Hollywood actors, Jerusalem scenery
However, speaking doogri, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is fond of saying in his gangsta persona, this item is 100% true – if you hang out on the streets of Jerusalem this week, don’t be surprised if you run into Ralph Cifaretto from The Sopranos or Dr. Joel Fleishman from Northern Exposure.
The actors who played those iconic roles – Joe Pantoliano and Rob Morrow respectively – are in town with almost two dozen of their Hollywood brethren (actors, producers and directors) for a week-long visit to meet with Israeli and Palestinian policy leaders, members of the arts, culture and business communities, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
There’s no Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johanson in the delegation, but joining Pantoliano and Morrow are some pretty big and once-big Hollywood names, including Emmy Award-winner Patricia Arquette (Medium, Holes); Matthew Modine (Batman – The Dark Knight Rises, Full Metal Jacket); Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects, Born on the Fourth of July); and Griffin Dunne (After Hours).
The trip is the brainchild of The Creative Coalition in conjunction with the American Israel Education Foundation, an AIPAC-affiliated organization. The Los Angeles-based Creative Coalition is a non-profit group founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, and according to their write up, “is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance,” using “the power and platform of the arts and entertainment communities in award-winning public service and advocacy campaigns.”
Actor Tim Daly (Wings) serves as the organization’s president and is leading the delegation in Israel.
I wouldn’t mind having coffee at the David Citadel Hotel in the capital with any of the participants, but I do have particularly soft spots for Morrow, whose role as Dr. Joel Fleishman in the series Northern Exposure codified the American Jewish experience as well as Woody Allen, and Griffin Dunne, whose writing and acting, particularly in the spoof After Hours has always been inspired.
Maybe as a result of their visit, we’ll see an upcoming series about an American medical student who pays off his financial assistance by being sent to a development town in Israel.