Grapevine: Media rights

Relations between the government and the media have never been ideal.

By
December 8, 2011 22:37
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RELATIONS BETWEEN the government and the media have never been ideal.

While the government recognizes the necessity of the media to get certain messages across, it gets really uptight when the media asks too many questions and exposes corruption. Yossi Ahimeir, the director of the Jabotinsky Institute, has been on both sides of the fence. A journalist in his own right and the son and brother of journalists, he also served as bureau chief for prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and was later a member of Knesset. Ahimeir will on Tuesday, December 13, moderate a panel discussion on relations between the government and the media and Knesset legislation that affects the media. Panelists will include head of the Prime Minister’s Office’s National Information Directorate Yoaz Hendel, The Jerusalem Post and Latma’s Caroline Glick, editor of The Seventh Eye Uzi Benzamin and former CEO of the Channel 2 News Corporation Shalom Kital. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Jabotinsky Museum in Tel Aviv.

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THE RECENTLY announced winners of the Knesset Speaker’s Prize for Quality of Life include American-born Jerusalemite Prof. Eliezer David Jaffe, founder of the Israel Free Loan Association. The prize focuses on activities bridging differences between population groups and promoting tolerance to reduce social gaps in Israel. This year’s prizes, to be awarded by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, will also be awarded to Dr. Adi Kohl and to two organizations: Besod Siach, which promotes dialogue between groups in conflict within Israel, and the Ma’ase organization for young volunteers in peripheral communities.

The total value of the prize is NIS 150,000, which will be divided between the four recipients.

Jaffe, father of four and grandfather of 17, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, has been living in Israel since 1960, was one of the founders of the School of Social Work at the Hebrew University. In 1990 he set up the Israel Free Loan Association, which offers interest-free loans to new immigrants and veteran Israelis to meet a wide range of needs such as adapting a family’s living space to accommodate the special needs of a disabled family member, developing small businesses or setting a failing business back on its feet, student loans for disadvantaged young people entering higher education and so on. The association has helped tens of thousands of people over the years, filling a gap in the range of services to meet pressing needs.

Since its inception, the association has awarded over 40,000 loans, totaling more than $130 million.

Jaffe is a highly respected academic who has published many books and papers, including Giving Wisely, which attests to the authenticity of charitable organizations that raise funds from the public. He recently stepped down from heading the IFLA and was succeeded by British expatriate Edward Cohen, who says he is in awe of even trying to fill Jaffe's shoes.

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ALTHOUGH TEL Aviv Fashion Week is over, it’s still evoking comment in monthly publications that are only now coming out. Fashion Weekgenerated reports and reviews in more than 80 publications worldwide, and the general consensus was that Israel has some phenomenal design talent.

Among the more intriguing reviews was that of British journalist Lisa Armstrong who wrote in The Telegraph: “Who knows, fashion could turn out to be a better ambassador than the country’s politicians – not hard. It may seem far fetched or idealistic but when someone’s enthusing about an H&M outfit, or sharing their views on what makes the perfect bag, you have the start of a common language.”

Armstrong was particularly taken with the designs of actress-cum-designer Dorit Bar-Or who turned a do-it-yourself talent into a profitable enterprise. Bar-Or told Armstrong that she used to make her own clothes and got tired of people asking her where she got them. So she started inventing ridiculous brand names for them and was amused when people told her that they have items in their closets by the same designers. Her current brand name, which she used for Tel Aviv Fashion Week, is “Not for You,” which she translated into French to make it more exotic.

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN Rights Day is commemorated annually on December 10, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. This year special attention will be paid to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) rights. In June of this year, the Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution calling for a worldwide investigation into discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community. Perceiving this as a crucial first step toward worldwide recognition of LGBTQ rights as an integral part of human rights, the embassies of the Netherlands and Sweden and the Delegation of the European Union in Israel are teaming up with Israeli Gay Youth (IGY), headed by Yaniv Waismann, Gal Uchovsky and Avner Dafni, and is this week hosting a five-day international summit conference in Tel Aviv for future LGBTQ leaders. A panel discussion on the challenges for the LGBTQ community in Israel will be led by Prof. Aeyal Gross of Tel Aviv University, a legal expert specializing in human rights who interned with the European Commission on Human rights in Strasbourg. He has also served on the board of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel

ACTOR AND singer Sassi Keshet is now the director of Yiddishpiel Theater.

Founder Shmuel Atzmon, who is now in his 80s, decided to hand over the reins while he was still in control, so that he could choose someone that could be trusted to take Yiddishshpiel into the future. Atzmon will continue to be associated with Yiddishpiel and has offered to advise Keshet if he so desires.

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