SOME PEOPLE go to a kabbalist or some other prominent rabbi when seeking a
blessing to ward off an illness.
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who is heading
the committee that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has appointed to come up
with feasible solutions to the demands being made by leaders of the protest
movement, chose instead to go to the country’s No. 1 citizen, President Shimon
Peres, to get a blessing to cure the ills of Israeli society.
It may have
been because Peres has also been both finance minister and prime minister, or it
may have been because the president had already engaged with leaders of the
protest movement. Whatever the reason, Trajtenberg came away with strict
instructions not to disappoint the protesters.
Just as he often talks
about the need for dialogue with the Palestinians, Peres insisted on the need to
hold discussions with the people at the forefront of the protests sweeping the
country. The public expects action, he said, but without discussion, there
cannot be a real change in priorities.
Trajtenberg needed no convincing
on this score. He explained that the committee had a twofold task – the first
being to listen to the people’s concerns, and the second to transform those
concerns into action.
Peres said he appreciated Trajtenberg’s seriousness
and his comprehension of the issues. He was also glad, he said, to see that some
members of the committee represented a younger generation. The panel has a
comprehensive and limitless responsibility, said Peres, because its mandate is
to introduce a substantial change in society, the economy and the unity of the
Trajtenberg hasn’t wasted any time since then, and this week
went to speak to tent-dwellers and listen to their grievances.
TALENTED young Israelis who may soon be leaders in academic, civil and political
institutions have been selected by the British Embassy and the British Council
to receive the prestigious Chevening scholarships that will fund their
postgraduate studies and research in the UK.
Every year, over 2,000
Chevening scholarships are awarded to potential leaders all over the world to
study subjects including politics, business, the media, civil society, religion
This year’s award recipients are journalist and blogger
Dimi Reider, cofounder of +972 Magazine; Lianne Pollak, who, after completing
three years in the Prime Minister’s Office, worked on the negotiation team with
the Palestinians during the Annapolis process; Emad Naseraldin, a student of
diplomacy and security from Daliyat al- Carmel who is interested in
policy-making in the fields of education, socioeconomic issues and foreign
affairs; and Eden Sarid, a human rights activist from Jerusalem who volunteered
in the Jerusalem Open House (LGBT organization) and who has a particular
interest in promoting transitional justice mechanisms in Israel and the
The four will be studying topics ranging from
law and human rights to Middle Eastern politics to international public policy.
Last week, the British Council hosted an afternoon tea with the outgoing and
former scholars, who met with British Ambassador Matthew Gould and British
Council director Simon Kay. Gould told the departing scholars that he was hugely
proud that his government, through this scheme, continued to build a legacy of
talented young leaders around the world.
“It is important to us that
young Israeli students, who have the choice to study anywhere in the world,
choose Britain. We have world-class universities which welcome talented
scholars. We know that on return you will become inspiring leaders contributing
to the creativity and wealth of this country, while at the same time, we trust,
treasuring and nurturing a life-long connection with the UK,” he
Well-known Israelis who have received Chevening scholarships in the
past include journalists Amit Segal, Nadav Eyal, Ariel Margalith, Dov Gil Har,
Yaron Dekel and Ronen Bergman, as well as Hadash MK Dov Henin.
RAMBAM Medical Center, along with the American Friends of the Rambam Medical
Center, was delighted last week to make the announcement that prominent
philanthropists Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation have
made a commitment of $10 million to support and name the Joan and Sanford I.
Weill Pediatric Hematology- Oncology Department within the Ruth Rappaport
Children’s Hospital at Rambam, and the Joan and Sanford I.
Israeli-Palestinian Friendship Center there.
“The Weills’ extraordinary
generosity, vision and support will greatly strengthen our medical center’s
ability to provide pediatric hematology and oncology services for all the
children of our region,” said a profoundly grateful Prof.
Rambam’s director and CEO. “The support and involvement of the Weills, with
their deep connections to medical philanthropy in the United States and in the
Middle East, will help Rambam make a quantum leap toward realizing our
Weill characterized Rambam as “a unique institution comprising
physicians, nurses and staff that excel in their diversity, their achievements
in the field of medical science and innovation, and their sensitive delivery of
patient care.” Explaining their ongoing philanthropy, Weill said that he and his
wife had never been satisfied with what had already been accomplished and were
keen to contribute to making Israel and the region “a happier, more productive
place than it is right now.” He also noted that he and his wife were “firm
believers that education and healthcare are ways to help bridge cultural
The Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Department will be directed
by Prof. Myriam Weyl Ben-Arush, who is known in Israel and internationally for
contributing an exceptionally insightful and empathic voice to professional
discussions of the ethical, psychosocial and quality-of-life aspects of
pediatric cancer care.
“Thirty percent of Rambam’s pediatric patients are
treated for chronic conditions such as leukemia, brain tumors and lymphoma,” she
said. “The good news is that over 80% of these children are curable.”
the nearly 300 Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank annually
diagnosed at Rambam with cancer, Ben- Arush’s department was previously able to
treat no more than 50 per year. “The Weills’ extraordinary generosity will make
a tremendous change for the better,” she stated.
Joan Weill enthused that
the Israeli- Palestinian Friendship Center would help meet the pressing
humanitarian needs of Palestinian pediatric and adult patients, and at a time
when bridges between the peoples are desperately needed, she was optimistic that
it would help promote the cause of peace.
“An Israeli child and a
Palestinian child undergoing a blood transfusion or chemotherapy are no
different,” she continued. “Sandy and I have witnessed the extraordinary healing
that Rambam offers on an individual level, and we are excited that our
involvement will help promote that healing on a regional level in the Middle
East as well.”
■ OVER THE past couple of weeks, Jerusalem Post
Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde has been meeting with leading figures in different
fields to sound them out about their specific areas of expertise, what they like
or dislike about The Jerusalem Post and what they would like to see in the paper
other than what currently receives coverage.
On Thursday, in the course
of a meeting with President Shimon Peres, Linde – wishing to benefit from the
wisdom and experience of the 88-year-old president – asked him what advice he had
to give to a new editor of a daily newspaper.
replied that the most important thing was to ensure that every story had
balance, that all sides of a story were covered, and that the paper had
“Let the reader make the decision,” he said. “Don’t make
the decision for him.”[email protected]