IF YOU can't find a place to park, you might miss out on the party. That's what happened to some of the guests who had planned to attend the party that Tel Aviv's incorrigible and impetuous hostess Alice Krieger held in honor of Jordanian Ambassador Ali Hamdan Alayed. Parking spots are few and far between in Krieger's North Tel Aviv neighborhood, and some of the invitees, who were driving around in circles in futile attempts to find a place, finally gave up and missed the party.
Maha Nahar, who has been the director of the office of every Jordanian ambassador since Marwan Muasher (the first one) presented his credentials in 1995, has white diplomatic license plates, but that didn't prevent her car from being towed away. Nahar had made the mistake of parking in the private spot of one of Krieger's neighbors. The man returned home, was understandably annoyed, and drove around looking for another place to park but couldn't find one - so he called the authorities. Well-known lawyer Michael Fox and his wife Sheila were just leaving Krieger's party when the tow truck arrived. Fox rushed back inside to warn Nahar - but it was too late. By the time they got to the street, the car was gone. Fox drove Nahar to the depot for towed cars to retrieve her vehicle, but it put a bit of a damper on what had otherwise been a fun-filled evening.
British-born Krieger has had a romance with Jordan ever since November 1994, when she boarded the first bus to Petra for holders of foreign passports. Not long afterward, her late father befriended one of the diplomatic representatives of Jordan here, and a few months later Krieger met Nahar and a warm friendship was formed. Krieger later returned to London, where she spent 11 years, five of which were with the Association for the Well-Being of Israeli Soldiers. It never occurred to her that Nahar would still be here when she returned. But then Krieger met Alayed, and was so impressed by his easy-going manner and friendly personality that she felt that she just had to introduce him to a wider Israeli public. When she called the embassy to make the arrangements, she was pleasantly surprised to find herself talking to Nahar - and the friendship was rekindled.
Among the other guests were former foreign and defense minister Moshe Arens, Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan, celebrated photographer Micha Bar-Am and his wife Orna, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Itzhaki Chen of the Israel Management Center, sculptor Zadok Ben-David, Tel Aviv Cinematheque director Alon Garbuz, former cabinet secretary Arye Naor, now a professor at Ben-Gurion University, and his wife Judge Miriam Naor, author Robert Rockaway, who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, and Yemi Strum, who heads the English-Speaking Friends of TAU.
Alayed disclosed that one of the most frequent questions put to him was how he likes life here. His reply is that he regards his job as a mission. "I come from the Hashemites, who really believe in peace," he said. "We pray for peace, prosperity and security for everyone in the region."
Alayed expressed the hope that there would soon be two states - Palestine and Israel - living side by side, a factor that would benefit everyone in the region. "We live in the same space and we are cousins," he said.
AMBASSADOR DESIGNATE to China Amos Nadai has been spending a lot of time with China's outgoing Ambassador Chen Yonglong and his wife Shuqin Liu, because he has been invited to so many of the farewell events for Chen. Naturally when Chen and his wife hosted their own farewell at the Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv, last week, Nadai was on hand to pay tribute to Chen's contribution in solving some of the problems between China and Israel. He also noted the number of high-ranking Chinese officials who had visited during Chen's term.
Shuqin Liu, who was very active in the International Women's Club and who headed Hadassah's Corps Diplomatique, has been very busy with her own round of farewells. There was a large diplomatic turnout at the Dan Panorama to wish the couple well.
ASIDE FROM running around to diplomatic parties, dinners, luncheons and Foreign Ministry briefings, diplomats have been busy with their own cultural events. Hungarian Ambassador Andras Gyeng was in the audience at the Herzliya Arts Center for the premier performance here by renowned Hungarian violinist Andras Agostin, who played Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Herzliya Chamber Orchestra, and Kazakhstan Ambassador Vadim Zverkov hosted a reception at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque prior to the screening of Nomad, a historical epic set in 18th-century Kazakhstan.
IT APPEARS that nothing can keep former Canadian ambassador Michael Bell away from the country in which he spent nine years. Bell originally came here in 1975 as consul and first secretary at the Canadian Embassy, and subsequently returned for two separate stints as ambassador. He retired after a 36-year career in Canada's foreign service and took up a two-year position as a senior scholar at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto. He and his wife Linda were just tired of moving and wanted to put down roots. Bell will be one of the speakers at a mid-April symposium on Jerusalem organized by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.