Iconic American actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away on Wednesday at the age of 79. While most will remember Taylor as one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, few today recall that she was also a staunch supporter of Israel with a stellar track record of defending the Jewish state.
Taylor herself converted to Judaism in 1959. That same year, she purchased $100,000 in Israel Bonds, and helped sell an untold sum of Israel Bonds to others. The fledgling Jewish state was selling the bonds in a desperate effort to raise capital for the defense of the besieged nation.
In 1967, Taylor played a major role in raising $840,000 for Israel at a gala event in London. That same year, she cancelled a visit to Moscow after the Soviet Union harshly criticized Israel’s actions in the Six Day War.
In 1975, Taylor joined 59 other prominent women in signing a letter to then-UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim condemning the UN General Assembly’s equation of Zionism with racism.
A year later in 1976, Taylor offered to take the place of 104 Israelis and foreign Jews who were being held hostage by PLO terrorists at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport. She made the offer while in Israel fund-raising for the Jewish National Fund. The hostages were freed shortly after in a stunning IDF rescue operation.
In the following decades, as her star in Hollywood began to dim a little, Taylor visited Israel frequently. She became a close friend of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
During these later years, Taylor auctioned off her legendary collection of jewelry, and donated a sizable chunk of the earnings to the Israel War Victims Fund, one of her favorite charities.