JERUSALEM’S MUNICIPAL elections may be two years away, but the campaign has
already started – albeit unofficially. On Wednesday, Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur
convened a special meeting of the Jerusalem Municipal Urban Planning &
Environmental Committees and invited residents of Jerusalem to come hear about
the developments that have taken place during the three years that the current
administration has been in office as well as about projects that are in the
pipelines. For this, the 49th meeting of the committees, the council chambers
were more than three-quarters full. Following Tsur’s presentation those
attending entered into round table discussions on accessibility in the public
domain, waste management, affordable housing, sustainable transport and
Jerusalem as a green Pilgrim city.
The idea was for people make
suggestions on what needs improving, but Tsur seemed less interested in hearing
about problems than in formulating a rosy vision for the future. She mentioned
multiple times that committee meetings were never open to the public prior to
the current administration.
When Mayor Nir Barkat showed up for the
second half of the meeting, he took note of comments and complaints and wrote
several of them down, talked about his policy of transparency and involvement in
city planning and community projects and also mentioned that such meetings had
never been open to the public. People with longer memories could tell a
■ NOTHING LASTS forever, including leadership, as
witnessed when long-time Middle East leaders have begun to fade out of the
picture in recent weeks and months. Closer to home, Prof. Nava Ben-Zvi, who for
the past 13 years has been the president of Hadassah College Jerusalem, tendered
her resignation this week. A professor of chemistry who has won many prizes and
who initiated many science- based learning projects in Israel and abroad, and
who was among the founders of the Open University, Ben-Zvi also chairs the
Education Ministry's committee on developing high school studies in science and
technology and heads or is an executive member of various other Israeli and
international high-powered educational committees.
During her period as
college president, the student population has grown considerably and currently
stands at 2,500. Under Ben-Zvi's guidance and encouragement, the college
introduced new study courses in line with developing professions in Israel and
the world at large, including health and environmental sciences, biotechnology,
internet sciences, media, software and industrial design.Hadassah College
chairman David Brodet, who is also chairman of Bank Leumi, will head the
committee to seek a successor to Ben-Zvi.
■ JEWELRY DESIGNER and
international businesswoman Aya Azrielant, who in 1999 was selected by a group
of more than 75 international business organizations, women’s organizations and
governmental agencies as one of the 50 leading women entrepreneurs in the world,
is also an avid art collector. Born on Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan and a graduate of
the University of Haifa, Azrielant went to New York to seek her fortune around
30 years ago and spent 20 years in the Big Apple.
A keen art collector,
Azrielant did not always have the financial ability to buy all the works of art
that appealed to her. As her jewelry designs gained her widespread recognition
and she became more affluent, her art collection increased. Like other serious
collectors she bought much more art than the walls in her house could
accommodate, and many of the pieces she loved ended up in storage. It broke her
heart that works of art that she loved were not out there being appreciated.
This led to a new business venture, Aya-Art Warehouse, from which she sells
directly from her collection to other collectors or potential collectors,
cutting out the middleman. Items from Azrielant’s collection are available at G
Mall in the Yoo building at 10 Nissim Aloni Street in Tel Aviv.
ISRAEL increasingly looking toward Asia for strategic political alliances and
new markets, it is important to cultivate Asia’s leaders of tomorrow. The
Jerusalem-based Asia-Israel Center, under founder and executive- director
Rebecca Zeffert, has launched an Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship to supplement
study programs forAsian students in Israeli universities. The first recipients
of the fellowships are 12 students from China, India, Singapore, Japan, South
Korea and Taiwan who engaged in various levels of study in many different
“These are Israel’s future partners in Asia,” says Zeffert. “As
we embark on this ‘Asian Century,’ Israel needs to better prepare itself for a
future in which its economic, diplomatic and cultural partners will not only lie
in the West. If Israel is serious about building a shared future with countries
in Asia, it needs to invest in these future Asian partners and leaders of
Israel-Asia relations, and work with them to develop solutions to shared
interests and challenges.”
■ ONE OF the most heart-warming projects of
the US Holocaust Museum in Washington is an exhibition of 1,100 photos under the
title “Do you remember me?” The exhibition is part of a last-ditch effort aimed
at locating lost children of the Holocaust or, as the project organizers prefer
to call them, displaced children.
Many child survivors, especially those
who were babies or toddlers when their parents disappeared from their lives,
have no knowledge of their true identities.
Most have learned to live
with the identities that were given to them, but there are always those nagging
question about who they really are, who their parents were and how, where and
when their parents died.
The photographs are on display on the museum’s
website, as are stories of some of the people who recognized themselves in the
pictures or were recognized by others.
It could well be that people in
some of the photographs who thought that they were completely alone in the world
may discover relatives that they never knew existed. So far close to 200 of the
children in the photographs have been identified, including some who live in
Another Holocaust-related project will take place closer to home.
Over two days in mid-July, 1942, nearly one-third of the 42,000 Jews deported
from France to death camps in Poland were rounded up.
This was the
largest mass arrest in France. Some of the survivors of that round-up are
arranging a 70th anniversary reunion to take place in July, 2012.
reunion, which is being organized in conjunction with Yad Vashem, will include a
trip to France to visit the places where Jews lived or went into hiding. For
further details contact Sammy Green at (03) 699- 1221.