BECAUSE SEVERAL leading American designers have boycotted America’s first lady, Melania Trump, Israeli designer Shai Shalom, who was among the exhibitors at Gindi TLV Fashion Week, dedicated his collection to her. Among those who came to see his creations were fellow designers Raziella Gershon and Sasson Kedem; real estate developer Manor Gindi and his wife, Bat-El; Zionist Union MK Ayelet Nahmias Verbin; Tami Raveh, who heads the Second Channel and Radio Authority; Esther Eldan, CEO of Delek Israel; philanthropist and businesswoman Galia Albin; former supermodel Batya Dissentschik; actor Aki Avni; Beersheba Municipality CEO Avishag Avtuvi; and many other well known personalities.
Fashion week, even though it’s only for a couple of days, is paparazzi paradise because there are so many celebrities and other public figures who come to see and be seen. Some of them model for the designers, while others try on clothes backstage or in the showrooms.
Among the entertainment celebrities who came to look for new outfits to wear at their performances was singer Achinoam Nini, who was photographed in outfits by Vivi Bellaish and Gadi Elimelech.
■ THERE ARE quite a few Israeli models with international reputations who are frequently in demand for photo shoots in one country or another. But it is doubtful that any of them has graced the covers of as many fashion magazines as Bar Refaeli, who is on the cover of the March edition of Elle Spain in a great close-up that can in no small measure be credited to Barcelona-based fashion photographer Xavi Gordo.
This was Refaeli’s first major cover since the birth of her daughter, Liv, in August last year. The March edition has a Refaeli spread in eye-catching creations from the various spring collections of DSquared2, Carolina Herrera, Max Mara and other brand names. Refaeli did a cover for Elle Spain while in the third trimester of her pregnancy, proving there’s a certain chic in a tummy bulge. On that occasion, she didn’t travel to Spain – the Spaniards came to Israel and joked that her daughter had her first modeling assignment while still in the womb. (Liv may well be a third-generation model. Refaeli’s mother, who is her manager, is a former model.) Bar Refaeli has graced Elle Spain covers since 2012, and has also appeared on the covers of Elle France, Sports Illustrated, Tatler and Paris Match, among others.
Her celebrity status abroad is not limited to glossy magazine covers, though. She was the guest of honor at a gala Keren Hayesod fund-raiser last Saturday night in Geneva, where she made a stirring speech and promised to come back next year. She posted a photograph of herself with the extraordinarily philanthropic and pro-Israel Lugassi family; the same photograph appeared on the Keren Hayesod Facebook page.
■ AN INTIMATE gathering of relatives, friends and admirers of former Jerusalem Post editor in chief Ari Rath, who died in his native Vienna in January but whose final resting place is in Israel, which he loved so much and where he spent the major part of his life, took place at the Jerusalem Press Club this week at an event cohosted by the JPC, the Austrian Embassy and The Jerusalem Post.
Some of the people present remembered the first flight of Israeli journalists to Cairo. Former Maariv journalist Yuval Elitzur who knew Rath for some 70 years, had been on that flight, as had Rath, and recalled landing in Cairo at 2 a.m., waking up early, opening his hotel window and looking out on the pyramids. Linda Rivkind, who was working for the Government Press Office at the time and was also on that flight, remembered that Rath had actually been to Egypt previously – not by plane but by car. In December 1979, Rath and Zvi Mazel, who was then director of the Foreign Ministry’s Normalization Department, made the first trip by car from Israel to Egypt, across the Sinai, desert to formalize the agreements for the exchange of newspapers between the two countries following the signing of their peace treaty. Mazel was subsequently a member of Israel’s first diplomatic mission in Cairo, and some years later was appointed the Israeli ambassador. Now retired from the Foreign Ministry and a member of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he is frequently asked by different branches of the Israeli media – including The Jerusalem Post – to provide analyses for political developments in Egypt.
Also among those present at the memorial gathering was Osnat Kollek, daughter of Jerusalem’s late, legendary mayor Teddy Kollek. She spoke of the long and firm friendship that Rath had with her father.
She remembered Rath from the time she was a little girl. After he left the Post, Rath also did some work for The Jerusalem Foundation, which had been founded by Teddy Kollek. Irene Pollak, of the foundation’s German-speaking desk, said the foundation had proposed that a monument to Kollek be erected in Vienna to mark the 10th anniversary of his passing. The Austrians were amenable to the suggestion, and Rath was scheduled to speak at the dedication ceremony but became seriously ill two months ahead, so the text of the invitation was changed and his name was excluded. In her wildest dreams, Pollak said she could not imagine that almost exactly at the same time that Kollek’s monument was being dedicated in Vienna, Rath’s funeral was taking place in Israel. Not only that, but the mayor of Vienna hosted a large reception at City Hall to mark the dedication of the monument, and inside, a huge portrait of Rath had been put on display.
Austrian Ambassador to Israel Martin Weiss said that on the day Rath died, every newspaper in Vienna published the sad news. Rath had been known as a fighter and a lion – albeit a gentle lion “and a true Viennese gentleman,” Weiss said, adding that Austria had not always been kind to him. He was alluding to the conditions under which Rath, at age 13, left the country with Youth Aliya to come to British Mandate Palestine. JPC Director Uri Dromi commented that Rath had a distinguished career not only as a journalist, but as a promoter of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Current Jerusalem Post editor in chief Yaakov Katz said he regretted that he did not have the privilege of knowing Rath, but had heard from many sources that he was a remarkable man with strong principles and journalistic ethics.
Rath’s niece, Orit Zaslavsky, spoke of the special relationship Rath had not only with his family, but with friends and colleagues. In fact, most of his colleagues became his friends. Even though he lived in a one-room apartment, his door was always open to visitors, and if someone needed a bed for the night, it was Rath who slept on the couch. He had a magnanimous nature and was always giving of his time and his knowledge, and of himself. He thought nothing of driving new acquaintances around Jerusalem and describing the history, geography and politics of the city, and he was willing to pick friends up from the airport and then drive them back when they were leaving. He was a man who never tired of giving because he believed that in giving, one was also receiving.
■ NEWS ANCHORS and hosts of current affairs programs on Israel Radio and television’s Channel 1 bemoan the fact that colleagues in other media are not sympathizing with their plight and coming out in support of them, but instead are reporting endlessly that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to control all of the Israeli media.
While 56% of the staff of the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, which is due to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority on April 30, consists of people from the IBA, according to Channel 1 economics reporter Oded Shahar they will be working for much lower salaries than they earn at the IBA, and very few will be working full time. They will have no job protection and actually will be employed as freelancers by an agency that supplies temporary personnel to companies that work on an outsourcing system. Shahar produced on-screen evidence to verify his report and warned that under such conditions, the quality of public broadcasting will drastically deteriorate.
In a last-ditch effort to make the general public aware of what it is going to lose, members of the IBA staff have a produced a five-part documentary to be screened at 9 p.m. on Mondays, beginning March 20, under the title “Today it’s us, tomorrow it’s you…” Presented by journalist Itta Gliksberg, the series offers an unprecedented in-depth look, from both a human and professional perspective, at the workings of the IBA in front of and behind the camera and microphones.
In addition to familiar faces that for years have dominated the television screen, viewers will be introduced to some of the anonymous but highly creative people without whose input the IBA would not be able to function. The series opens with the “death certificate” issued at a press conference held by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who at the time was communications minister, and Yair Lapid, who was finance minister. Given Lapid’s strong nostalgic streak, it is difficult to fathom why he would destroy an institution that had once been headed by his father, and where prior to entering politics, he himself had hosted a weekly television program.