(photo credit: REUTERS)
■ RACISM IS alive and well in Israel, so much so that Beduin security personnel and Arab cleaners can no longer be employed at the Azrieli Negev Mall, following a break-in heist at the Apple iStore in the mall, where the value of equipment stolen was well in excess of NIS 1 million.
According to an Israel Radio report, Haim Zaguri, the key importer of Apple products and the head of the network of Apple iStores in Israel, has demanded of the mall management that no Beduin be employed as security guards in the mall and that there be no Arab cleaners. This despite the fact that Sa’id, a Beduin whose surname was not made public, who has served as a security guard at the mall for the past two years, warned the mall’s CEO, Shahar Tabib, that there was a security problem, and asked him to post an extra security guard in the problem area.
Tabib, taking the cost factor into account, refused, and Sa’id, who was highly valued by his employers, the T&M Israel Group, which supplies security, monitoring, cleaning and maintenance personnel to companies that prefer outsourcing to putting such people on their payrolls, was fired. Instead of being rewarded, Sa’id – who has served in the IDF, whose relatives have served or are currently serving in the IDF, Border Police or Israel Police – became the patsy for Tabib’s questionable decision as well as for the crime, and was accused in some quarters of collusion with the thieves. Despite a spirited argument on his behalf by his employers, he was relieved of his position, as were all Beduin and Arab workers in the mall.
After intervention by government ministers and MKs, Sa’id was reinstated, but the other Beduin were not, despite the fact that such discriminatory practices are illegal in Israel.
■ INCIDENTALLY, Beersheba is also getting an IKEA store, the foundations for which were laid this week by Matthew Bronfman, who is the main shareholder of IKEA Israel, Shuki Koblentz, IKEA CEO, and Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich.
■ AS IF there were not enough problems in Israel, the residents of Bat Yam may, by the time of the next municipal elections in 2018, find themselves voting not for the mayor of their city but of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. There is a move afoot to make Bat Yam a neighborhood of Tel Aviv. A special committee appointed by Interior Minister Arye Deri has recommended that Bat Yam be annexed to Tel Aviv within the next two years, and the recommendation, as soon as it was made public, met with instant opposition from residents of Bat Yam both young and old, who via social media expressed their anger and dismay, saying that the character of Bat Yam is completely different from that of Tel Aviv, and that they do not want to be Tel Avivians.
The opposition includes fears that once Bat Yam becomes part of Tel Aviv, real-estate prices will soar and become unaffordable, as they are in Tel Aviv. Bat Yam, as a quiet, seaside semi-resort area, is much more affordable and no less attractive.
One of the reasons that Deri is interested in annexing small towns to large cities is to overcome municipal deficits. Bat Yam has a deficit of NIS 80m.
■ NETANYA MAYOR Miriam Fierberg-Ikar, who was placed under house arrest on suspicion of accepting bribes, was permitted to return to work last week, but even before doing that she joined the Edry brothers, Leon and Moshe, at the gala opening of Cinema City Netanya. Among the well-known personalities who were also present at the event was Construction Minister Yoav Galant, who came with his wife, Claudine.
■ PARENTS OF children with cancer have a really hard time emotionally, financially, and in managing their careers while tending to a sick child. Aware of this, the Larger than Life nonprofit organization arranged for 100 mothers of such children to spend a three-day vacation at the Crowne Plaza Eilat hotel, where they were welcomed by hotel general manager Elad Rapaport, Larger than Life CEO Lior Shmueli, and his deputy Elinor Levitan. The mothers’ vacation is one of several Larger than Life family support programs.