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It seems Peres has joined forces with Labor Party leader Amir Peretz. Not Shimon Peres, of course, but celebrated model and actress Melanie Peres, who is one of several members of the entertainment industry who have signed up for Labor membership.
One of the first to sign up was Kobi Oz, who was raised in the southern development town of Sderot. Although political pundits don't bank on entertainers for voter recruitment, they do make good window dressing. However sometimes they can do more harm than good. In 1981, Dudu Topaz speaking at a Labor Alignment rally in Malchei Israel Square (now Rabin Square) in Tel Aviv was a contributing factor to Shimon Peres losing to Menachem Begin. Topaz referred to the people in Likud headquarters as "those chakhchakhim in Metzudat Ze'ev." The Hebrew word means riff-raff and is the derogatory term generally used for people of North African origin who at that time were much more visible in Likud than in Labor. Topaz is not really a racist as he subsequently proved by marrying two women of North African background - each of whom bore him a son.
IT'S INTERESTING to see how much media hype is being devoted to journalist Shelly Yehimovic's support for Amir Peretz. The controversy about Yehimovic having a particular agenda is not a new one. When Geula Cohen left journalism to enter the Knesset, she also had an agenda which she had never made secret, and which she continues as an ex-MK to tout on her radio program. It's fascinating to see how quickly Yehimovic (who in the past was highly critical of haredi society), has declared an intention to reach out to haredi women on consumer issues, including the closure of shops on Shabbat. It's amazing how leopards change their spots for the sake of fulfilling political aspirations.
SIXTEEN-YEAR-old Israeli singer Liel Kolet will be a member of the newly formed Six for One group that will represent Switzerland at the 51st Eurovision Song Contest in Athens in 2006. It is not the first time that an Israeli has represented Switzerland at Eurovision. Esther Ofarim did so in 1963. Eurovision proved to be a marvelous springboard for her career.
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