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(photo credit: Courtesy)
ACCORDING TO Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog there are some 200 non-profit organizations dispensing food to the poor. Nearly all of us have received letters or e-mails from at least one of them in recent weeks. Israel's wealthiest woman, Shari Arison, is joining these organizations in providing for the impoverished through the Arison Foundation and Bank Hapoalim, in which she holds controlling interest. However, Arison decided to go one step further when her husband, Ofer Glazer, organized a 50th birthday party for her 10 days ago. They asked that invitees refrain from personal gifts and rather contribute to various charitable causes close to her heart.
Relatives and friends of Arison's flew in from the US for the birthday bash at her home on Moshav Bnei Zion. All in all, there were some 300 guests, nearly all of whom abided by the request to come dressed in white. While there's nothing unusual about a woman wearing a white dress and shoes, men in white suits, shirts, ties, shoes and socks are a less common sight, and the effect was stupendous. Entertainment for the most part was provided by singer Einat Sarouf, who is a favorite with both Arison and Glazer. They regularly attend her performances at the Gonky Club in south Tel Aviv, where they not only join in the singing, but have been known to dance on the tables.
AFTER A highly publicized wedding in Caesarea, the marriage of actress Michal Yanai to businessman Ofer Russels did not last very long. But even after they went their separate ways, Russels, or rather his debts, continued to haunt Yanai. Finally, she could take it no longer. Earlier this month Yanai filed charges against her ex-husband in the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court. Apparently Russels had debts in the US and Israel for which Yanai was left to pick up the tab. At the time of their divorce two years ago he agreed to honor the debts in writing, stating that if he failed to do so within a year, he would pay her $65,000. According to the charge sheet, he failed to live up his commitment. As a result, Yanai is suing him for just under NIS 300,000 - which is considered chickenfeed in their circles. Russels has meanwhile remarried and fathered a child. He also has a child from an earlier marriage.
SO FAR, no one is suing anyone in the Rami and Rita rift, and despite the emotional crisis in their personal lives, they are continuing with their professional engagements. Both, however, seem to be conveying messages to each other in their choice of songs, the titles of which are well publicized in the Hebrew media. Meanwhile, Rami who had initially moved in with entertainer Israel Katorza, has reportedly moved into a hotel in Herzliya and seems to be smoking more heavily. Rita has been chastised in the Hebrew press for wearing the same red dress from one gig to another. It could be that she likes the dress so much that she has two or three identical copies, or that she's just not interested in shuffling through her closet. She wore the red dress at a benefit night for the Israel Cancer Association hosted by Yossi Maiman and attended by leading figures in the business community. Attendees included ICA President Benny Gaon, Leon Recanati, Israel Makov, Eitan Ben Eliyahu and many others who filled the lawn of Maiman's impressive Herzliya Pituah estate.
Rita performed gratis, and Gaon subsequently presented her with a huge bouquet of flowers. Proceeds from the event will be used toward cancer research.
ALSO RUMORED to be rifting are Channel 2 newsman Danny Kushmaro and his wife. Although there is evidence to support the speculation, for the time being it is merely speculation. Kushmaro is a frontrunner to replace anchorman Gadi Sukenik alongside Yonit Levy.
IT IS not yet certain whether Yehoram Gaon will resume his weekly current affairs program on Israel Radio. Gaon, who probably has more fans in his capacity as a news commentator than he has as an entertainer, took advantage of the fact that he had the microphone all to himself by responding to a charge by the Broadcasting Authority comptroller that his production company had not lived up to its commitments for Israel Television's gala Israel Independence Day special. The report, which reflected badly on Gaon, received wide media coverage. With his reputation at stake, and no one in the studio to prevent him from defending it, Gaon calmly and quietly went through the comptroller's report point by point, and as far as many listeners were concerned, he vindicated himself.
However, the powers-that-be at the IBA did not like his stunt one little bit, and gave him the option of either apologizing on air or being suspended for three weeks. Gaon chose not to apologize, and reportedly said that he would rather resign. So far, according to informed sources within the IBA, he has not sent a letter of resignation, and is therefore still on suspension. We probably won't know till the first Friday in October whether Gaon is still in or out. By that time the holiday period will be over and people on both sides may be willing to let bygones be bygones.