A fan club in more ways than one

According to the Tel Aviv Municipality, great care is taken to ensure access to public buildings, and Tel Aviv is one of the leading cities in this respect.

Haim Ramon (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Haim Ramon
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ AFTER LEADING the ousting in July 2012 of then owner of the Hapoel Tel Aviv Soccer Club Eli Tabib, who is the owner of Beitar Jerusalem, Haim Ramon has been ousted himself. Tabib, who had been subjected to numerous protests by enraged fans after he fired coach Dror Kashtan, whose departure led to a walk-out by several of Hapoel’s staff members, also sent a letter to the Israel Football Association urging it to deny Tabib permission to buy Beitar.
The letter proved to be ineffective. Ramon’s relationship with team manager Eyal Berkovic turned out to be to be no less stormy than that of Tabib and Kashtan’s, with the upshot being an abrupt departure by Berkovic. The fans were not happy, and a group of them known as Ha’adumim (The Reds) decided to get rid of Ramon and to take over the running of the club themselves.
Last weekend, Ramon relinquished all his power, and Hapoel Tel Aviv became the first Israeli soccer club to be run by its supporters.
■ SOME 300 music lovers gathered at the Dan Hotel, Eilat, for a cocktail reception that celebrated the opening of the Eilat Chamber Music Festival.
Among the guests welcomed by Rafi Sadeh, CEO of the Dan Hotel chain, were Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevy; chairman of the Dan Hotel chain Michael Federmann and his wife, Liora; Cellcom chairman Ami Arel and his wife, Osnat; outgoing Isracard CEO Dov Kotler; former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Carmi Gillon and his wife, Sari; lawyer and chairman of Variety Ori Slonim and his wife, Tammy; as well as festival management and musicians. Needless to say, the general managers of all the Dan hotels in Eilat were also present.
Sadeh said he was delighted that so many people could join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Eilat Chamber Music Festival. Halevy gave a very brief address and then excused himself, explaining that he was running late to catch a flight to Berlin. Unlike other Israelis for whom Berlin has become a magnetic attraction, Halevy was just visiting. He has no intention of setting up house there.
■ WHAT CAN be more dramatic than the play itself? As Shakespeare pointed out, all the world’s a stage and every person must play his part. In the case of actor Rami Heuberger, he stole and temporarily closed the show at the Eretz Israel Museum at the end of last week, when halfway through the performance of Educating Rita he collapsed on stage in full view of the audience.
A Magen David Adom ambulance was quickly summoned. Heuberger was revived by paramedics, who rushed him to Ichilov Medical Center, where he was given further treatment and sent home to rest. His collapse brought down the curtain, so to speak, and further performances of the play were put on hold for a couple of nights.
■ FORMER FIRST lady Reuma Weizman, who is the widow of Israel’s seventh president Ezer Weizman, has written an angry letter of complaint to Access Israel, the organization that advocates on behalf of people with disabilities for access to all buildings and tourist sites in Israel. Weizman, who is 90 years old and has severe vision impairment, was invited to an event honoring her niece, writer, former MK and Tel Aviv City Council member Yael Dayan. The event was at Beit Bialik, which is one of the cultural venues of the Tel Aviv Municipality, and was attended by Mayor Ron Huldai.
Many of the invitees were senior citizens and had difficulty mounting the stairs. In fact, wrote Weizman, some of those with disabilities had to be dragged up by well-meaning people because they couldn’t manage the stairs alone.
Weizman noted that she felt obligated to voice the complaint because there was no access provision for the disabled.
According to the Tel Aviv Municipality, great care is taken to ensure access to public buildings, and Tel Aviv is one of the leading cities in this respect. However, Beit Bialik is among those buildings that come under the designation of a preserved heritage site, and no alterations are permitted to its façade. Meanwhile, the problem is not being ignored and solutions are being investigated.
The easiest solution to the problem is to hold such events in the auditorium of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Access to the interior from the plaza is fairly smooth, an elevator leads to the auditorium, and the only difficulty for some people with disabilities would be that the seats are too narrow. But then again, those who are confined to wheelchairs remain in them, so the seating problem is minimal.