Celebrity Grapevine

Shimon Peres toured Arad and met with high school students with Israel's most famous prize-winning author, Amos Oz.

amos oz 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
amos oz 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
ISRAEL'S ENTERTAINMENT industry suffered a severe blow last week with the deaths on Tuesday of Mosko (Moscu) Alkalai and Shosh Atari, who were buried on Wednesday within an hour of each other. Alkalai was a revered actor and former head of Israel's Actors' Union (EMI). He was also a recipient of the Israel Film Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Atari, who was a veteran radio and television broadcaster as well as an actress, was mourned not only by her large family (that includes her sister, well-known singer and actress Gali Atari), but also by Israel Radio and Israel Television. References were made to her all day Wednesday on Israel Radio, with friends and colleagues sharing reminiscences with listeners. In addition to covering her funeral, which was attended by numerous Broadcasting Authority personalities, Israel Television also replayed an episode of a show starring Tal Berman in which he tours the country in the company of well known personalities to collect memorabilia for Israel 60th anniversary. His tour with Atari took them to Israel Television headquarters where they met up with arts reporter Sari Raz, who has been with ITV since day one. The tour also included getting hold of the wheel of Abie Nathan's Peace Ship, which the almost financially destitute Nathan was forced to sink in November 1993. Atari, who confessed to being afraid of water, nonetheless went out to sea with Berman and a couple of people from Nathan's Voice of Peace team. Of the many eulogies which Atari's friends delivered on Israel Radio, the most common thread was her vibrant, upbeat personality, her enormous range of knowledge and her constant smile. News anchor Arye Golan recalled how Atari, who suffered from kidney problems as a child and later traveled to America for a kidney transplant, had fought tooth and nail to be allowed to do army service. The IDF initially refused her for medical reasons, but eventually relented and allowed her to serve on Army Radio. Golan compared her eagerness to serve with the situation today in which so many young entertainers are finding ways in which to avoid army service. Atari was also a keen advocate for transplants, and frequently told listeners that organs buried in the ground don't do anyone any good, whereas those that are transplanted could save lives. IS IT money or religion or both? Yediot Aharonot reported that singer Ruhama Raz, who was supposed to appear today at the inauguration of the Teddy Kollek High School in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, was suddenly dropped from the event's program. Raz, who had been very close to former Jerusalem mayor Kollek, was devastated. Why did they exclude her? Someone reportedly told Raz that her appearance had been cancelled in deference to the religious sensibilities of Mayor Uri Lupolianski. In haredi circles it is forbidden to listen to the voice of a woman singing. However the spokesman's office at the Jerusalem Municipality denied that there had been any instructions from the mayor to take Raz off the program. It was simply that there been a dispute over the budget for the event, and because there were other singers from the school, Raz's services weren't necessary. Municipality spokesman Gidi Schmerling added that female singers are scheduled to perform at numerous events this year, and Raz has previously appeared at other events attended by Lupolianski. Apropos Kollek, Kibbutz Ein Gev, which Kollek and his wife Tamar helped to found 71 years ago, will hold an annual symposium in his memory on the anniversary of his death. Kollek, who was the Kibbutz treasurer, also pioneered its tourist industry and continued to maintain contact with Ein Gev while serving in the Jerusalem Municipality. HEADS OF State and political leaders are constantly surrounded by television crews, but most of what these crews record is confined to archives and seldom sees the light of day. One of the exceptions to the rule is the controversial documentary Citizen Havel, the story of the dissident playwright Vaclav Havel who spent two terms as president of Czechoslovakia. The film, which provides fascinating insight into Havel's private persona, will be screened at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on April 6, 10 and 11. IT'S COMMON knowledge that President Shimon Peres loves to be in the company of young people. He also loves to read and to be in the company of authors. Last Thursday he was able to enjoy both pleasures simultaneously when he toured Arad and met with high school students and with Israel's most famous prize-winning author, Amos Oz, an Arad resident. Both Peres and Oz addressed the students and fielded questions.