Emotional Seinfeld says wartime trip to Israel ‘the most powerful experience of my life’

Comedian struggles to speak when asked about his solidarity visit in December, which included trip to devastated kibbutz, meetings with Oct. 7 survivors and freed hostages

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld at the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum Headquarters in Tel Aviv, December 18, 2023 (Courtesy)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld at the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum Headquarters in Tel Aviv, December 18, 2023 (Courtesy)

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said his visit to Israel last year in the wake of Hamas’s October 7 massacre was “the most powerful experience” in his life.

In a newly released interview with Bari Weiss for The Free Press, Seinfeld described his visit as “the most powerful experience of my life, I’m sure.”

Pressed by Weiss to elaborate, Seinfeld grew visibly emotional and struggled to speak.

Asked if he was thinking of someone in particular, the Jewish comedian nodded his head in the affirmative.

“Sorry,” he then said while taking out a tissue before they moved on to another topic.

During the solidarity trip in December, Seinfeld and his wife Jessica Sklar visited the devastated border community of Kibbutz Be’eri. He also met with freed hostages and survivors of the devastating October 7 onslaught, in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took 252 hostages.

While in Be’eri, the celebrity couple met with Yuval Haran, whose father Avshalom was murdered in the vicious Hamas terror onslaught which claimed the lives of more than 100 residents of their small community, and in which multiple members of Haran’s extended family were taken hostage to Gaza.

Haran hosted Seinfeld and his wife in the ruins of his family’s home in the kibbutz and the two discussed Haran’s father’s love for the comedian’s sitcom “Seinfeld,” in which he played a semi-fictionalized version of himself.

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

“When I heard that Seinfeld was coming to the kibbutz, it really moved me,” Haran said. “He is one of the characters that my father really appreciated, and I can’t count the number of times we would sit together and watch Seinfeld.”

In the interview released Tuesday, Seinfeld commented on the pro-Palestinian protesters who have heckled him several times in recent months, calling the demonstrations “so dumb.”

“It’s so dumb. When we get protesters occasionally, I love to say to the audience, ‘you know I love that these young people are trying to get engaged with politics, we just have to correct their aim a little bit.'”

“They don’t seem to understand as comedians we really don’t control anything,” he added.

Weiss asked him about an incident after an event in New York City that she hosted in February, when demonstrators called Seinfeld a “genocide supporter” and “Nazi scum” as he was exiting. She noted that video of the incident showed the comedian smiling and waving, apparently unperturbed by the chants, and asked him if enjoyed it.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s so silly. They want to express this sincere, intense rage but again, a little off target.”

“So that’s to me comedic.”

He was also asked whether he thought about “the Jewishness” of Seinfeld while it was on, saying “never,” but that he now does.

“The first time I went to Israel after I finished the show and saw the way they reacted to me, and I realized this is not just normal interaction of celebrity public interface, this is different,” he recalled. “I meant something, which I never knew and it gave me a wonderful feeling, like, oh, I didn’t realize what I was doing had another value that I didn’t know about, and I of course loved it.”

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