When It Came to Israel, Too, Frank Sinatra Did It His Way
The great singer and celebrity maintained a longstanding affection for the Jewish state. He first visited Israel in 1962, but his support began much earlier, as Shalom Goldman writes:
In 1947 . . . Sinatra appeared at a benefit concert for the Zionist cause at the Hollywood Bowl. The event was titled “Action for Palestine.” A crowd of 20,000 wildly applauded their idol and called for approval of the partition plan then being deliberated at the United Nations.
The following year, at the request of Zionist leaders, Sinatra smuggled a large amount of money to operatives buying arms for the Haganah. . . . Teddy Kollek, then the Haganah representative in the United States, . . . had purchased a large arms shipment in New York and had to pay the ship’s captain to take it to Palestine. He knew he was being followed by federal agents. To evade them, Kollek asked Sinatra, who was performing at the Copacabana nightclub, to help him evade their surveillance. In Kollek’s words, “In the early hours of the following morning I walked out the front door of the building with a satchel, and the feds followed me. Out the back door went Frank Sinatra, carrying a paper bag filled with cash. He went down to the pier, handed it over, and watched the ship sail.” Years later Sinatra told his daughter Nancy that he did this for the Israelis because “I wanted to help, I was afraid they might fall down.”
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