BANK OF Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is expected to make the introductory remarks at a private dinner tonight (Tuesday) in honor of visiting Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer. The dinner is co-hosted by Australian Ambassador James Larsen and the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce, which hosted a dinner for Downer during his previous visit to Israel in January 2004.
Considering that this is a double milestone anniversary year in Australia-Israel relations going back in both instances to before the creation of the state, Downer's visit is very propitious and timely. In October 1917, the Australian Light Horse Regiment mounted the Battle of Beersheba, defeating the Turks against all odds, and thus paving the way for General Allenby's victorious entry into Jerusalem less than two months later. In November 1947, Australia was the first of 33 member countries of the United Nations which voted in favor of UN Resolution 181, which proposed the partition of Palestine leading to the creation of the State of Israel.
Downer, who will meet with senior government ministers during his visit, is in Israel primarily for the opening tonight in Jerusalem of the Australian Film Festival, sponsored by AICE - the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange. He will also receive an Honorary Doctorate from Bar Ilan University which will be conferred on him in the course of the dinner.
FOR THE past 15 years or so, Castro has been giving Shenkar College design students and graduates a launch pad into the local fashion industry. Aside from giving them employment, Castro's co-managers Etti and Gabi Roter have involved themselves with the progress of the college and have on several occasions given the company's sponsorship to the annual Shenkar fashion show, which showcases the talents of students in graduate classes. This year, Castro is again sponsoring the Shenkar Show, which will be held on Thursday, June 28, at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds where 38 graduates will show their creations. It has been a long-held tradition with Shenkar that each graduate selects an inspirational theme for his or collection. The themes are varied, and once the viewer is aware of them, they provide interesting psychological and sociological insight into the collections.
HONIGMAN, THE parent company for TNT, the urban fashion label, is branching out into Eastern Europe. Romania was chosen as the country for the first international venture by TNT, which spent NIS 1 million on its initial East European store in the Euromall commercial center in Pitesti. Olly Honigman, the company's director for business development is planning to open another five stores in Romania by the end of this year and a total of 40 stores in Romania and other Eastern European countries over the next three years. A store in Russia is planned for 2008, the year in which TNT will mark its ninth year of operations.
THE WEXNER Foundation has appointed its first Director of the Wexner Israel Fellowship program. The Foundation, created by Abigail and Leslie Wexner, supports projects in North America and Israel with the aim of enhancing the connection of its Israeli and North American constituencies. Over the past couple of years, the Foundation has restructured its professional staff both in the US and Israel to better confront the challenges it identifies. Accordingly, Deborah Housen-Couriel, a Wexner fellowship alumnus has been appointed to serve as the first director of the Wexner Israel Fellowship Program. he appointment is already effective. Housen-Couriel is a specialist in international law and served for 12 years as senior director of the Department of Regulation and International Treaties for the Ministry of Communications. While at the Ministry she also served as legal advisor for delegations to the World Trade Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, and the bilateral negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords and the treaty with Jordan. A teacher and writer on a variety of legal and public policy issues, she served more recently as a team leader at the Reut Institute. In other Wexner Foundation news, Bilha Gus, who has served the Wexner office in Israel for many years, will continue to serve on the professional staff of the Foundation in the capacity of Program Coordinator.
ROLADIN THE popular chain of pastry and coffee shops is expanding. Roladin CEO Kobi Hakak today is launching the company's flagship operation on Tel Aviv's Allenby Street. Roladin, which has stores and coffee shops in different parts of the country, recently opened a branch in the Akirov Mamillah Mall in Jerusalem
THE BRITISH media has been publishing glowing reports about the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, which is being built opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The project, which will have 1,000 guest bedrooms plus extensive conference facilities, is part of the new, ultra-modern South Bank Skyscape. Designed by BUJ Architects and Uri Blumenthal Architects & Town Planners, the hotel will give Israeli international real estate developer Eli Papouchado yet another foothold in London. Papouchado is chairman of Park Plaza Hotels, which manages, owns and franchises well over 20 hotels in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Papuchado's partner in Park Plaza Hotels is Mordechai (Moti) Zisser, chairman of the board of Elbit Medical Imaging.
UNIVERSITY OF Haifa Rector Prof. Yossi Ben Artzi has been elected for an additional three-year term. The Senate vote was overwhelmingly in his favor. A geographer who specializes in Land of Israel studies in general, and those of his native Haifa in particular, Ben Artzi was born in 1949, and graduated from the Reali School. At the University of Haifa, he headed the Department of Land of Israel Studies and was Dean of then Faculty of Humanities. He has written many books and articles about Haifa. In addition to his academic work, Ben Artzi is heavily involved in preserving historic sites and sits on the city;s committee for preservation. He is also the representative of the public on the committee for the preservation of historic sites.
CELEBRATED ARCHITECT Eric Mendelsohn would turn in his grave if he knew how many of his beautiful buildings were under threat of destruction. Mendelsohn designed many of Israel's most stately residences, office blocks and institutional buildings throughout a major part of the 1930s. Among his designs are the house in Rehovot which was home to Israel's first president Chaim Weizmann; the controversial Schocken building next door to the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem; Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus; and the Jerusalem branch of Bank Leumi across the road from City Hall, which is currently being offered for sale. If a buyer is found, there is no guarantee that the building will not be destroyed to make way for a hotel, a residential complex or yet another shopping mall.