CLAIMS THAT life is stranger than fiction are often well founded. One only has to look at the story of Shari Arison, who announced in the middle of last week that she was getting divorced - for the third time. When the wealthy heiress and philanthropist married Eilat playboy Ofer Glazer six years ago, society pundits said it wouldn't last and cast Glazer in the role of an opportunist who was looking to improve his lot in life. Glazer has also been married twice before, but he's leaving this union a much wealthier man than after the breakup of his previous marriages. Meanwhile, Arison has been in the headlines lately for standing by another man: Bank Hapoalim Chairman Dan Dankner. Arison, who is the bank's controlling shareholder, has been urged by Stanley Fischer, the governor of the Bank of Israel, to get rid of Dankner. So far, that's a divorce that she's not contemplating, and the battle over Dankner, which Fischer had hoped to settle quietly, has become a major news story. Despite the fact that she's the wealthiest woman in Israel, life has not been all that easy for Arison.
THE ISRAEL Broadcasting Authority's huge deficit has stood in the way of the IBA's key mission, which is to encourage, produce and present original Israeli drama. Over the years, there's been a lot of drama in the corridors of the IBA, with infighting among staff members and management. One of the more recent dramas is being acted out in the Jerusalem Labor Court, where veteran journalist Naomi Levitzky is suing the IBA for wrongful dismissal. During the first half of last year, Levitzki began hosting a television show that highlighted media gaffes. Apparently, there were people at the IBA who were not enamored with her - and they decided that she should be taken off the air. Instead of calling her in and informing her face to face, the powers that be sent her an SMS with the news that her show was being removed from the line-up. Levitzky, who some years ago had a romantic liaison with Moshe Gavish, the current chairman of the IBA, claims that he misled her (career-wise) and made many promises which were broken - including the size of her salary and the minimum overall period that her show would remain on the air. She also cited some uncomplimentary remarks allegedly made by Gavish against IBA Director-General Moti Sklar, which Gavish has vehemently denied. Gavish, in a letter circulated to IBA management, declared that he'd had nothing to do with Levitzky for 20 yearsâ€¦ Stay tuned for the next episode.
WHILE MANY local and visiting reporters will get to cover some aspect of the Papal visit, the Prime Minister's Office has decided that the Israel Broadcasting Authority will have exclusivity on total coverage of the visit. Israel Television crews will broadcast live from 24 points around the country and in the Palestinian Authority and will supply feeds to other Israeli television channels and the whole world. According to the IBA spokeswoman, the Papal visit will be the IBA's largest-ever undertaking. However, it will not add to the IBA's coffers. The feeds will be provided free of charge as an Israeli goodwill gesture. The IBA has recruited its best people: Reporting on Channel 1 will be David Witztum, Ya'acov Ahimeir, Yigal Ravid and Ayala Hasson, with the bulk of the coverage assigned to Witztum. However, the main broadcasts will be on Channel 33, the IBA's Arabic language channel, which will play TV host and will have star presenters in Arabic and English hosting panel discussions, doing one-on-one interviews and reporting live. Salman Munir, the head of the Arabic News Division of Israel Television, has been busy getting his best people on board, including the IBA English News team. The IBA's chief producer, Avi Cohen, will be in charge of production.
POPULAR ACTOR, model and television host Michael Lewis gave his family and friends a scare last week when he collapsed into unconsciousness. The 21-year-old heartthrob, who was born with a heart murmur, apparently suffered a heart attack while at home and was rushed to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, where he made a speedy recovery. Lewis may owe his life to man's best friend: his dog Julie, who was the first discover him. The dog began licking his face, and when he didn't respond, began to bark like crazy. The barking alerted family members who came into the room to see what all the commotion was about.
MODEL AND sometime-television hostess Sigal Shahmon wants to be a singer. After Shahmon and Aki Avni split up, they remained good friends. She got married, had two children and got divorced. Somewhere along the line she made an album, which, to put it mildly, was not exactly successful. Undaunted, Shahmon is trying her luck again and is coming out with a second album - which she hopes will have greater appeal.
ESTABLISHED SINGER and dancer Amir Fay Gutman celebrated his 33rd birthday with the release of a new single, "Siba Maspik Tova" (A Good Enough Reason). Among those who came to join in the festivities were Maya Buskila, Tom Avni, Kochi Mordechai, Oded Paz, Corinne Allal, Michal Amdurski and Rami Kleinstein. Kleinstein recently had a brush with the law when he was detained and taken in for questioning on suspicion of possession of narcotics. According to Kleinstein, he doesn't do drugs, and he's never been inclined to try.