Property in question

The Yemin Moshe mansion has been sold to a non-Jewish Italian millionaire for NIS 12.5 million.

Nir Barkat
THE YEMIN MOSHE mansion of colorful and somewhat eccentric philanthropist and oil tycoon Guma Aguiar, who disappeared in Florida in June 2013 and was believed drowned when his empty boat returned to shore, has been sold to a non-Jewish Italian millionaire with close ties to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to a report in Yediot Yerushalayim, which says the property was sold for NIS 12.5 million.
Aguiar had purchased two adjoining apartments facing the Western Wall, and had broken through them to convert the premises into one large, three-story house. Ownership of the property was in dispute between Aguiar’s wife and his mother following the disappearance; the Custodian of Absentee Property appointed two separate law firms to act on behalf of the two parties.
Aguiar had other properties in Israel, which are expected to go on the market after he is officially declared dead. So far, in Israel at least, he is still considered to be missing. Even in the US, where he was heavily in debt, his disappearance is regarded in some circles as a scam designed to avoid meeting his financial obligations.
NO ONE understands the pain of loss of a loved one more than someone who has already experienced it. Some of those who have, such as Miriam Peretz – who lost two soldier sons, Uriel and Eliraz; and Hadas Mizrahi, the widow of Police Supt. Baruch Mizrahi, who was shot on his way to the Passover Seder, are among those who are traveling from city to city and town to town to try to comfort bereaved parents, wives and siblings of fallen soldiers. Peretz’s daughter Bat-El is doing the same.
THE NUMBER of Jerusalemites among the IDF casualties in Operation Protective Edge is disproportionate in relation to fallen soldiers from other parts of the country. Mayor Nir Barkat has been to more funerals on Mount Herzl in recent days than he ever imagined he would attend.
Barkat is all too familiar with the horrors of war. A former officer with the Paratroop Brigade, he was a company commander in the First Lebanon War, in which his brother also fought.
Many Jerusalemites have also attended the funerals on Mount Herzl, whether they knew the deceased soldiers or not.
There seems to be a widespread desire to express appreciation for what each and every soldier in the IDF is risking for the safety and security of the nation. Similarly, untold numbers of people are attending shiva services at the homes of grieving families as part of a spontaneous national solidarity campaign.
For example, when Larry Wachsman learned of the death of Sgt. Barkai Yishai Shor, 21, whose family lives in the same neighborhood as he does, he felt he had to go and offer words of comfort, even though he was not acquainted with the Shors.
To his surprise, he discovered the family had many years ago attended Hazvi Yisrael synagogue, where Wachsman is one of the stalwarts of the congregation.
Barkai’s father told him that when his late son had been a little boy of six, there had been a congregant in his late 80s by the name of Gross, who was so feeble he could barely cross the road. Barkai took it upon himself to carry the man’s tallit bag, so the man had better control of his balance. On the rare occasions that a member of Gross’s family came to the synagogue to help him get home, he refused, saying he was waiting for Barkai, who was his regular helper.
Wachsman, who is responsible for sending out synagogue notices, subsequently contacted Gross’s son – who confirmed his father was always talking about a little boy named Barkai.
Needless to say, following the communication, members of the Gross family also found their way to the Shor home to try to comfort the mourners.
JERUSALEM’S GREAT SYNAGOGUE, under ordinary circumstances, might have been a most appropriate venue in which to honor kidnapped and murdered yeshiva students Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah. However, it should have learned from its experience last year with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – that while it may have one of the largest-capacity seating facilities among synagogues in the capital, having a mega-event at which hundreds of people were unable to gain access for lack of space was not the way to win friends and influence people.
Given the huge attendance at the funerals of the young students and at the shiva services in their homes, organizers should have realized – after placing large advertisements in the Hebrew media and disseminating mass emails – that the Great Synagogue was much too small a venue for all those who wanted to come and pay their respects to the exemplary families in which the three victims were raised, while simultaneously demonstrating solidarity with their plight.
Indeed, busloads of people came in from all over the country. A large section of King George Avenue was closed to traffic, and thousands of people were left standing outside because police and the employees of the Protect security agency would not let them through. Some leeway was given to yeshiva students recognized by some of the organizers, who were on the synagogue side of the metal barriers and were quickly whisked past, but the entreaties of relatives of the three families were largely ignored. Most were left weeping at the barriers, pleading over and over to be allowed inside, to no avail.
What was particularly galling was that a considerable number of very senior members left the synagogue soon after the commencement of the memorial event, but people standing outside were not allowed in as others came out.
Also denied access for quite a long time was cantor Avreimi Kirshenbaum, who was scheduled to sing with the synagogue choir. Kirshenbaum arrived with several colleagues, all obviously haredi, who vouched for him, but the stocky “commander in chief” of the Protect team kept him at bay – just as he did almost everyone else.
To add insult to injury, he was totally disrespectful of the solemnity of the occasion and kept talking and joking with his crew, so that those nearest to him in the crowd could not hear the speeches broadcast from the synagogue.
Moreover, both the police and the Protect people were in violation of the law by chain-smoking smelly cigarettes, hand-rolled by at least one of the offenders, and stubbing the butts out on the external premises of the synagogue. When asked whether it was proper for them to break the law, they just shrugged and continued smoking.
Among the group that accompanied Kirshenbaum was fellow cantor Yigal Han, a Korean convert to Judaism, who knew all the songs sung by IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson and sang along while standing in the crowd.
Next time there is a need for a mega-event of any kind in the capital, organizers should think more in terms of the Jerusalem International Convention Center, Teddy Stadium or the soon-to-be-inaugurated, huge Arena multi-purpose center in Malha. People should not have to travel from the North and South to Jerusalem, only to learn they can’t be admitted for lack of space.
JERUSALEM-BASED Mobileye N.V., which was founded in 1999 by Prof. Amnon Shashua of the Hebrew University and businessman Ziv Amiram for the purpose of developing advanced driver assistance systems, and subsequently developed software for hands-free driving, last Thursday raised $890 million in its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. This was the largest-ever IPO by an Israeli company in the US.