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'Dr." Barbra Streisand speaks about women in her speech at Hebrew University Monday

Barbra Streisand, now “Dr. Streisand” following an award from Hebrew University on Monday, joined a host of celebrities and politicians who know nothing about Israel but can’t resist telling the country what is best for it, especially for Jewish women.

She played a handicap game, prefacing her remarks about women’s religious rights in Israel with an apologetic remark, “”I realize it’s not easy to fully grasp the dynamics of what happens in a foreign land.”

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Let’s stop right there for a minute.

She is the only artist ever to receive an Academy Award, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, National Medal of Arts and Peabody Awards and France’s Legion d’honneur as well as the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Streisand is the recipient of two Oscars, five Emmys, 10 Grammies, a Tony and 12 Golden Globes including the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The three films she directed received 14 Oscar nominations.

She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University. She received The Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign and was awarded the ACLU Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union for her defense of U.S. constitutional rights.

On Monday, she received an honorary PhD from Hebrew University, where, just by coincidence, she contributed a huge sum of money for a building in memory of her father Emanuel, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”

Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, said, “Her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career.” University officials described her as “a close friend of Israel.”

Okay. Now we have her credentials for her declaring, in a “foreign land,” that it “is distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of the bus or when we hear about ‘Women of the Wall’ having metal chairs thrown at them when they attempt to peacefully and legally pray.”

Streisand loves Israel, so much so that she is visiting the country for the first time in, let me count, 29 years.

There is no doubt she really does love Israel. Almost every Jew, even those who call it an Apartheid state, say they love Israel.

And like every other Jew, not to mention the non-Jews, Streisand thinks she knows what is best for Israel.

Once an American becomes Secretary of State, or a super star in sports or entertainment, or filthy rich, or gives money to Israel, he or she usually realizes that produces instant wisdom concerning Israel.

At least Streisand had the decency to be honest by unintentionally make herself look awkward, stating that Israel is “a foreign land” to her understanding.

She spoke the truth, more than most if not all other foreigners.

Israel indeed is foreign, even to Jews, who feel filled with spirit at the Western Wall but can’t tell the difference between an Arab and a Sephardi Jew, between an “anti-suicide bomber security fence” and an “Apartheid Wall,” and between a settler and a Jew from Tel Aviv.

Streisand’s comments were not so far off the mark, except that they were totally redundant and damaging to Israel in that they simply broadcast exceptions as a rule.

It indeed was distressing that a handful, more or less, of Haredim threw metal chairs and objects – on one day and only one – at women trying to pray in their own minyan at the Western Wall, which officially is an orthodox synagogue.

Granted, the official Haredi attitude towards the Women of the Wall movement is questionable and is expressed in a way that is destructive. But it is more or less a dead issue.

Ditto regarding her comments about women sitting in the back of the bus, a phenomena that is disgusting, which occurs on a tiny percent age point of buses and is on its way to the recycle bin.

After addressing both issues that already are old and irrelevant news, she admitted, “Repairs are being made, and that’s very good.”

Streisand, as a good liberal Jew who is visiting Israel to sing at the Israeli Presidential Conference Tuesday night, undoubtedly is undergoing a spiritual experience this week.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I’m more concerned with the false premise these statement are based on. The lies permeating the Exiles’ discussion about Israel is very troubling. Not only do many believe that the majority of the Israeli social debate revolves around the Conflict, they all ridiculously believe that Israel has a women’s rights and Orthodoxy problem.

    If she truly visits Israel as often as she does, she would HAVE to know that the issues she address are the outliers. In that case, why address it?

    That fact that she, a woman, was given an award at a University predominated by women (sexism?), and was invited to Israel to sing (Orthodoxy problem?), expose the stupidity of her false assumptions. If only she clung to the love to her fellow Jews as she does her secular idol-ologies!

    Hatred of our fellow Jews (the Heredi specifically) is becoming all too trendy. A divided house cannot stand. This will be our downfall, not Islamists, not external Anti-semitism.

  2. Israel has had more women at the head of government and in Cabinet positions since 1948 then all Western countries including the US – had combined in centuries; TWO of the three leading political parties are headed by women! The richest people in Israel are women! Unlike the US, women in Israel don't fear honor murders! More women by percent in universities and corporate boardrooms. Seems the only place women are lacking are in slave rooms and in the morque from being raped and murdered. Perhaps whaat babs is saying is that Israel should be more like the Arab states and what the US is becoming.

  3. This article is a stab in the back at a woman who has stuck out her neck in support of Israel while other performers have joined boycotts. Streisand performed at a concert in honor of Israel's 30th birthday, closing the concert with a stirring "Hatikvah". More recently she performed at a Friends of the IDF gala a year ago. And now she is performing in Israel, defying boycotts. She deserves your support, not your whining!

  4. Charlie We in Israel do not need a lecture on morality and behavior from one who has chosen to step on halacha..giving $18 to UJA doesn't give outsiders the right to spout..have an opinion, want to shout..make Aliyah..

  5. "We in Israel do not need a lecture on morality and behavior from one who has chosen to step on halacha."

    Miriam, showing gratitude is also part of halachah!

    MOST Jews in both Israel and America "step on" halachah. And a very large segment of the observant Jewish community in both countries are fervent anti-Zionists — did you see last week's anti-Israel rally led by the Satmars?

  6. she must be getting senile or she is so full of herself that she does not realize how contradicting her words and behaviour are..its the money…they think they can buy anything…well in this world she can but thats where it ends…she is such a role model!! NOT!!!

  7. You are certainly in the minority with your sarcastic attack on Barbra Streisand. She has been a staunch supporter of Israel throughout her life and career. She makes no apology for her Jewishness; in fact, she proclaims it with pride. You don't like her brand of Judaism? Too bad!

  8. Is it really necessary to be cynical and sarcastic in writing about Barbara Streisand?
    Can we not admire her achievements without the undercurrent of almost hate, are Jewish women, unable to criticize what almost every human being would reject today "sitting in the back of the bus, or inability to have chairs thrown at them without the invective of your piece?
    I don't know Ms. Streisand other than the outstanding artist and Humanitarian she is, nor do I know your writer Zvi ben gedalyahu, but I can say GROW UP, ENOUGH WITH THESE SHTICK.
    SAVE YOUR DOWN LOOKING COMMENTS FOR BORO PARK, OR WHEREVER THEY MIGHT FIT.
    MANUEL SAND

  9. Streisand is a woman who made one movie, 'Yentl," about a girl who masquerades as a boy to study Talmud that denigrated all Judaism. And in her other big hit, "The Way We Were," she played a communist sympathizer who falls in love with a "gorgeous goyische guy" played by Robert Redford. The reason they don't end up together is not because the Redford character isn't Jewish, but that their politics differ.

  10. Vivienne, Streisand left New York years ago and has lived in Malibu, California, for umpteen years, one of the most expensive, upscale places in the U.S.

  11. Jack-

    Streisand gave a donation to the university in her father's memory, so they gave her an honorary degree. That's how that game is played.

    I'm burning my Hebrew University sweatshirt in protest! 😉

  12. BTW, women sit at the back of the bus for the same reason we sit at the back of the shul. It has NOTHING to do with being second-class citizens. In fact, in Judaism, women are acknowledged as being spiritually SUPERIOR to men, and we've saved the Jewish People over and over again. We do it as a COURTESY to men, who were hardwired by Hashem (even Jewish men) to think of one thing when they see an attractive woman. So we do it to stay out of their range of sight as much as possible in close quarters (such as a bus) and avoid coming in physical contact with them, so they won't stray. Talk about another totally misunderstood, distorted subject!

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