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AFTER PROVING his dancing skills in Dancing with Stars, Rodrigo Gonzales will be dancing again - this time in a commercial for Segal, the Tel Aviv-based retailer of elegant suits for men. Although it is not the only store in which celebrities and dignitaries shop for that extra special, and somewhat expensive suit, its clientele reads like a who's who of the legal profession, the business world, the Knesset and the entertainment industry. Gonzales will not just be modeling suits. In the commercials, he will also be dancing to convey the sense of elegance. Gonzales, who by his own admission was not such a hot dancer before his appearance on Dancing with the Stars, improved from one performance to the next thanks to the patient coaching of his partner Na'ama, and his determination to succeed. Na'ama has come to the rescue again for the Segal gig.
JOURNALIST, TELEVISION host, occasional emcee for various events and of course the celeb in Bank Hapoalim's advertising campaign, Yair Lapid has added yet another string to his bow. He sings. You may not catch him doing it on television, but if you go to Gonky, the popular Tel Aviv club in which the rich and the famous let down their hair, raise their voices and even dance on the tables, you will occasionally find him among the singers on stage. Lapid is a Gonky groupie, and like so many of the other regulars, he lets go of any inhibitions he might have. Gonky is best known and filled to capacity for the weekly performances by singer Einat Sarouf.
CHANNEL 1's search for a replacement for Haim Yavin is still in progress. Among the people being courted are former Israel Broadcasting Authority talents who were either lured to other channels, or who like Rafik Halabi, left in anger, swearing never to return. Halabi recently agreed to be interviewed on Channel 1 by Dov Elboim, who asked a lot of questions about Druse traditions. Halabi responded with many comparisons to Jewish traditions. His range of knowledge about things Jewish could have put many Jews to shame. Now he is one of the former Channel 1 personalities on the list of people that the IBA is trying to woo back. Also on the list are Alon Ben-David and Ehud Ya'ari, who are each earning salaries somewhat in excess of what they were earning at Channel 1.
Meanwhile, IBA chairman Moshe Gavish, who is currently abroad, wrote a scathing letter to IBA director-general Moti Sklar, after receiving press clippings from which he learned that Oshrat Kotler was a candidate to replace Yavin. According to the letter, people who are not authorized to approach candidates are doing so in the name of the IBA and are harming the morale of existing employees while giving the IBA a bad name.
WHEN AUTHOR, linguist, humorist and historian Netiva Ben-Yehuda started her night owls program on Israel Radio's Reshet Bet 13 years ago, she was given a slot in the small hours because the power-that-be didn't think that many listeners would be interested in a program that only aired positive stories and featured songs written before the establishment of the state. The powers-that-be could not have been more wrong. The somewhat eccentric Ben-Yehuda, who served in an elite Palmah unit in the War of Independence and who recently celebrated her 79th birthday, attracted a huge audience for her weekly show that airs between Wednesday and Thursday - from just after midnight to 3 a.m.
And it's not just septuagenarians, octogenarians and nonagenarians who stay up to listen. Their children and grandchildren who have grown up on their stories are just as keen to hear other people's stories of prestate Israel, and of course, Ben-Yehuda's own reminiscences. What is equally interesting is how quickly listeners respond to each other's requests. Some of the songs requested are not in the Israel Radio archives, though Raya Admoni, the musical director of the show, makes valiant attempts to look for them. Very often, a listener will sing the chorus of an old song of which there is no known recording, and will ask for the lyrics. Within a few minutes another listener will call in and recite the lyrics over the air. It's a wonderful exchange and a rare opportunity to learn oral history from those who lived it. Ben-Yehuda and Admoni both use prestate songs as a tool for teaching history. Ben-Yehuda's father was the principal of the original Gymnasia Herzliya in Tel Aviv, of which she is a graduate, and her grandfather used to host lectures in Tel Aviv by Chaim Nahman Bialik.
In last week's program, a child Holocaust survivor in Kiryat Motzkin called in to say that her mother was a group leader on the illegal immigrant ship Exodus and that there would be a conference of child Holocaust survivors on August 31. But the main reason for her call was to ask for a song called "Sovevuni," which was the first Hebrew song she ever learned. It was taught to her and other child Holocaust survivors by a young woman named Aura, who later became better known as the wife of our sixth president, Chaim Herzog.
People who don't have the ability to stay up so late to listen to the program, but are interested in its content, can pick it up at leisure on the IBA's Web site.