverse: She plans to produce her
own line of wines – some of which will be kosher – with proceeds going
to the Esther de Pommery Foundation, dedicated to human rights activism
and Israel. The official opening ceremony will be held Friday in Hebron
at 2 p.m.
As for her future plans, the countess stated that she hoped to continue
doing what she does now: “Helping people. I’m so busy, I have so many
places to go and things to do. I have everything I need!”
She also plans to make aliya eventually. “One day I hope to live in
Israel. I love coming to Jerusalem. I love this country, it’s my home,”
Bitton’s trial is due to take place next Sunday, March 7, with an additional hearing on March 27.Ronit
can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/mericrouley.
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