DESPITE ALL the media hype that suggested that Carla Bruni Sarkozy would give President Shimon Peres a copy of her latest album, as far as anyone at Beit Hanassi knows, the album was not included in either the official or unofficial exchange of gifts. If Peres wants to hear Bruni sing, he will have to wait like the rest of us until July 21, when her third album, Comme si de rien n'etait (As If Nothing Had Happened), is released. Although her second album, No Promises, was not nearly as successful as her debut Quelqu'un m'a dit, released six years ago, it stands to reason that the third album will create interest not only because she is a talented singer, but because she became first lady of France after a whirlwind, highly publicized romance with President Nicolas Sarkozy. Bruni certainly excited more media attention in Israel than her husband, and a cartoon in Ha'aretz showed a stream of photographers bypassing him at the bottom of the stairs of the plane as they rushed forward to photograph Bruni, who was framed in the doorway.
ANOTHER DOSE of France with a familiar flavor can be expected when Yael Naim arrives in Israel at the end of July for three concerts. Former air force commander Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, who in recent years has become a television personality, reminded listeners in an interview on Israel Radio last week that the French-born Israeli singer began her career as a soloist with the Israel Air Force entertainment unit.
ONE CAN only presume that neither Dudu Fisher nor David De'or is afraid of heights. At the official launch of Jerusalem's controversial Bridge of Strings, the two were suspended in the carriages of separate cranes high over the heads of the thousands in the audience. Fisher's crane was higher, which made him less visible. Plus, it was positioned in such a way that part of the audience could barely see him - but they could hear him when he appropriately sang "All The World is a Narrow Bridge (Kol Ha'olam Kulo, Gesher Tzar Me'od)." De'or's crane was in a more central position, and because he was wearing a white shirt, he stood out more than Fisher; he really seemed to be enjoying himself.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski credited Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as being the visionary behind the bridge, while Olmert spoke of his first meeting with world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. He recalled Calatrava's statement that when one builds in Jerusalem, one builds for eternity. Olmert saw the bridge as a symbol binding the past to the present and the future. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, aware of the frustrations of Jerusalemites who are tired of delays in completing the light rail system and the express train to Tel Aviv, told the residents of the Holy City to have patience and not lose hope.
Although the bridge is controversial both because of its exorbitant cost and its placement, the real controversy at the opening ceremony swirled around the female dancers. Even though they were already respectably dressed in white, high-necked tops and ankle-length pants, they were forced almost at the last minute to wear robes that hid their figures and head gear that hid their hair so that religious elements in the audience would not be offended.
ALTHOUGH SHE was also wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved outfit, eyeglasses and a long blonde wig, it didn't take long for customers at a haredi supermarket in Jerusalem to recognize the woman behind the checkout counter as Ninette Tayeb and ask to be photographed with her. Tayeb wanted to get the feel of the role she will be playing in a new movie, Walls, which she is scheduled to begin shooting in a few weeks. Tayeb fled before the scene got out of hand.
NUMEROUS CELEBRITIES, art collectors and members of the Tel Aviv social set made their way to the Tel Aviv port earlier this month for the opening of Ronald Fuhrer's Golconda Exchange. Among the faces in the crowd were those of cosmetics queen Pnina Rosenblum and best-selling author Ram Oren.
WHEN BOTH of your parents are in the entertainment business, it's pretty much on the cards that you will follow. That's what has happened to Omer Datz, 15, the son of Orna and Moshe Datz. After making several appearances on Nickelodeon's Beatnik, Datz Jr. has been signed up for a permanent Thursday-night spot, along with occasional roles in MTV productions.
THE NEW Hamashbir Letzarchan may not regard itself as a family-reunion agency, but that's what it has indirectly become. Actress and model Sandy Bar will come home from Los Angeles this summer with her son Liam for a photo shoot for the department store chain. She will receive not only $120,000, but also a chance to be reunited with her family and that of her husband, Aki Avni. Last time she was here to do a Hamashbir photo shoot, Bar fell in love with several of the garments that she modeled, so Hamashbir packed them into a suitcase and shipped them off to LA.