Ori Sasson of Israel's Judo team.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
► JERUSALEM’S OLYMPIC bronze medalist judoka Ori Sasson donated his Rio Olympic jacket to be auctioned at the Shalva gala dinner at the Ahuza banquet hall in Romema in mid-December.
The event was attended by close to 1,000 people, including Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and his wife, Irina Nevzlin, who chairs the board of directors at Beit Hatfutsot – the Museum of the Jewish People. Sasson’s jacket fetched $100,000. The proceeds from the dinner came to NIS 2 million for the benefit of children with disabilities.
This week, Sasson was at the President’s Residence to launch the torch relay for the 20th Maccabiah Games, which will be opened in Jerusalem on July 6. From Jerusalem, the torch will go to the Maccabi Tombs and then to the Tel Aviv Port and subsequently around the world until it returns to Jerusalem in time for the Maccabiah Games. The sporting competition will have greater meaning this year due to the 50th anniversary of united Jerusalem and the global political climate.
► FOLLOWING THE kidnapping and murder by Palestinian terrorists of yeshiva students Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach in the summer of 2014, Mayor Nir Barkat, together with the boys’ families and the Gesher organization, launched the Jerusalem Unity Prize in an effort to maintain the sense of global Jewish unity around the fate of the boys before the bitter truth was learned and made public. Originally a Jerusalem initiative, the concept has sparked the interest of other mayors. For the 2017 awards, Barkat will be joined by mayors Ron Huldai of Tel Aviv, Ruvik Danilovich of Beersheba, Haim Bibas of Modi’in-Maccabim Reut and Moshe Abutbul of Beit Shemesh, who will participate in the launch of the Unity Day 2017 activities, which begin on June 7, in line with the jubilee celebrations of the reunification of Jerusalem.
There is not much time left to apply for the Jerusalem Unity Prize. The closing date for applications is January 5. Applications should be sent to www.unityprize.org.
► MEANWHILE, ON Sunday of this week, Nir Barkat attended another awards ceremony at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, where recipients of the Begin Prize included former foreign minister David Levy and Birthright. The Begin Prize was established by Menachem and Aliza Begin with the money that Begin received when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
The Begin Prize is awarded annually to an individual or an organization in recognition of an extraordinary act or acts that benefited the State of Israel and/or the Jewish People.
Levy, who served three times as foreign minister, each time as a member of a different political party, said that he did not hanker for politics, that he had done what he could and that the political stage now belongs to others who can contribute.
Barkat said that he was very pleased that the prize had been awarded to Levy, who had been an icon in his time – a unique personality who had influenced Israeli politics and who had been the pride of the Mizrahi population. Politics before and after David Levy were never the same, said Barkat.
Also present at the awards ceremony was Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who was not the only speaker who referred to the controversial and disappointing vote of the UN Security Council. “We have to be cognizant of the fact that our best friends turned their backs on us at the moment of truth,” he said.
►FOLLOWING THE death of their mother, Tamar Kollek, in July 2013, Amos and Osnat Kollek in sorting through her effects came across a sketch of their father, Teddy, which had been drawn by Pablo Picasso. The siblings could have sold it for a small fortune, but knowing how much the Jerusalem Foundation and the work it does meant to their father, the city’s legendary, long-serving mayor, they decided that instead of personally profiting from the find, they would give it to the Jerusalem Foundation.