Three or four years back, singer, songwriter, musician and composer Dudu Aharon was causing his mother great distress in his ongoing role as an eligible bachelor. She wanted him to get married and have children, who would be her grandchildren. The young ladies whom he squired temporarily became the queens of the gossip columns – but none of those outings led to romance.
To please his mother as well as to boost his career, Aharon starred in a reality show, The Bachelor, in which beautiful young women competed for his attention. Within the framework of the show, which was screened on Channel 10, he had romantic dates with all of them, but none of those brief relationships culminated in a walk under the bridal canopy.
Tzippora Aharon was getting truly desperate – and then Dudu met the love of his life – Shir Rosenblum.
And guess what? Mama couldn’t bear the sight of her. When things began to look very serious, Tzippora, determined to get Rosenblum out of Dudu’s life, employed an exorcist. The story made headlines, and was embarrassing for Dudu, but the effort proved futile at the time, and instead of going their separate ways, Shir and Dudu announced their engagement and moved into an apartment together.
Tzippora subsequently blamed Shir for taking Dudu away from his family and not allowing his parents to visit. The whole affair would have been a strain under any circumstances, but more so given its frequent media coverage. The bottom line was that mama finally triumphed, and this week Shir and Dudu announced that the wedding is off, along with their relationship.
He’s going to be very careful the next time his mother nags him to get married.
■ IT LOOKS like Israel Peleg, the CEO of the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, will soon be out of a job. The company is on the verge of being dismantled, and no one really knows how many unclaimed assets are still waiting to be discovered. Even if the company would not be closing, Peleg would have had to step down next year when he turns 67.
His current position may not be the last. There are plenty of people with good connections who succeed in getting prestigious jobs after reaching retirement age, and Peleg has an impressive CV.
He has been director of the Government Central Information Office, coordinator of Israel’s 25th anniversary celebrations, spokesman for the Labor Alignment, lecturer on media and politics at Tel Aviv University, director-general of the Environment Ministry, consul-general in Philadelphia, director of the Government Press Office, and chairman and president of the H&O chain of clothing stores. Among other roles, he is also honorary consul of Cape Verde. And that’s just a short list.
He has also served on the boards of directors of several leading companies, including El Al, so there’s no shortage of contacts of people in high places, should he want to continue working.
■ EL AL president David Maimon, together with deputy CEO customer service Yehudit Grisaro and project manager Alon Futerman, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the El Al Ambassadors project, whereby El Al crew members at their various destinations abroad voluntarily speak to Jewish and non-Jewish groups about life in Israel, thereby fostering goodwill toward the country. To date, some 300 members of El Al crews have participated in the program, some of them many times over. The program is implemented in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Jewish Agency.
■ IT IS appalling to think that more than 70 years after the war, there are still Holocaust survivors who are not receiving any form of reparations, or who are receiving minimal assistance. On Monday, January 30, at 9 p.m., Gili Tamir, who twice a week hosts a program advising listeners of their rights – especially in matters of social welfare – and how to go about claiming them, will have a special program on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet to advise Holocaust survivors of their rights.
■ ON MONDAY, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid met with some of the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post in an off-the-record discussion.
When his spokesman was asked permission to quote a self-deprecating joke by Lapid that had nothing to do with politics or security, the answer was “no,” and the Post kept its end of the bargain.
However, in the same week, Lapid was interviewed on Kan, the yetto- be-launched replacement for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and said much the same as he had said to Post editors and reporters.
The difference was that Kan put out a press release with a synopsis of what Lapid had said, and Lapid was subsequently interviewed on other electronic media outlets.
■ CHINESE AMBASSADOR Zhan Yongxin, in an article in Post last week, paid tribute to friends who contributed to China-Israel relations during the 25 years in which there have been diplomatic ties between the two countries. In this context, he mentioned Shimon Peres and football star Eran Zahavi, who is playing with a Chinese team, and, who he said has become the idol of many Chinese fans. The ambassador also mentioned that, historically, exchanges between China and the Jewish people date back a thousand years.
However, he did not mention that in September 1954, as a result of overtures made by former MK and diplomat David Hacohen, Zhou Enlai, in September 1954, at the first session of the First National People’s Congress, stated that contacts were being made with a view to establishing normal relations between China and Israel.
Toward the end of 1986, in the course of an official visit to Southeast Asia and the Pacific, president Chaim Herzog made a secret trip from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.
Even before that, in the 1970s, business tycoon Shaul Eisenberg pioneered trade relations between Israel and China. In November 1991, Moshe Arens, who was then defense minister, visited Beijing, causing speculation that formal diplomatic ties would be announced in 1992 – which is what actually happened.
There was particular excitement in China exactly 10 years ago when then-prime minister Ehud Olmert paid an official visit, because more than any other high-ranking Israeli, Olmert had family ties in China.
His father was raised in Harbin, and his grandfather is buried there.
■ JUST OVER a week ago, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, in her Friday radio program on Reshet Bet, took former ORT student Sapir Sabah to task for a Facebook post in which Sabah expressed her disdain for Arabs and leftists in the most xenophobic fashion, saying inter alia that she would never go out with a leftist or an Arab. This same young woman previously accused Adam Vertes, a teacher of civics at ORT in Kiryat Tivon, of voicing opinions against the state. She reported him in a letter that she wrote to then-education minister Shai Piron.
Nir-Mozes, who is married to former Likud minister Silvan Shalom, was previously married to Labor activist Amiram Nir, who died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico in November 1988. She therefore is familiar with both sides of the political coin. She suggested that Sabah had been brainwashed by politicians who seek to incite, and reminded her that the founders and builders of the state, in which she can walk freely, were leftists. Moreover, she said, leftists love Israel no less than people on the political Right. “They just think differently.”
■ AUSTRIAN MINISTER of Culture Thomas Drozda, who is currently in Israel, will open Austrian Film Week at the Holon Cinematheque on Saturday evening, January 28.
The event will feature five short films which have been nominated for the Oscar in the Academy Awards Short Film category. Also in attendance will be Austrian Ambassador Martin Weiss. The event is under the auspices of the Austrian Cultural Forum in conjunction with the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
■ LEADING ISRAELI economist Prof. Eytan Sheshinski has joined the Israel Democracy Institute as a senior researcher in the Center for Governance and the Economy, under the leadership of Daphna Aviram-Nitzan. Sheshinski will deal with the challenges of society and economy in Israel, in the midto- long term, including reforming the pension system and reducing the inequality inherent in it. His work comes on the backdrop of concerns that maintaining the current situation will jeopardize the future of pensions for Israel’s young people. Sheshinski’s preliminary conclusions will be presented later this year at IDI’s Eli Hurvitz Conference on Society and the Economy.
Sheshinski’s areas of expertise include public economy, the economy of natural resources and pension systems. He is a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and was a guest lecturer in leading universities around the world. He headed many governmental committees, including those that decided on how to tax natural gas, oil and other natural resources. The conclusions of his work were adopted by the Knesset (Sheshinski Law of 2011 and the second Sheshinski Law of 2015).
Sheshinski also served as head of the board of directors of Koor and on the boards of multiple other large public companies. He is a professor (emeritus) in the department of economics at the Hebrew University.