‘Scandal’ in the Holy Land

Five actors from the popular American TV series wrap up a weeklong, eye-opening visit to Israel.

Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Bellamy Young,Lana Parilla 370  (photo credit: Chaim Zach)
Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Bellamy Young,Lana Parilla 370
(photo credit: Chaim Zach)
Lies. Manipulation. Deception.
These are all key ingredients in an episode of the hit TV series Scandal. But this week, several stars of the show have taken a much needed reprieve from delving into the tense world of political intrigue and have visited one of the most unexpected places to take a break from political drama – Israel.
Guillermo Diaz, Katie Lowes, Adam Shapiro, Bellamy Young and Lana Parilla (of Once Upon a Time fame), arrived in Israel last Monday and witnessed the many breathtaking vistas, technological innovations and delicious culinary offerings the country has to offer.
As guests of America’s Voices in Israel (AVI), a cultural division of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the actors had a chance to experience everything from the awe-inspiring views at the top of Masada to the thumping beats of Tel Aviv nightclubs.
“It has been a very powerful journey,” actress Bellamy Young, who plays the First Lady on the show, said Sunday morning at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem. Jeep tours in the Negev, touching the Kotel and sipping wine from Israeli vineyards were just some of the many highlights of visit.
“On this trip, I’ve been struck by the incredible history. You can touch it and you can feel it,” Young said.
The actors explained that when watching coverage of Israel in the media, it is easy to think that Israel is an unpleasant and hostile place to visit.
They were pleasantly surprised, then, to find how Western, comfortable and modern Israel is.
“It’s not as scary as people think it is. People, at least back in the States, were nervous for us to come here...there’s a misunderstanding about Israel on many levels,” Parilla said, downplaying the security concerns many would-be tourists have before visiting the country.
On a personal level, the actress, whose boyfriend proposed to her in the Negev, acknowledged that Israel would now always have an extra special place in her heart.
“Israel was always on my bucket list, it was always one of those places that you check off and move onto the next place, but I’m never going to check Israel off my list. It’s a place I’m always going to want to come back to.”