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Whitney Houston and Israel

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons; Feb 12, 2012 at 03:13:46 AM

Whitney Houston, the pop sensation who died on Saturday, was many things to many people. She was one of the first black women to achieve international superstardom, and raised awareness of two issues that she experienced personally: domestic violence and drug addiction.

Another side of Houston is less known: in 2003, she visited the Jewish state for what she called a "spiritual retreat."

Houston met with Israel's Prime Minister, and spent time with the controversial Black Hebrews, a group of nearly 2,000 black Americans who moved to Israel in the 1960s and believe they are descendants of the ten lost tribes.

For her "crime" of having visited Israel, anti-Israel activists conducted an unrelenting smear campaign against Houston. Yet Whitney's support held tight, in contrast to the chorus of musicians (Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, to name a few) who have succumbed to pressures and cancelled tour stops in Israel.

Houston will long be remembered as a friend of the Jewish state. While in Israel, she said: "I've never felt like this in any other country. I feel at home."

with thanks to Yvette Alt Miller

February 12, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 19

(16) Betty Silberman, December 18, 2012 2:20 AM

Whitney's meeting w/prime minister

Whitney snubbed Netanyhu on her visit to Israel, not accepting his offer of a handshake. I'm not sure her trip to Israel was so much about wanting to connect with Jews or Israelis...but rather to connect with her Christian roots.

(15) Anonymous, April 29, 2012 4:03 PM

She willalways be remembered


(14) jojo, March 23, 2012 8:36 PM

I read and viewed Whitney's visit to Israel and witnessed her distain at shaking Ariel Sharon's hand because he did not recognize those who she was visiting as "black" Jews coming back to their homeland. In fact, the people she visited were Americans from Chicago with no historical roots to that country.

(13) Anonymous, March 6, 2012 2:26 PM

as an israeli i am proud of whitney's visit to israel

we are very proud of your visit to israel you are a real "eshet chail" a woman of valor r.i.p.

(12) Anonymous, February 19, 2012 3:38 PM

She looked very ill

בס"ד To me. in the footage I saw of her on her last performance, she looked very ill. Why did everyone just assume she was affected by substances and not, at least get her to a doctor?

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