Metro Grapevine: Needless sensationalism

News briefs from around the nation.

November 17, 2016 19:25
4 minute read.
The Habima Theater in Tel Aviv

The Habima Theater in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: WWW.HABIMA.CO.IL)

■ THE ISRAELI media made a big deal out of Habima performing across the Green Line in Kiryat Arba. There was nowhere near the same kind of sensationalism attached to an exhibition game of basketball between former Maccabi Tel Aviv veterans and Elitzur Samaria in memory of Malachi Rosenfeld, on what would have been his 27th birthday. Rosenfeld was critically wounded in June last year when shot by terrorists in a drive-by attack near Shiloh.

Doctors were unable to save him, and he died the following day. Rosenfeld was shot on the way home from playing in a basketball game, and so the Sports Department in the Samaria Regional Council decided to honor his memory with an exhibition match. The game was held at the Tapuah basketball court in the presence of Rosenfeld’s family. The former star hoopsters from Maccabi Tel Aviv included Aulcie Perry, Doron Jamchi, Guy Goodes and Moti Daniel.

Jamchi said that they had come to play basketball for the sake of the young fans in the area, and to inject a little normalization into what is a very complex region.

■ THE ROTATING Fire and Water fountain, which has become a landmark in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square, has been a source of controversy for 30 years.

One of the best-known kinetic sculptures by artist Yaacov Agam – who took 10 years to develop the project – it is very expensive to maintain, and breaks down from time to time. Some people regard it as a brilliant symbol of Agam’s creativity. Others regard it as pure kitsch and a waste of money. Now that the Tel Aviv Municipality is in the process of renewing the once ultra-trendy Dizengoff Street to its former glory, the powers that be at Tel Aviv City Hall did the right thing and invited the public to a meeting for an exchange of views.

Those present included a number of people who would like to see the fountain removed, and its maintenance costs transferred to projects more beneficial to the city’s residents. Among those were Israel Prize laureate Dani Karavan, whose own monumental sculptures in Israel and abroad have earned him an honored place in the world of art. Karavan, 86, is a native son of Tel Aviv. His father, Abraham, was the city’s chief landscape architect for more than 20 years.

Agam, 88, was born in Rishon Lezion, and spent many years in Paris where he became one of the pioneers of abstract kinetic art. He has fought every attempt to have the fountain removed from Dizengoff Square. But now there is a possibility that he may be defeated. Until now Dizengoff Square was part of a pedestrian overpass, but its redesigned form may hold the key to breaking the agreement which the municipality had with the artist, which was to leave the fountain permanently in place.

Karavan argues that the agreement was enforceable only when the square was above street level, but is not enforceable if the square is reconstructed at street level. Karavan was in fact the artist who suggested to former mayor Shlomo Lahat to approach Agam. He had believed at the time that the square was in need of a special attraction, but had never imagined that Agam would produce so large a work, which Karavan and many others regard as an eyesore if not a monstrosity.

Other Israeli artists have similar opinions. As far back as 1986, the year in which the fountain was dedicated, Yigal Tumarkin said in an interview with Maariv that the work looked more like a birthday cake than a monumental sculpture. Whether the municipality will keep the fountain in the renewed Dizengoff Square, or whether it will position it somewhere else, it is bound by law not to damage it or to alter it in any way. Other than that, it is free to move it to any venue which it deems fit.

■ TRAVEL AGENT Natan Ortzki came up with a very creative idea for couples who travel to Cyprus to get married, either because they don’t want anything to do with the rabbinate, or because one of the parties is not recognized by the rabbinate as Jewish according to Halacha. But marriages performed in Cyprus or elsewhere in the world are recognized by the Interior Ministry and by all other civil institutions in Israel. Ortzki arranged last week for 10 bridal couples all dressed in their finery to fly together to Cyprus, but to technically get married in Israeli air space. His company brought a plane from Cyprus with an official from Cyprus who is authorized to perform marriages. The 10 couples entered the plane which was flying back to Cyprus, and the official performed the weddings in the air while the plane was still in Israeli air space, with nine couples witnessing each ceremony. Although women in bridal gowns have occasionally appeared at Ben-Gurion Airport, they are usually fashion models posing for a photograph that may impart a honeymoon message.

But passengers gawked when they saw 10 women with wedding gowns and bouquets and their smartly suited grooms.

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