FRIDAY AFTERNOON radio listeners will be pleased to know that Yehoram Gaon will be returning to Reshet Bet with his comments on current affairs. Gaon, one of Israel's most famous singers, is also well known for his thespian talents and for hosting various television shows. Because he has been working on a new stage show, he absented himself from the radio for several weeks, much to the dismay of his many fans. The Israel Broadcasting Authority received numerous queries about why his current affairs program was no longer on air, prompting IBA chairman Moshe Gavish to arrange a meeting with Gaon, with the request that he resume his Friday broadcasts. After learning how much he was missed, Gaon could hardly refuse.
ALMOST EVERY country has entertainers who are better known abroad than they are at home. Stop anyone in the street and ask them if they know anything about the Yood Power Rock Trio, and unless the person you've stopped is an evacuee from Gaza or someone who attended the Dead Sea Festival, what you'll get in response is a blank stare. However, Yood, formed in 2005 in the aftermath of Israel's disengagement from Gaza, is well known on those US campuses in which there are Chabad Houses. Inspired by hassidic teachings, Yood - comprising guitarist, vocalist and harmonica player Lazer Lloyd, bass player and vocalist Yaakov Lefcoe and drummer Akiva Girsh - set the lyrics gleaned from these teaching to music that is a blend of blues and classic rock with some country and western overtones. Aware that music can bring people of diverse backgrounds and opinions together, the trio, concerned about the schisms in Israeli society, decided to pool their talents. A year ago, they started touring the US to perform at campus-based Chabad Houses and have amassed a huge following, including non-Jews. Like most other spirituality-oriented musicians who use music as a vehicle to connect with people, the three do not disappear when the concert is over but stay to rap with the audience and also maintain e-mail contact with some of them.
ACCORDING TO Yediot Aharonot, internationally acclaimed Spanish singer Julio Iglesias is coming to Israel, even though Israel is not listed on his world tour schedule, which began in January. Iglesias will apparently be performing at the wedding of businessman Roni Mana and fashion model Jenny Chervoney, who announced their wedding plans some months ago but have not yet set a date. They're waiting to find out when Iglesias can be available. Mana was previously married to former Miss Israel Nicole Halperin. The two had an acrimonious divorce after 13 years of marriage, and she is now married to Ofer Levi, who is part of Israel's security establishment. Mana and Halperin have since settled their differences and now have an amicable relationship, making life much easier for their children. Mana, who had a falling out with business tycoon Arkadyi Gaydamak after having been the middle man in many of Gaydamak's transactions, sued him last year for NIS 21 million.
APROPOS GAYDAMAK, who suffered such an ignominious defeat in Jerusalem's mayoral elections, it was Israel Television sports anchor Bonnie Ginzberg who helped to put the nail in the coffin of Gaydamak's aspirations. Ginzberg said on TV that Gaydamak was using Betar players who were not even residents of Jerusalem to help him in his campaign, especially in the Mahane Yehuda market where most of the vendors are avid Betar supporters. Since Gaydamak owns the team, said Ginzberg, the players could not refuse because Gaydamak pays their salaries. Gaydamak, who bought the ailing Betar team when it was in danger of disappearing from the sports map, has not received much joy from the investment. He also bought Bikur Holim hospital, which had been so mismanaged by members of the Porush family, that it was put into receivership. He also supports numerous social welfare projects in Jerusalem - but none of this helped him at the ballot box. Israel Radio reported that Gaydamak is so disillusioned that he might be willing to give away rather than sell Betar if someone would take it off his hands.
TO CELEBRATE the start of shooting for the new sitcom Wonderful Divorce, the show's stars Assi Levi, Dov Navon, Lital Schwartz, Uri Feffer, Lior Raz, Orna Pitusi, Eyal Schachter, Liat Tamari and Tamar Shem-Or took time out at GG Studios to raise a glass to toast their joint venture. It makes for a change. It's usually at weddings that people make the toast. Divorce too often calls for other measures.
THERE ARE three major destinations in the travel plans of actress and singer Noa Tishby: Israel, which is home; America, where she works; and Australia, which is home to her husband, Andrew G., the host of Australian Idol, the Down-Under version of American Idol and Kochav Nolad. Tishby spends much of her time in Los Angeles, where she is in demand for feature films and television productions. In Israel, she has family and friends but is also the model for ml. She's currently in Australia getting together with the Gunsberg clan, who are Andrew G.'s family, and meeting his friends and colleagues. It's just possible that she may also find work in Australia. That would save her from having a long-distance marriage, which is not the healthiest or the safest of relationships, even if the reunions are like honeymoons. While in Australia, Tishby will take the opportunity to travel widely so she can take in the continent's beauty and diversity.