FOR THOSE who keep looking for signs of rapprochement with Turkey, one
indication might be the invitation sent out by Turkish Charge d’Affaires Tolga
Uncu to a reception he is hosting next week to mark the New Year. Turkey’s
national day falls at the end of October, and in past years has been marked by a
huge reception at the Turkish residence.
This year there was no
reception, although there was a low-key celebration for Turks living here, but
next week’s affair represents another goodwill gesture following Turkey’s aid to
fight the Mount Carmel fires.
■ UNCU WAS one of several diplomats invited
to the annual Hanukka party hosted by Tel Aviv social activist Alice Krieger,
but sent his apologies because he was too busy looking after the contingent of
Turkish firefighters who had come to help.
Among the diplomats who did
attend, Indian Ambassador Navtej Singh Sarna was inundated by those guests who
had some knowledge of Devali, the Indian festival of lights, immediately after
Rabbi Ori Einhorn of Kfar Shmaryahu had made the blessing over the Hanukka
Einhorn led a chorus of “Maoz Tzur” and wished Jews, Muslims and
Christians season’s greetings. Though Devali is primarily a holiday for Hindus,
Jains and Sikhs, it is now celebrated by all Indians, according to
■ THE MINISTERIAL Committee for State Symbols and Ceremonies,
headed by Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, convened to bid farewell to former
Foreign Ministry chief of protocol Yitzhak Eldan and to welcome his successor
Talya Lador-Fresher, but she was unable to attend because she was busy attending
to the foreign fire-fighting teams.
The meeting went ahead nonetheless,
with Meseznikov presenting a review of Eldan’s 40-year career as a
He noted Eldan’s contribution to new norms related to visits of
prime ministers and heads of state, such as visiting the grave of Theodor
He also praised Eldan for introducing a code of ethics to the
Adding to the accolades were ministers Isaac Herzog, Bennie
Begin, Daniel Herschkowitz and Gideon Sa’ar.
■ MAN PROPOSES, God
That is more or less the story of the Kenyan Independence Day
reception which had been planned so carefully by Ambassador Augustino Njoroge,
his wife Margaret and staffers at the Kenyan Embassy. They could not foresee the
storms that swept the country on the night of the celebrations or the flooding
and closure of some of the streets of Tel Aviv. Several guests who had intended
to come simply turned back. Representing her husband the Cameroon ambassador,
who is dean of the diplomatic corps but who happened to be out of the country,
Esther Etoundi spent two frustrating hours getting to the Dan Panorama
Mindful that rain is a blessing, Njoroge cast his mind and those
of his guests back to the Carmel Forest tragedy and called for a minute’s
silence to honor the memories of those who lost their lives. Turning to
Kenya-Israel relations, he spoke warmly of the diplomatic ties forged in
December 1963, when Golda Meir met Jomo Kenyatta, and the benefits that Kenya
has reaped through the participation of many of its people in the Mashav
Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman,
representing the government, said that Israel has a special relationship with
■ WEATHER CONDITIONS had improved somewhat by the following
evening when Kazakhstan Ambassador Galym Orazbakov hosted his country’s 19th
Independence Day celebrations at the same venue. One of the standard features of
the Kazakh celebrations is to put up a tent in which there are traditional
household items, plus various items of gold embroidered clothing. Standing
opposite the reception line were five beautiful young Kazakh women attired in
white gowns with tall, pointed, fur-trimmed silver hats finished off with a fur
pom-pom at the peak. On stage, at the other end of the room, musicians wearing
highly embroidered colorful jackets played on traditional stringed
Orazbakov illustrated the importance of relations with
Israel by listing some of the high-ranking Israelis who have visited over the
past year or so.
Among them were President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman, Science and Technology Minister Herschkowitz, Religious
Affairs Minister Ya’acov Margi and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin
Ben-Eliezer, who was effusively greeted by Orazbakov and subsequently
interviewed by Kazakhstan Television. Representing the government was Minister
without Portfolio Yossi Peled, who noted that Kazakhstan had been the first
Central Asian nation to appoint an ambassador to Israel.
■ AS RESEARCHERS
and authors, Prof. David Golinkin, president of the Schechter Institute of
Jewish Studies, and Dr. Rafael Medoff, founder and director of the David
Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, were unprepared on the launch
night of their book The Student Struggle Against the Holocaust that highlights
the efforts of three young rabbinical students – Noah Golinkin, Jerry Lipnick
and Buddy Sachs – to mobilize America into action against what was happening to
the Jews of Europe. When they and former minister Moshe Arens, who was also a
student in New York during that period, were discussing that era with the
audience at AACI headquarters in Jerusalem, they also mentioned on several
occasions a play We Will Never Die by Ben Hecht, which told the story of the
plight of Europe’s Jews, and was taken on tour across America.
audience were Rabbi Mordecai Chertoff, who had seen the production at Madison
Square Gardens, and Miriam Bobrow, who had been an extra in the production when
it played in New York, and her sister Chaviva Wiener, who had demonstrated
outside the German Consulate and had been arrested because minors were not
allowed to participate in political demonstrations.
Medoff was so excited
that he could barely wait to interview the two sisters after the official
proceedings were over.
■ SOME TIME ago, New Yorker Maureen Kushner,
during a visit, attended a Young Israel Torah dedication ceremony in an army
base and was so impressed that she decided to spread the idea among her friends,
two of whom, philanthropists Micha Taubman and Lenny Sanders, are
Kushner spoke to their wives Yael Taubman and photographer Joan
Roth about donating a Torah scroll in the name of both men. They were delighted
with the idea and so were the husbands. On the eighth night of Hanukka, a
busload of their friends left Jerusalem for Ofra, where a group of
beacon-bearing soldiers from the 93rd infantry battalion and a bridal canopy
awaited Micha Taubman, 92, who could not travel by bus because he is confined to
a wheelchair, and therefore travelled in a station wagon.
Sanders was too ill to fly in from New York, and was undergoing surgery at the
very moment of the Torah dedication.
The soldiers danced around Taubman,
passed the Torah from hand to hand, and then gave it back to Taubman, moving his
wheelchair around in time to the music. It was the best medicine he could have
Also in attendance were Rabbi Yedidya Atlas of the IDF Chaplaincy
Corps and Maj. Lior Bardea, the IDF rabbi of the Judea and Samaria
Daniel Meyer, executive director of the Israel Division of
Young Israel, announced that this was the 188th Torah dedication ceremony in an
army base over the past decade.
The Torah scrolls, usually damaged, come
from American congregations, and are repaired and distributed here.
Israel has acquired the rights to 90 additional Torah scrolls that once served
pre-Holocaust congregations in Romania and Lithuania. They will be repaired as
■ NO ONE could be better informed about the
architectural plans for the Israel Museum of the late Israel Prize laureate
Alfred Mansfeld than his son Michael, also an architect and a partner in the
firm founded by his father.
He and his wife Shuli were among scores of
architects who spent last weekend in Jerusalem and whose tour of the capital
naturally included a visit to the museum, where Mansfeld discussed the original
design and showed the models created by his father, while Efrat Kowalski talked
about the design for the recently refurbished museum campus.
Jerusalem, the Mansfelds went hunting for the autobiography of Teddy Kollek,
which the capital’s legendary mayor and museum founder had written around 30
years ago. They eventually tracked down a copy in a second-hand
Sure enough, there were several pages devoted to the museum
with one particular gem of information: the reason that the word “national” was
not incorporated into the title, even though it is generally acknowledged that
it is the country’s national museum. It was to ensure that donations would keep
coming. Apparently in some countries, donations to institutions are tax
deductible only if the institution is not under the aegis of the
Mansfeld read excerpts from the book to an audience that included
a few non-architects or their spouses, among them Hayuta Dvir, the mainstay of
Israel Radio’s Voice of Music, and Sar-Shalom Shiran, a former chief economist
at the Finance Ministry and a former chairman of Mekorot.
■ WHILE THE
name of Harry Wall, former director of the Israel office of the Anti-Defamation
League, is known to many, that of his father, Dr. Norman Wall, 96, who lives in
Orlando Florida, and who came to Tel Aviv several years before the establishment
of the state, is well known to the medical profession but not to the wider
Thanks to veteran Florida journalist Mark Pinsky, Dr. Wall’s
connection with the country is now appreciated by many more than were aware of
it only a month ago. Early this month, representatives of our medical community
traveled to Florida Hospital in Orlando, to join national, state and local
dignitaries in honoring the US Army and Wall for their participation in the
establishment of a military field hospital in Tel Aviv during World War II. That
hospital later became the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
a medical officer with the US Army in World War II when he was dispatched with
the 24th Field Station Hospital to establish medical facilities in Tel Aviv,
which was under threat of invasion from German and Vichy forces. The Americans
stayed for approximately a year, and then handed the hospital, known as Tel
Litwinsky, named for the hill overlooking Tel Aviv, over to the British
Before leaving, Wall, on behalf of the army, donated surplus
medical equipment and supplies to the Hagana and to legendary physician Dr. Haim
Sheba, who was treating patients in a crumbling Ottoman-era facility in Tel
In 1948, Tel Litwinsky became an IDF hospital, headed by Sheba, who
was chief medical officer of the fledgling defense forces. “Few people, in
Israel or the US, are aware that there were US military forces in pre-state
Israel,” said Sheba CEO Ze’ev Rotstein, when presenting the award to
“With this honor, my professional life comes full circle,” said
Wall. “It was my good fortune that the US Army decided to send our medical unit
to Tel Aviv, and that I could be helpful to my Jewish colleagues in the Yishuv.
It was the beginning of my life’s passion for Israel, its security and medical
■ BUSY AS he is campaigning for the leadership of the Labor
Party, Welfare and Social Services Minister Herzog is a contemporary incarnation
of the Scarlet Pimpernel – you see him here, you see him there, you see him
Last Friday, for instance, he was among some 600 people who
crowded into Maya Joya at Kibbutz Nahshonim, where seven of the country’s top
chefs, including recently crowned master chef Ina Kravetzky, voluntarily cooked
up a storm in aid of Alut – the Israel Society for Autistic Children, chaired by
Also present were Alut CEO Einat Cassutto Shef, Tel Aviv
Mayor Ron Huldai and his wife Yael, several MKs, many business leaders and
celebrities from the entertainment and fashion industries, among them Dov
Kotler, Sami Sagol, Yohanan Tsangan, Zvulun Orlev, Rachel Adato and Tal
Berkowitz. The other chefs who donated their services were Ya’acov Turgeman,
Hagai Lerner, Avi Biton, Assaf Granit, Ron Biala and Gil Gurvitz.
DOESN’T usually celebrate the anniversary of a bank account, but in the case of
Tel Aviv-based lawyer Daniel Jacobson, there was a very special reason. Jacobson
is the grandson of Zalman David Levontin, the first general manager of the
Anglo- Palestine Bank which eventually became Bank Leumi. The account opened for
him 80 years ago is now the bank’s oldest operating account.
the anniversary, CEO Galia Maor, chairman David Brodet, Zvi Itzkovich, head of
the private banking division, and other senior bank officers toasted Jacobson
and his account. This time around, Jacobson didn’t receive the usual interest;
instead he was presented with a Menashe Kadishman painting of Theodor Herzl, who
founded the Jewish Colonial Trust, which in turn founded the Anglo-Palestine
Company in London in February 1902.
■ IT WAS a long wait for a religious
young woman, whose girl friends and female relatives usually got married between
18 and 22, but Margalit Har Shefi, 35, who was imprisoned for failure to prevent
Yigal Amir’s plan to assassinate Yitzhak Rabin, finally tied the knot last week
when she married Mordechai Dahan, who lectures in economics in Beersheba and
studies at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. Among the 700 guests who came to Jerusalem’s
Great Synagogue to wish them well were Rabbis Elyakim Levanon, Benny Elon,
Daniel Shilo, Shlomo Aviner and Mordechai Alon, who blessed the couple under the
bridal canopy, and as a relative of bride, wholeheartedly sang her praise; Moshe
Feiglin, MK Uri Ariel, Lior Katsav (whose brother, then-president Moshe Katsav
had pardoned Har Shefi), Hagai Ben-Artzi, the brother-in-law of the prime
minister, and former MK Yosef Ba-Gad.
■ IT’S NOT exactly a confirmed
statistic, but a career in the foreign service apparently adds to one’s life
span – at least if one looks at Foreign Ministry retirees, who last week
celebrated the 80th birthdays of no less than 20 of their 560 members, among
them former ambassadors David Torgeman, Aryeh Levin and Ephraim Dubek, who each
received a watch.
■ YOU DON’T necessarily have to buy real estate to put
down roots in Israel, say New Yorkers Fern and Leslie Penn, who operate Rosebud,
an Israeli concept store located at 131 Thompson Street in the Soho district.
It’s enough to buy a tree, they say. Firmly committed Zionists who are always
looking for ways and means to promote and contribute to Israel, they have
designated January 13 as a date for helping to restore the Carmel forests.
They’re having an Israeli party with late night shopping, Israeli wines and
foods, and will also give their guests and customers the opportunity to buy a
tree or even several trees for that matter. But it doesn’t stop there.
percentage of the sales they make on merchandise on that date will be ear-marked
for Mount Carmel.
Among their regular clientele are Israeli commuters,
who long ago learned that you can’t necessarily buy at home what you can find
abroad under a Made in Israel label.
■ THERE ARE many ways in which to
celebrate a milestone birthday, and launching a book is one of the more
original. Baruch Meiri, who used to be the Jerusalem bureau chief for Ma’ariv
and who currently is a member of the executive board of the Jerusalem
Journalists Association, is celebrating his 70th by launching Watermelon Seeds,
an anthology of stories about his experiences here and in Iraq. The December 29
event at the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or Yehuda will be co-hosted by
the Academic Association of Iraqi Jews in Israel, with Yossi Alfi of storyteller
fame as moderator. Israel Prize laureate, former minister and former MK
Mordechai Ben-Porat, who was a leading figure in organizing the mass immigration
of Iraqi Jews and is the founder and chairman of the Heritage Center, will be
among the speakers. Other speakers will include AAIJI chairman Shmuel Moreh,
playwright and author Ephraim Sidon and Danny Zaken, chairman of the Jerusalem