Grapevine: ‘Will you listen to my voice?’

By
March 8, 2012 22:54

Israel is not just a start-up nation, but a country on the run.




moshe arad (L) mina westman (R)

moshe arad (L) mina westman (R) . (photo credit: Andres Lacko )

At a symposium in the Knesset auditorium on March 12, under the title “Will you listen to my voice?” Emunah, the religious women’s Zionist organization, will confer the title of Woman of the Year on Prof. Mina Westman, who heads the Organizational Behavior Program in the Faculty of Management at Tel Aviv University.

Westman, who has published numerous articles, academic papers and books, is the deputy editor of Stress and Health and a member of the editorial boards of four other publications. The primary focus of her research is work, family and social pressures.

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She is in high demand as a lecturer in Israel and abroad. A life-long resident of Tel Aviv, she is married, the mother of three and a grandmother. She has also served as a director on the boards of several companies and maintains a national- religious lifestyle. She had a 10- year tenure as chairwoman of the Committee for Women Entrepreneurs; was a member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing; and for three years chaired the Council of Women’s Organizations in Israel. She was also head of the Israel delegation to the 46th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and for eight years was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Prime Ministers Office – and that’s just a short list.

Emunah leaders have come out strongly against attempts to silence the voices of women in the life and development of the country – and also in the realm of music. At least one religiously-observant male is scheduled to listen to women singing during the entertainment segment of the symposium. MK Zevulun Orlev, who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child, is scheduled to be one of the speakers.

■ ASIDE FROM what is generally known about him as having been deputy head of Mossad; directorgeneral of the Foreign Ministry; founding president of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations; ambassador at large; and an ardent peace activist, the late David Kimche was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew University’s Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. Kimche was a voracious reader, with an enormous collection of books – some of which he inherited from his brother, the well-known British journalist and historian Jon Kimche.

David (Dave) Kimche was always worried about finding a good home for his books after his death. His widow, Ruth Kimche, donated some of the books to different libraries, but the bulk to the Truman Institute library.

At a ceremony at the library this week, she expressed appreciation that the Institute had agreed to accept the books and noted that some of the volumes were so rare that the Truman Institute Library is the only library in Israel that has them. They have now all been catalogued and can be traced on the Internet. Former ambassador Moshe Arad, who chairs the Truman Board of Trustees, said the donation to the library could be perceived as the closing of a circle.

Prior to the War of Independence, said Arad, Kimche had been a student at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture. He left to fight in the war and then returned to study political and social sciences, and many years later became a member of the Truman Board of Trustees. Kimche was a continuous presence at the Hebrew University, said Arad, so it was fitting to have his library. The library is not the only memorial tribute to Kimche on the Hebrew University campus.

Current Foreign Ministry directorgeneral Rafi Barak noted that the ministry had also established scholarships in his name.

■ RETIRED MEMBERS of Israel’s Intelligence community have seemingly gone overboard in their efforts to find ways in which to tell the stories which for so many years could not be told. So much of what Israel’s Intelligence community does remains classified and will never be told outside an extremely elite circle.

Some of those stories will not even be told within the circle. But what can be declassified is finding its way into numerous books and media reports. Retirees from Mossad and the Shin Bet (the Israel Security Agency), as well as other Intelligence agencies, are in high demand as public speakers, and some are saying things that they were unable to say while in office. The media is lapping it all up, and faithfully reporting their words.

As for the books, one of the latest in this genre is Israel’s Silent Defenders, which comprises 37 essays written by experts in the field and compiled by Ephraim Lapid and Amos Gilboa. Lapid is a retired general who served as a senior intelligence officer in the IDF; was the IDF’s spokesperson; an instructor at the National Defense College; and commander in chief of Army Radio. Gilboa is a brigadier general in the reserves and an adviser on intelligence affairs to the Israeli intelligence community. He lectures on intelligence studies at the Lauder School of Government Diplomacy, as well as strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

He has held several senior positions in the Intelligence Directorate and the Intelligence Department of the General Staff of the IDF. His last position with the IDF was that of head of the research division. With these credentials – which represent only a partial list of their credits – Lapid and Gilboa had little difficulty in approaching the essay writers.

■ THERE’S LITTLE doubt that when journalist Yaron Deckel completes his stint as chief of Army Radio, his place at the Israel Broadcasting Authority will be assured.

Deckel, who anchored the It’s All Talk, a current affairs program on Reshet Bet, and was a political commentator on Channel One, was this week officially installed in his new position. Yoni Ben Menachem, the director-general of the IBA said that appointing a broadcaster from the IBA to head Army Radio was a great honor for public broadcasting, and yet another sign of how necessary it is. In wishing Deckel luck, Ben Menachem said the IBA will continue to assist Army Radio in every way, whenever such assistance is needed, because Army Radio has in important place in the fabric of non-commercial broadcasting, with the listener rather than the rating as a first consideration. For all that Ben Menachem made it clear that Israel Radio would continue to compete against Army Radio.

Deckel is the first journalist to start his journalistic career as a soldier serving at Army Radio, only to return there as its head. Many Army Radio reporters have gravitated to the IBA over the years, but it has seldom been the other away around. One of the notable exceptions prior to Deckel was Razi Barka’i who 20 years ago, after having anchored It’s All Talk, went to Army Radio and started a similar program Hakol Bo’er (It’s all Burning). The person who took over from him was Shelly Yacimovich, who is now head of the Labor Party.

■ ISRAEL IS not just a start-up nation, but a country on the run. In January there was the Tiberias Marathon. This month there will be both the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv marathons – and in Eilat, because it’s too hot to run, they’ll have an international swimming marathon on April 1. In Gaza there was also a marathon last week – the second of its kind, with Palestinian runner Nadr al- Masri, 32, who is reputed to be the fastest man in Gaza, emerging the winner, as he did at the first Gaza marathon. He ran from Beit Hanun to Rafa. The event was organized by UNWRA – the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees. Masri, who does not have access to proper training facilities, sometimes runs along the beach, sometimes around the football stadium in Gaza City and sometimes along a cinder track that is in dire need of repair. Masri would love to qualify for the London Olympics, and he’s managed a little extra training by taking a bus to Cairo and making use of Egypt’s Olympic training facility. As yet, he’s still 40 seconds too slow on his best time to qualify for the Olympics, but with determination and just a little extra spurt, he might make it.

■ SCHEDULED TO perform at the London Olympics at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September is David D’Or. Among the dignitaries in the audience will be President Shimon Peres, who will be leading the Israeli delegation to the UK.

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