Grapevine: An opportunity to reminisce

A new biography on Teddy Kollek sheds light on his relationships with Shimon Peres and David Ben-Gurion.

Kollek Peres 88 224 (photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
Kollek Peres 88 224
(photo credit: Jerusalem Post Archives)
KNOWN TO be an avid reader, President Shimon Peres was particularly interested in a book presented to him by Tamar Kollek, the widow of Jerusalem's long-time legendary mayor Teddy Kollek. Accompanied by her daughter, Osnat Kollek-Sachs, author Ruth Bachi-Kolodny and publisher Ilan Greenfield, Kollek, who has known Peres for more than 60 years, presented him with Bachi's biography Teddy Kollek: The Man, His Times and His Jerusalem. Peres, who at one time worked closely with Kollek, is mentioned many times in the book, though not nearly as many as his mentor David Ben-Gurion, whom Kollek first met in London in 1940. Twelve years later, Kollek was the executive director of Ben-Gurion's office when Ben-Gurion was prime minister. Other friends and associates of both Kollek and Peres who are mentioned in the book include Israel's fifth president Yitzhak Navon, Moshe Dayan, Meyer Weisgal and Henry Kissinger. ALTHOUGH THE Gaon family is inextricably associated with Jerusalem where the Gaon siblings were born and raised, and where singer, actor and current affairs commentator Yehoram Gaon served as a member of the City Council and still maintains a home in Abu Tor, the family in more recent years has been actively associated with Ramat Hasharon, where several members of the family live, including Yehoram. Ramat Hasharon was also home to his late brother, prominent businessman, philanthropist and peace activist Benny Gaon, who passed away two months ago after a long battle with cancer. A public auction of huge, colorful strawberry sculptures with proceeds going toward the establishment of a Benny Gaon Memorial Youth Center for Volunteerism in Ramat Hasharon brought in a sum of $100,000. The Gaon family showed up in force - Yehoram Gaon with his son Moshe and daughter Hila; and Benny Gaon's widow Rachel and their children Michal, Moshe who recently took over his father's role as head of Gaon Holdings, Boaz and Yoav. Auctioneer Meni Pe'er succeeded in bringing down the hammer on 30 sales. Sculptures that were not sold will be used to decorate streets and public buildings in Ramat Hasharon. THE DOLLAR, the Euro and the Pound Sterling are progressively declining in value and the Israel Stock Exchange is offering scant comfort to stockholders in registered companies. But not everyone is in the financial doldrums. Ilan Greenboim, CEO of Eurocom, the Nokia representative in Israel, was so pleased with the company's results that he took managers and department heads for a day of "outdoor training" to Zichron Ya'acov, where they had a lot of fun competing with each other. Afterwards, he took them to the Ya'arot HaCarmel Spa for an overnight stay that included a gourmet dinner, community singing, a massage and other perks. Nice work if you can get it. THIRTEEN GRADUATING engineering students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev received the Hubert Burda Prize for Innovation at a ceremony marking the opening of the University's annual student Projects Day. Traditionally a showcase for fourth-year students from the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, this year the event was broadened to include projects from the Faculties of Natural and Health Sciences and from the Department of Psychology. Managing Director of Marketing & Communications at Hubert Burda Media, Stephanie Czerny, represented the renowned German publisher at the ceremony. The opening session also included greetings from CTO and General Manager of the Innovation Labs, R&D Technologies of Microsoft-Israel, Yoram Yaacovi; the CEO of Polymer Logistics, Zvi Yemini; and the Director of Development of Freescale, Udi Barel. A number of Israel's leading industrialists and entrepreneurs, including Dr. Joseph (Yossi) Vardi and Sammy Sagol, were present at the event. The newly-created Burda Prize is the brainchild of Dr. Hubert Burda, Publisher and Chairman of the Board of Hubert Burda Media. "Dr. Burda understands Israeli innovation and the promise of our younger people and decided that this is the right investment into the future of this small country," said BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi at the opening session. According to the university citation, the students were recognized, for "their intellectual creativity and technological innovation, which will advance future research and development of the world." The 13 recipients are the innovators of nine different projects, one from each department in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The winners were: Marina Gitelman and Evgeny Berger, Information Systems Engineering; Daphna Volsky, Nuclear Engineering; Pamela Oren and Ophir Artzi, Communication Systems Engineering; Mor Peleg and Guy Dabah, Biomedical Engineering; Yiftach Barash, Biotechnology Engineering; Eitan Yair, Structural Engineering; Daniel Reisner, Mechanical Engineering; Tamar Yelin, Chemical Engineering; Talia Gazit and Roni Shacham, Industrial Engineering and Management. BRITISH AMBASSADOR Tom Phillips last week hosted a farewell dinner at his residence in Ramat Gan for five talented young Israelis who were selected by the British Embassy as recipients of the prestigious Chevening scholarships which will facilitate their postgraduate studies and research in the UK. An additional four Israelis will travel to the UK on joint awards with private sponsors. Human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and an expert in environmental policy are among the diverse scholars who make up this year's list of Chevening Scholars to study topics ranging from global media and communications, to counter-terrorism policy. Competition for the awards is fierce with hundreds of students applying each year for the scholarships. This year's scholars will join hundreds of other Israelis who have received Chevening Scholarships in the past, among them well-known journalists Nadav Eyal, Dov Gil Har, Yaron Dekel and Ronen Bergman, attorney Michael Sfard and many others. More than 1,000 Israelis are currently enrolled in studies in the UK. ISRAELI FANS of the renowned and internationally acclaimed Yale University Whiffenpoofs, founded almost a century ago and famed for their a capella singing, will be able to catch up with the 14-member all-male group at three performances on Tuesday, July 29 at 8:30 p.m. at The Music and Art Performing Center of Ra'anana, 2a HaPalmach Street, where tickets are NIS 80 each. Seating can be booked by calling 09-746-4036; on Wednesday, July 30 at 8 p.m. at the YMCA Auditorium, 26 King David Street, Jerusalem, hosted by the Rotary Club of Jerusalem with tickets at. NIS 70 each and bookings at 054-533-1945, or; and on Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. in a private home in Zichron Yaakov. The proceeds are in honor of 15 years of LOTEM, a non-profit organization which offers hikes, workshops and extracurricular activities to people with special needs. Bookings via: 054-539-3253 or