JERUSALEM WILL soon host not one but two members of the Clinton family. It was announced in Washington this week that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Saturday and visit the Palestinian Authority in the near future. Earlier in the piece, the Saban Forum announced that former US president Bill Clinton will participate in the Sixth Annual Saban Forum on US-Israel dialogue taking place in Jerusalem. He is scheduled to arrive on November 14. Among the other participants will be President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, and from the US - Senator Joe Lieberman and Congressmen Howard Berman and Henry Waxman. Egyptian-born Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban, who went to school at the Ben-Shemen Youth Village - whose other famous students include Shimon Peres, Shulamit Aloni and Moshe Katsav - recently concluded one of Israel's biggest business deals with the sale of his shares in Bezeq. He had previously sold his shares in Keshet. Earlier this month, it was reported that he is interested in buying a 50 percent stake in Al Jazeera.
AS WORK on the light rail system progresses, there is growing evidence of the changing face of Rehov Jaffa. Some storekeepers decided that since the digging up of the street was a deterrent to shoppers, it was a good opportunity for renovations and modernization of their premises. Others closed down, and the newcomers who came in their stead decided to give their respective stores a more distinctive look. And then there were those who tore down old buildings to create something completely new.
Case in point is a joint NIS 75 million venture in Kikar Zion by British Israel and Rami Shavit, the controlling shareholder in Hamashbir Lazarchan. Some of the old buildings, including the original Steimatzky store, were removed to make way for a seven-story shopping mall which, according to British Israel CEO Amir Biram, will be completed within the next 18 months. British Israel has built several shopping malls around the country and has a reputation for sticking to deadlines and sometimes completing the project way ahead of time.
Shavit is a very traditional Jew and by his own confession superstitious. This is one of the reasons that he refused to sign the scroll that was entombed in the building's foundations last Wednesday. In the Bible there is a verse that, according to Shavit, indicates that Wednesday is not a good day for business. He never signs contracts on Wednesdays nor any other business-related document. Instead, he had Devora Yitzhaki, who chairs Hamashbir's board of directors, sign in his stead.
RESIDENTS OF Nofei Yerushalayim, Jerusalem's first self-governing sheltered living facility, are sprucing up for Nofei Yerushalayim's 20th anniversary celebrations on November 2. Special guests will include Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, Deputy Mayor Ya'acov Kahlon and other dignitaries including Micha Levy, chairman of the board of directors of Shalom Hotels, of which Nofei Yerushalayim in its previous incarnation was a part.
LEADING AMERICAN Jewish philanthropist and hedge fund wizard Michael Steinhardt, founder and chairman of Steinhardt Management Company, best known in Israel as one of the founders of birthright, has joined the board of directors of the Jerusalem-headquartered Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. Steinhardt, who is a past chairman of the board of governors of Tel Aviv University, is also heavily involved with the Israel Museum and with Makor, the organization for the promotion of Jewish culture. Taub Center executive director Prof. Dan Ben-David emphasizes that dealing with the socioeconomic problems facing Israeli society during this first year of the Netanyahu government calls for enlisting the best and the brightest minds to the Taub Center and to its board. Steinhardt's original thinking and his generous support of Israel in many fields represent a vital asset for the Taub Center, says Ben-David.
THE 15th anniversary of the passing of the singing rabbi Shlomo Carlebach will be commemorated as it is every year with an evening dedicated to his legacy - the music and the spirit that he bequeathed to the Jewish world. Carlebach tunes have become integral to Shabbat services around the globe. This year's concert on Saturday night, November 7, will be held at Binyenei Ha'uma with the participation of Yehudah Katz, Asher Heinovitz, the Reim duo, Avshalom Katz, Chaim Dovid Saracik, Aaron Razel, Shlomo Katz, Chiskia Sofer and the Solomon brothers, most of whom performed with Carlebach in his lifetime. A special guest will be Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, who eulogized Carlebach at his funeral and asked for his forgiveness. Carlebach was a controversial figure, with hands-on outreach to lost Jewish souls, many of whom he brought to religious observance.