International Women’s Day fell on a Friday this year so many events were brought forward a day. Come Thursday evening and my social calendar was pretty jammed. First, I found myself in the Electra Tower for an evening hosted by Yazamiyot, a networking group for Israeli women tech entrepreneurs. The event was held in conjunction with Campus Tel Aviv, a Google initiative which uses the 26th floor of the Electra Tower as a “hack space” to allow developers and entrepreneurs to do everything from networking to testing new ideas.
The room was brimming with innovation, entrepreneurship and, well, estrogen. Empowered members of the fairer sex who have successfully carved out their own names in the Start-up nation gave speeches on their latest projects and ventures, for the most part geared at women. Take, for example, Campus TLV for Moms, an initiative that encourages women on maternity leave to use the time to develop themselves and their projects.
I’m no Suffragette but there was something deeply satisfying about being in a room full of women who seemed genuine in their call to help one another out. Along with men, egos and power suits were left at the door.
This was in stark contrast to the second International Women’s Day event, namely, the Playboy Israel launch party. From Campus TLV to Brown TLV, the former’s business execs were replaced by bunnies that hopped about the trendy boutique hotel in celebration of the Jewish state’s version of Hugh Hefner’s signature magazine.
As well as the requisite bunnies, the party was attended by Natalie Dadon, the model and star of the TV show “Survivor” who graces the cover of the first ever issue of Playboy Israel. Daniel Pomerantz, a former lawyer and the brains behind the erotic magazine, insisted that Playboy’s denigrators have often never even tried reading it. “A person who reads Playboy sees that it’s about freedom of expression, freedom of choice, about debating serious issues and about beautiful, strong women.”
The first issue also features an in-depth interview with Avi Dichter, though apparently the former Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) chief declined to pose as a playmate.
Even though the red-carpet event wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I was expecting it to be a lot sleazier. Much to my relief (and probably to the chagrin of most of the males present) there was an ostensible lack of nudity at the event, with the most hedonistic display courtesy of one reveler’s inebriated antics outside the venue.
One night, two events, each celebrating women in totally different ways. At the very least this International Women’s Day, Israel can proudly declare, vive la différence