IT'S NOT every day that you get an orchestra playing in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market - and we're not talking about just any old orchestra, but one that was awarded the Israel Prize in 2006. However, it was a mournful concert last week, following the demise of the Andalusian Orchestra, whose members went on strike a few days earlier to protest their miserable working conditions and low salaries. In response, the management decided to call it quits, shattering the orchestra's harmony with a harsh note of discord. Members of the orchestra and other employees of the umbrella organization that managed the orchestra had declared a work dispute seven months ago and turned to the Histadrut for support. On the advice of the Histadrut, they went on strike, and the management subsequently decided to fire them all. It was a black day for everyone, but particularly for the orchestra's cofounder, Moti Malcha, who together with current Ashdod mayor Yehiel Lasri turned a dream into a reality 14 years ago. Andalusia was famous for preserving the liturgical melodies of North African Jewry as well as bringing Arab music to the Israeli public.
TWO FORMER media stars, Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich and Nitzan Horowitz, were among a group of panelists representing Labor, the New Meretz, Kadima, Likud and the Pensioners Party who appeared before several hundred senior citizens at the Palace protected living center in Tel Aviv. Horowitz is a civil rights and environmental activist who was founder and editor of the foreign news desk at Channel 10, and before that, foreign affairs editor and foreign correspondent for Haaretz. Yacimovich said that when she was working for Channel 2 and earning much more than she gets as an MK, she nonetheless benefitted from tax perks which were part of the economic policy of Binyamin Netanyahu, while people on low incomes did not benefit from his policy at all. Both Yacimovich and Horowitz stressed the importance of enabling people on lower incomes, especially pensioners, to live in dignity. However, that apparently cut no ice with their audience, who in a mock election voted overwhelmingly for Kadima - giving it 40 mandates.
OTHER MEDIA stars Oshrat Kotler, Orna Ben-Dor, Dana Weiss, Bili Moskuna Lerman and Anat Saragusti will appear Sunday at the third annual businesswomen's convention hosted by TheMarkerWomen at the Tel Aviv Museum. The convention is designed to demonstrate that women have become powerful figures in most sectors of Israeli industry, which suggests that talk of "breaking through the glass ceiling" is now passÃ©.
AND ONE more reference to media stars: Haim Yavin, who resigned from Channel 1 last year after a radio and television career that spanned close to half a century, did not stop working, nor has he stopped being in demand. He was recently signed up by the new ownership of Radio 99.
ELIGIBLE BACHELOR and talented actor Oshri Cohen, who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, is also an athlete. He recently went to Holland as a member of the Israeli team in the FussVolley championships. For the uninitiated, FussVolley is a hybrid of volleyball and football and requires strength and flexibility, because players all but have to fly to kick the ball across the net. Cohen, who is known as one of the beach boys of Tel Aviv who loves surfing and other beach and water sports, has become so addicted to FussVolley that he has forsaken his other athletic pursuits. He discovered the sport by chance when watching a group of Brazilian tourists engaged in a game on the beach. Cohen was fascinated and asked them to teach him the rules.
AT AGE 36, Galit Gutman, Israel's enduring supermodel, actress and television hostess, is more than double the age of many of the beautiful young women parading Israel's catwalks. But Gutman apparently has something that defies description: She has just signed on for an 11th season with H&O - a record by Israeli standards. She also remains the muse for exotic evening and bridal designer Dani Mizrahi, whose creations she has been modeling for years. Gutman, the mother of two, looks dynamic in the black swimsuit from H&O's new summer collection in which the focal color is black.
SHE MAY have been a runner-up on A Star is Born, but that's water under the bridge compared to the successes that Shiri Maimon has reaped since then. One of the more memorable moments in her career was the invitation to appear last Thursday night at Ha'oman 17 in Tel Aviv at a party in honor of soldiers who fought in Gaza. When arrangements were being made and the guys were given a choice of who they wanted to sing, it was unanimously Maimon.
FORMER SPOKESMAN for Binyamin Netanyahu and subsequent Israel consul general in Florida and Puerto Rico Shai Bazak, who during his Bibi period earned almost as much publicity as his boss, is now a businessman in Tel Aviv. But more important, he's a new daddy. He and his wife Anna are celebrating the arrival of twins.
WAY BACK when, if a female member of the entertainment industry was expecting a bundle from the stork, she dropped out of sight until the baby was born. Not so the current crop, who add to their incomes by modeling maternity clothes. Case in point is singer and songwriter Dana Berger, who is five months pregnant - and modeling.
POPULAR SINGER Keren Peles and her fiancÃ© Tomer Gertzel have been looking for a suitable venue for their wedding. Meanwhile, they're having a great time sampling menus at various catering establishments.
WHILE MOST wedding ceremonies these days are held at the same venue as the wedding banquet, some people, such as actor Ori Pfeffer and model Yael Goldman, prefer the old tradition of getting married in a synagogue. They're still checking out banquet halls for post-synagogue festivities.
EL AL passengers who tune into the in-flight music channel will be able to hear the Idan Raichel Project's newest album. Raichel and El Al CEO Haim Romano have a close relationship and recently launched a new El Al campaign, the musical background for which features the song "Round Trip Home" (Habayta Haloch Hazor) - one of the songs from the album that can be heard in-flight.
CHANNEL 1's political reporter and commentator Ayala Hasson, who also anchors Israel Radio's It's All Talk, last Thursday urged all Israelis who were concerned about the fate of Gilad Schalit to tie a yellow ribbon to their cars and balconies as a sign of solidarity and as a reminder to the government to do everything in its power to bring him home.