Grapevine: Coexistence with a little help from a friend

British rock icon Joe Cocker will be among the long list of performers at the upcoming Gilboa Coexistence Festival.

Joe Cocker 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Joe Cocker 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
SUMMER TIME is fun time in Israel with music and other festivals taking place all over the country. One of the more interesting is the Gilboa Coexistence Festival, in which hundreds of Jewish and Arab women will pass through mixed Arab and Jewish cities, towns and villages in the north of the country to promote coexistence and to empower women to take an influential role in its advancement. This is not just a socio-political thing but also a fun thing with a jeep contest to find the Queen of Gilboa. The contest involves solving puzzles, navigating the route and roughing it in the open spaces. The participation fee in the Queen of Gilboa Jeep Challenge is NIS 50. Women who want to participate but don't have access to a jeep will be able to rent one at a discount rate through the contest organizers. The completion of the Jeep Challenge will be the official kick-off for the festival, which will be held from August 26-28 at the Gilboa. The opening night will feature a live performance by legendary British rock singer Joe Cocker, and the second night will be devoted to joint performances by leading Hebrew and Arabic singers: David Broza, Yair Dalal, and Ibrahim Eid, HaDag Nahash and DAM, Mira Awad and Kobi Aflalo, George Saman and Amir Lev. The final night will be dedicated to great Arab songstresses, Fairuz, Umm Kulthum and Leila Morad with tributes by popular Jewish and Arab vocalists - Sarit Hadad, Zehava Ben, Lubna Salame and Riham Hamadi, accompanied by the Ra'anana Symphonette Orchestra, and the Nazareth Orchestra. Other highlights of the festival include the finals of a Bible-Koran quiz, an open food market, "open houses" for sampling a variety of cuisines, an extreme bicycle show, Druse and Israeli folk dancing and much more. Tickets for all the events are available from Castle Tickets. Coexistence in the Gilboa is a reality, says Daniel Atar, head of the Gilboa Regional Council, who is looking forward to sharing the secrets of cooperation and goodwill with visitors to the festival. IT'S ALMOST always crowded at the Tel Aviv Port on Fridays with families and friends taking time out to swim, to enjoy the boardwalk, explore the cuisine of the numerous eateries or to catch up on shopping. On Friday, August 8, it will be busier than usual when Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun, who is not going home for the Olympics, hosts a gala reception followed by the live televised opening of the games on giant screens at Hangar 11 on the Tel Aviv Port. Among the people who have indicated their attendance are Construction and Housing Minister Zeev Boim, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, MK Ophir Paz-Pines, former MK Danny Yatom, who headed the Knesset's Israel-China Friendship committee and continues to maintain strong connections with China, former Chelsea soccer coach Avram Grant, El Al CEO Haim Romano and many other well known figures. APROPOS HANGAR 11, seen last Saturday night among the crowd who gathered there under the auspices of the Total Ego Channel to watch the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) contests was former MK Omri Sharon, who was recently released from prison earlier than expected as a reward for his exemplary behavior. Sharon is a regular at MMA events and a keen fan of all martial arts. Several years ago when such contests were conducted in the cellars of Beersheba, Sharon was frequently seen in the audience. This time around, something else obviously caught his interest, because though he was physically present, he spent much of the night with his cell phone glued to his ear. GIVEN THE fact that she is busy trying to become the next prime minister while concurrently meeting with visiting counterparts, along with heads of state and government, accompanying dignitaries to Sderot and frequently traveling abroad, it's a wonder that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was able to find time for 12-year-old Yuval Dekel from Hod Hasharon, whom she not only welcomed to her office in Jerusalem, but also engaged in serious talks. Believe it or not, Dekel was no less important to Livni than Condoleezza Rice with whom she has had many similar discussions. Like Rice, Dekel is Livni's opposite number. She's the Foreign Minister in Israel's Youth Government and she had a few things to say to Livni, especially about Gilad Schalit. Livni was reportedly favorably disposed to Dekel's suggestion that a special campaign for his release be conducted in the capitals of each of the countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations. After emerging from the long meeting, Dekel said that she had been impressed by the fact that Livni told her that the office belonged to both of them. What both Livni and Dekel have in common, in addition to their titles, is that they're both fairly good tennis players. Dekel at this stage is not planning a political career - but one never knows. Livni told her that she hadn't planned to enter politics either. It was something that just happened and it's quite possible that 25-30 years from now, that office in the Foreign Ministry building might indeed be Dekel's. The Youth Government was recently elected at Mini Israel and is the brainchild of Mini Israel CEO Haim Rogatka, who sees it as a means of teaching democratic values and translating them into democratic behavior. The new government is scheduled to convene in the near future to discuss pertinent issues such as road safety and the quality of the environment. THE HEBREW press recently reported that Rita had added spirit to a performance in a night club by dancing on the tables. Now ex-husband Rami Kleinstein has done the same. Kleinstein, in the course of a performance at the Berale Music Club at Kibbutz Lahavat Haviva, was so hot that he took off his shirt, and then at some point in the performance went wild and started skipping on the tables. Audiences love performers who indulge in eccentricities, and the Berale patrons stood around and cheered him on. WHILE ON the subject of trains, Yediot Aharonot had a delightful item this week about a bridal couple who disdained the usual beribboned car with balloons and flowers stuck all over the exterior, and chose instead to travel by train. Dressed in their wedding finery, Ofer Melamed and Hadar Asido boarded the train at the Tel Aviv University station and headed for Rehovot where the wedding ceremony and accompanying festivities took place in a nearby banquet hall. Other passengers on the train thought that the two were actors in a movie or in a commercial, or at worst were playing a hoax to test public reaction. But no, it was for real. Like many couples Melamed and Asido wanted their wedding to be something special and looked for something different to make it more memorable. When their photographer suggested that they travel by train, they loved the idea - and of course it earned them many more good wishes. Once passengers realized that they were genuine, congratulatory comments poured out from all sides. It's kind of nice when total strangers keep exclaiming "Mazal Tov"! MEMBERS OF IBCA (Israel Britain and the Commonwealth Association) this week praised their chairwoman Brenda Katten for her choice of luncheon venue. For a long time, IBCA used to hold its speaker luncheons at B'nai B'rith House in Tel Aviv, then moved to the trendier David Intercontinental Hotel, and this week with Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz as the guest speaker talking about elections here and there, moved to yet another locale, the Sheraton City Tower in Ramat Gan. The David Intercontinental which had previously given IBCA a reasonable discount was no longer prepared to do so, so Katten had to go looking for another place for IBCA to call home. As so many of the IBCA members come from Netanya and Herzliya, the choice could not have been a better one as the hotel is conveniently located near the Arlosoroff railway station in north Tel Aviv, meaning that luncheon participants could leave their cars at home, not worry about traffic congestion or parking places and costs, take the train to Tel Aviv and then just walk across the bridge to the hotel. It was also a more convenient location for Jerusalemites who could take the train or the 480 bus which stops just outside the railway station. Some people wondered why no-one had thought of the Sheraton City Tower sooner.