You can take the person out of Jerusalem, but you can’t take Jerusalem out of the person. Former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, the only woman so far to hold the title, was born and raised in Jerusalem, and only after stepping away from her political career did she move to Tel Aviv. Nonetheless, she hasn’t given up on public life and is the president of Hadassah International, which last week held a gala fund-raiser at the Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv to raise money for a rehabilitation center at Hadassah-University Medical Center, on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, for wounded soldiers and victims of terrorism.
ANOTHER ex Jerusalemite, but living in Tel Aviv for a much longer period than Itzik, is actress, singer, dancer and radio and television hostess Rivka Michaeli, who actually stopped singing a few years back, but was persuaded by fellow ex-Jerusalemite Moshe Lahav to appear with him at Beit Frankfurt in Tel Aviv on September 21, and at the Harel cultural center in Mevaseret Zion on September 24.
For the 78-year-old Michaeli, it’s a great compliment to still be in demand on stage and screen. She claims that she is not really a singer, but that she talks to a melody.
Whether she talks or sings, it goes over well.
The only songs she refuses to sing are the ones she used to sing with the late Yossi Banai, yet another Jerusalemite who moved to Tel Aviv.
ONE JERUSALEMITE who has not yet relocated to Tel Aviv is discount market tycoon Rami Levy, who has branched out into real estate development and communications – pretty good for a poor boy who grew up living in a tin shack in the capital’s Nahlaot neighborhood. On Monday of this week, Levy, together with lawyer Adi Sudai, will open a shopping mall in Mevaseret Zion which was built at an investment of NIS 250 million and will compete with the existing Harel Mall.
IN 1996, Moshe Schayek, a young man desperate for a bone marrow transplant, turned to Ezer Mizion in the hope of finding a matching donor. Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division helped his family coordinate a bone marrow drive, and the response was amazing. Some 5,000 people lined up in Jerusalem, wanting to help save his life.
Unfortunately, it was to no avail. No match was found and Schayek died. But he left a legacy that has enabled close to 10,000 other people in 48 countries around the world to live. His search led to the establishment in 1998 of Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry, which is headed by Bracha Zisser.
As of August 1, 2016, the Registry has grown to include 818,266 potential donors, of whom 394,379 are IDF recruits who joined the registry following a landmark agreement between Ezer Mizion and the Israel Defense Forces, whereby new recruits routinely undergo testing as part of their induction process.
On Sunday, September 19, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of this collaborative lifesaving effort between the IDF and Ezer Mizion, 650 soldiers will receive Gift of Life medals at a special ceremony at the President’s Residence, in the presence of President Reuven Rivlin, Hagai Toplansky, commander of the IDF’s Personnel Directorate, Zisser and Ezer Mizion founder Rabbi Chananya Chollak.
SEPTEMBER HAS been and will be one of the most intense and productive months for the Australia-Israel relationship, including the birth of a linguistic hybrid “Ozraeli,” which is all about celebrating the growing partnership between the southern island continent and the only democracy in the Middle East. Oz, which is an affectionate abbreviation used by Australians in reference to their country, means power or strength in Hebrew.
The intensity started at the beginning of the month with the visit of Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Then there were two major Australian hi-tech and investor missions: the first with OurCrowd, and the second with the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce. Both came to technology-scout for their own businesses, look at investment and partnership opportunities and discover what makes the start-up economy in Israel tick. With the establishment of the Australian Landing Pad in Tel Aviv and the increasing volume of hi-tech traffic between the two countries, the innovation relationship between Australia and Israel is growing faster and stronger.
Clean Up Australia, founded in November 1989, was imported to Israel a few years ago and is being carried out annually in different parts of the country. On Sunday, September 19, more than 120 Australian and Israeli volunteers from Zionist youth movements are joining forces to clean up a section of the shoreline of the Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). The idea is to help bring the same spirit that inspired Clean Up Australia to a section of Israel’s most famous body of water. The section chosen is the shoreline near Tzemah, which was the site of a fierce military engagement between Australian troops and Ottoman forces during World War I (with the Australians eventually succeeding in capturing the Tzemah railway station). Earlier this month, old Ottoman shells and unexploded ordnance from the First World War were found at this site.
The Australian Football League match in Hayarkon Park has been previously mentioned in this column, but even for those who may not be particularly partial to football, September 23 still promises to be a fun day, with a stand selling typical Australian fare consumed at sporting events, namely meat pies, sausage rolls, and beer on tap, to help recreate the atmosphere at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, otherwise known as the MCG.
In addition to the above-mentioned hi-tech delegations, a FinTech and cyber delegation sponsored by the New South Wales government is currently in Israel and will participate in the DLD Innovation Festival.
During this period there will also be the Ozraeli launch event at the Peres Peace Center on September 26 with Australian singers, Australian comedians, Australian music, and of course Australian food, beverages and decorations This event is by invitation only.
FREQUENT FLIER World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder flits around the world in much the same way as bus commuters go from one city to another. In Jerusalem at the beginning of last week with the leadership of the WJC, Lauder, a day after meeting with Rivlin, was in Baku meeting with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. Lauder said the situation of Jews in the former Soviet republic, a predominantly Muslim nation which achieved independence in August 1991, is very good, and he thanked the Azeri head of state for such goodwill.
Aliyev emphasized what he said were “excellent relations” of his administration with the Azeri Jewish community, the State of Israel and international NGOs such as the World Jewish Congress.
Aliyev said both Ashkenazi and Mountain Jews had been living in the country for more than two millennia, and all religious and ethnic communities in the country are living in harmony with one another. He also said that there is no censorship, with nearly 70% of Azerbaijan’s population having full access to the Internet.
WJC vice president Yuri Kanner, who is also president of the Russian Jewish Congress, said after the meeting that it had been “a very open and substantial discussion of all key issues of concern to presidents Aliyev and Lauder. The Republic of Azerbaijan celebrates the 25th anniversary of its independence this year, and the people of Azerbaijan have come a long way.
“It is important to understand the processes that happen here today, and to note that they constitute an example for other Muslim- majority countries. The success of this model of multiculturalism was noted by all participants,” he said.
THE NETANYA corruption scandal, which threatens to destroy the political career of Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar, has again raised the issue of limiting the roles of mayor and prime minister to two consecutive terms, the reason being that there will be fewer opportunities for corruption if mayors and prime ministers know from the start that there is limited time at their disposal and that they’re not entering into something that they could turn into a lifetime job.
Zvi Zilker, the former mayor of Ashdod, was Israel’s longest-serving mayor, having been 33years in office (albeit not consecutively), prior to his defeat in 2008 by Yehiel Lasri. Jerusalem’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek was in office for 28 years, before losing out to Ehud Olmert. Eliyahu Nawi served as mayor of Beersheba for 23 years, and of the current crop of mayors, Ma’alot-Tarshiha’s Shlomo Buhbut has broken all records in the country and this year celebrates his 40th anniversary as mayor.
Adi Eldar of Karmiel has been mayor for 27 years, as has Yokne’am’s Simon Alfasi. At least four other mayors – Moti Sasson of Holon, Haim Tzuri of Kiryat Motzkin, Yoel Lavi of Ramle and Yossi Shabo of Ness Ziona – have been in office for 23 years. Former Ramat Gan Mayor Zvi Bar, who was convicted of bribery, breach of trust and money laundering, served as mayor for almost 25 years.
Fierberg-Ikar has served for 18 years, and in all probability would also have been elected the next time around, given the extent to which Netanya has developed on her watch.
Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s longest- serving prime minister, having broken the record previously held by David Ben-Gurion.
There are many people who would prefer not to have Netanyahu as prime minister, but say there is no replacement. But if Netanyahu or any other prime minister were limited to two successive terms, there would have to be a replacement, regardless of whether that person could do a better job than Netanyahu, who if he were working as an employee in a government office instead of as an elected official, would be forced to retire next month when he turns firstname.lastname@example.org