Celebrity Grapevine

Gearing up for the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Helsinki, Kobi Oz, with his controversial yet catchy song Push the Button, has a little incentive to win.

kobi oz 88 298 (photo credit: Hot)
kobi oz 88 298
(photo credit: Hot)
FOR MOST Israeli singers, Independence Day is the busiest time of the year. Some have multiple performances, rushing from one stage to another in different parts of the country. Others sing at diaspora celebrations, combining the event with an overseas tour. But according to Yediot Aharonot, Shlomo Artzi did not appear at the Independence Day hoopla sponsored by billionaire philanthropist Arkady Gaydamak because he doesn't do Independence Day performances. At least that was the story Artzi's publicist Ruthie Marom was selling. She confirmed that Artzi had been approached by Gaydamak's people, but that he refused the offer. However, that's not the end of the story. Whether Artzi decided not to work on Independence Day in order to celebrate with his family or whether he simply wanted more money remains unclear. According to Yediot, the fee originally discussed was half a million dollars, which came down to $450,000. And allegedly it was not Artzi, but the producers of the star-studded concert who decided that he wouldn't perform because he was simply too expensive. Rita and Rami Kleinstein received $170,000 and Sarit Hadad was paid something in the range of $30,000. On the other hand, Gaydamak spent a lot more than that on large scale advertisements and commercials to promote the concert. IF THE controversy over whether or not Rafi Ginat, the producer and presenter of the hard-hitting consumer affairs program Kolbotek, should succeed Shalom Kital as director of the Channel 2 News Corporation is not resolved soon, there is a strong likelihood that Kital will remain at the post longer than intended. While principal shareholders in Reshet and Keshet, the two Channel 2 franchisees, are gung-ho about Ginat and are using all the influence at their disposal to ensure that he gets the job, the representatives of the public are opposed to him. One such person is Yitzhak Livni, who chairs the News Corporation's Board of Directors and has been informed that when his tenure expires he will be replaced. The implication is that the next chairman will be more flexible and will bend to the will of Reshet and Keshet. However, a former colleague of Ginat's has threatened that if he is appointed, she will appeal against the appointment to the High Court of Justice on the grounds that the appointment constitutes a breach of the conditions under which Channel 2 was legally constituted. In a letter to chair of the Second Broadcasting Authority Nurit Davosh, former broadcaster Shelly Yacimovich asked whether Ginat, who also seeks to become editor-in-chief of Channel 2 News, would approve an investigative inquiry into the affairs of any of the extraordinary wealthy people who appointed him. Labor MK Yacimovich is reasonably certain that he wouldn't, and that he would remain the servant of his masters rather than serving the interests of democracy. Yacimovich also wrote in her letter to Davosh that if Ginat is appointed, she will take the matter to court. Another factor in the controversy is that Ginat also wants to continue anchoring Kolbotek, and there was talk at one stage that he would also broadcast on the major Channel 2 news programs. Yacimovich, who was a News Corporation employee before she became a legislator, is familiar with what goes on behind the scenes - and she doesn't like it. Prior to joining Channel 2, Yacimovich hosted a current affairs program on Israel Radio where she succeeded in aggravating a lot of people by making the wider public more aware of corruption and injustice. She's still riding that horse, albeit in a different arena. GEARING UP for the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Helsinki on May 12, Kobi Oz, with his controversial yet catchy song Push the Button, has a little extra incentive to win. This year's winner will be given a true "Winner's Tour" by the European Broadcasting Union, beginning immediately after the contest with the aim of enabling the winner to establish an international career. Although Oz is already well-known outside of Israel, and became even better known due to the controversy over the political content of his song, the additional exposure he would get as a Eurovision winner would certainly do him no harm. ADDITIONAL INTEREST in Israel at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival (May 16-27) has been sparked by the fact that father and son Moni Moshonov and Michael Moshonov will be seen there in separate films. The extraordinarily versatile Moni Moshonov, 56, who has won numerous prizes and citations for his performances, will appear in the American film We Own the Night. Michael, 21, stars in the French/Israeli co-production Tehilim.