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Whitney Houston Dead, Israel Black Hebrews Mourn Diva's Death (PHOTOS)

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WHITNEY HOUSTON DEATH ISRAEL
American pop diva Whitney Houston (C) celebrates with her husband Bobby Brown as she receives honorary citizenship of the town during a ceremony with the Black Hebrews community outside their homes May 30, 2003 in the southern Israel desert town of Dimona. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) | Getty

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Black Hebrew community is mourning the loss of Whitney Houston, who famously visited them in 2003.

Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, the leader of the 2,500-strong group of vegan polygamists, told Channel 2 TV Sunday that he considered Houston his "spiritual daughter."

In 2003, she visited the Black Hebrews in the desert town of Dimona. The group moved to the Holy Land from the U.S. decades ago. They believe they're descendants of a lost tribe of Israelites.

Houston was found dead Saturday in a Los Angeles hotel room. She had struggled for years with drug and alcohol abuse.

Ben-Israel — a former Chicago bus driver — said Houston was a source of pride for his community. He said he recently invited her back to Israel "to help her overcome her problem."

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