Issues such as the evacuation of Amona notwithstanding, Education Minister Naftali Bennett made time last week to visit the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, where he was taken on a tour of the exhibition “In the Valley of David and Goliath” by the museum director Amanda Weiss. Bennett evidenced interest and remarked on the important finds on display, which were excavated in the Eila Valley, and are believed to date back to the period of the kingdom of David. Among the finds in the excavations was an intriguing inscription that may well be the oldest example of Hebrew writing yet discovered.
Not forgetting the need to connect with the younger generation, Bennett made a point of stopping to say hello to a group of schoolchildren from Modi’in while they were touring in the galleries, and was pleased to learn that the museum provides programming for students of all ages and from all sectors of the population.
■ THE LOBBY for the strengthening of Israel’s foreign policy and public relations, under the joint chairmanship of Nachman Shai, who chairs the Knesset Subcommittee for Foreign Policy and Public Relations, and Nimrod Goren, founder and head of Mitvim – the Israeli Institute of Regional Foreign Policies, will on Monday, February 6, host a conference in the Jerusalem Hall of the Knesset on Saving Israel’s Foreign Policy. The conference will be held in the presence of opposition and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog, members of Knesset, former senior diplomats and experts on foreign policy and public relations.
The initiators of the conference believe that Israel’s image in the world is deteriorating due to lack of a clear-cut foreign policy, and that lack of clarity in foreign policy can be attributed to the absence of a fulltime foreign minister. The latter situation has led to the disintegration of the Foreign Ministry through the apportioning of major areas of its work among other ministries, thereby robbing it not only of its cohesion and prestige but also of its influence and image.
■ MA’ALEH ADUMIM, the first Israeli town – now a city – that was built across the Green Line, is currently in the news with regard to a proposed annexation law. Located only 7 km.
from Jerusalem, and an important regional area from biblical times onward, this relatively new urban sprawl, which in its modern guise is only 40 years old, bears relics of the Roman, Crusader and Byzantine eras, along with several other attractions that include the Moshe Castel Art Museum, the factory that makes the halva that’s on sale at Mahaneh Yehuda, a rooftop hydroponic farm, aqueducts, natural springs and waterfalls, a firm that makes guitars, and much more of which even many of the residents are ignorant, says Shelley Brinn, who worked for several years for the Ma’aleh Adumim Municipality before launching her own Tour Adumim enterprise.
Brinn is a mine of information, and as a former schoolteacher knows how to share it in a manner that ensures that it will be retained by her listeners. A week ago her listeners comprised several members of the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post, most of whom had been in and out of Ma’aleh Adumim to visit relatives, friends and colleagues, but hadn’t bothered to learn about the history or the current setup of this truly beautiful city. Now, after spending a morning with Brinn, they are much better informed, and will find what they have learned to be very useful in their work.
■ THE YEAR 2017 is a special one for Jerusalem in many different ways, with numerous mega events, some of which will be shared with other cities, such as the gala opening in Jerusalem on Tuesday of the 23rd International Mediterranean Tourism Market, the main body of which will be held in Tel Aviv. The by-invitation- only event in Jerusalem is hosted by the Jerusalem Development Authority and gives those participants from abroad who are extremely limited in time an opportunity to get a brief glimpse of the capital.
The 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem will naturally include a ceremony at the Western Wall, but there will be other events in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the country.
The 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress will obviously take place in Jerusalem, where visionary Theodor Herzl is buried and where the World Zionist Organization is headquartered. This does not necessarily exclude a celebration of some kind in Basel as well.
Other significant anniversaries include the 100th of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the 40th anniversary of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, the 30th anniversary of the first intifada and the centenary of General Edmund Allenby’s entry to the Old City of Jerusalem on foot to mark the end of more than four centuries of Ottoman rule, as a sign of respect to the Holy City. Allenby dismounted his horse. All of the above are bound to attract many visitors to Jerusalem, and should give a great boost to the city’s tourist industries.
Ambassadors, charges d’affaires, consuls, commercial and cultural attaches are all going to be busy promoting their respective countries this week at the tourism market. Nepal is getting in early, and before the start of the overall festivities and marketing, Nepal’s charge d’affaires, Ramishor Paudel, will on Monday evening host a promotional event in the hope of attracting more tourists to his country.
Tourists currently visiting Israel and the public in general can attend the market in the afternoons of February 7 and 8 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, easily accessible by train and bus. The train can be taken from the North Tel Aviv Savidor Station to the Tel Aviv-University Train Station, which is opposite the convention center. Egged bus No. 521, Dan buses Nos. 12, 22, 40, 89, 189 and 389, and Metropolin buses Nos. 47, 48, and 247 from central Tel Aviv and Ra’anana/ Kfar Saba/Herzliya/Ramat Hasharon also have stops near the Convention Center.
■ IN THE aftermath of the Second World War, Germany’s Justice Ministry was flooded with ex-Nazis, whose world outlook was clouded by their political philosophy. How this affected Germany’s legal system and what the Nazi legacy has done to Germany in general is contained in a recently published book titled The Rosenburg Files. The book has generated considerable curiosity and controversy.
It will be discussed on Tuesday, February 7, at 5 p.m. at Tel Aviv University’s Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center.
The moderator will be Prof. Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the chief historian of Yad Vashem. The conference will be opened by Prof. Ra’anan Rein, vice president of Tel Aviv University, and Heiko Maas, German federal minister of justice and consumer protection.
Presentations will be made by Prof. Christoph Safferling, professor of criminal law, criminal procedure, international criminal law and international law at Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Prof. Manfred Görtemaker, professor of modern history at the University of Potsdam.
■ FRENCH BUSINESS tycoon Patrick Drahi, a frequent visitor to Israel, who almost four years ago decided that Al Jazeera could use a little competition, and in 2013 founded i24 News, which is headquartered in Jaffa and which broadcasts in English, French and Arabic, has broadened his range of broadcasting.
Up until now the only 24/7 international and current affairs channel from the heart of the Middle East, with the possible exception of Al Jazeera, i24 News is in the process of launching a US news channel, to be headquartered in Times Square, New York, with a separate bureau in Washington, DC, to be staffed by local journalists. The official launch is set for February 13. Israelis who are interested in i24 can access it only online. i24 is part of the Altice Group that was founded by Drahi.
i24 News has more than 250 journalists, representing 35 different nationalities. i24 News has built its US news team with topflight local talent, with approximately 50 positions to support the New York City and Washington, DC, bureaus.
Programming for i24 News in the US will include hard news and interviews, with a focus on both domestic and international news. The US channel will broadcast in English and provide content from its studios in New York City, Washington, Tel Aviv and Paris.
■ ON THE local media scene, aside from the uncertainties surrounding Army Radio, Globes, the financial newspaper, is in dire straits, with the collapse of the empire of its main shareholder, Eliezer Fishman.
Globes Editor Hagai Golan resigned last week after 20 years at the helm, and has joined Channel 20 in the bid to operate the Knesset Channel, competing against channels 2 and 10 as well as a production company.
Channel 2, which is currently operating the Knesset Channel, is fighting for the right to continue doing so.
Globes has gone into receivership, and of the publication’s potential buyers, the one most favored by the receivers acting on behalf of Bank Leumi is billionaire David Davidovich, who has reportedly taken the trouble to meet with the paper’s staff.
As for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, even though it’s almost countdown time for its closure, it continues to add new programs both on radio and television, and new faces and voices to its stable of broadcasters.
However, one thing is very disturbing, especially if the IBA manages to get a reprieve. There is some kind of sabotage going on in terms of communication between studio anchors and people in the field or interviewees from Israel and abroad. Telephone contact is lost day after day, in addition to which there is a regular delay in conversation between the studio and the field reporter, which not only results in a waste of time but also makes the report of any event very jerky.