This week, Tony Award-winning playwright and actress Sarah Jones will be in Jaffa, Israel, to perform selections from her one-woman Broadway hit “Bridge & Tunnel” at the Arab-Hebrew Theater. The performance is one of many star-studded events scheduled in honor of Israel’s 60th birthday.
On February 12, it was announced that Al Gore will be awarded the prestigious Dan David Prize. The acceptance ceremony will be held May 19 in Tel Aviv, with Israeli President Shimon Peres in attendance.
This past week, two-time poet laureate Robert Hass visited Israel for the first time in his life. He jokes that he’s been fascinated with Israel ever since, as a child, he saw the movie “Exodus.” “I belong to the generation that grew up on Paul Newman and Sal Mineo,” he said. More seriously, Hass also says that with the exception of Russia’s St. Petersburg, Israel is the place he’s read the most about without ever having been there. Hass’s wife, Brenda Hillman, who is Jewish, worked on a kibbutz when she was in her early 20s, and her stories were another inspiration.
Bryan Adams will be performing two peace concerts in the Middle East on October 18 — one in Jericho in the West Bank and one in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. The Canadian-born singer, who became a household name following a series of hits in the 1980s and ’90s — including the pop classic “Summer of ’69” — is dedicating the concerts to peace in the region and to a two-state solution. The concert, which is free, is part of an initiative by the peace movement known as One Voice, a New York-based organization whose stated goal is to put an end to extremist violence on both sides. The other performers will include Israeli and Palestinian artists who are yet to be named.
In recent years, the steadily improving quality of Israeli film has been attracting attention overseas. The Israeli television series “In Treatment” has been adapted by HBO, and this past May, Israeli writers Etgar Keret and his wife, Shira Gefen, won the coveted Camera D’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Yet according to Mickey Yerushalmy, chairman of culture for the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership, the chances of Israeli entertainment industry professionals coming in contact with Hollywood professionals has been next to nil.