Mandy Patinkin tells leftists he supports boycotting settlements.
Mandy Patinkin (L) wth Peace Now director – Photo: Tovah Lazaroff
Patinkin is in Israel filming episodes of the television series Homeland.
Since arriving last week, he has also spent time learning about political issues here. He traveled with Hagit Ofran of Peace Now to see West Bank settlements including Ariel and to Hebron with the Left-wing group Breaking the Silence.
Patinkin recalled how he first went to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron 30 years ago with his pregnant wife Kathryn, while in Israel studying for his role in the movie Yentl.
He described the teeming city he viewed as they drove up to the cave.
Children immediately surrounded their car. A man offered to show them the cave.
“He said, ‘this is where Abraham is buried.’ I said, ‘Which Abraham?’ He said, ‘The Abraham.’ I said, ‘You are kidding me.”
Then the guide showed them the graves of Sarah and Isaac.
“I said, ‘Which Isaac?’ He said, ‘the Isaac.’ I said to Kathryn, ‘this is a sign.’” They walked over to Isaac’s tomb and rubbed her belly on the stone, in hopes that their unborn child would be blessed.
“That boy is going to be 30 years old on July 10,” he said.
Upon his arrival in Israel this week, he returned to Hebron.
“Everything was a ghost tomb. Every beautiful place I saw [before] was boarded up. The doors were sealed,” he said.
He noted that only Israeli cars could travel on the main road leading to the cave.
“We went into the cave and it was a very different feeling,” he said.
Initially, he said, he noted cups and saucers in the gift shop by the cave, which stated Hebron. He thought they could make a nice souvenir.
“By the time I left, I did not want a memory of this place the way it is now.”
Even before this trip, however, Patinkin said he supported those Israeli actors who boycott the settlements, particularly those who did not want to perform at the Ariel Cultural Center.
He a signed a petition in their favor and was surprised by the vocal response against him.
“There were thousands of emails sent out to boycott Mandy Patinkin because he is a delegitimizer of the State of Israel. I was overwhelmed and I was frightened,” he said.
“I call myself an American Disney Land Jew,” he said. “We can do whatever we want. We can say whatever we want. We are safe. We are never attacked. We live in freedom.
“I was attacked not by anyone that I did not know, but by my own people in my own homeland [the US] and I was frightened,” he said.
He feared that the issue would impact attendance on a number of his upcoming concerts. He expected empty seats.
Instead the performances were some of the most thrilling of his stage events.
“We are all afraid of many things,” he said. “It is our job to walk into the face of everything we are frightened of not to be afraid.”
By Tovah Lazaroff