“Nobody wants violence, everybody wants peace. But sometime you have to fight for peace and people who remember the alternatives are willing to pay the price,” Sammy Davis Jr. said today before departing for Israel aboard an El Al Israel Airlines flight at the invitation of Tel Aviv University.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Davis, whose last visit to the Jewish State had been immediately following the Yom Kippur War in 1973, said that this time, “I’m going because … my gut tells me to .” He said it was similar to when he decided he had to go to Mississippi to participate in the civil rights marches in the 60’s. “When I heard what was going on, I knew that I had to go and be a part of what’s going on,” Davis said in regard to the continuing Israeli efforts in Lebanon.
The star of stage, screen and television said that he was not going to Israel for any commercial ventures, but to say “shalom” to the Israeli youth who have been wounded in the fighting in Lebanon.
Davis expressed his deep devotion to his project at Tel Aviv University, the Sammy Davis Freedom From Hunger program, which has through the affiliations of the University, undertaken scientific and agricultural programs in 16 countries. He said today that he feels Israel “is a leader in solv- ing agricultural and food problems” and praised the various departments at the university which he said “are doing as much as anybody … against food problems.”
“Hunger crosses color, race and religion,” Davis said. “Children don’t know about politics. The only thing they know is that they are hungry and they want to eat. That transcends everything, including energy shortages.”
Davis is expected to visit Lebanon during his five-day visit to Israel. He said that when he returns to the U.S. “I will do a great deal of reflecting.” Recalling the first time he stood at the Western Wall, Davis said he found himself “very reflective, and you see so much, and you hear so much, that it takes a lot of time to get the impact. “
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.