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The Nameless Victims

By Arlene Peck

Yes, they have names, they have faces, some however disfigured by bombs, but, 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’

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 they’re 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 this is a cause that I found quite a few rallying around.  Unfortunately, not too many were Jewish. But, they were there, without pay, bribery or “perks” to show up and give their names.

Pat Boone, who few know is the official Christian Ambassador for Tourism for the Israel government, AND who also wrote the words to Exodus on the back of a Christmas card 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 the Prince of Belle Aire on his long running television show, was and is a class act as usual and immediately agreed to attend. The same for Peter Mark Richman, (Star Trek and Rev Snow on Three’s Company) 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 and 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 and the topper was Rosanne 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 that I contacted were gracious and there were even some like Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna who attended for the second time.

But, I digress because the focus is, and should be on these 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 the plane that was hijacked on 9/11. They we’re 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 we’re compensated in the millions of dollars. Yet, somehow I doubt that benevolence carried onto the one Israeli child.

One tragic family were 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 carrying extensive burns on her hands and arms 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 terrorists chose to walk in and blow up everyone. Everyone, except Leor Thaler died but, he will remember the excruciating days they went through before death finally came, 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 are so many of them, and, on such a regular basis that these courageous people have somehow lost their identity and 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, help when we find a way.

Arlene Peck is an internationally syndicated columnist and television talk show hostess. She travels extensively worldwide, reporting to her audience about political events, social happenings (Cannes Film Festival, London event for the Variety Club, etc.) and "must see" spots. If there is a place to see and be seen, she'll write about it for her international audience.

Arlene's syndicated column is read weekly by millions and her television show ("Wow! It's Arlene Peck!") can be seen throughout Southern California every Monday night.

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