Grapevine: A coincidence made in China

Also, Rivlin and Katzele pick tomatoes in the Arava; annual Baha'i New Year reception held at David Citadel Hotel.

reuven rivlin 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
reuven rivlin 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
  •  IT WAS by the strangest coincidence that the film Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal had come to see in Jerusalem was set in China. Only a day earlier, Herzog had been the government representative who had welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu at Ben-Gurion Airport. Herzog was very impressed with Hui, who is the highest ranking Chinese dignitary to come to Israel to date.
The film The Children of Hung Shi is a masterpiece produced by Arthur Cohn. It tells the story of how an American nurse, a British journalist and a Chinese partisan shepherded 60 orphan boys across China to a safe haven during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. It was the film’s premiere screening in Jerusalem within the framework of films that the six-time Oscar winner makes available for a benefit evening for Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Cohn, who lives in Basel, Switzerland, but also has a house in Rehavia, was present with his wife, Naomi, and other members of their family, as was Shaare Zedek director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy.
After the film, Cohn was all but mobbed by enthusiastic fans offering their congratulations and wanting to discuss aspects of the film with him.
  • EVEN THOUGH the Knesset was in recess, a Knesset delegation led by Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Ya’acov (Katzele) Katz, the chairman of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers, traveled to the center of the Arava to see how the spring harvest was progressing. Rivlin took along his nine-year-old grandson Matan, who together with the MKs sweltered in the 45-degree heat. Nonetheless, the MKs and Matan decided that there was no reason that they couldn’t help out and applied themselves energetically to the cherry tomatoes.
  • THE BAHA’I World Center in Haifa enjoys quasi diplomatic status. Although their main centers of activity in Israel are in Haifa and Acre, Naw Ruz, their annual Baha’i New Year reception is held in Jerusalem, and was held last week.
The venue is traditionally the David Citadel Hotel, and the details are organized by the Baha’i Jerusalem representatives Kern and Barbara Wisman. This year, they faced two major difficulties. The first was that the hotel insisted that the menu be a Pessah menu. The second was that in the midst of the arrangements, the Wismans had to rush off to the US because their son had suffered a stroke. Thankfully, his condition improved, and they were able to return in good time for the Naw Ruz celebration.
Nonetheless, they were somewhat worried about the food, but the hotel rose to the challenge and prepared a sumptuous buffet which excluded bread but had tiny Pessah puff rolls filled with liver pâté. As always the entrance to the ballroom was decorated with flowers from the Baha’i Gardens and part of the entertainment comprised a spirited choral performance by the Carmel Singers.
  • AMONG THE beacon lighters at this year’s Israel Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl will be veteran Jerusalem resident Rabbi Richard Hirsch, who is chairman of the Zionist General Council of the World Zionist Organization. The honorary life president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the Cleveland, Ohio, born Hirsch has been a member of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors since 1972, and has lived in Jerusalem since 1973.
  • NEW YORK-BASED philanthropist Ingeborg Rennert, who also owns a magnificent house on Rehov Ethiopia, encourages and rewards abiding interest in and commitment to Jerusalem through the annual Guardian of Zion Award that she confers via the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
The award ceremony held each year at the King David Hotel attracts leading academics as well as politicians, religious figures and community activists from Israel and abroad. The recipient gives an address reflecting his or her commitment to the capital. Last year’s recipient was Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick. This year’s recipient is Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. His lecture will be on “The Meaning of Jerusalem in the 21st Century.”
Previous recipients of the Guardian of Zion award were: writer andeditor Norman Podhoretz, Academy Award winning producer Arthur Cohn,Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Dr. Charles Krauthammer, authorCynthia Ozick, British historian and author Sir Martin Gilbert, authorHerman Wouk, and Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Elie Wiesel.
IT RAISED a laugh among several hundred employees of his ministry, butthe quip by Interior Minister Eli Yishai at the traditional pre-Pessahtoast  was really much more serious than it was funny. Noting that theevent was taking place while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was inWashington, Yishai said to the head of the Jerusalem District PlanningCommittee: “The prime minister has gone to meet President Obama, so ifyou want to approve any construction plans in Jerusalem, at least pickup the phone so I’ll know about it.”
IN PREPARATION for the time when electric cars will take to the roadCaesar Hotels CEO Avi Ela and Better Place CEO Moshe Kaplinski signed acooperation agreement whereby there will be battery switching stationsfor electric cars in all the hotels in the Caesar chain, spanning fromTiberias through Jerusalem to Eilat.