n IF THERE'S coexistence anywhere in Israel, it's in the kitchens of hotels and banquet halls. This is where Arabs and Jews get together to stir up culinary delights. They are so busy creating dishes to please the palate, that there's little or no time for politics to get in the way. Cooperative cuisine was the name of the game when Jewish and Arab chefs got together in one of the kitchens of the Notre Dame cooking school in a friendly contest for the best three-course meal.
Some of the capital's leading chefs participated, but legendary chef Shalom Kadosh, who usually romps home with the first prize, had to stand aside this time for ISS catering's executive chef Hai Schwartz and Osem's Mohammed Subhai from Umm el-Fahm, who impressed the judges so much that they were declared the winners.
n AFTER 48 years as a news reader and program host on Israel Radio and Channel 1 television, Daniel Pe'er, the celebrity whom one could often bump into at a local Jerusalem supermarket, is being forced into retirement. Pe'er, 67, was interviewed recently by fellow broadcaster Yigal Ravid, whom he told that he wants to continue broadcasting as long as possible. However, the powers-that-be at the Israel Broadcasting Authority, while appreciative of his contribution over the years, are unwilling to let him continue, especially in light of the implementation of new cost-cutting measures that are part of an overall reform package.
Meanwhile, other senior broadcasters who are older than Pe'er, such as Ya'acov Ahimeir and Shmuel Shai, are continuing with their programs. There was a rumor that Reka, the station for foreign-language programs for new immigrants, would be taken off the air, but IBA director general Moti Sklaar announced this week that there is no intention of closing down Radio Reka, the (Jewish) Heritage network or the Voice of Music.
"Radio Reka will not close down so long as the IBA will not close down," he said. However, to keep these stations going, the Knesset Finance Committee has agreed to the IBA's request to cancel reductions on license fees.
n THE FUTURE status of Jerusalem has been making international headlines. Michal Navot, an expert in public international law, will discuss the legal status of Jerusalem in a lecture in Hebrew at the Truman Institute on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University on Monday, January 11, at 12:30 p.m.
n JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat is opening up the city every which way to more international events that will attract more tourists and provide more jobs for people in the hospitality and tourist industries. On the drawing board in this context is the next Maccabiah. Barkat sees no reason why the Maccabiah Games, which bring sporting delegations from around the Jewish world to Israel, should not be held in the nation's capital.
Toward this end, additional sporting facilities will enhance those that already exist in Malha. Ramat Gan, the traditional host of the Maccabiah Games, is unlikely to concede without a fight.
n THE EZRA [Maternity Aid] association has been quietly active in Jerusalem since it was established in 1924 by the late Rose Slutzkin, formerly of Melbourne, Australia. Help is given to needy families on the recommendation of the nurses at the Tipat Halav clinics. This week, participants in this discreet relief work were encouraged by a visit from Barbara Cohen, the president of the supporting organization of Sydney. Cohen and her daughter Leah Dostalek, accompanied by their husbands, visited some of the clinics in the city and met a number of the volunteers to learn first-hand of the problems that confront them. They also visited the municipal office responsible for Tipat Halav operations throughout Jerusalem and were delighted to be received by Barkat, and later by Deputy Mayor David Hadari. Barkat was very impressed with a copy of the organization's first report, from 1926, which was presented to him by Ezra Jerusalem chairman Ora Yanai.
n DESPITE THE fact that most of the members of the bickering Kadima party are not Jerusalemites, party head Tzipi Livni, who lives in Tel Aviv, chose a Jerusalem restaurant for a post-caucus get-together this week. No, it wasn't on Emek Refaim. Livni preferred the ambience of Ein Kerem. The mutual recriminations that dominated the caucus were put on the back burner, and the mood at the restaurant was much more positive as participants, including Livni's two harshest critics, Shaul Mofaz and Eli Aflalo, joined in a trivia quiz in which the questions focused on the bios of the Kadima MKs, engaged in karaoke, danced and laughed heartily at a satirical skit. Winner of the trivia quiz was Yochanan Plesner, who answered all 30 questions correctly, including which Kadima MK is a fan of the rock band Queen. The answer is Livni.
n IT CAN be somewhat confusing for guests when two events are held at the same time in the same premises but in different rooms. That's what happened this week at Mishkenot Sha'ananim. Guests automatically assumed that a function co-hosted by Ben-Gurion University's Center for the Study of European Politics and Society, the Israel Council on Foreign Relations and the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) would be held in the auditorium of the Konrad Adenauer Conference Center. But no, that was the venue for a conference on international law in which the keynote speaker was retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak. The other event, a book launch to introduce Uneasy Neighbors: Israel and the European Union by Sharon Pardo and Joel Peters, was in an upstairs room of which some of the participants were not aware.