n THE IMPRESSIVE exhibition of statues along both sides of the Alrov Mamilla Mall has "Don't Touch" signs alongside each of the items on display, but that doesn't prevent children from banging them and climbing all over them, with parents not making the slightest effort to stop them. In fact, some parents even encourage them with no thought for the damage they might do. Unfortunately, there's no guard to stop them, aside from which many children visit the area without parental supervision. When the invitation was published inviting artists to submit works, there were scores of responses from all over the country. Curator Tsipi Vital had a tough job deciding on the works by 27 artists that would be put on display. The exhibition will remain in place until the end of September. The mall is also promoting the artists by listing their phone numbers at the back of the catalogue so that art lovers and collectors may contact them privately to see their other creations and to make acquisitions. Among the items is a pair of life-size goats frolicking around a well filled with water. Sculptor Binyamin Vital came to the conclusion that the work was incomplete without some fish in the water, so he added two live large goldfish. Needless to say, they disappeared overnight. Whether an adult or a child was responsible for the disappearance remains a mystery. n NOT ALL Democrats automatically concur with the policies of US President Barack Obama, especially where Israel is concerned. A case in point is Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada, currently in her sixth term as a member of the US House of Representatives. Berkley is one of 29 Democratic legislators spending a week in Israel under the sponsorship of the American Israel Education Foundation supported by AIPAC. Led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the Democrats arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday night and met on Monday with President Shimon Peres. Prior to the meeting Berkley, who is on her 17th visit to Israel and traveling with her husband Dr. Larry Lehmer, a practicing nephrologist, agreed to be interviewed. One of her two sons had his bar mitzva in Israel, while the other spent time in Israel on a Hadassah Young Judea program. It was extremely important to be here at this time, she said because of the key political issues between the US and Israel. Wearing a large gold chai pendant that is indicative of her commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, Berkley had no qualms about expressing her strong disagreement with the notion that stopping settlement growth will bring about peace with the Palestinians. The idea was absurd, she told reporters. She was also at odds with Obama on the issue of Jerusalem but excused the president on the grounds that he hasn't been in office long enough to make the right call. "He's still learning," she said. It was time for Arab states to step up to the plate and recognize Israel's right to exist, Berkley added. n FOR THE evacuees of Gush Katif, the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem is a place of pilgrimage where they can view photographs and videos of what used to be, can reminisce with each other and find some comfort in chance reunions with former friends and neighbors. To mark the fourth year of the disengagement, or what they call the expulsion from Gaza, former residents of Netzarim brought the Netzarim Menorah which had graced the Netzarim synagogue to Jerusalem to remain in perpetuity in the museum. The menorah, which had been damaged, was repaired and was officially unveiled last Sunday by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who had been strongly opposed to the disengagement. Rivlin toured the museum and found it difficult to conceal his emotions. The decision to remove the Jews from Gaza represented one of the darkest chapters in Israel's history, he said. Though democratically reached, it was a terrible decision from which lessons must be drawn he added, underscoring that it was imperative to immediately rehabilitate those who had lost their homes and who wish to resettle the land. He would like to believe, he said, that such a terrible thing would not happen again, but there was no guarantee. "We must stand ready and be on guard," he warned. FANS OF The Begin Heritage Center should circle August 27 on their calendars for the fifth anniversary celebrations of the center's opening. Festivities get underway at 7 p.m. with Dr. Micha Goodman discussing "Philosophical Aspects of Biblical Heroes." Then at 8 p.m. Dr. Udi Lebel, author of Road to the Pantheon, will reminisce about "Coming out of the Underground: The Right Wing in Israeli Memory, Then and Now." At 9 p.m. there's a movie - the prize-winning film The Band's Visit, starring Sasson Gabbay. Then at 9:30 the electrifying March Dondorme band will perform on the terrace, which means that anyone coming along Derech Hebron will get an earful. In addition, there will be free tours inside the museum and within the easy walking distance of the old train station and the King David Hotel, where there's more than a little right-wing history. All the events will be in Hebrew.

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