■ THE MARRIAGES and divorces of Israel’s wealthiest woman, Shari Arison, have
made international newspaper headlines, but the good thing is that although she
had a custody battle in one case, all three divorces have in the final analysis
been civilized, so that all three of her ex-husbands were present this week at
the marriage of her son Jason to Alital Elkon, with whom he has been keeping
company for six years – about the average length of each of his mother’s
marriages. The groom’s father, Jose Antonio Suarez, who was an officer on one of
the ships owned by Arison’s father Ted at the time she met him, came to join her
in leading the groom to the bridal canopy. Her second husband, basketball-
player-turned-investor Miki Dorsman, was also there, as was her most recent ex,
Though vastly different from each other, what the three men
have in common is that they left the marriage somewhat wealthier than they
entered it. There’s apparently a new slightly low-key trend among the
ultra-affluent to have their celebrations at Ronit Farm, where Nochi Dankner
married off his daughter early this month, and where Nir Gilad, the CEO of the
Israel Corporation owned by the Ofer family, will marry off his son just before
Rosh Hashana. That’s the domino effect of over-priced cottage
Most of the guests at the Arison affair had also been at the
Dankner wedding and will in all likelihood be back for the Gilad
■ AMONG THE saving graces for former or retired diplomats are
organizations such as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Israel
Council on Foreign Relations and various quasi-academic institutions that
benefit from knowledge diplomats have acquired in their postings abroad. A
conference to be held on the propitious date of September 19, the day before the
fateful United Nations vote on the declaration of a Palestinian state, will be
hosted at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem by the JCPA, which is headed by
former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.
The topic is “The Rights of Israel
as the Nation State of the Jewish People in International Diplomacy.”
addition to Gold, there will be four retired ambassadors: Yehuda Avner, Alan
Baker, Zvi Mazel and Shimon Stein. At least two other participants have
Prof. Benny Morris is the son of a diplomat, and
Prof. Ruth Lapidot is a former Foreign Ministry legal adviser.
■ ON THE
subject of diplomats, Daniel Shek – a former ambassador to France and, long
before that, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry – commented during a panel
discussion at the conclusion of the First International Conference for Economic
Regional Cooperation on Monday that in a country known for its lack of
discretion and its leaks, regional cooperation was one of the best-kept
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who is also the minister for
regional cooperation, promised that cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian
businesspeople would be enhanced by the construction of a business lounge at the
Jalama checkpoint. This strategic placement of the business lounge will enable
businesspeople to meet in comfort without the Palestinians having to go through
the bureaucratic hassles of getting special permits to enter Israel, and without
the Israelis being afraid to venture into Palestinian territory.
was certain that in this environment, new connections would be made, trust would
be built and greater cooperation would result.
Labor MK Ghaleb Majadle,
also a panelist at the conference, seemed more confident than some of the Jewish
speakers that peace was not only possible but probable. Majadle gave a riveting,
history-rooted dissertation about enemies who had become friends.
would have imagined during the Hundred Years War that Germany and France would
sit together in the European Union, he wondered. Similarly who during the
Holocaust could ever have envisaged that Germany would become one of Israel’s
staunchest allies? If such impossibilities became realities, Majadle concluded,
there was no reason to suppose it couldn’t happen in the Middle
While the conference was generally upbeat, the most pessimistic
note was sounded by Evgueni Stanovski, the director of the Moscow-based Middle
East Institute, who delivered dire predictions in a stand-up comedy style that
had everyone howling with laughter, though they probably should have been crying
with fear. According to Stanovski, it will take two to three years before Iran
has a nuclear bomb. He felt the US State Department was paying too much
attention to Iran and not enough to Pakistan, which he said was equally
dangerous. The nuclear bomb, he said, would be developed not only in Tehran, but
also in Istanbul, because the Turks were creating a new Ottoman Empire with a
radical Islamist character.
As for those who think democracy is coming to
Egypt, Stanovski pooh-poohed the idea and forecast that a water crisis would
lead to another Egypt-Israel war sometime within the next six to 10
Oh, and one last thing: With all the Sudanese who are succeeding
in breaching the border despite the security precautions that Israel has taken,
Stanovski’s outlook is that soon Israel will be the new Sudan, after which it
will become like Lebanon.
■ THE JERUSALEM Post has bid farewell to yet
another of its editorial staff members. Jonah Mandel, who was the paper’s
religious affairs reporter, has transferred his allegiance to the AFP
International News Service. Because his last day of work was on a Thursday,
which is the busiest day of the week for most newspapers, Mandel chose not to
have his farewell party at the office, but to meet colleagues in the late
evening at the O’Connell Bar in the capital’s busy Ben-Shatah Street. The street
is chock-a-block with restaurants and bars to suit different tastes and budgets,
and every establishment appeared to be doing good business, judging by the
number of people and the shortage of chairs.
Despite its Irish name, the
bar-restaurant Mandel chose is kosher and has an incredible choice of beers.
Colleagues started arriving at 9 p.m.
and kept coming till after 10 p.m.
In fact, there were so many that extra tables had to be found.
NUMEROUS farewells, Korean Ambassador Young Sam Ma and his wife returned home to
Seoul on Saturday, but not before Ma gave a farewell address at the Begin
Heritage Center in Jerusalem earlier in the week.
He was introduced by
Mordechai Arbell, a former ambassador to South Korea, who chaired the event and
introduced Ma after Begin Center director Herzl Makov had spoken about Israel
and Korea representing two ancient civilizations whose people had both been the
victims of naked aggression, and who despite the odds had developed
scientifically, economically and in other ways. Taking his cue from the word
“ancient” and the era of nomadic tribes, Arbell said there were very few nomadic
tribes today besides diplomats.
Ma did not say to where he was moving
next, but he did give an emotional address in which he made comparisons between
his country and Israel, each rising from the ashes of destruction to become a
developed nation with a strong, stable economy and great hitech capability. He
recalled when Koreans were earning an average wage of $80 per year. His voice
broke as he related the story of poverty in his own family and what it meant.
One day, he saw his mother wearing a scarf over her head, which was unusual, and
when he asked why, he learned that she had sold her hair to a wig maker so that
she could put food on the table. His country had been so poor that its president
had to go to Europe to ask for a loan from Germany to enable the country to
For that matter, Israeli leaders used to make such trips to the
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