Celebrity Grapevine

Shoshana Damari doesn't have to worry about singer Ussa usurping her crown of anemones.

Shoshan Damari 88 224 (photo credit: HOT)
Shoshan Damari 88 224
(photo credit: HOT)
LIFE IS all about choices, and it seems that television personality Gadi Sukenik, a former news anchor at Channel 2, made the wrong choice when he agreed to host the controversial television show Polygraph. The program antagonized so many viewers that it became a subject of debate at the Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee. While Polygraph, produced by Reshet, may do well in the ratings, it will apparently cost Sukenik dearly in income. According to a report in The Marker, Leumi Mortgage Bank, with which Sukenik has a $600,000, three-year contract to be the show's presenter, has been embarrassed by the unsavory nature of the show and the publicity which it has received, and is therefore in the process of cancelling its arrangement with Sukenik. That would deprive him of $400,000 in promised earnings. Of course, only Sukenik, his lawyer and the legal representatives of the bank know what's in the fine print of the contract. If there is no conditional clause related to his other professional activities, the bank may have to pay him off, even if it decides not to use his services. It's questionable how the bank can afford to pay so much to a celebrity for sticking his face in its commercials, but is still hanging onto assets deposited before World War II by European Jews who did not survive the Holocaust.
  • WHILE ON the subject of Holocaust survivors and their heirs, Yaron Enosh, who conducts a daily program on Israel Radio in which listeners searching for long-lost relatives or friends call in, is still inundated with requests from people trying to make contact with loved ones and childhood friends 63 years after the end of the war. Lawyers entrusted with the estates of Holocaust survivors who died without leaving a will are also calling Enosh, hoping to find relatives of the deceased. In recent months, Enosh has added an additional corner to the program in which Hashava, a Tel Aviv-based organization (whose official name in English is Holocaust Victims Assets Restitution), provides a short list of names of Holocaust victims who left no wills and whose relatives, if they exist, could be beneficiaries of their estates. The program, though heart-wrenching, has borne fruit both in terms of family and friends reunions and locating beneficiaries of deceased estates.
  • JERUSALEM-BASED reporter Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily.com, author of the best-selling book Schmoozing with Terrorists, guest-hosted a national US radio show last week from Israel. He brought information about the Jewish state to an estimated four million American radio listeners. Klein was filling in for leading US radio host Rusty Humphries, who broadcasts through Talk Radio Network to more than 250 stations across the US.
  • MOVIE LISTINGS during school vacations are usually chock-a-block with entertainment fare designed for the pre-pubescent. It's not till the evening that the entertainment lineup is geared toward adults. Because this can cause some frustration, the management of the Seven Stars Mall (Sheva Kochavim) in Herzliya has introduced a program of Morning Movies that includes a buffet of baked goods, soft drinks and coffee, a lecture and a movie for the amazingly reasonable price of NIS 45. The matinee launch is on Wednesday, August 6, with the buffet bar opening at 10 a.m., the lecture by director, producer and screenwriter Nissim Dayan at 10:30 a.m. and the light-hearted movie Mamma Mia! will screen at 11:15 a.m.
  • AS FAR as made-in-Israel movies go, veteran filmmaker Menahem Golan, who at 78 is still going strong, premiered his latest production, Haketuba (The Marriage Contract), at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque - and the whole cast was there to do him proud. Better still, celebrity designer Yaron Minkovski provided the outfits for the three female stars, Anat Barzilai, Hila Aran and Pazit Minkovski, his personal diva and wife. Meir Suissa, the former son-in-law of Yaffa Yarkoni, with whom he continues to maintain a close relationship, came with old friend Smadar Brenner, with whom he hung out in his army entertainment unit days. There were many other well-known faces from the entertainment world, too. Golan, who hit the big time when he produced Salah Shabati, paid tribute to his old friend, Hungarian Holocaust survivor Ephraim Kishon, who created Salah Shabati and enjoyed tremendous successes on stage and screen.
  • IN RELIGIOUS circles, pregnancy is usually kept under wraps until a woman is showing. And that's the way Channel 2's Sivan Rahav-Meir, 27, does it, too. She's expecting her third child. The television presenter has not allowed motherhood to interfere with her career. She is married to print, radio and television journalist Yedidia Meir, with whom she also writes articles and books.
  • THE QUEEN is dead. Long live the queen. Or not. Although radio DJs are playing a recording by a singer named Ussa of what could be interpreted as an iconoclastic version of "Kalaniot" (Anemones), the melody widely regarded as the late Shoshana Damari's signature song, they seem to be doing so in order to be able to comment negatively on the new interpretation. Admittedly, Damari gave an exaggerated sense of drama to red anemones, whereas Ussa's approach is much more airy fairy - but she really kills something that has become embedded in Israel's national music tradition. Still, that's one way to become famous.