Frank Sinatra in Israel


What does a nice Italian Catholic boy have to do with Israel? For Frank Sinatra, a sincere appreciation of the Jewish people led to a lifelong advocacy for the Jewish state.

In the film Frank Sinatra in Israel, from 1962, Sinatra narrates his tour of Israel, including live footage from his concert at Tel Nof Air Force base and a scene of him watching the Independence Day parade. Among the many facets of Israeli life and culture that Sinatra appreciates, its health care system is his favorite. Explaining the Histradrut labor movement and the leading health service Kupat Holim, Sinatra states, “If you have to get sick, Israel is the place for it.”

While it’s unclear what sparked Sinatra’s love for the Jewish people (perhaps good pal Sammy Davis Jr. won him over?) Sinatra always donated a large portion of his philanthropic efforts to the State of Israel. In 1947, he performed at an “Action for Palestine” rally, and he later donated over $1 million to Israel’s Hebrew University, where there is now a Frank Sinatra International Student Center.

At the end of his 1962 film, Sinatra faces the camera and makes a plea to Americans, saying, “What happens to Israel tomorrow depends on what we do for its children today.” As if saying no to those bright blue eyes wasn’t hard enough, Sinatra closes the film by saying, “Shalom, shalom.” Hebrew words never sounded so smooth.

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