Grapevine: Heart to heart

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli says his visit to Israel is a learning experience.

• PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT Ricardo Martinelli, during his visit to Israel last week, stated many times that it was a learning experience. It certainly was for his wife Marta Linares, who visited the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon to familiarize herself with Save a Child’s Heart, which is starting a joint project with Panama to train Panamanian doctors in Israel and to treat Panamanian children with heart problems in Israel. The cooperative effort will also include a display of the Save a Child’s Heart international photography exhibition throughout Panama during awareness and fund raising events there. Currently at WMC are 25 children from 20 countries who have undergone or are awaiting heart treatment. Linares met children from the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Angola, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, Romania and China, as well as six-year-old earthquake survivor from Haiti, Woodley Elise, who is recovering from life-saving heart surgery. Linares praised Save a Child’s Heart for the wonderful humanitarian work it was doing and said she was deeply touched by meeting the children and hospital staff. Since its inception in 1996, Save a Child’s Heart has treated more than 2,300 children from 37 developing countries.
• LINARES ALSO visited Alut, the Israeli Society for Autistic Children where she met with staff including director Dr. Ditza Zachor who explained to her how autism is diagnosed and ways in which it is treated. Part of Linares’s role as first lady is to advance social welfare projects and she was very keen to see such projects in Israel.
• HERZLIYA MAYOR Yael German invited Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni to an International Women's Day conference on Influential Women in Law and Defense. Barak told an audience of more than 500 people – most of them women – that the day would not be long in coming when there would be many female generals in the IDF. Today there are three female Brigadier Generals and they are the highest ranking women in the army. Livni said that things would look different in the country in many ways once there is another female prime minister.
• AMERICAN ACADEMY Award winning film producer Jon Landau, who producedTitanic and more recently the blockbuster Avatar, will arrive in Israelnext week at the invitation of Matrix to participate in a marketingconference that opens on March 14 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. Landauwill talk about how Avatar was made and marketed. This will be Landau’sfirst visit to Israel and he will meet with several senior publicfigures including President Shimon Peres.
• PULITZER PRIZE-winning author Michael Cunningham who was born inCincinnati, grew up in La Canada, California and lives in New York willbe the guest lecturer of the Department of English and American Studiesat Tel Aviv University. Some of his books have been adapted into films.Cunningham will lecture at TAU on Monday, March 15 at 4 p.m. in room001 of the Webb Building.