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JAPANESE AMBASSADOR Yoshinori Katori, who has been rushing from one farewell event to another in addition to hosting his own last week, was the guest of honor of the Israel-Japan Friendship Society and the Israel-Japan Chamber of Commerce headed by Ehud Rassabi and Elhanan Harel. Although they and several of their 40 guests were lavish in their praise of Katori, who has been an extremely popular ambassador, there was also a downside to the event in that it is was impossible to avoid mention of the financial crisis that has overtaken the world, including Japan. Rassabi presented Katori and his wife with a wonderful memento of Israel - a painting that he had specially commissioned from world-renowned artist Menashe Kadishman. A surprise for most of the people present was when the belly dancer, who was part of the entertainment at the event, decided to converse with the ambassador - not in Hebrew or in English, but in fluent Japanese.
AS PART of Israel's ongoing 60th anniversary celebrations, Osem is sponsoring an NIS 6 million Feel at Home Festival in Sderot during the intermediate days of Succot. Thirty Sderot women from a variety of backgrounds will use Osem products to cook up a storm of mouth watering delicacies. Since Jews can summon humor under almost any circumstances, Osem CEO Gezi Kaplan, a dyed-in-the-wool Hapoel fan, said that the festival had been planned long before the cease-fire from Gaza, and that for him as a Hapoel Tel Aviv fan, 'Red Alert' had special meaning. "Yeah, but bamba is yellow," retorted Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, who is a dyed in the wool fan of Betar Jerusalem, whose colors are yellow and black.
A LARGE group of German lawyers, who were in Israel on a visit, joined their Israeli colleagues last Saturday night at the exhibition of the annual art contest sponsored by the legal firm of Hezekiah-Hochman. The inspiration for this year's contest was the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and for the first time ever the first prize was shared by two artists - Ahmed Cna'an and Elad Mor, who submitted an oil painting and a photograph respectively. The two works will be featured on the firm's New Year greeting cards in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was also among the hundreds of art lovers and legal eagles who had come to view the exhibition.
THE SHERATON Tel Aviv hosted a gala cocktail party to celebrate the opening of its newly renovated lobby lounge and bar, Cielo Spa, 5 Club Level floors and Club Lounge. Among the invitees were Costa Rican Ambassador, the ever glamorous Noemy Baruch, the Ambassador of the Ukraine, Anatoli Marynets and Ambassador of the Philippines, Petronila Garcia. Also in attendance were embassy representatives, the chief of protocol of Israel's Foreign Ministry Itzhak Eldan, and of course, agents of airline and tourist industries as well as regular hotel guests, who were welcomed by the hotel's general manager, Jean-Louis Ripoche, who also took the opportunity to wish them a happy and healthy New Year.
SEVERAL OF Israel's leading business figures were seen at the Israel Tennis Center last weekend watching the game between Israel and Peru in the Davis Cup series. They were there at the invitation of ITC CEO Janine Strauss, who greeted most of her guests personally and even found time to pose for pictures. Among the tennis fans were Ohad Marani, Gad Propper, Bruno Landsberg and television weatherman Danny Roup.
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