America’s Voices in Israel is hosting this week a delegation of Hollywood celebrities. During the week-long visit, the delegation experiences Israel in a tailor-made tour that is both high impact and tailored to the group’s interests.
The stars include mega-hit TV show “24” co-star Mary Lynn Rajskub; Greg Grunberg, co-star of the world wide TV hits “Heroes,” “Alias” “Felicity,” “The Jake Effect,” and 26 films including Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Austin Powers and Future Shock; Shaun Sipos, co-star of “Melrose Place,” “CSI Crime Investigation,” and appearances in hit TV shows “ER,” “Smallville” and others; Justin Chatwin, co-star of the hit TV shows “Shameless,” “Weeds,” “Lost,” “Taken” and multiple other projects; and Austin Nichols, best known for his co-star role in the hit TV series, “One Tree Hill.”
The actors have been treated to a wide-ranging tour of much of the country: Tel Aviv's beaches and restaurants, Jerusalem's Old City, the Golan Heights, Masada and the Dead Sea, as well as the city of Tzfat. They have received briefings from senior Israeli journalists, security experts, hi-tech innovators and political leaders, and met with film students at Sapir College in Sderot, as well as the school children from the award-winning documentary “Strangers No More.”
The visit by the American Voices in Israel delegation is in coordination – and with the assistance of – the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are. If you come to Israel you’ll find history that will blow you away,” said actor Greg Grunberg. “Everywhere we go we end each day saying, ‘That was the most incredible day we’ve ever had.’ It’s been quite a trip.”
“I want to let people know that traveling here is safe, it’s wonderful, the people are incredible and it’s a history lesson you can’t get any other way,” he added.
Actor Austin Nichols noted that American media only shows certain things about Israel and added that he cannot wait to show his family back home the pictures of all the fun things he did.
“We don’t see that,” he said. “We don’t see people floating in the Dead Sea or doing trips in jeeps in the Golan Heights. You don’t see that in the United States when the news reports about this part of the world.”
America’s Voices in Israel is a pioneering program founded over a decade ago to bolster Israel’s image in the United States by bringing both traditional and “new media” figures, high profile sports personalities and entertainers, key opinion molders, moderate Muslim leaders, diplomats, and other influential personalities whose first-hand experiences in Israel can provide an wider and deeper understanding of Israel and combat increasingly hostile views to Israel.