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(photo credit: Courtesy )
Modern Hanukka miracles are rare in Israel. Thus the whole country rejoiced with 13-year-old leukemia patient Omri Attia and his family when, against all odds, a suitable bone marrow donor was found, thus giving the extremely likeable and upbeat Omri a new chance for life.
Hanukka is a time of excessive and inclusive goodwill coming from all directions. Case in point was the Israel Building and Contractors Association, which at a candle lighting ceremony in Rishon Lezion's Muscat Halls distributed scholarships to students from weak socioeconomic backgrounds. Mayor Meir Nitzan was effusive in praising association president Nissim Bublil and his predecessor Sam Olphiner for the association's initiative, which for some years now has been an annual event. Altogether, the National Builders and Contractors Association has distributed some 1,000 scholarships.
NOT TO be outdone, Elisha Yanai, CEO of Motorola Israel, distributed some half a million shekels in scholarships to nine students who are engaged in post-graduate scientific research at Tel Aviv University. Stressing that high-tech is the leading growth factor in economies around the world, Yanai made the point that while Israel has a very strong reputation for high-tech innovation, it has to work hard to retain its status. Whereas Israel produces some 8,000 graduates in the sciences each year, China produces 400,000, he said, adding that if Israel wanted to stay in the top league, it had to make more funding available for high-tech education.
TELEVISION PERSONALITY Avri Gilad was at CafÃ© Georgia on Tel Aviv's King George Street on the penultimate night of Hanukka to light seven Hanukka candles. He was there at the request of the Wheels of Justice Organization, and it was entirely appropriate for him to be there on the seventh night of the festival, since the number seven symbolizes the number of days in the week. Members of Wheels of Justice and the people they represent have to struggle seven days a week for access to places they want to go, because all these people are wheelchair-bound. CafÃ© Georgia is one of several coffee shops, restaurants and banquet halls that have received Wheels of Justice social responsibility certification for honoring their workers' rights and for providing access to the physically challenged. The criteria for certification includes paying at least the minimum wage; paying wages on time; reimbursing travel expenses; paying National Insurance for each employee and providing easy access for the physically disabled. The social responsibility certification was introduced in 2005 and has been awarded free of charge to some 300 business enterprises.
MANY PROFESSIONS, such as law and medicine, may span two and three generations in one family. Similarly, families running large industrial companies also pass the reins in this way, but it isn't often that there are families with two generations of male models. Yet, it looks as if in some respects Adriano Jauvel is following in the footsteps of his famous father, Sergio Jauvel, who several years ago came to Israel from Argentina to play football, and decided to stay. He subsequently became a much-in-demand male model, and is currently a football agent. Adriano, 22, is also a male model, and has been selected to star in the Barbaros catalogue that indicates how the well-dressed man will be attired in 2008. Asked whether his son had a girlfriend, Sergio Jauvel, who lives in Yavne, replied that he had many girlfriends, but as far as football was concerned, the apple fell a long way from the tree. However, Adriano has four handsome brothers who are all involved in sports.
IN THE days when he used to anchor the popular Voice of Israel current affairs program It's All Talk (Hakol Diburim), the somewhat obstreperous Gabi Gazit offended several people in big business by going after them, guns blazing, for injustices that he believed they had perpetrated against the little guys in their employ. Among his targets was SuperPharm, which Gazit blasted for forcing sales personnel to sign a contract whereby they agreed to have losses in sales deducted from their salaries. This is highly illegal, especially when it's not their fault if inclement weather keeps people indoors and causes them to defer shopping to a day when the weather is more conducive. No sooner did Gazit reveal this disgraceful form of coercion on air, than it stopped. But Gazit didn't, and continued to find reasons to criticize. SuperPharm took him to court - and lost, vindicating Gazit. Thrilled by the verdict, he had it distributed to the media, but not a word appeared in print. The first to make it public was Gazit's good friend and rival Natan Zahavi, who - like Gazit - has a big mouth but a heart in the right place. After Zahavi broadcast the news, Yaron Dekel, who currently anchors It's All Talk, invited Gazit back to the show to explain the background to the story. Gazit surmised that if SuperPharm had won, the story would have been splashed all over the media, given the money that SuperPharm spends on advertising. That's the pity of it all, said Gazit - the blatant connection between the editorial and the advertising sections of the page - even when that connection is not obvious to every reader.
GETTING BACK to the Katsav case for a moment, at least one person has benefited from it enormously. Attorney Kinneret Barashi, with her dramatic mane of hair and her self assurance, attracted not only the paparazzi, but Israel Television, which invited her to co-anchor a weekly Friday evening current affairs program. Barashi was subsequently interviewed for a documentary film on the case. The makers of the film are currently in discussion with Time Warner for distribution on the American market, though they can't really decide what direction the film will take until the case is concluded and judgment is passed. Therefore, regardless of negotiations and the number of people interviewed, the film remains in limbo and can't be edited, completed or distributed.
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