Jerry Seinfeld’s trip to Israel generates buzz in Holy Land

By The Associated Press

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Jerry Seinfeld’s trip to the Holy Land got so much hype it rivaled news of key upcoming Mideast talks.

The Jewish comic visited Israel for the first time in decades to promote his new animated movie about bees, and he was treated like royalty – literally.

Few entertainers get to meet both the Israeli prime minister and president. Seinfeld saw both, as well as touring the official Israeli Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem – the route taken by visiting world leaders.

Newspapers devoted nearly full-pages to his trip. And references to his humor crept into serious items in the news.

“Yada, yada, yada,” said TV political analyst Amnon Abramovitz Sunday about the Mideast meeting called by President Bush, quoting one of the best-known phrases from Seinfeld’s TV show.

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Seinfeld, who arrived Friday and left Sunday, was in Israel as part of a world tour to promote his film, “Bee Movie,” his first major project since the end of his TV series.

Seinfeld wrote the script and stars as a bee who is unhappy with his life manufacturing honey for humans.

The comedian himself seemed awed by his reception. He said it was quite a contrast to his last trip to Israel in 1971 as a 15-year-old volunteer on a kibbutz collective farm.

“I would be in the fields, and nobody wanted my autograph and nobody wanted to take their picture with me,” he told reporters in Tel Aviv. “They just let me hack away at those banana leaves, and no, I didn’t meet the prime minister even once.”