(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
ONE HAS to be really tough to withstand the slings and arrows of the hostile audiences that Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev has encountered ever since she entered office. Considering the controversy in which the Jerusalem Film Festival had been mired in the period leading up to its opening last Thursday night, it hardly came as a surprise that Regev was roundly booed when she mounted the stage.
On the other hand, President Reuven Rivlin was warmly applauded for saying how proud he was to have helped formulate the legislation that enabled Israeli cinema to flourish. He had done that as an MK, and today he said, there is no major international film festival that does not include an Israeli production. Israeli films, he declared, are Israel’s best envoys.
Relating to recent controversies over Israeli art and culture, which had also impacted on the Jerusalem Film Festival and led to unpleasantness on both sides, Rivlin said that the situation must not be blurred. It is incumbent for both sides to sit down and reach an understanding that the most important goal is to further Israeli culture, he insisted.
Rivlin also paid tribute to the late Lia van Leer, who had been the inspiration and driving force behind the Jerusalem Film Festival. For Jerusalemites, Lia was a woman of vision, an institution in herself, he said. Jerusalem owes her a great debt, and her loss is already felt by lovers of culture and lovers of Jerusalem.
THE NAME George Deek may not mean much to a lot of Israelis, but the man behind the name is a very important and extremely influential person who has made an impact on thousands of people in Europe, the United States and Israel.
Deek is a Christian Arab who is an Israeli diplomat working in the International Law Department at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In January, he completed a two and a half year term as deputy chief of mission at the Israel Embassy in Norway, where he also served for seven months as chargé d’affaires. He had previously served as Israel’s deputy chief of mission in Nigeria.
Deek was born in Jaffa, where his family has lived for more than 400 years. A graduate of IDC Herzliya, he has an LLB in law and a BA in government. After working for a private law firm in Tel Aviv, he joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2008.
Even as a boy, Deek was involved in promoting mutual understanding and coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Among other roles, he was the co-editor of the first local newspaper of Jaffa, Yaffo Sheli/ Yafati (“My Jaffa” in Hebrew and Arabic); he led various Arab-Jewish delegations and programs in the US, Germany and the UK; and he was manager of the “Arab-Jewish” debate forum on the Ynet website.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg about his work in public diplomacy and community consciousness. Anyone interested in meeting Deek and learning more about him and his background is invited to attend StandWithUs at 26 King David Street at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29.
KLEZMER LOVERS will be able to indulge their passion at the annual Safed festival on August 18-20, then at master classes on August 24 -28.
Klezmer is also catching on in Israel in a big way with Yung Yidish hosting regular klezmer concerts in its Jerusalem and Tel Aviv branches, including Tuesday, July 21, when Di Gasn Trio will perform at Yung Yidish in Tel Aviv.
In addition to the Yung Yidish Saturday night klezmer concerts in Jerusalem, there will be an international klezmer music festival in the capital from July 29 to August 4. This follows the international klezmer convention that was held at Heichal Shlomo on July 2.
The International Jerusalem Klezmer Festival was introduced last year and proved so successful that it’s having an encore this year.
If it attracts as large a following, it will earn a permanent place on Jerusalem’s annual culture calendar. The festival will be held in various city venues, and will include singer Yehoram Gaon; clarinetist Hanan Bar Sela; violinist Mirel Reznik; klezmer clarinetist Hilik Frank; IDF chief cantor Lt.-Col. Shai Abramson; Rafi Biton’s Voices from Heaven Choir; Avrum Burstein and the Jerusalem Klezmer Society; pan flute player Constantin Moscovici (from Kishinev); clarinetist Helmut Eisel and pianist Sebastian Waltz (both of Frankfurt); bandoneon player Raul Jaurena (from New York); clarinetist Ilan Schul; accordion virtuoso Emile Aybinder; Gersh Geller and the Jerusalem Saxophone Quartet; and Ohio clarinetist Caroline Hartig.
Jerusalem international klezmer and clarinet master classes will be free of charge, as will many of the performances.