■ CANADA’S PRIME Minister Stephen Harper, both in office and in the opposition,
has demonstrated staunch support for Israel, and Canada Day proved to be a great
opportunity for Israelis to show their appreciation for that country’s
It seems that national days have become flexible. The Russian
National Day is June 12, but they celebrated on June 15. American Independence
Day is on July 4, but they celebrated on June 30. Canada Day is July 1, but they
celebrated on July 10. Be that as it may, a larger number of Israelis, Canadians
– including a group of parliamentarians – and Canadian expats showed up on the
patio of the Modern restaurant at the Israel Museum not only to celebrate Canada
Day, but to witness Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Canadian Ambassador
Paul Hunt sign the renewed Canada- Israel Industrial Research and Development
Foundation five-year accord.
Guests at the ceremony were welcomed by
David M. Weinberg, director of the Israel Office of the Canadian Council for
Israel and Jewish Advocacy, which was formerly known as the Canada-Israel
Committee. He pointed out that not only were they celebrating Canada and Canada
Day, they were doing so in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people and of
the Jewish state. Among those Weinberg felt compelled to mention was CIJA CEO
Shimon Fogel, who was the CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee for 20 years and
who came to Israel especially for the occasion. So did several other Canadians,
among them outgoing CIC chairman Moshe Ronen, who in praising Harper’s
“principled stand” proudly declared, “Our prime minister talks the talk and does
the walk. We thank him and applaud him.”
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora
Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who was chairman of the Israel Canada
Parliamentary Friendship Association for 10 years, recalled having attended a
conference in Ottowa on how to combat anti-Semitism. It was before the
elections, and Harper had pledged that Canada would support Israel no matter
Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, the current ICPFA chairman, envisioned
CIJA as a bridge-builder between Israel and Canada, with a view to establishing
an ever stronger relationship.
Hunt, who expressed his genuine delight at
being present, proclaimed that the relationship between the two countries was
“never closer, more robust and more promising.” The flourishing cooperation goes
beyond both governments, he said, though at government level, Canada’s support
for Israel can be seen at the UN, in its refusal to participate in the Durban II
conference and the declaration by Harper that Canada would oppose any unfair
treatment of Israel.
“Those who threaten the existence of the Jewish
People are a threat to all of us,” said Hunt.
■ FEW THINGS are more
contagious than joy and laughter, and few organizations know how to infect any
situation with these elements more than Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha. This was
evidenced last Shabbat, when Camp Simcha counselors, some from the US and
England and others attending yeshivot in Jerusalem, accompanied a large group of
cancer-stricken children to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue for a Friday night
dinner that was even more sumptuous than the one served every month to lone
soldiers. The table settings were also more impressive, but what was most
impressive to Asher and Lenore Schapiro, Sir Ian and Lady Carmel Gainsford, Ella
Jaffe, Zali Jaffe and Elli and Jacqueline Jaffe – who joined the meal along with
a family that had hosted the youngsters in South Africa – was the interaction
between the children and the counselors.
The mutual bonds of affection,
the total informality, the spontaneity of singing and dancing and the pure joy
of embracing life with laughter had to be experienced to be properly
Head counselor Ari Dembitzer, who seems to be imbued with
endless energy, set the tone, but no one was lagging behind in either energy or
enthusiasm, and although some of them were terminally ill, the children kept
having fun until close to midnight.
One of Chai Lifeline’s guiding
principles is that seriously ill children need and deserve as happy and normal a
childhood as possible. This, according to Dembitzer, is why he and his
colleagues focus on the fun and not on the illness, and bring out the best in
each child by boosting his or her popularity within the group through song, or
through encouraging the youngsters to perform, to practice their oratory or to
exercise their talents in other ways.
They also relieve the strain placed
on the families of such children. Chai Lifeline has a range of creative and
innovative programs and services that it provides to young patients and their
families free of charge.
What’s important is that there is nothing
patronizing in the way the counselors interact with the youngsters.It’s
almost as if they were the same age as the children – just bigger.
NOT yet 100-percent certain that former Shas leader Arye Deri will return to
politics, but if he does, he already has the blessing of Shas spiritual mentor
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, whom he escorted to the wedding of the latter’s
granddaughter and with whom he sat at a table along with President Shimon Peres.
Yosef indulges in light face-slapping as a sign of affection, and both Deri and
Peres felt the warmth of his hand on their cheeks.
■ AFTER 46 years at
Bank Leumi, Ze’ev Nahari, who held second place in the bank’s hierarchy after
Galia Maor, decided the time had come to retire and went out with a bang at
Reading 3, where members of the country’s banker community and captains of
industry came to wish him well. Maor – who is herself past the retirement
age for women – was there, of course, as were Shlomo Eliahu, David Brodet, Yona
Fogel, Eli Jonas, Yossi Bahar, Ram Caspi, Yitzhak Tshuva, Tzaddik Bino and many
■ THERE WAS a time when pregnant women were terrified to make
their conditions public in case they were dismissed from their jobs – even
though it’s illegal to fire women who are expecting. In some cases, pregnant
women are still afraid because they know they have bosses who will find a way to
circumvent the law. However, if you’re a pregnant celebrity, it’s an altogether
Models and actresses Gal Gadot, Ronit Sela, Yael
Goldman and Mili Avital are all swelling up for the best of reasons. All four
were approached by Rami Lee, which produces maternity clothes, to be the
presenters for the company’s next campaign.
Gadot, Sela and Goldman
replied that they had other commitments and were therefore unavailable. Avital’s
agent Zohar Jacobson initially said not at any price, and then seemingly
relented and wanted to know what Rami Lee was paying. Rami Lee, for its part,
wanted to know how much Avital wanted. At press time, no specific sum had been
mentioned by either party, so the matter remains in limbo.
■ THE SURNAME
rings a bell. When someone asks Tamara Aharoni whether she’s related to master
chef Israel Aharoni, the reply is not only in the affirmative, but accompanied
by the clarification: “He’s my father.”
Notwithstanding that he tastes
everything he cooks, not to mention the many delicacies prepared by his
colleagues, Aharoni manages to remain enviably slim. His daughter, however, has
been chosen as the presenter for a subsidiary line to ml fashions, to be
launched in August. The company specializes in larger sizes and is now aiming
for a younger clientele with the launch of ml/LY. The new line was inspired by
blogger and creative consultant to ml Yael Regev, working closely with ml’s
veteran chief designer Esti Baruch and the ml design team. Aharoni will
be more than a presenter. In September she will embark on a fashion
design course with the Brifeld Academy in Amsterdam.
■ AS MAYOR of Ramat
Hasharon, Itzik Rochberger frequently attends high school graduation ceremonies.
But it came as a pleasant surprise to hear his own name when students were
called to the stage by Romberg High School Principal Gili Melik to receive their
It transpires that when Rochberger was a pupil
at the school 38 years ago, he did not show up for the graduation ceremony
because he was undergoing surgery in the hospital after having suffered a
serious accident. It had never occurred to him to ask for the certificate
afterward, but every school knows which of its graduates go on to great things,
so once it was known that he was going to be in attendance, the powers-that-be
decided to close a circle for him.