Dressed in their World War One uniforms, Australians re-enacting the charge by the Australian Light Horse Regiment in the triumphant Battle of Beersheba.

australian grapevine 88  (photo credit: AP)
australian grapevine 88
(photo credit: AP)
Dressed in their World War One uniforms, Australians re-enacting the charge by the Australian Light Horse Regiment in the triumphant Battle of Beersheba, which paved the way for British Commander-in-Chief Sir Edmond Henry Allenby's conquest of Jerusalem and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, were asked endlessly if they were not hot in their heavy jackets. They cut dashing figures in their deep-pocketed jackets, with rows of bullet pouches on the shoulder straps of the rifles slung over their backs, sheathed swords and bayonets hanging from their belts, slightly baggy pants tucked into high boots, and slouch hats festooned with feathers. Many wore medals and ribbons awarded to their grandfathers. Major General W. Digger James (Ret.), the patron of the Australian Light Horse Association and a veteran of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, who specially came to Israel for the occasion, told Mayor Yaakov Terner that the same jackets had been worn in Korea. "We wore them all year around, hot or cold," he said. The multi-medaled James was a popular figure, not only with the many Australians present but also with residents of Beersheba who jostled each other to be photographed with him. A tall, white-haired man of noble bearing and gentlemanly disposition, he represented the best kind of stereotype of a retired, high-ranking army officer. Terner, a reserve Brigadier-General in the Air Force and former police chief, received an Australian digger's hat as a memento of the occasion, and wore it with great pride. FORMER PRESIDENT of the Israel Britain and the Commonwealth Association Michael Fox and his wife Sheila celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by taking 200 of their relatives and close friends from Britain and various parts of Israel for a weekend to Mitzpe Ramon, where among other things, they embarked on a moonlight trip to visit the craters. A founding partner in the prestigious Tel Aviv-based law firm Herzog Fox Neeman, one of the largest, most diverse and most profitable law firms in Israel, Fox discovered a latent talent for writing and has been producing monthly essays for the English language edition of Ha'aretz. Fox gives credit to his wife, who is also a lawyer, for the fine tuning of his literary endeavors. Nothing he writes is submitted for publication before she reads it, and there have been occasions when he started again from scratch on the basis of her comments. His writings were recently compiled into a book, Mountains and Molehills, which guests at the wedding anniversary weekend received as a souvenir. London-born Fox has been active in enhancing relations between the United Kingdom and Israel. His efforts in this regard were recognized by the Queen, who in 2003 made him a member of the Order of the British Empire. Needless to say, the Foxes were very much in evidence at the gala Balfour Dinner hosted annually by IBCA at the Tel Aviv Hilton. This year's dinner had a special connotation in that it celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. There were several ambassadors among the guests, headed of course by British Ambassador Tom Phillips. THERE WERE also quite a number of ambassadors mingling with socialites and art collectors at the opening of the new exhibition at Tel Aviv's Golconda Fine Arts Gallery owned by the debonair Ronald Fuhrer, who has all of Tel Aviv's high society on his guest list, and is included in theirs. The exhibition features the works of Israel Hadani and Irit Bloch. WHETHER SHE has a sweet tooth or not, it was noblesse oblige for Belgian Ambassador Danielle Guilbert del Marmol to visit the Leonidas chocolate shop on Tel Aviv's Rehov Ibn Gvirol, which is rapidly becoming THE street in which to buy quality chocolates by a number of well-known companies that have opened chocolate boutiques there. Leonidas is a Belgian company whose chocolates have earned it a worldwide reputation. Godiva, hand crafted and very expensive chocolates which, unlike Leonidas, have long been available in Israel, are also part of Belgium's sweet success. KOREAN AMBASSADOR Shin Kak-Soo and his wife Sosan hosted noted young Korean pianist Yeol Eum Sohn, the winner of the third prize in the 11th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, at their residence in Rishpon on Tuesday night. Sohn also played at the Tel Aviv Hilton on Friday, Balfour Day, at a musical brunch hosted by the Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society. She performed on the same program as Igor Levit, who came second in the same competition, and presents himself as a Russian/German pianist. The event at the ambassador's residence was accompanied by Korean culinary delicacies. The ambassador is keen to introduce as many facets of Korean culture to Israel as he can. He believes strongly that people-to-people contacts do much more for bilateral relations than political treaties. LEADING TEL Aviv businessman Benny Gaon, who is active in a number of charitable organizations, including the Israel Cancer Society whose work he particularly values given that he is a recovering cancer patient, participated this week in a changing of the guard ceremony at the annual gala conference of the Israel Management Center. Gaon relinquished the chairmanship to Yossi Rosen, who chairs the Board of Directors of the Israel Oil Refineries. Gaon, in his first year as chairman of the IMC, introduced a little controversy by inviting Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to be one of the speakers. LAST WEEK witnessed the opening at Beit Hatefutsoth of an exhibit highlighting the Struggle for Soviet Jewry which began forty years ago in the immediate aftermath of Israel's victory in the Six Day War. Of course Soviet Jews were not the only dissidents, and not the only people fighting Communism. Citizens of Soviet satellite countries were no less active in fighting oppression and repression. Next week, on November 15, the Embassy of the Czech Republic will devote its gallery to a "Czech Underground" exhibition of photographs by Jaroslav Abbe Libansky, which features photographs from the 1970s and 1980s of Czech artists and intellectuals as well as ordinary people who adopted an "alternative" lifestyle in defiance of the Communist regime. The exhibition will be on view untill the end of the year at the embassy in Rehov Zeitlin, but due to security considerations, anyone who wants to see the exhibition must first make an appointment by calling (03) 691-8282. DESPITE THE symbiosis that exists between Israel and Poland given that so many Israelis either originate from Poland or are the offspring of Polish parents, the image of Poland in Israel is not always what the Polish authorities would like it to be. People still continue to associate Poland with the Holocaust, forgetting that it was the German conquest of Poland that turned Poland into the largest Jewish graveyard in the world. The recent relocation of the Polish Institute to Asia House in Tel Aviv was done with a view to changing Israeli perceptions of Poland, as seen in an exhibition of Polish landscapes "Amazing Poland" by Yecoutiel Bloch which Polish Ambassador Agnieszka Magdziak-Miszewska opened at the Polish Embassy in Rehov Soutine, Tel Aviv this week. Anyone who has traveled extensively in Poland will recognize some of the breathtaking views and stately buildings. Others who have not yet been to Poland may be encouraged by these photographs to go to the country, which many wandering Jews from all over Europe chose to call home.