Grapevine: Remembering Dov Shilansky

Jabotinsky Institute to mark a year since the passing of genial lawyer and former Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky.

dov shilansky 311 (photo credit: Knesset)
dov shilansky 311
(photo credit: Knesset)
THE JABOTINSKY Institute will on Tuesday, January 24, at 6 p.m. mark a year since the passing of genial lawyer and former Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky.
A Holocaust survivor who joined the Irgun, came to Israel on the ill-fated Atalena and fought in the War of Independence, Shilansky was arrested and imprisoned four years later while attempting to smuggle a suitcase bomb into the Foreign Ministry. The bomb was his means of protest against negotiations between Israel and Germany for payment of reparations. As a Holocaust survivor, Shilansky did not want to allow the Germans anything that would help to whitewash the national conscience.
He was accused of being a member of a subversive underground organization.
Prison did not break his spirit and he continued to be a patriotic Israeli serving as a reservist in the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
He was also a senior civil defense officer.
His spell in prison did not prevent Shilansky from getting a law degree from the Hebrew University and subsequently becoming a member of the ethics committee of the Israel Bar Association. Nor did it get in the way of his being elected speaker of the Knesset. Keynote speaker at the tribute in Shilansky’s honor will be Gilad Erdan, minister for environmental protection, whose topic will be the Knesset and the government..
■ WHEN AUSTRALIANS David and Bridget Belfer came to Israel to celebrate the bar mitzva of their son, Jesse, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, it was an exercise in family togetherness. David Belfer’s parents, Rabbi Edward and Frances Belfer, his sister Aviva and his brother Simon all live in Israel and this was a good opportunity for the children of the two brothers to get closer to each other, especially because, although they are geographically divided, not much divides them age-wise. The whole family of 12 spent a week in Eilat together prior to the bar mitzva. At the wall, Jesse’s voice was almost drowned out by the bar mitzva boy at the adjacent table. The neighboring boy’s family had brought a microphone so that female relatives and friends on the other side could hear him.
Although the bar mitzva was in Jerusalem, the Belfers’ relatives and friends didn’t miss out. They participated via webcam, and David Belfer specially wore a bright yellow shirt so that he could be distinguished in the crowd.
They shared the area beneath the arches with families of North African, South American and Kazakhstani backgrounds, and the cacophony of traditional songs was close to deafening. The family brought along loads of food and a trestle table, and took a tour of the tunnels underneath the walls after the celebration.
■ OVER THE past 40 years or so, just about every television reporter on Channel 1 has worked with Meir Haimi, the legendary supervisor of Channel 1’s mobile studios. Haimi, who started working for the Israel Broadcasting Authority 42 years ago, has finally reached retirement age and Channel 1 television personalities past and present showed up in Jerusalem last week to give him the warmest possible send-off to the next phase of his life and to trade anecdotes about assignments carried out in all weather conditions and frequently against all odds, especially in wartime. They talked about mobile television units that were poorly equipped and could barely move, but that were somehow the vehicles for conveying the stories of the day as evidenced in untold reams of archive footage. Among the faces in the crowd were those of former CEO of Israel Television Yair Stern, former chief producer of the news segments on Channel 1 and current chief producer at Channel 10 Amnon Barkai, former Channel 1 news reporters Guy Peleg, Gilad Adin, Nitzan Chen, Yigal Goren, Shlomi Eldar, Yoav Limor and Naphtali Ben-Simon and reporters and anchors still work there, including them Oded Shahar, Avi First, Uri Levy, Uri Cohen Aharonov and many other familiar faces. One after another, they rose to tell stories related to news coverage and Meir Haimi, leaving no doubt that he had made a lasting impression in their lives.
■ WHEN YOUR mother is near the top of the totem pole of an international media organization and your father is a well-known diplomat, a lot of media and diplomatic savvy is bound to rub off. It certainly did for 16-year-old Jerusalemite David Issacharoff who, according to his parents, is a political savant of the first order and an absolute expert on US politics.
David is the son of American mother Laura Kam, the executive director of global affairs in the Jerusalem office of The Israel Project and British father Jeremy Issacharoff, the former deputy chief of mission at the Israel Embassy in Washington and current deputy director for strategic affairs at Israel’s Foreign Ministry. David was invited to blog on the new Huffington Post High School website, and his first piece was published on January 10 as the lead story.
After introducing himself, David wrote that “People might say that politics is for adults, and while it’s true that most teens are not aware of politics and government, I believe that it’s extremely important for teens to know politics, and I hope to help and inform anyone who is interested.
“Apart for my studies, I take part in the Israeli Model UN and I enjoy debating, writing, acting, and going out and laughing. I absolutely love Jerusalem, as it’s one of the world’s most disputed and fought-over cities, but it’s also fun, eccentric and exciting.”
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