Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington before signing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty 40 years ago.
(photo credit: YAACOV SAAR/GPO)
■ EVEN THOUGH it appears that opponents to the Blue Line of the light rail running through Emek Refaim have lost the battle, they still haven’t given up.
A letter signed by Ariel Hirschfeld, chairman of Amutat Refaim Bemoshavot and circulated via email, states that the opponents reject the decision “because we feel the Council failed to address the essence of our objections to the project.” The letter notes that the Regional Council did not take into account the effect on surrounding neighborhoods and streets, and avoided a true in-depth study of the overall impact of the plan on the urban fabric of the area.
Lending weight to this argument is the interim revelation that the time span for the completion of the light rail in Tel Aviv has been miscalculated. The project, which was supposed to be running by October 2020, may not be operational until 2025. Meanwhile, people who had businesses on one of the main routes lost money because they had to close down and possibly relocate, or if they stayed open, they lost customers because construction work impedes access.
Emek Refaim businesses will be similarly affected if the Blue Line goes ahead.
■ JOINING THE upcoming Jerusalem Marathon will be a large group of Christians headed by Pastor Ray Hardee, an ardent runner and supporter of Israel who hopes to make running in Jerusalem under the banner of “Run for Zion” a powerful Christian experience with hands-on touring to interact with organizations that benefit from the donations received, including support for Holocaust survivors, terror victims, widows, orphans, youth at risk, feeding the hungry and more.
A senior pastor of The Pointe Church in Belmont, NC, Hardee is excited to participate in the Jerusalem marathon because support for and blessing Israel runs deep in his family. He was raised by a stepfather who was also a pastor and led more than 50 trips to Israel. Hardee teamed up with Run for Zion president Jonathan Feldstein, an Orthodox Jew living in Israel, who, though not a runner himself, is passionate about connecting Christians to Israel and Jews to Christians in a meaningful way.
■ IT SEEMS that every year is a milestone anniversary of significant historical events and 2019 is no exception.
In a White House ceremony on March 26, 1979, Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed a historic peace treaty, ending three decades of hostilities between their two countries and establishing diplomatic and commercial relations, which subsequently led to cooperation on security matters.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this historic event, Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi will host an all-day seminar on Thursday, March 14, with two of the five sessions in English to accommodate the two Egyptian participants listed on the program. It is not always easy to get Egyptians to participate in seminars, conferences and panel discussions, but on the other hand, for an event marking a development that was decidedly historic for both countries and designed to save countless lives on both sides, one would have thought that Egyptian diplomats would take great pride in the fact that the treaty has been upheld, thereby setting an example for the rest of the Arab world. There’s also the possibility that more Egyptians were not invited.
The event is being held in conjunction with INSS (Institute of National Security Studies), the Begin Heritage Center and the Foreign Ministry.
Though several former Israel ambassadors to Egypt are still living, the only one listed among the speakers is Haim Koren, the most recent. Zvi Mazel, who served as ambassador from 1997 to 2001 and was also a member of the first Israeli embassy team to serve in Cairo following the establishment of diplomatic relations, would have been a natural choice, but his name does not appear on the program. March 2019 is doubly a milestone year for Mazel. On March 4, he celebrates his 80th birthday.
■CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT at the opening session of the 33rd Conference of Mayors at City Hall was opposition leader and head of Hitorerut, Ofer Berkowitz. Unlike his predecessor, Nir Barkat, Mayor Moshe Lion makes a point of welcoming each council member present by name, including Laura Wharton, who Barkat regarded as his nemesis.
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