Anti-Zionist director denied funds
A fiercely anti-Zionist director will not receive taxpayer money to make a film for Israel's next Independence Day, Ma'ariv reported Wednesday. According to the report, the government-funded Rabinovitch Foundation will not participate in the financing of director Eyal Sivan's Jaffa, a proposed documentary that would have explored the changing public image of Israel and the Jaffa brand of oranges during the country's six-decade history. The film, which had already received the approval of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Channel 8 documentary network, would have aired on Channel 8 near Israel's 60th Independence Day next year.
Opposition to the film grew ferociously last month after it was announced Sivan was the frontrunner among 10 directors seeking government funding for an Independence Day documentary. Born in Haifa and raised in Jerusalem, the director moved to France in the mid-1980s and has served as an increasingly vocal critic of Israel ever since. The director signed a public statement last summer blasting IDF operations against Hizbullah in Lebanon and Kassam launchers in Gaza as examples of Israeli "brutality and cruelty." Earlier this year, Sivan lectured at "Israeli Apartheid Week" in London, delivering a speech on "Zionism, Israeli Media and Rationalizing Racist Consciousness."
The controversial director hasn't been without Israeli supporters, however. Israeli filmmakers were divided in their response Wednesday to the Rabinovitch Foundation's decision, with some praising the announcement and others describing it as an infringement on Sivan's freedom of speech.
Gesher's Ori Levi calls it quits
"All good things must end sometime," says Gesher general manager Ori Levi who has announced his resignation after 12 years on the job. There's been no falling out. It's just that Levi, who will be 76 in October, feels that it's time "to make way for the next generation." He would have retired last year, but the theater was in a terrible financial bind, not the least of which was an NIS 4 million deficit. "If I'd resigned then," he wrote, "it would have looked as though I was running away." Levi girded his loins, bit the bullet, and put his nose to the grindstone. With three metaphors, two successful productions and a recovery program firmly in place, the time has come.
Levi became general manager at Gesher on June 1, 1995 after 41 years at the Cameri, most of them spend onstage "and only a few as administrative manager." He has shepherded Gesher's transition from an immigrant theater project to a world-class institution that is firmly entrenched in Israel's theater landscape.Helen Kaye
'A Star' is reborn
TV ratings behemoth Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born) returns to the airwaves Friday night for the start of its fifth season, airing at 9:15 p.m. on Channel 2. The program, modeled on American Idol, returns with host Zvika Hadar and the same set of celebrity judges, including singers Margalit Tzanani and Zvika Pik. The new season will begin in traditional style, following the judges on a cross-country road trip as they audition aspring pop stars and issue occasionally supportive, frequently acidic feedback.
One of the most watched TV programs of last year, Kochav Nolad has proven as reliable as its American counterpart in identifying future hitmakers. A number of the show's winners and runners-up have gone on to successful music and acting careers, among them Shiri Maimon, Harel Moyal and the winner of the program's first season, Ninet Tayeb.