The rich and famous from around the world arrived in Jerusalem this week for President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday bash, and American-Jewish superstar Barbra Streisand stole the show.
Streisand sang a powerful rendition of the traditional Jewish prayer Avinu Malkeinu—Our Father, Our King, which she said reflected the hope she has “for this country [and] for the world.”
Streisand was also given an honorary doctorate at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she donated a building in the name of her father in 1984, the last time she visited the country. “I wish the world were more like the hallways of the Hebrew University,” she said. “Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims…sit together in classes and dream together of a good and meaningful life.”
Other celebrities attending the gala event included actors Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone.
Asked about peace in the region, Stone said: “Israelis and Palestinians are already living together. It’s like any marriage, you can decide if you want a good one or a bad one.”
Political luminaries included former British and American leaders Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.
The gathering was seen as yet another major blow to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that works hard to get prominent public figures to shun the Jewish state. BDS activists hope that by isolating Israel, they can force her to capitulate to Arab demands.
A day after the birthday event, the international dignitaries joined thousands from around the world attending the annual Israel President's Conference, also known as "Facing Tomorrow."