Grapevine: Amazing place

In fact, the only member of the cabinet who actually lives in Jerusalem is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Naftali Bennett (photo credit: REUTERS)
Naftali Bennett
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ANYONE DESIROUS of learning how to speak, read and write Russian will find the best Russian teacher in the world in Jerusalem. That’s not an idle boast. Ina Rosentuler, a teacher in the Israel Goldstein Youth Village was one of 270 contestants from 41 countries in an international competition for the best Russian teacher in the world, conducted by Russia’s Foreign Ministry. Rosentuler, who immigrated from Russia 19 years ago, has been a teacher for 35 years. She was very proud to represent Israel in Moscow and to show the adjudicators the textbooks from which Israeli students study Russian as a second language. The first phase of the contest was conducted via the Internet, with contestants having to perform certain tasks related to both spoken and literary Russian within a given time period. The jury of linguistic pedagogues narrowed down the finalists to 15, and the second phase of the contest was held in Moscow. Aside from the certificate attesting to her victory and her new title, the prize she received was to choose two graduates from among her students who will receive scholarships to pursue their higher education at academic institutions in Russia.
“OUT OF Zion shall go forth the Law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Business also goes out from Jerusalem, as the founders of the Aroma chain of espresso bars can testify. The first Aroma coffee bar was opened on Hillel Street in 1994. Branches spread out from Jerusalem across the country and subsequently to the US, Canada, Romania, Germany, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Poland. Now another Jerusalem-based food enterprise is making a bid for an international clientele. Brothers Oshri and Eliran Abuhatzeira, who founded the Waffle Bar chain, which started as a small nosh bar in the German Colony 14 years ago, are opening a branch in Helsinki. Why Finland? Simply because an Israeli who lives there happened to be back in the motherland on vacation, sampled the menu at Waffle Bar, and urged the Abuhatzeira brothers to open a franchise in Helsinki. This was not the time they were asked to open a franchise abroad, but they thought that the time was now ripe – and if all goes well, the sky’s the limit.
DR. MICHAEL Widlanski is good at telling anecdotes and at analyzing the overall situation in the Middle East as well as specific areas of political, religious or armed conflict – or a mix of all three.
An academic scholar who’s also street smart, he does not have all his attributes engraved on his forehead. Aside from Hebrew, the native New Yorker is fluent in some half a dozen other languages and holds a string of university degrees earned in three countries. His five degrees are from Columbia University, the American University in Cairo and Bar-Ilan University. In addition to that he has lectured at Bar-Ilan, the Hebrew University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Irvine. He has also served as a security official, as a strategic and diplomatic adviser for Israel’s negotiating teams, as a strategic adviser to the Public Security Ministry as a reporter for The New York Times, Army Radio and Israeli television, in addition to which he has contributed numerous articles and essays to local and international media, including The Jerusalem Post. Widlanski is embarking on a new lecture series beginning Monday, December 1, at 7.30 p.m. at Ezrat Yisrael Synagogue in the German Colony, more popularly known as Hildesheimer. The series will be presented under the title Jerusalem in the Eyes of Israel, the Arabs and the Great Powers. Widlanski is the author of Battle for our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, published by Simon & Schuster/Threshold, which takes a hard look at how Western media, academia and intelligence agencies do or do not do their jobs.
The book will be available for purchase at the lecture.
ECONOMY MINISTER Naftali Bennett is also the minister responsible for the Jerusalem and Religious Affairs portfolio, and seems to be having some inner struggle under the two hats. Bennett recently proposed the establishment of a national authority for development and innovation, which will soon become a reality, but his office refuses to commit itself to headquartering the office in Jerusalem, despite a government decision taken in 2007 to move all national offices to the capital. It should be remembered that Bennett also heads Bayit Yehudi, and this begs the question as to whether there is any more suitable place for a Jewish home, for an individual or an enterprise, than Jerusalem. Then again, it should also be remembered that Bennett lives in Ra’anana. In fact, the only member of the cabinet who actually lives in Jerusalem is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The nearest after him is International Relations, Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who lives in Mevaseret Zion.