Second-generation ambassador

Czechoslovakia was one of 33 nations that voted in favor of the United Nations resolution for the partition of Palestine in November 1947.

Shamir sits in contemplation in his office in 1983 (photo credit: Sven Nackstrand)
Shamir sits in contemplation in his office in 1983
(photo credit: Sven Nackstrand)
FEW AMBASSADORS to Israel are the second generation of their families to serve in that capacity, but Czech Republic Ambassador Tomas Pojar is: His father, Milos, was Czechoslovakia’s first ambassador to Israel from 1990 to 1994 following the renewal of diplomatic relations.
Czechoslovakia was one of 33 nations that voted in favor of the United Nations resolution for the partition of Palestine in November 1947.
On May 18, 1948, days after Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Czechoslovakia was among the first to establish diplomatic relations, although it severed them in 1967, along with the Soviet Bloc. The Czech Republic has consistently voted with Israel at the UN, and was the only European Union member that voted against the upgrading of Palestinian status at the UN.
Pojar will be both host and guest at the upcoming Ambassador Series of the Tel Aviv International Salon on Monday, January 13. The meeting, strictly for young professionals, will take place at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya Pituah. The address will be given only to those people who sign up online at https://CzechAmbassadorSalon.
Pojar has served in Israel since February 2010, prior to which he served in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the first deputy minister for security affairs, EU affairs and bilateral relations with European states, and as the deputy minister for bilateral relations. From 1997 to 2005, he worked as executive director of the People in Need – Czech TV Foundation. He continued his academic studies in Israel and holds a master’s in government, specializing in counter-terrorism and homeland security, from the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC, Herzliya.
AMONG NATIVE Israeli basketball players, one of the greatest champions is Mickey Berkowitz, who will celebrate his 60th birthday on February 17. On January 14, he is to receive a lifetime achievement award at a gala honoring excellence in sports for 2013.
Berkowitz was a member of the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv team when it won its first European championship. In 1981, he scored the winning basket that gave Maccabi Tel Aviv its second European cup. He joined the Maccabi Tel Aviv junior team in 1965 and the adult team in 1971. Aside from a year dedicated to college football in the United States in 1975, he remained with Maccabi Tel Aviv until 1988, and is strongly identified with the team, although he later played for Maccabi Rishon Lezion, Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Following his retirement as a player in 1995, he went on to buy his own team, Ramat Hasharon, which included his sons Roi and Niv.
The Excellence in Sport award, named after late footballer Yakov Hodorov – whom many consider the best goalkeeper in the country’s history – is bestowed by the Culture and Sport Ministry and Toto, the sport lottery. The award ceremony will take place at the Rishon Lezion Cultural Center.
IN TEL AVIV, owners and staff of more than 40 restaurants, coffee shops, bars and nightclubs have actively identified with the plight of African migrants. These venues employ staff from Sudan, Eritrea and other strife-torn African countries so that they can support themselves. They also gave their employees time off to attend mass rallies in Tel Aviv this week.
On January 19 and 20, these businesses will show solidarity with the refugees by including Sudanese and Eritrean menus among their fare, and with African folk music that African and local musicians will perform throughout Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
There will be testimonies of atrocities that the refugees experienced in the countries of origin, as well as of mistreatment by Israeli authorities. There will also be fundraising drives.
Celebrity chef and television personality Eyal Shani, who joined the protest demonst rations this week, recalled that the parents of many Israelis had come to this country as refugees. He declared that it was an obligation for the authorities and the public to give warmth and a fair chance to those asking for refuge in Israel.
Shira Fattal of Shafa Bar in Jaffa said many eateries relied heavily on migrant staff, and that proprietors had taken over their duties while they were on strike and holding mass rallies. In some cases, she said, restaurant owners were totally dependent on immigrant staff and had a tough time without them, but fully understood their situation.
Comedian Uri Gottlieb, one of the owners of Shafa Bar, rolled up his sleeves and washed dishes, but also took time out to attend the rally, saying that it was wrong to treat anyone the way the Israeli government was treating the African migrants.
ON THE last day of 2013, a technological high school in Kfar Saba was inaugurated in memory of prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who died 18 months ago. The inauguration ceremony was attended by his son Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir and daughter Gilada Diamant, as well as Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo, school principal Yitzhak Klein and CEO of the ORT education network Zvi Peleg, amongst others.
Yair Shamir, who bears an extraordinary physical resemblance to his father, said that it was important and emotionally moving for the family to have his father’s name attached to a school.