The collapse of balconies in a Gindi residential facility in Hadera and the subsequent arrest of a member of the Gindi family – coupled with a police investigation against Manor Gindi, who is suspected of bribing lawyers working for the Rishon Lezion and Rehovot Municipalities – has not put a blight on the third annual Gindi Tel Aviv Fashion Week, due to open with a gala show at the beginning of next week.
The Gindis, who are among Israel’s largest real estate developers, have in recent years put their weight behind the fashion industry, with the aim of bring it back to its former glory. One of their major projects is the TLV Fashion Mall, the venue for Gindi Fashion Week, which is yet again being produced by Motty Reif, one of Israel’s leading producers of fashion extravaganzas.
The event has been put on with the support of the Israel Export Institute, the Israel Manufacturers Association, the Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. Local fashionistas and buyers will be joined by buyers and fashion writers from abroad.
Participating designers and fashion companies are bearing part of the cost, and have each paid a fee of NIS 35,000 to showcase their creations.
The event will feature 22 brand names, mostly of designers whose companies feature their signatures, such as Hagar Alembik’s Alembika, Raziela Gershon, Ronen Chen, Sasson Kedem, Dorit Bar-On, Dorin Frankfurt, Gideon and Karen Oberson, Yaron Minkovsky and Alon Livne.
■ DUTCH AMBASSADOR Caspar Veldkamp was among the speakers at this week’s opening of a Magen David Adom station, in the religious town of Elad, which was donated by Christian and Jewish Friends of Magen David Adom in the Netherlands.
This was the second station that the Dutch donors have bequeathed in a period of six months; they helped to build and renovate several other stations in recent years.
In his address, Veldkamp emphasized the role of civil society in relations between the Netherlands and Israel: “The relationship between our two countries is not only a relationship between governments or private sector companies. It is not a relationship that only revolves around policy statements or business deals. It is first and foremost a relationship between two societies. It involves associations, foundations, private nonprofit initiatives and even individual volunteers; a relationship from people to people. It is not designed top-down, it is driven from the bottom-up.”
Good health services are important in any town but more so in Elad, which is one of the fastest growing towns in Israel, Veldkamp noted.
The event was attended by many Elad residents, including Mayor Rabbi Israel Porush, local rabbis, members of the MDA leadership and a delegation of the Netherlands Friends of MDA, including chairwoman Dr.
■ ONE OF the most frequent questions asked of internationally acclaimed journalist and author David Landau is what inspired him to write a book about Ariel Sharon. At the local launch of the book Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon, the question was posed again by Uri Dromi, the founder and director of the Jerusalem Press Club.
Landau was totally candid. “I challenge anyone not to write the book if you get an approach from Knopf, one of the most prestigious publishing houses in the world,” he said.
The way that Landau told it, it transpired that Sonny Mehta, the editorin- chief at Knopf, had been in conversation with some people in the book business soon after Sharon became prime minister. Mehta said they should get a book done on Sharon, preferably written by an Israeli who could come close to the subject, rather than by a faraway American.
It just so happened that Toby Eady, who is Landau’s literary agent, was part of the conversation.
“I’ve got just the person for you,” he said, and very soon afterwards, Landau was asked if he would be interested in writing the book. The rewarding result is a spate of highly appreciative reviews in major American publications.
To some people, it is an anomaly that the religiously Orthodox Landau is at the same time deep into the political Left, and that given his political leanings, he could write neutrally and dispassionately about Sharon.
Politics aside, Landau felt that a certain injustice had been done to Sharon, and wanted to recalibrate the roles filled by major figures during the time of the First Lebanon War.
and other periods of Israel’s history in which Sharon was a significant player.
Landau felt that disparate sections of the Israeli establishment saw Sharon as a punching bag, and this intrigued him. He came into the project with a sense that he had something to do other than regurgitate what had previously been said about Sharon. Accordingly, when approached by Knopf, Landau made it clear that he was not prepared to do a hatchet job or conversely, go to the opposite extreme.
Landau, whose career in journalism began at The Jerusalem Post, where he worked for many years before he joined Haaretz – first as news editor, then as founding editor of its English edition and later as editor-in-chief of its Hebrew edition – has written extensively for publications abroad, most notably The Economist. Several of his Haaretz colleagues came to Jerusalem for the launch, among them publisher Amos Schocken, current editor-in-chief Aluf Benn, former editor-in-chief Hanoch Marmari, and English edition editor Charlotte Hallé.
■ SINCE ITS official opening less than a year ago, the Jerusalem Press Club, located in the scenic Mishkenot Sha’ananim area of the capital, has hosted a number of very diverse events – which is fitting given that journalists cover every conceivable subject. Among the events hosted this week was a wine tasting presented by Yael Gai, a former diplomat who is now the international sales and marketing manager of Golan Heights Winery.
People don’t think of Israel as a wine country, even though it wins many awards in international wine competitions, said Gai. The tendency when wine is mentioned is to think of France, Italy, Argentina, Chile and Australia, but the truth is that wine is a traditional product of the region and is mentioned 127 times in the Bible. The first thing that Noah did after the flood, she said, was to plant a vineyard as a sign that things had normalized – in that vineyards need dry ground.
Moreover, during the Second Temple Period, said Gai, wine was exported, and was a popular drink because it was regarded as an energy beverage, and was safe compared to water, which was polluted, and milk, which was not pasteurized.
With the Muslim takeover of the country, most of the vineyards were destroyed, and the only wine that was produced was for Jewish religious consumption, as wine is integral to Shabbat and festival rituals.
Large-scale wine production was reintroduced to the region in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, although a century prior to the creation of the state, the Shor Winery opened in Jerusalem’s Old City. Likewise, the Teperberg family established the Efrat Winery before Baron Rothschild financed the planting of vineyards in Rishon Lezion and Zichron Ya’acov.
The Golan Winery, which is owned by four kibbutzim and four moshavim, was established 31 years ago and has three labels: Gamla, Yarden and Hermon. Participants in the tasting this week were introduced to nine of the wines – red and white, sweet and dry, full-bodied and delicate – produced from 2008 to 2013.
Professional wine tasters do not drink the wine, they spit it out. Gai said that the most difficult thing for her when taking the wine course was to learn how to spit.
■ AMERICAN SELF-MADE billionaire and mega-philanthropist Mort Mandel of Cleveland, Ohio, whose family has given tens of millions of dollars to Israel through the Mandel Foundation, mainly for educational and cultural projects, has written a book, It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead.
Together with his brothers Jack and Joseph, Mort Mandel invests primarily in people, be it in business or in philanthropic enterprises. One of their mottos is: “The hallmark of our philanthropy is to invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world.”
The Hebrew version of Mandel’s book was launched at a festive gathering at Beit Hatfutsot, in which Mandel was interviewed by television personality Dana Weiss, who was a lot more gentle with him than she is with her subjects on-screen – though Mandel could no doubt have handled her tougher persona without any trouble.
Through his giving and commitment to Israel, Mandel has touched the lives of many people, some of whom – including graduates of the Israel branch of the Mandel Foundation – were present, among them Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Also in attendance were Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel; Moshe Vigdor, Mandel Foundation CEO; Moshe Wexler, Israel Equity CEO; former prime minister Ehud Olmert; opposition leader Isaac Herzog; past and present presidents of Ben-Gurion University Profs. Avishay Braverman and Rivka Carmi; Hebrew University president Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson; Prof. Amos Shapira, University of Haifa president; Eva Iluz, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design president; Irena Nevzlin Kogan, Beit Hatfutsot chairwoman; MK Amram Mitzna, Knesset Education Committee chair; hotelier and philanthropist Michael Federmann; Yehuda Raveh, Mandel’s legal adviser; Yair Seroussi, chairman of the board of directors of Bank Hapoalim; and many others.
The Mandel Foundation last month gave $13 million to BGU, and $5m.
towards the establishment of a children’s world museum in Beersheba.
■ A SPECIAL event marking the 60th anniversary of Yad Vashem and 50 years of honoring the Righteous Among the Nations took place this week at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Attended by Holocaust survivors, representatives of Yad Vashem, including chairman Avner Shalev and Hildegard Muller, chairwoman of the German Friends of Yad Vashem, and dignitaries from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, including National Council of Austria president Barbara Prammer, the event was addressed by German Federal President Joachim Gauck.
Artistic creativity, though stifled to some extent in the camps, did not stop, and the musical program included music composed during the Holocaust. Successive governments of Germany, and German foundations and institutions, have supported a number of Yad Vashem’s projects – particularly in gathering documentation on the Holocaust, and the ongoing endeavors to make this material accessible to the general public through preservation, digitization, Internet accessibility, research, education projects and virtual exhibitions.
This past year, Yad Vashem launched a comprehensive German-language website, with the support of the Friede Springer Foundation.
■ SOME BOSSES discourage women from bringing their children to work, and turn a deaf ear to excuses such as school vacations or the dangers of a leaving a small child at home alone. Not so Israel’s No. 1 citizen, President Shimon Peres, who is not only happy see children in the presidential complex, but who delights in every new birth by a staff member.
In the close to seven years that he has been in office, 36 babies were born to staff members, and not just to junior secretaries and others low on the totem pole. Among senior staff members who’ve added to Israel’s demographic statistics are: President’s Office director-general Efrat Duvdevani; bureau chief Shiri Kuperberg; media adviser and spokeswoman Ayelet Frish; external relations department head Ofra Eshed; the president’s liaison with communities throughout Israel, Noa Carmon; the organizer of state dinners and other special events, Dalit Kool; and presidential legal adviser Michal Tzuk.
To mark International Women’s Day and to demonstrate that women can successfully combine professional careers with motherhood and taking care of a household, Peres hosted a reception, to which all women working at the presidential complex who had given birth during the past sixand- three-quarter years were invited to come with their children. Peres could not resist cradling Ariel, the two-month-old son of Eshed, who is currently the youngest of the infants born on his watch.