Barbra Streisand Visits Israeli Make-a-Wish Kids

June 18, 2013

2 min read

Barbra Streisand and Israeli President Shimon Peres fulfill the wish of 20 children of the "Make a Wish Foundation". (Photo by Mark Neyman, Flash90)
Barbra Streisand and Israeli President Shimon Peres fulfill the wish of 20 children of the “Make a Wish Foundation”. (Photo by Mark Neyman, Flash90)

Since it was founded in 1996, Make-A-Wish Israel has granted the wishes of over 18,000 children with life-threatening diseases, many of them terminally ill.  This week, however, recipients got more than they asked for: not only did they meet Israeli President Shimon Peres, but singer and actress Barbra Streisand was present, as well.

The book of Job (2:11) describes Job’s friends visiting him in his time of suffering, coming to comfort him.  Streisand and Peres did their best to comfort and offer support to the sick kids and their families.

The visit was initiated by several Wishers who wanted to meet Israel’s optimistic president.  As Raphael Agion, a 17-year-old with muscular dystrophy, put it, “You give me great optimism, Mr. President. You give me strength every day and that helps me fight my illness. You even give me hope that there will be peace in our country.”  When Foundation co-founder Avi Bar-Aharon heard that the planned visit coincided with Streisand’s arrival in Israel, he asked to combine the two events.  Streisand agreed immediately.

Upon arrival at the meeting, both Streisand and Peres greeted each of the twenty children personally.  One child, 16-year-old Koral Vedder, treated Streisand to a moving rendition of her own song, “People.”  Vedder lost a leg three years ago to bone cancer.

In some cases, the parents and grandparents in attendance were more moved than the children themselves, especially those who immigrated from North America.

This is Streisand’s first visit to Israel in 29 years, and her husband, James Brolin’s first visit ever.  They have both expressed excitement about being here.  Streisand has come to perform at the Facing Tomorrow Presidential Conference, which kicks off Tuesday with Peres’ gala 90th birthday party.  She will also be performing in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

 

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