The Nameless Victims

Yes, they have names, they have faces, some, however, disfigured by bombs. Regardless, they all have stories. Twenty-six of these ?stories? have spent the better part of the past two weeks in the United States traveling from Washington to Los Angeles. They visited the Pentagon and saw Disney. And, best of all, a lot of people saw and heard them... and their stories.

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Arlene Peck

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Yes, they have names, they have faces, some, however, disfigured by bombs. Regardless, they all have stories. Twenty-six of these ?stories? have spent the better part of the past two weeks in the United States traveling from Washington to Los Angeles. They visited the Pentagon and saw Disney. And, best of all, a lot of people saw and heard them... and their stories.

It was all because of a wonderful rabbi named Shimon Kashani, who brought them over to give them a break from the pain and suffering they must go through on a daily basis. This was the second annual Survivors of Arab Terrorism dinner given by the good rabbi and, unfortunately, I think they?ll be a need for a third, and a fourth, etc. As there never seems to be a lack of Arab terror victims; so many of them Jewish children.

The event was to be held in true Hollywood fashion, complete with all the perks, ranging from ?gift bags? to silent auctions at one of the posh hotels. My job was to bring in the ?stars? and, if possible, to sell a few tables. Neither proved too difficult, as I found quite a few rallying around this cause. Unfortunately, not too many were Jewish. But, they were there - without pay, bribery or ?perks? - to show up and give their names to the event.

Pat Boone, who few know is the official Christian Ambassador for Tourism for the Israeli government, was both gracious and caring. Despite previous commitments, Pat made it over to the Century Plaza to present awards to the families. James Avery, better known as Philip Banks from the The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, his long running television show, was and is a class act as usual and immediately agreed to attend. The same for Peter Mark Richman (from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Three?s Company). He not only attended, but pitched in, and his wonderful wife, Helen, even managed to find fabulous auction items.

Donald Sterling, who owns the NBA basketball team, the Clippers, offered his time, tickets for his games to auction and even ?dinner with the owner? to be auctioned off. He is a man who has to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger and still finds time to be a caring class act. Soap star, German-born Eric Braden was MC and is a supporter of Israel. Arthur Hiller, icon director (Love Story) and long time president of SAG immediately accepted.

The list is too long to continue, but the reason I wanted to bring this out is because I?ve been disgusted by the revelations of how many of the Hollywood Crowd are milking the charities by their ?fees? for attending and presenting. Stars like Bill Cosby charge $100,000 to attend charity events, Ray Charles takes $75,000 to sing four songs, and David Swimmer gets his ?booty? in the form of Rolex watches. Cher takes first class flights, but the topper was Roseanne, who cost a charity she was supposed to be helping out over $50,000, because she made them charter a plane for her to fly to Canada for ?ribs?. I know there is a special place in hell for people like that.

Sadly, when it comes to events that urge support for Israel and its victims, the Billy Crystals, when called, send back messages from their assistants that they are too busy... and no, they won?t buy a table or even a ticket. But many whom I contacted were gracious and there were even some, like Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna, who attended for the second time.

But I digress. The focus is, and should be, on the families who have gone through hell. I spoke with a quiet spoken man named Boaz Shabo. He came home from work to see his house on fire and paramedics taking out little bodies. He lost not only his wife and three sons, ages 3, 9 and 14, but his ten-year-old son lost a leg in the terrorist attack that wiped out his family. Another mother lost her child on a plane that was hijacked on 9/11. They were happy that she was on her way to the United States as, after all, it was much safer there? right? I know that those who were killed on that day were compensated in the millions of dollars. Yet, somehow, I doubt that benevolence carried on to the one Israeli child.

One family was in Bali at a resort known to be visited by Israelis. A bomb exploded and two teen-aged sons from this family were killed. The mother in her grief tried to go after her children and was engulfed in flames. She screamed for her daughter to drag her to the nearby pool, but the child, only ten, couldn?t pull her that far. Then, there was a third explosion and they were thrown into the pool. This child was there, suffering from the extensive burns on her hands and arms that she received while trying to save her mother.

Want another story? Did I mention Leor Thaler, whose mistake was thinking he could just go out to a pizza restaurant on a Saturday night with his sister Rachel and a couple of other teen-aged friends? Unfortunately, that was the moment a Palestinian terrorist chose to walk in and blow up everyone. Everyone with Leor Thaler died, but he will remember the excruciating days they went through before death finally came for the rest of his life.

I could go on, but, you get the idea. These are not victims who Rabbi Kashani was able to give a few stress-free weeks. They are, just as easily, us. We?ve gotten so used to glazing over such news when it comes to Israel, because there is so much of it and on such a regular basis. These courageous people have somehow lost their identity and been lumped into the category, ?victims?.

We all need to stop and take the time to just try and appreciate what our brethren are living through on a daily basis, and to help when we find a way.



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