Grapevine: Selfies with Peres

News briefs from around Jerusalem.

Shimon Peres writes on a blackboard with Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, March 2012 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shimon Peres writes on a blackboard with Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, March 2012
(photo credit: REUTERS)
• THE LATEST status symbol is to prove some connection with Shimon Peres. Emails containing photographs of Peres shaking hands with various individuals or attending an event hosted by an organization or institution have been flooding into Israel’s media outlets from home and abroad. Even the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which this year is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding by the late Daniel J. Elazar, got in on the act by sending out an email and posting on its Facebook that its first research project was commissioned by Peres. It even dug up his letter of appreciation which was written in English.
The Jerusalem Institute for Federal Studies, the forerunner of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was established by a group of Israeli scholars in 1976 to conduct research on questions of Israel- Arab peace, the administered territories, power-sharing in multiethnic polities, and federal responses to current political problems.
The institute’s first commissioned project came in March 1976 from the Defense Ministry, headed at the time by Shimon Peres, to explore federal or shared rule options as a way out of the impasse over the future of the West Bank and Gaza. The Institute worked on this problem together with Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon and their respective staffs. Its report, ‘Varieties of Autonomy Arrangements,” submitted in 1977, anticipated the autonomy talks that would be called for in the Camp David Accords. It recommended an Israeli- Jordanian plan essentially identical to that proposed by prime minister Peres to Jordan’s King Hussein in 1985.
The study was later expanded into a reference work detailing the more than 100 autonomy arrangements in use throughout the world, published as Federal Systems of the World: A Handbook of Federal, Confederal and Autonomy Arrangements. Since its inception, the JCPA has had only two presidents: Elazar, who headed it until his death in 1999, and Dore Gold, who succeeded him, and took a leave of absence following his appointment as director-general of the Foreign Ministry. Gold intends to return to the highly respected think tank which has proved to be both an intellectual and social haven for retired diplomats, academics, economists, army generals and even a director-general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Alan Baker, a retired diplomat, is the director of JCPA’s Institute for Contemporary Affairs. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a retired academic and economist, and today regarded as a world authority on antisemitism, is the director of JCPA’s Institute for Global Affairs, and Yoni Ben Menachem, a former director-general of the IBA is the JCPA’s senior Middle East analyst. The building in which the JCPA is housed used to house the Embassy of Uruguay until it moved to Tel Aviv.
• FLEXIBILITY IS the name of the game. Mayor Nir Barkat was scheduled to host faculty and administrative staff of the Jerusalem College of Technology for a Rosh Hashana toast, but had to bow out in favor of a trip abroad, during which time he had a chance meeting with Jonathan and Esther Pollard. Because he doesn’t want to let down JCT, he’s organized a morning toast at Safra Square on the day after Succot.
• IF YOU can’t afford an apartment, perhaps you can afford a painting. But that’s not really the intention of the people behind the Azorim Hanevi’im Boutique project that will open the 3rd Jerusalem Biennale of Contemporary Jewish Art on October 13, by invitation only. The exhibition will remain open till November 16, and is being conducted in cooperation with the Marrache Fine Art Gallery. Admission during the intermediate days of Succot will be free of charge. The exhibition features works by some dozen artists who were inspired by the view of the old city from the penthouse of the Hanevi’im Boutique.