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IT SEEMS that Yair Lapid would like to have his cake and eat it too. Lapid has been negotiating with Channel 2 to anchor the Friday night news and current affairs program Ulpan Shishi (Studio Six), if and when veteran anchor Aharon Barnea is transferred to the US to become Channel 2's correspondent in Washington. While Lapid, by virtue of his personality, would undoubtedly add a little more verve to the program, there's a problem to overcome. Lapid has been doing very nicely financially as a spokesman for Bank Hapoalim, and it's something he wants to continue doing. When he started promoting Bank Hapoalim five years ago, he began to receive a certain amount of flak. Some thought it wasn't appropriate for a newspaper columnist and host of a TV show to promote a major bank. But now, if he joins a news-oriented program, the ethical issue becomes even more controversial. The legal implications are being investigated, but the Hebrew media in general are treating the situation as if there were no barriers to Lapid stepping in when Barnea steps out.
THE ISSUE of whether news anchors, reporters and commentators should be allowed to appear in commercials has long been a subject of debate. Initially, well known personalities such as Alex Ansky, Gabi Gazit and Daniel Pe'er appeared in faceless radio commercials. However their distinctive voices were easily recognized, and in many circles their work in commercials was considered a conflict of interests. It was debated in the Israel Broadcasting Authority and other corridors of power, but nothing of substance was done to prevent it. As a result, it's now easy for Lapid to promote Bank Hapoalim and for Mudi Bar-On to promote Bank Discount on both radio and television. However when Gadi Sukenik was initially rumored to be leaving Channel 2 in order to head a campaign for Leumi Mortgage Bank, he was asked to take a respite of three months so that there would be a cooling-off period between his career as a newsman and his stint as a bank promoter.
MEANWHILE SUKENIK became the media adviser to business tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva, and engineered the gala affair that accompanied last week's demolition of the famed New Frontier Hotel to make room for the new Plaza complex, jointly owned by Tshuva and fellow Israeli business wizard Nochi Dankner. Dankner celebrated his 52nd birthday by joining Tshuva in pushing the button, which literally drove the New Frontier Hotel into the ground. Dankner and Tshuva, who are each known as much for their philanthropy as for their business acumen, also plan to continue giving in Las Vegas. Dankner said that their investment was a sign of their confidence in the American economy and pledged that they would pursue the principles of social responsibility in Las Vegas.
It should be remembered that the pioneers of the Las Vegas luxury hotels and casinos were two rather notorious members of the tribe, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Despite the grandiose plans of Tshuva and Dankner, as well as other Israelis who are investing in Las Vegas, the kingpin continues to be yet another member of the tribe, Sheldon Adelson.
BACK TO Sukenik for a moment. He has been chosen by the Association for the Welfare of Israel's Soldiers to head its annual fund-raising campaign. This year's campaign is scheduled for December 5 and coincides with the beginning of Hanukka. The televised program on Channel 1 is run in conjunction with a radio program on Army Radio.
ENTERTAINERS ARE known to be superstitious, and many walk around with lucky charms. Among them is singer Sarit Hadad who has great faith in the Star of David. She wears t-shirts with Star of David emblems and recently commissioned a Star of David signet ring. It may very well start a new trend in Jewish identification.
IN ISRAEL, for the gala anniversary celebrations of the veteran American Jewish publication The Forward, US-based actor and singer Mike Burstyn appeared last Friday with members of Yiddishpiel in a tribute performance at ZOA House. The show was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. in deference to those members of the audience who observe Shabbat and wanted to get home in time. But Yiddishpiel performances never start on time, and one Jerusalemite who was invited didn't take the risk. When she saw Burstyn in Jerusalem last week, she told him how much she would have liked to have seen the show, and why she had not attended. "Just as well," he replied. "Of course it didn't start on time, and I didn't get on stage till 1:30 p.m."
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