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HIS ABILITY to cut through bureaucratic red tape, especially with the medical establishment and with local authorities, has earned broadcaster Gabi Gazit an enormous following. But Gazit's sharp tongue often gets him into trouble, as it did when he decided to criticize public relations guru Ran Rahav following the mammoth bar mitzvah bash he hosted for his son Ro'i. It's hard to tell exactly what it was that annoyed Gazit. It may have been the hundreds of thousands of shekels of free publicity accorded to the event by the media when people of higher social status don't get nearly as much coverage for their family celebrations. But then again, other people don't have functions of such proportions, nor are they on first name terms with as many people as is Rahav.
Whether one likes him or not, his networking ability is nothing short of remarkable. Rahav not only remembers names and faces without any difficulty, but is always effusive in his greetings and can effortlessly recite the business and personal history of almost everyone he knows. Yet for all that, Rahav incurred Gazit's disdain. On a February 18 broadcast of his Israel Radio program "It's all talk," Gazit was not only critical of Rahav's professional abilities, declaring that his clients suffered "outrageous" public relations, but also stated that Rahav does nothing but cause damage to clients such as Shari Arison and others. Rahav's response was to threaten to sue Gazit for NIS 1 million unless he apologized. Rahav's lawyer Shmuel Tsang duly sent a cautionary letter to Gazit, who on March 6 offered a reluctant apology, stating that what he said should not have been said, and certainly not in the way it was said, which was hurtful to Rahav. He retracted his statements. The fact that he repeated what he said when making the apology was a little like pouring oil on troubled waters, but Rahav felt that justice had been done, and let the matter rest.
However Gazit again shot himself in the foot by making a derogatory statement about the education of Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Boim. On Wednesday of last week, he again had to apologize, but this time, stated that he couldn't remember having said what was attributed to him, but if he was wrong, he was happy to make a correction. "What do I care," he said. The reason for his devil-may-care attitude became abundantly clear on Thursday morning with the news of his intention to leave the Israel Broadcasting Authority at the end of March and to join Radio 103FM. Gazit was reportedly earning NIS 50,000 per month at Israel Radio.
AFTER A 15-year hiatus, filmmaker Amos Kollek is undertaking a new production in Israel, though some of the scenes will be shot in New York. Starring Ran Dankner and Moshe Ivgi, the film is about a young Israeli guitar player and singer who tracks down his father - a failed poet who walked out on his wife and infant son to make a new life for himself in New York. When the mother dies, the son finds his father's address among her possessions, and sets out to form a new relationship. The father is not exactly thrilled to see him, but doesn't close the door in his face either.
WHOEVER WAS unaware of the existence of actor Alon Abutbul prior to his performance in Dancing with the Stars certainly knows who he is now - especially after he momentarily dropped out of the contest when he slipped on the dance floor. The adjudicators refused to give him and his partner any points because he hadn't continued dancing after the slip. But the public liked the fact that Abutbul said: "Don't give us any points, but after all the work we've put into this, at least let us dance." As a result, the public voted the couple another round on the show.
Last week several past and present politicians and a fair sprinkling of people from the entertainment industry got to see a different Abutbul - a filmmaker of documentaries whose idols include Arie Lova Eliav. In fact when Eliav stood for election in 1984, Abutbul not only voted for him, but worked towards getting him elected. A former diplomat who later became secretary-general of the Labor Party and quit when his views on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict did not meet with the approval of the party, Eliav's reputation remains untainted by corruption, which was one of the reasons that Abutbul went in search of him again to make a film about him. The result - The Idealist - had its premiere in Tel Aviv last week.
IT WAS the first time in some two decades that singer Moshe Datz celebrated a birthday without Orna Datz - who, until recently, was his wife and singing partner. The two still sing together, but judging by the attendance, they no longer party together. Among the people who did show up to Datz's modest 45th birthday bash were DJ Didi Harari, Kochi Mordechai, who knows about marital breakups from her own experience, and Judy Shalom Nir Mozes, who might have once been considered a closer friend to Orna than to Moshe, but who nonetheless came to lend moral support on his birthday.
DRUG ADDICTION has for decades gone with the territory in showbiz circles. Assi Dayan, a self confessed cocaine addict, who has been arrested on more than one occasion for being in possession, was in the news again last week - not for being caught in the act, but for fingering a supplier. Dayan and his son Lior, who has also taken up the habit, assisted police in apprehending Ro'i Barkan, the son of veteran actor, producer and director Yehuda Barkan. Barkan has been operating out of Jaffa and has been known to sell drugs at parties. The senior Barkan, who as far as anyone knows has played no part in his son's drug activities, became religiously observant several years ago.