Yes, they have names and faces (some disfigured by bombs). And they have stories. Twenty-six of them recently spent the better part of two weeks in the United States traveling from Washington to Los Angeles. They visited the Pentagon, saw Disney, and, best of all, came into contact with a lot of people who saw them and heard their stories.

This was all the doing of a wonderful rabbi named Shimon Kashani, who brought them here to provide 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 rabbi, and it was to be held in true Hollywood fashion.

My job was to bring in the stars and, if possible, sell a few tables. Neither proved too difficult, as this is a cause around which quite a few celebrities were eager to rally. Unfortunately, not many of them were Jewish. But they were there, these selfless souls, without any expectation of pay or perks.

Pat Boone, a born-again Christian whose love of Israel knows no bounds, was his usual gracious and caring self. Few know that Pat is the official Christian ambassador for tourism for the Israeli government. Even fewer are aware that it was Pat who wrote the stirring lyrics to the theme from ‘Exodus’ (‘This land is mine, G-d gave this land to me’) – and that he did so on the back of a Christmas card! Despite previous commitments, Pat made it over to the Century
Plaza to present awards to the families.

James Avery, better known as the uncle on TV’s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ was a class act as usual and immediately agreed to attend. The same for Peter Mark Richman (Rev. Snow on ‘Three’s Company’), who not only attended but pitched in. His wonderful wife, Helen, managed to find some fabulous auction items.

Donald Sterling, who owns the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, offered his time as well as Clippers tickets and even “dinner with the owner” to be auctioned off. The legendary director Arthur Hiller was quick to respond to our call. The master of ceremonies was German-born soap star Eric Braeden, a strong supporter of Israel.

(Contrast their actions with the behavior of other Hollywood icons who put on a caring face – but only if the price is right. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Bill Cosby ‘agreed’ earlier this year to be honored by a charitable organization – for a fee of $75,000 and an additional $10,000 in expenses; David Schwimmer, star of ‘Friends,’ reportedly received two Rolex watches worth more than $26,000 for his appearance at a cancer charity dinner; and Camryn Manheim of ‘The Practice’ received a $24,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle from organizers of a fund-raising event as compensation for serving as the event’s mistress of ceremonies.)

Sadly, when it comes to events in support of Israel or Jewish victims of terror, all too many Hollywood Jews are missing in action. It?s almost a foregone conclusion that the Billy Crystals of the entertainment industry will send back messages via their assistants saying they are too busy – and no, they won’t buy a table or even a ticket.

But enough about spoiled, selfish celebrities. The focus should be on those families who’ve gone through hell. I spoke with a quiet man named Boaz Shabo. He came home from work one day to see his house on fire and paramedics taking out little bodies. He lost his wife and three of his children (ages 15, 12 and 5), and his ten-year-old son lost a leg in the terrorist attack that wiped out his family.

One tragic 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 thenearby pool but the child, only ten, couldn’t pull her that far. Then there was another explosion and they were thrown into the pool. This child was at the Survivors of Arab Terrorism dinner carrying the extensive burns on her hands and arms she received while trying to save her mother.

Want another story? Leor Thaler made the mistake of thinking he could just go out to a pizza shop on a Saturday night with his sister Rachel and a couple of their teen-aged friends. Unfortunately, a Palestinian terrorist chose to walk in and detonate his bomb. Everyone except Leor Thaler died, and he will always remember the excruciatingly painful days they suffered through before death finally came.

We’ve grown too jaded because of the sheer numbers of Jews killed and maimed by Arab terrorists. The incidents begin to blur, and the unfortunate but courageous survivors tend to get lumped into the nameless, faceless category labeled ‘victims.’

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