Kirk Douglas was given an award from the World Jewish Congress for his strong support of Israel, which includes starring in the first Hollywood film shot in the country.


Douglas was awarded just a month prior to his 100th birthday on Dec. 9. According to Ronald Lauder, president of the organization, said Douglas, who was born Issur Danielovitch, was “always proud of his Jewish roots.”

Douglas kept his Jewish roots alive in many movies he starred in, including the 1953 film Juggler, which was filmed in Israel and in which he played a Holocaust survivor. In 1966, he played Jewish U.S. Army Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus, who aided in the safety of the Jewish state in Cast a Giant Shadow.

Douglas’s son, Oscar-winner Michael Douglas accepted the award on his father’s behalf. Michael says his father is “so proud and so humbled” to receive an award honoring the late Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who was a longtime friend. Michael also described his father’s connection to Israel as going back to his childhood, and that his dream is to see Israel a “peaceful and successful” place where people of differing religions and cultures could live in harmony.

At the same dinner at the Pierre Hotel, Vice President Joe Biden received the Theodor Herzl award, which “stands for the principles that will ensure survival of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.” The award was present to Biden by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In his acceptance speech, Biden assured the crowd that U.S. support for Israel would not waver under a President Trump. “Congress would never let it happen,” he said. “The American people would never let it happen.”

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