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