Grapevine: A historic meeting, a celebrity wedding and a fond farewell

n ALTHOUGH THERE are no longer any diplomatic embassies in Jerusalem, it is ironic that all the ambassadors of countries that currently do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, travel to Jerusalem at least once a week from their residences or offices in Tel Aviv, Herzliya Pituah, Kfar Shmaryahu and Ramat Gan. Initially they go to the Foreign Ministry to get clued up on how things are done in Israel. Then they go to the Knesset to meet with the speaker and with the MK who heads the parliamentary friendship club that relates to their particular country. Then usually within the first month of their arrival, sometimes even the first week, they go to Beit Hanassi to present their credentials and their predecessor's letter of recall. After that there are regular briefings at the Foreign Ministry, meetings with MKs and a round of meetings with the president, the prime minister, the foreign minister, the defense minister, the leader of the opposition and others, depending on which member of their government has come to Israel and for what purpose. This week Russian Ambassador Piotr Stegny came to Jerusalem for none of those reasons. Instead, he came at the invitation of Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski to address the agency's Board of Governors in what is believed to be a historic meeting. n IT WAS a lights, cameras, action mood at the wedding of Roi and Liran Lev at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, where the guest list was chockablock with celebrities, newsmakers, politicians and hotshots from the business world. The groom's mother is Lea Globus, who is married to filmmaker, financier and owner of movie banks and television studios Yoram Globus. The groom's brother is actor Ido Lev. Among the guests were Menachem Golan, who is a cousin and former partner of Yoram Globus, and who is one of Israel's best known filmmakers; Tzahi Noy who appeared in Lemon Popsicle, which was one of the early films made by Golan and Globus; singer and composer Zvika Pick and his singing daughters Daniella and Sharona; comedienne Tzipi Shavit; present and past mayors of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai and Roni Milo; former TV anchorman Gadi Sukenik; Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal; Rabbis Yisrael Meir Lau and Meir Ifergen; celebrity hairdressers Jacqueline and Avigdor Lichtenstein; MK Limor Livnat; and of course Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu who frequently mingle in the same social circles as Lea and Yoram Globus. Rani Lev, the father of the groom, was also on hand to receive good wishes. n ALL THE Who's Who in Tnuva, plus many other well known people in the food and agriculture industries, as well as numerous business and banking people, gathered at the old Tel Aviv port to bid farewell to Tnuva CEO Arik Reichman as he sets out for greener pastures and a new chapter in his life. Tnuva last month completed a $1.025 billion deal with a consortium comprising Apax Partners and Mivtach Shamir in which the consortium acquired a 76.7 percent majority stake in Tnuva, with the remaining shares going to a holding corporation whose members include kibbutzim, moshavim and the Kibbutz Economic Organizations. Ordinarily, farewell events of this kind feature skits, videos and a photographic display under the label "This is Your Life." But taking into account that Tnuva is based on agricultural produce, it was considered more appropriate for the review of Reichman's life to be labeled "Roots." Emcees for the nostalgia trip were popular TV duo Yaron London and Moti Kirschenbaum. Outside his professional activities, Reichman, who was born on Kibbutz Glil Yam, is a motorcycle enthusiast and the proud owner of a Harley Davidson. Well-known cartoonist Michel Kishka drew a wonderful impression of Reichman and his Harley. Although some 600 guests attended the event to demonstrate their appreciation for what Reichman has done for Tnuva and Israel's economy, not all the invitees were able to come, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who wished him well via satellite. Olmert told him that he has Tnuva cottage cheese for breakfast every morning. n THREE HOURS after landing in Israel on Monday, and following a tour to Yad Vashem, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany's federal minister for economic cooperation and development, met with President Shimon Peres and expressed sympathy and outrage that rockets fired from Gaza had again caused grievous harm to a child from Sderot. She announced that she would go there on Tuesday in a show of solidarity. During her visit Wieczorek-Zeul will also meet with Palestinians to hear what they have to say about their economic needs. Peres spelled out for her, in detail, the plan for a peace valley and the economic support that has already been pledged, and asked for more economic support from Germany, particularly with regard to the cost of sophisticated equipment that can speed up inspections at checkpoints. He had already spoken to US President George W. Bush on the subject he said, and was hopeful for an American grant of $50 million.