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Grapevine: Laurels for Lauder
By GREER FAY CASHMAN
02/07/2013
President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder receives the French Legion of Honor from President François Hollande.
 
KNOWN FOR many years for his mammoth contribution to reviving Jewish life in Eastern Europe and restoring the heritage and religious identities of untold thousands of Jews, philanthropist, international businessman and world Jewish leader Ronald Lauder is also recognized in Western Europe.

Lauder, who is also president of the World Jewish Congress, was this week awarded the French Legion of Honor. Most awardees who are not French citizens usually receive such recognition via French ambassadors in their home countries. But Lauder received his award directly from France’s President François Hollande in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace.

Hollande called Lauder “a man of peace, of culture and of commitment” who travels the world conveying a message of tolerance and peace. He also referred to challenges that Lauder confronts in “a world of menaces, a world where old hatreds are resurfacing that we thought had disappeared long ago.”

The ceremony was also attended by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and a number of other French government officials.

Lauder was in Paris as head of a delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, of which he is a past president. He also held talks with Hollande and raised issues of concern to Jewish communities, notably the Iranian threat. Hollande told Lauder that Iran was not the problem of Israel alone but of the whole world. The WJC head called on France to support an initiative to put Hezbollah on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations, following the evidence presented by Bulgaria on Tuesday that the Lebanese Shi’ite movement was involved in the Burgas bombing of Israeli tourists in July 2012.

■ HE HAS already made history as the only Knesset speaker to have twice occupied the position. The jury is still out as to whether Reuven Rivlin will be elected a third time, which in effect would allow him to continue in his role as acting president of the state whenever the present incumbent is abroad or for whatever reason unable to fulfill his duties. It is no secret that up until the Knesset election, Rivlin was considered the No. 1 candidate to succeed Shimon Peres when his tenure expires in mid-2014. But since the election, the name of Silvan Shalom has also been tossed into the potential presidential ring, and who knows what other names may come to the fore in the interim? ■ THE KNESSET website is a fascinating treasure trove of information that includes trivia, such as a file on family ties, which as of Thursday morning had not yet been updated. The file includes the names of MKs who were divorced from each other, married to each other, parents and offspring, siblings and in-laws.

Missing in the list were Yitzhak and Yair Shamir and Yosef (Tommy) and Yair Lapid.

Other members of the 19th Knesset whose names were already on the list from previous periods of service were Tzipi Livni, whose father, Eitan, served long before she did, Meir Porush, whose father, Menachem, served from the fourth to the 13th Knesset, Tzachi Hanegbi, whose mother, Geula Cohen, spent 18 years as an MK and Orly Levy-Abekasis, whose father, David Levy, a three-time foreign minister, and uncle, Maxim Levy, preceded her.

The Dayan family, which is not represented in the 19th Knesset, still holds the record of being the only family in which three generations – Shmuel, Moshe and Yael – have served in the Knesset.

Although she has received a lot of publicity as the youngest member of the 19th Knesset, Stav Shaffir, 27, is not the youngest ever. Former justice and finance minister Moshe Nissim was 24 the first time he took his Knesset seat in 1959, and served continuously until June 1996.

The offspring of four prime ministers – Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon – followed their fathers into politics; prime minister Ehud Olmert also followed his father into politics, but it was the son and not the father who became head of government.

■ ALEH, ISRAEL’S largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, marked its 30th anniversary last Saturday night with a gala fundraiser at the Leonardo City Tower Hotel in Ramat Gan. Proceeds from the event will subsidize the construction of a therapeutic pool at ALEH’s new center in Bnei Brak, a state-of-the-art facility that will provide enhanced special education and rehabilitative programming.

Among those attending the event were Bank of Israel governor Prof. Stanley Fischer and his wife, Rhoda, honorary president of ALEH Negev; retired Supreme Court justice Eliezer Rivlin; founder and CEO of Y&R Tel Aviv Shlomi Avnon; attorneys Yehuda and Tami Raveh; CEO of Tempo beverage company Jack Bar; CEO of Mifal Hapayis Eli Dadon; rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel Shmuel Rabinowitz; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, chairman of ALEH Negev; and Rabbi Yehuda Marmorstein, directorgeneral of the ALEH centers.

“Since its very inception, ALEH has worked diligently to promote legislation for and raise the social awareness of special needs children,” said Marmorstein, who added that although ALEH has made many inroads, it still has a long way to go and relies heavily on its 900 professionals, 350 volunteers and countless friends and supporters around the world to renew their commitments to enable ALEH to continue to move forward.

■ PRESUMABLY, DEFENSE Minister Ehud Barak – whose political days are numbered – and acting Knesset Speaker Binyamin Ben- Eliezer will take the cake on Tuesday, February 12, when both celebrate their birthdays. Barak will turn 71 and Ben-Eliezer 77.

Five days later, on February 17, Arye Deri will celebrate his 54th birthday; Ibrahim Sarsour celebrated his 54th birthday on February 2. Nitzan Horowitz will turn 48 and Gila Gamliel will turn 24 on February 24.

On February 26, Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for seven years, will turn 85.

■ FANS OF Rabbi Benny Lau whose sole contact with him has been via radio and television because they don’t live close enough to attend services at his congregation can make up for missed opportunities this coming Tuesday night at the Jerusalem International Book Fair, where he will be signing books that he has authored at the Koren stand in the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

■ WITH ELECTIONS behind them, politicians could finally take a breather and engage in other activities. Silvan Shalom, minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, joined his wife, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, at a benefit night for Hom (“warmth”), the organization she heads which provides food for hungry children.

The benefit constituted paying way above the cost of a regular ticket for the premiere of Les Miserables at Globus Max in the Ramat Poleg industrial zone.

Among those contributing to the cause were Yoram and Lea Globus, Nissim Mishal, Roni and Elisheva Milo, Shari Arison, Yigal and Shirley Zilcha, Rami and Irena Shalmor, Israela Shtir, Tzvika Pik, Yehuda and Tami Raveh, Ami and Michal Federmann and Amos Shapira, among a host of wellknown personalities.

■ IT'S BEEN a lucky period for Rita, who is one of Israel’s leading singers. Just before she and her ex-husband, Rami Kleinstein, split up, they also called it quits with Helicon, the recording company with which they had been associated for 20 years, claiming that Helicon had withheld millions of shekels worth of royalties from them.

They subsequently sued the company for a very hefty sum.

Helicon denied the allegations, saying that in between 1995 and 2005, the couple had earned NIS 15 million. After five years of wrangling, the two sides reached a compromise. Although the details of their settlement remain classified, it is widely understood in the entertainment industry that Helicon will pay the couple a sum in the range of NIS 2.5m.

While money may be a balm, it doesn’t do much for the ego. Performing before an audience one never dared to dream of is a different story altogether. Rita, who has performed for some of the world’s most noted dignitaries, and whose albums are being sold on the black market in Iran, where she was born, is about to perform before the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The scheduled date is March 5, and among those expected in the audience are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, president of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors and diplomats, heads of the Jewish and Iranian communities in the US and prominent American entertainers.

Rita will sing in Farsi as well as from some of her most popular hits.

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN Ron Prosor will no doubt be thrilled to hear the applause instead of the usual voices of criticism and opposition that Israel encounters. He is confident that Rita will evoke an altogether different response of hope, peace and multiculturalism, which are among Israel’s fundamental ideals. In contrast to the Iranian nuclear threat, says Prosor, Rita is a bombshell of the positive variety.

■ LAST YEAR, when he worked as a graphic artist for The Jerusalem Post, Sam Sokol, not yet 30 years old, was called into the army during Operation Pillar of Defense just around the time his fourth child entered the world. Prior to joining the graphics team, Sokol made his living by writing features. He proved to be such a good writer that the editors decided to make him a reporter. The everenergetic Sokol now covers the Jewish World beat.

KNOWN FOR many years for his mammoth contribution to reviving Jewish life in Eastern Europe and restoring the heritage and religious identities of untold thousands of Jews, philanthropist, international businessman and world Jewish leader Ronald Lauder is also recognized in Western Europe.

Lauder, who is also president of the World Jewish Congress, was this week awarded the French Legion of Honor. Most awardees who are not French citizens usually receive such recognition via French ambassadors in their home countries. But Lauder received his award directly from France’s President François Hollande in a ceremony at the Elysee Palace.

Hollande called Lauder “a man of peace, of culture and of commitment” who travels the world conveying a message of tolerance and peace. He also referred to challenges that Lauder confronts in “a world of menaces, a world where old hatreds are resurfacing that we thought had disappeared long ago.”

The ceremony was also attended by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and a number of other French government officials.

Lauder was in Paris as head of a delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, of which he is a past president. He also held talks with Hollande and raised issues of concern to Jewish communities, notably the Iranian threat. Hollande told Lauder that Iran was not the problem of Israel alone but of the whole world. The WJC head called on France to support an initiative to put Hezbollah on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations, following the evidence presented by Bulgaria on Tuesday that the Lebanese Shi’ite movement was involved in the Burgas bombing of Israeli tourists in July 2012.

■ HE HAS already made history as the only Knesset speaker to have twice occupied the position. The jury is still out as to whether Reuven Rivlin will be elected a third time, which in effect would allow him to continue in his role as acting president of the state whenever the present incumbent is abroad or for whatever reason unable to fulfill his duties. It is no secret that up until the Knesset election, Rivlin was considered the No. 1 candidate to succeed Shimon Peres when his tenure expires in mid-2014. But since the election, the name of Silvan Shalom has also been tossed into the potential presidential ring, and who knows what other names may come to the fore in the interim? ■ THE KNESSET website is a fascinating treasure trove of information that includes trivia, such as a file on family ties, which as of Thursday morning had not yet been updated. The file includes the names of MKs who were divorced from each other, married to each other, parents and offspring, siblings and in-laws.

Missing in the list were Yitzhak and Yair Shamir and Yosef (Tommy) and Yair Lapid.

Other members of the 19th Knesset whose names were already on the list from previous periods of service were Tzipi Livni, whose father, Eitan, served long before she did, Meir Porush, whose father, Menachem, served from the fourth to the 13th Knesset, Tzachi Hanegbi, whose mother, Geula Cohen, spent 18 years as an MK and Orly Levy-Abekasis, whose father, David Levy, a three-time foreign minister, and uncle, Maxim Levy, preceded her.

The Dayan family, which is not represented in the 19th Knesset, still holds the record of being the only family in which three generations – Shmuel, Moshe and Yael – have served in the Knesset.

Although she has received a lot of publicity as the youngest member of the 19th Knesset, Stav Shaffir, 27, is not the youngest ever. Former justice and finance minister Moshe Nissim was 24 the first time he took his Knesset seat in 1959, and served continuously until June 1996.

The offspring of four prime ministers – Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon – followed their fathers into politics; prime minister Ehud Olmert also followed his father into politics, but it was the son and not the father who became head of government.

■ ALEH, ISRAEL’S largest network of facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities, marked its 30th anniversary last Saturday night with a gala fundraiser at the Leonardo City Tower Hotel in Ramat Gan. Proceeds from the event will subsidize the construction of a therapeutic pool at ALEH’s new center in Bnei Brak, a state-of-the-art facility that will provide enhanced special education and rehabilitative programming.

Among those attending the event were Bank of Israel governor Prof. Stanley Fischer and his wife, Rhoda, honorary president of ALEH Negev; retired Supreme Court justice Eliezer Rivlin; founder and CEO of Y&R Tel Aviv Shlomi Avnon; attorneys Yehuda and Tami Raveh; CEO of Tempo beverage company Jack Bar; CEO of Mifal Hapayis Eli Dadon; rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel Shmuel Rabinowitz; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, chairman of ALEH Negev; and Rabbi Yehuda Marmorstein, directorgeneral of the ALEH centers.

“Since its very inception, ALEH has worked diligently to promote legislation for and raise the social awareness of special needs children,” said Marmorstein, who added that although ALEH has made many inroads, it still has a long way to go and relies heavily on its 900 professionals, 350 volunteers and countless friends and supporters around the world to renew their commitments to enable ALEH to continue to move forward.

■ PRESUMABLY, DEFENSE Minister Ehud Barak – whose political days are numbered – and acting Knesset Speaker Binyamin Ben- Eliezer will take the cake on Tuesday, February 12, when both celebrate their birthdays. Barak will turn 71 and Ben-Eliezer 77.

Five days later, on February 17, Arye Deri will celebrate his 54th birthday; Ibrahim Sarsour celebrated his 54th birthday on February 2. Nitzan Horowitz will turn 48 and Gila Gamliel will turn 24 on February 24.

On February 26, Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for seven years, will turn 85.

■ FANS OF Rabbi Benny Lau whose sole contact with him has been via radio and television because they don’t live close enough to attend services at his congregation can make up for missed opportunities this coming Tuesday night at the Jerusalem International Book Fair, where he will be signing books that he has authored at the Koren stand in the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

■ WITH ELECTIONS behind them, politicians could finally take a breather and engage in other activities. Silvan Shalom, minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, joined his wife, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, at a benefit night for Hom (“warmth”), the organization she heads which provides food for hungry children.

The benefit constituted paying way above the cost of a regular ticket for the premiere of Les Miserables at Globus Max in the Ramat Poleg industrial zone.

Among those contributing to the cause were Yoram and Lea Globus, Nissim Mishal, Roni and Elisheva Milo, Shari Arison, Yigal and Shirley Zilcha, Rami and Irena Shalmor, Israela Shtir, Tzvika Pik, Yehuda and Tami Raveh, Ami and Michal Federmann and Amos Shapira, among a host of wellknown personalities.

■ IT'S BEEN a lucky period for Rita, who is one of Israel’s leading singers. Just before she and her ex-husband, Rami Kleinstein, split up, they also called it quits with Helicon, the recording company with which they had been associated for 20 years, claiming that Helicon had withheld millions of shekels worth of royalties from them.

They subsequently sued the company for a very hefty sum.

Helicon denied the allegations, saying that in between 1995 and 2005, the couple had earned NIS 15 million. After five years of wrangling, the two sides reached a compromise. Although the details of their settlement remain classified, it is widely understood in the entertainment industry that Helicon will pay the couple a sum in the range of NIS 2.5m.

While money may be a balm, it doesn’t do much for the ego. Performing before an audience one never dared to dream of is a different story altogether. Rita, who has performed for some of the world’s most noted dignitaries, and whose albums are being sold on the black market in Iran, where she was born, is about to perform before the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The scheduled date is March 5, and among those expected in the audience are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, president of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors and diplomats, heads of the Jewish and Iranian communities in the US and prominent American entertainers.

Rita will sing in Farsi as well as from some of her most popular hits.

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN Ron Prosor will no doubt be thrilled to hear the applause instead of the usual voices of criticism and opposition that Israel encounters. He is confident that Rita will evoke an altogether different response of hope, peace and multiculturalism, which are among Israel’s fundamental ideals. In contrast to the Iranian nuclear threat, says Prosor, Rita is a bombshell of the positive variety.

■ LAST YEAR, when he worked as a graphic artist for The Jerusalem Post, Sam Sokol, not yet 30 years old, was called into the army during Operation Pillar of Defense just around the time his fourth child entered the world. Prior to joining the graphics team, Sokol made his living by writing features. He proved to be such a good writer that the editors decided to make him a reporter. The ever-energetic Sokol now covers the Jewish World beat.

greerfc@gmail.com
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