A young man called Bob arrived at Kibbutz Zikim several days after the outbreak of the Six-Day War as part of a "very nice, but very rambunctious" group of 24 English volunteers, recalls Edna Caplan, 72, a former Londoner who had settled on the kibbutz a decade earlier and "adopted" Bob during his stay.
Thirty-five years later, in 2002, Caplan received a call from the Jerusalem Film Festival saying that the renowned British actor Bob Hoskins wanted to visit her at the kibbutz on the coast south of Ashkelon. Only then did she realize that the young volunteer and the famous actor were one and the same.
"Where have all your curls gone?" was the first thing Caplan said to Hoskins, whose hairline is now somewhere near the back of his head. Hoskins toured the kibbutz for about four hours that day. "He remembered every hole and corner of the kibbutz," Caplan marvels.
Caplan recalls that the young Hoskins was "quite left-wing" and very enamored of the kibbutz model. After his six-month stay at Kibbutz Zikim, he worked at two other kibbutzim, spending a total of two years in Israel. He even considered settling on a kibbutz, she says, "but, in the end, he didn't want to become Jewish and didn't want to join the army."
At the conclusion of their reunion in 2002, Caplan and Hoskins did not exchange addresses or phone numbers and Caplan did not expect to hear from Hoskins again. But he surprised her again last month: "I got a phone call from the British Council and they said, 'Bob Hoskins wants to talk to you.'"
Caplan says that she had heard that Hoskins would be coming to Israel for the British Film Festival and had considered trying to get in touch with him. But she decide against it, reasoning "no, once is enough for him. I'm not particularly important or anything." But here Hoskins was on the phone telling her: "Come to my film."
Caplan and her husband Dan - the couple met in the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement in England - came to Jerusalem the next night for a reception and screening of Hoskins' film "Mrs. Henderson Presents." ("It is a lovely film, an understated English comedy, the way it should be, in my opinion," she says.)
"Everyone was so eager to shake my hand [at the reception] because he greeted me with hugs and kisses," Caplan chuckles. Hoskins asked Caplan whether she has been following his career. "Yes," she replied, "now that I know who you are."
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