Celebs to hail Israel in Times Square

Clips of stars' greetings to run from midst of NY's most visited corner.

tom cruise 88 298 (photo credit: )
tom cruise 88 298
(photo credit: )
This month, Hollywood celebrities will be saluting Israel in celebration of its 60th Anniversary from the midst of New York's most visited corner. The celebrity greetings - which include Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Brooke Shields, Kirk & Michael Douglas, Dakota Fanning, Sir Ben Kingsley, and many more - will run in 30-second clips each hour daily on a billboard in the heart of Times Square. Initiated by the Consulate-General of Israel in New York, the project is the latest effort to introduce Israel in a non-political way to American audiences. For that there is no better place than Times Square, where millions of pedestrians pass every day. Francine Raubvogel, Chief of Staff at the Israeli Consulate, spearheaded the project with Nancy Spielberg, sister of director Steven Spielberg. "After learning from Tom Hennigan of P.R.omotion! that we would have the opportunity to use the Reuters billboards to mark Israel's 60th, I called upon Nancy knowing that she would jump at the chance to celebrate Israel and help create this video birthday card," said Raubvogel. The project came to fruition in just a few short weeks, according to the consulate. Spielberg says, "It was especially gratifying to see how positive the Hollywood community was in participating in this project," said Spielberg. "In just a few short weeks, we received a flood of responses from various celebrities who wanted to salute Israel. I look forward to seeing their faces big and bold in Times Square throughout the month." The "Celebrity Salute to Israel" made its debut Thursday afternoon, where Consul-General Asaf Shariv joined to watch the first greetings.