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TOURISM MINISTER Stas Misezhznikov, who is directing his energies toward attracting Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, is obviously not going to follow the example of Isaac Herzog, one of his predecessors in office, in enlisting the services of supermodel Bar Refaeli in promoting tourism. He might be prompted to rethink his strategies, though, and to work on two parallel tracks since Refaeli came in third on the annual Hot 100 list for 2009 published by Maxim magazine.
THE WOMEN in Refaeli's family are all attention getters. Her mother, Tzipi, is a former model and her grandmother, Pnina Levin, is competing in a golden age dance contest this week. If she wins, there will be double cause for celebration in the family as they get ready to mark Bar's 24th birthday on June 4.
IN AN era of journalistic specialization, the concept of a general reporter is all but passe. However, it's enjoying a revival at Israel Radio where Shir Sagi is well on her way to being a star reporter. She was heard on radio and seen on television several times a day during Operation Cast Lead, combining health and defense as she reported on wounded soldiers and civilians being brought to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba and interviewed doctors, army officers, patients and their parents. She is also a sports reporter and commentator, and over the past week has played police reporter and finance reporter. Her deep, well modulated voice rings with self-confidence as she imparts the maximum amount of information in the minimum amount of time. It's a real gift - and she's got it. She may well become the new Ilana Dayan. Her style and voice are reminiscent of Dayan's when she was a general reporter some 20 years ago.
IT WASN'T the first time that Dudu Fisher and David D'Or sang together, nor was it the first time that either of them has sung to top-level dignitaries. But their joint performance at Beit Hanassi in honor of Pope Benedict XVI was exceptionally outstanding, and the mixed audience of some 600 people of different nationalities, religions, ethnic origins, cultures and lifestyles was united in its appreciation - as were the pope and President Shimon Peres, who each leaned forward in their seats as if to embrace the beauty of the performance. The pope later thanked the singers and shook their hands. Meanwhile, Fisher is waiting for the release of a new album and a single from the album in which he and his good friend Colin Schachat sing a series of beloved Israeli songs accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
WHETHER THE Israel Broadcasting Authority is subtly exercising a policy of publicizing its veterans or whether it's simply an act of camaraderie and respect by Yigal Ravid (who hosts The Way it Was on Channel 1), viewers have been taken down Memory Lane with a string of familiar faces and reminiscences of events. Some of the guests on the program are still broadcasting on Channel 1, Israel Radio, or both, while others have gone elsewhere. The most recent guest was David Witztum, who presents news and cultural programs. Other guests have included Yair Stern, Haim Yavin, Sari Raz, Dan Shilon, Ya'acov Achimeir and Daniel Pe'er.
EVEN THOUGH he had no part in composing any of the Eurovision songs this year, Zvika Pik was in Moscow last night for the Eurovision Final. Pik makes a habit of attending the Eurovision finals each year, and although he was primarily in Russia to cheer on Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad, he also wanted to catch up with old friends.
APPEARING AT Beth Hatefutsoth at an event organized by the Israel-Poland Friendship Society, singer Shuli Natan apologized for having no Polish roots, although her Slovak father had often said that way back when, his family had been Polish. She sang two Hebrew songs, the second being her signature "Jerusalem of Gold," with the audience joining in and applauding loudly at the conclusion. About to walk off the stage, Natan changed her mind and said, "You want Polish? Okay, I'll play the Krakow Nigun composed by Shlomo Carlebach during his visit to Poland in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered." Again she asked the audience to join her in a melody that started off soft and sad and exploded into a fervent crescendo. The applause was even louder and longer.