Grapevine December 4, 2020: Rahav of Rehavia

The movers and shakers in Israeli society

CEO of Check Point Technologies, Gil Shwed, with Avi Jorisch’s book, ‘Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World’ (Gefen Publishing House) (photo credit: CHECK POINT)
CEO of Check Point Technologies, Gil Shwed, with Avi Jorisch’s book, ‘Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World’ (Gefen Publishing House)
(photo credit: CHECK POINT)
Over the past few months, one of the regular guests on television news programs has been Prof. Galia Rahav, head of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center and a member of the Corona Cabinet, but in every other respect a Jerusalemite.
Etnachta, a supplement that appears in the weekly tabloid B’Sheva, ran a feature on Rahav last week.
She is a second-generation Holocaust survivor on both sides, and a third-generation physician. Her maternal grandmother was a doctor, her mother was a nurse, and her father a very well-known Jerusalem physician. Rahav’s daughter Roni is a gynecologist at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, and her son Nir is completing his medical studies at his mother’s alma mater: the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School. Her husband, Yitzhak Rahav, is a retired businessman who works in a voluntary capacity for a variety of causes.
Galia Rahav grew up in Rehavia, and still lives in Jerusalem. Her secondary education was at the Hebrew University High School, generally known as Layada, (“alongside”), whose graduates are generally high achievers. They include Israel’s fifth president Yitzhak Navon, Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, writers Meir Shalev, David Grossman and Etgar Keret, singer and actor Yehoram Gaon, Checkpoint founder Gil Shwed, and more recently, Eden Alene, who will represent Israel at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.
Rahav’s father, the late Prof. Yosef Rakover, who taught at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, was born in Poland, and lost his first wife and child during the Holocaust. He spent part of the war years as a physician with the partisans. Rahav’s late mother, Sonia, was also born in Poland, and lost her father when she was only two years old. She was raised by her mother, who was also a doctor. During the war, she and her mother and her baby boy fled from place to place. At one stage, the baby was crying and put their lives in danger. The grandmother smothered the child, an act that haunted Sonia Rakover for the rest of her life. After the death of her baby she joined the partisans where she met Rahav’s father.
Rahav always knew she was going to study medicine, but when she was in high school, where most students opted for humanities, she said she wanted to study biology, but the principal insisted that she study humanities and told her she would never be a doctor. Only after her father intervened was she able to follow her chosen path.
However, there was sweet revenge. Years later, after she was already a physician, she had to accompany a patient who would be undergoing surgery abroad. During the flight, the patient suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness. It was quite a drama, but Rahav succeeded in reviving the patient. All the passengers in the plane stood up and applauded. As she looked across the aisle, Rahav noticed her former high school principal who had tried to prevent her from studying biology. For her, it was the closing of a circle.
■ NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN Moshe Hogeg, the owner of the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club, and the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan have reached an advanced stage following two months of negotiations, with Al Nahyan expressing a desire to purchase 49% of the team. Hogeg has always wanted to include talented Arab footballers on the Beitar team, but was met with fierce opposition by La Familia, an influential faction of supporters with strong racist tendencies who don’t take kindly to Muslim players, let alone Muslim or Christian Arabs. When the club was owned by Arcadi Gaydamak, who brought in two Muslim players from Chechen, they were given short shrift by La Familia, which will have a hard time if 49% of the club is in Arab hands. Journalists throughout the country are being flooded with items about partnerships and cooperation agreements between Israeli and UAE business organizations, diplomatic associations, medical services, cultural exchanges and more. The list keeps growing and both sides appear to be equally eager.
■ JERUSALEM KEEPS changing and losing its charming Old-World character. Aside from the many high-rise towers that are being constructed all over the city, iconic buildings are either being remodeled or torn down to make room for some other architectural creation, with history being destroyed in the process. Jerusalem has quite a few rags-to-riches stories, one of the best known being that of Rami Levy, who grew up in a poor family in the Mahaneh Yehuda market, and today owns the third largest supermarket chain in the country, plus other enterprises that include retail clothing, communications and property development.
But there are also riches-to-rags stories, as evidenced by one of the newest and certainly largest stores in the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall. Banks are now selling all or part of their buildings. A few years back, a hotel was built on top of Bank Hapoalim, where Ben Yehuda Street meets Zion Square. Across the way, where Bank Leumi once stood on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Jaffa Road, is an optical store owned by Laurent Levy.
Most recently, the stately Israel Discount Bank was transformed into a huge women’s clothing store that goes by the name of Mini Allenby and sells affordable merchandise, which is beautifully displayed due to the size of the attractively renovated premises. In all probability, it will put Zoya on the Jaffa-Strauss intersection out of business. Its range of clothing and prices are similar but it offers much more variety than Zoya, and much more space for shoppers to move around without bumping into each other. Ben Yehuda now boasts several optical stores including Carolina Lemke, of which super-model Bar Refaeli is a former shareholder. There are also a few more eateries along Ben Yehuda, one of which, Drink’n Donuts, opened just in time for Hanukkah and is based on the Dunkin’ Donuts model.