Michael Douglas Visited Israel and Met With the Families of Hostages – Kveller
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Michael Douglas Visited Israel and Met With the Families of Hostages

The celebrated Jewish actor also visited the site of the Nova Festival Memorial where he shared wishes for the war to end.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 16: Michael Douglas visits SiriusXM at SiriusXM Studios on April 16, 2024 in New York City.

via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Last Sunday, Jewish actor Michael Douglas shared a video of him walking through the site of the Nova Festival Memorial in Israel. He showed the standing signs for the victims of the massacre on October 7, 2023, which share their names, ages and a picture of their faces, and then turned the camera on himself and started to speak.

“A peaceful Sunday to all of you,” he said. “I’m in Israel at the Nova Festival Memorial, which stands for the massacre that first started this terrible war. I think over 300 people were massacred here, over a 1,000 on the 40-mile stretch that the terrorists came in.”

“I know there’s two sides to every conflict and I respect that,” the palpably moved Hollywood star continued. “But I hope that this war can come to an end quickly, and save us from hating each other for the rest of our lives. I just want to wish everybody peace — shalom,” he finished, using the Hebrew word for peace and hello.

That same day, he also visited Be’eri, one of the Southern kibbutzim and towns hit hardest during the October 7 attack, and spoke to relatives of hostages still being held in Gaza. A relative of captive Ohad Ben Ami showed Douglas a video of his capture her family found through Telegram.

Douglas also met with Israeli president Isaac Herzog, where he shared that the pro-Palestinian student movement in the U.S. “was a shock to everybody,” and made him and others wonder what kind of “brainwashing” the students were involved in because, in his eyes, “when you try to talk to many of them, there is no education, there is no knowledge.”

“It’s a very difficult time and you sense the deep shock of this whole experience,” Douglas shared with the president, who offered him a hostage dog tag that reads “Our hearts are in Gaza, bring them home” and a yellow ribbon.

Douglas shared that like his father, Kirk Douglas, he reconnected to Judaism after he turned 70. For his father, it happened after a terrifying plane crash. For the younger Douglas, though, it was his son Dylan who helped him connect to Judaism when he told him and his wife, actress Catherine Zeta Jones, that he wanted to go to Hebrew school and have a bar mitzvah. At the Genesis Award Ceremony in 2015, Douglas told Dylan, who was in the crowd that evening, that he would always be grateful to him for that — and the two mutually teared up.

In a recent episode of “Finding Your Roots,” the actor got to discover his family’s deep Jewish roots, tracing them to a Jewish cemetery in what was then the Jewish shtetl of Chausy, now in modern-day Belarus, where they lived and practiced their religion all the way back in the 1700s. The discovery, he shared, made him feel “more connected to his Judaism than ever.”

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