Grapevine: Queen for a day

Current news, events, trends and stories from around the country.

Gershon Baskin
 ■ JUST AS when two Jews meet there are three opinions, there’s a plethora of ideas as to how the Holocaust should be commemorated. Some people think it should be sad and solemn with the emphasis on the massive loss of life deriving from an inhumanly cruel political ideology in which there was no room for compassion. Others think it should be a celebration of survival, because with all the tragic losses incurred and the traumas that in some cases impacted permanently on the lives of survivors, the Nazis failed in their ultimate ambition. There are others who think about what people who lived through the Holocaust endured, and want in some way to compensate them for their suffering and deprivation. Yossi Bitton, proprietor of a Tel Aviv beauty parlor, thought of how terrible it was for women in the camps to be robbed of their femininity, and decided to coordination with AMCHA, an organization that works for the mental and physical wellbeing of Holocaust survivors, to give 15 women aged between 80 and 90 a day of pampering and pleasure that included makeup, hairstyling and personal photographs to take home as souvenirs, to show how beautiful they can look. Bitton confessed to being surprised at how “with it” the women were in their range of knowledge about current trends in cosmetics and fashion; but even more than that, he was amazed that after what they had been through that they were able to demonstrate a keen sense of humor and an optimistic outlook on life.

■ PRESIDENT Shimon Peres frequently talks about the potential benefits to the economy if a significant percentage of the trained Arab workforce were to be absorbed into Israel’s hi-tech industries, or alternately set up such industries of their own. To encourage Arabs to put their hi-tech knowledge to use, his son, Chemi Peres, a managing general partner and co-founder of Pitango Venture Capital, along with Jerusalem Venture Partners and Imad Telhami, an entrepreneur from Israel’s Arab community, have joined forces to create an Arabic-language technology incubator for startups geared to attracting local Arab entrepreneurs, to be located in the north. It will provide training and physical facilities and will also fund innovative start-ups. The idea has been simmering for well over a year, and was initially hatched with former venture capitalist Erel Margalit before he became a Knesset member. JVP, the company that he founded, is nonetheless going ahead with the project.

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