A voice for the helpless

Countess Esther de Pommery, leading pro-Israel rights activist, comes to aid of woman battling to keep her child.

With $80 million spent on toys and 57 hospitals dedicated, all onbehalf of “Jewish mothers” or “the people of Israel,” the countessEsther de Pommery could teach the Israeli government a thing or twoabout hasbara (public diplomacy).
DePommery regularly travels the world, seeking to help disadvantagedyouth and women with her donations, with the aim of increasing Israel’sstanding in the eyes of the world. However, her latest project – adocumentary about Ronit Bitton, an Israeli woman who has fought a longbattle to keep her son in Israel rather than with her estrangednon-Jewish husband in Belgium –  is taking her philanthropy to a newlevel.
Moved after seeing news coverage of Bitton’s story, thecountess went to meet her and decided to make a documentary on thecase. She also supplied Bitton with the help of leading Israeli lawyerZion Amir, and Carlos Chiko – another highly successful lawyer and theincumbent president of Peru, whom she befriended and brought over toIsrael especially for the case.
“I’m the voice of those whodon’t have a voice anymore,” de Pommery said on Thursday, two daysafter the release of the 20-minute documentary, Ronit.
MeriCrouley, an American journalist who co-produced the film with thecountess, said, “I think it’s fabulous, all the things she’s done – thehuman rights, the toys for peace. She helps everyone, with all theirdifferent needs.”
The countess’s work around the worldcertainly testifies to this. The Switzerland native, who commutesregularly to Hollywood for her other documentary projects, has in thepast few years travelled to places as diverse as Bulgaria, South Africaand Israel, to name a few, visiting disadvantaged children and womenand meeting each country’s ambassadors and politicians.
Duringher most recent travels in Israel, she visited Ashdod, Sderot andNitzanim, where she met the residents, gave toys to the children andlistened to their experiences of living in cities under siege.
Hernext projects are set to be similarly diverse: She plans to produce herown line of wines – some of which will be kosher – with proceeds goingto the Esther de Pommery Foundation, dedicated to human rights activismand Israel. The official opening ceremony will be held Friday in Hebronat 2 p.m.
As for her future plans, the countess stated that she hoped to continuedoing what she does now: “Helping people. I’m so busy, I have so manyplaces to go and things to do. I have everything I need!”
She also plans to make aliya eventually.  “One day I hope to live inIsrael. I love coming to Jerusalem. I love this country, it’s my home,”she said.
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.