'America is definitely your ally; hope hostages back soon'

Visiting Israel, Michael Douglas suggests anti-Israel campus protesters ‘brainwashed’

On solidarity trip, Oscar-winning actor-producer tours Oct. 7 massacre sites; hosted by Herzog, describes shock of anti-Israel campus activism: ‘There’s no education, no knowledge’

American actor Michael Douglas is hosted by President Isaac Herzog at the President residence in Jerusalem, June 2, 2024. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
American actor Michael Douglas is hosted by President Isaac Herzog at the President residence in Jerusalem, June 2, 2024. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Veteran Hollywood actor Michael Douglas met with President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on Sunday, after visiting the sites of Kibbutz Be’eri and the Supernova massacre where Hamas carried out atrocities on October 7.

“We have met with families of the hostages, we spent the day today down in the south in the area close to Be’eri, and we saw the Nova exhibition,” Douglas told Herzog, according to the President’s Office.

The Oscar-winning actor, whose father, the late actor Kirk Douglas, was Jewish, said it was “tough in Be’eri, seeing what happened” there. The Gaza border kibbutz was one of the hardest hit in the October 7 onslaught, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages, mostly civilians, many amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

Douglas met with members of the kibbutz and visited burnt-out homes destroyed on October 7, where roughly 100 people were murdered and 30 taken hostage.

“It’s a very difficult time. The deep shock of this whole experience. We’re just happy to be here in support of Israel, and to share with you the fact that America is definitely your ally as our president has shared with you. I just hope that the latest negotiations will be reached, and the hostages will be back soon,” the actor said.

During the meeting, Herzog presented Douglas with a yellow hostage pin and a dog-tag necklace reading, “Our heart is held captive in Gaza.”

In his meeting with Herzog, Douglas also referred to feeling a “big shock” from the wave of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests that has swept US college campuses since October 7. He suggested that the students involved underwent “brainwashing… because when you try to talk to many of them, there is no education, there’s no knowledge.”

Douglas was the latest in a line of American celebrities and politicians who have visited Israel and toured the southern area near the Gaza border since the Hamas-led massacre, with star comedian Jerry Seinfeld recently describing the trip as “the most powerful experience of my life.”

Jerry Seinfeld (left) tours Kibbutz Be’eri on December 19, 2023. (Noam Lanir/Facebook)

Public figures, including comedian Amy Schumer and ‘Seinfeld’ actor Jason Alexander, have also been involved in social media campaigns to push for the release of the hostages still held in captivity.

It is believed that 121 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that. Three hostages were rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 19 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 37 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas has also been holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: