City Notes: New Haifa exhibition honors Israel’s female greats

A roundup of local stories from across the country.

The Israeli knight fighting-team (photo credit: VASIKO)
The Israeli knight fighting-team
(photo credit: VASIKO)
A new exhibition opened in Haifa’s Rappaport Hall last week, honoring women who have contributed to Israeli society in various sectors, under the banner “Pioneers and Dreamers.”
Women representing art, literature, science, law, theater, diplomacy, cinema, education and journalism are featured, among them: “first lady of Hebrew theater” Hanna Rovina; award-winning biochemist Prof. Ruth Arnon, who co-developed multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone; sole female prime minister to date Golda Meir; poet and author Leah Goldberg; and “first lady of Israeli song and poetry” Naomi Shemer.
These names are just a few on a long list of famous women who have helped build the foundations of Israeli society, gaining national and international recognition. Present at the exhibition opening were Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, Acting and Deputy Mayor Hedva Almog and Discount Bank CEO Lilach Asher-Topilsky (the bank sponsored the exhibition). At the opening event, Almog remarked that curator Iris Phoenix had brought together a “tapestry of women who have left their mark on our national history, shaping the face of society’s values and culture through their engagement in various fields.”
Border Police nab 3 for security barrier damage
Border Police arrested three people on Sunday on suspicion of damaging the security barrier near the village of Taiba.
An investigation into the incident was launched at the Ariel police station.
Second int’l medieval knight fighting tournament to take place in Rishon
Israel’s second international medieval knight fighting tournament is set to be held in Rishon Lezion next Thursday. The sport tournament, titled “Medieval Battles – World Medieval Fighting Championship: Israeli Challenge,” will be held at 7 p.m. at the city’s Maccabi Sports Hall.
The Israeli team has represented the country several times in world championship medieval battles in Russia, France, Austria and Croatia.
Medieval knight fighting has developed into a sport throughout the world in recent years, gaining traction in Israel.
The Israeli team will be competing against representatives from seven countries, as part of the global “Professional Duel” tournament; participating countries include France, Ukraine, Belarus, Denmark and Estonia.
The contestants are divided into weight categories and matched with others based on skill level. In Medieval Battles, as in any sport competition, there are strict rules and regulations.
The Professional Duel competition is held in a roped-off arena, with each fight consisting of three two-minute rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds; the winner has the most points after three rounds. It is strictly forbidden to stab or choke an opponent, or hit him in certain areas of the body; such activity is penalized, with points deducted. Weapons have specifically designated minimum and maximum weights.
There are several knight clubs across Israel, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Petah Tikva and Beersheba; each club has a particular area or technique in which it specializes. At training sessions, participants practice various fighting techniques such as traditional bow and arrow, 12th-century fencing, sword battles using historical weapons, and group and two-person battle techniques.
Medieval knight fighting is not recognized as a sport by Israeli authorities.
Various countries around the world are working on having it recognized as an Olympic sport.
‘Mothers Against Holot’ protest ‘open prison,’ freezing conditions
A group of mothers gathered under Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center bridge last Saturday night to protest the Holot detention facility for African migrants.
The protest came on a weekend when reports surfaced that despite almost freezing temperatures, Prison Service officials confiscated heaters, citing fire hazards.
“Give them liberty, or give them heat!” read banners, alongside signs stating “Mothers love refugees.” They banged on empty tea kettles and soup pots, as symbols of withheld freedom, heat and nutrition.
The demonstrators, who are part of a continuous campaign, are first and foremost demanding that Holot be closed and migrants be granted temporary work permits. They also protest mistreatment of the inmates, demanding “real solutions” to the challenges facing migrants and south Tel Aviv, where the majority of them are sent.
Protest organizer Sigal Avivi said: “Many of the asylum-seekers do not have any family in Israel, let alone mothers; many haven’t seen their family in years. They were forced to leave their family, or saw family members murdered before their very eyes, before they fled for their lives. We need to show them love, respect and understanding, not imprisonment and abuse.”
Hana Raz, another protest organizer, added: “Tonight, the temperature in Holot is supposed to go down to 0 degrees Celsius! The Prison Service that runs Holot has refused to provide heaters, and has even confiscated the heaters and kettles the detainees bought for themselves. What would we do if these were are own children? This place should have been closed a long time ago.”
“Border Police came in the middle of the night with full munition to look for electric kettles that we had bought to make tea. Why do they need guns to come take away our kettles? Why are we forbidden to drink tea on these cold nights?” asked Habtom, a Holot inmate from Eritrea.
“Did confiscating our tea kettles and space heaters improve the weather in south Tel Aviv?” Hafez of Sudan was quoted as saying.
Police neutralize explosive found under Netanya car
Police on Sunday located an explosive device under a parked vehicle in Netanya. Sappers neutralized the apparatus and an investigation was opened into the incident; no injuries or damage were reported.
Eilat hosts Israeli Judo Championships
Eilat hosted the Israeli Judo Championships last weekend for the first time. Over 300 judoists participated in the event, alongside coaches for the Israeli team. Judo Association chairman Moshe Ponti said one of his organization’s missions is to bring judo to as many places in Israel as possible, noting: “This is Israel’s leading Olympic sport, teaching morals, respect for others, excellence and a lot of thought.”
Dozens of dogs freed from moshav after being held in bad conditions
Following multiple complaints about a resident on a moshav near Kiryat Gat who was allegedly keeping dozens of dogs under terrible conditions, a team of vets and officials embarked on an operation to rescue the dogs.
According to the Local website, a team from the Agriculture Ministry’s Animal Welfare Department of Veterinary Services collaborated with the vets from the Be’er Tuviya Regional Council to transfer the animals to another place. This followed an inspection of their living conditions in which the ministry reported it had found 67 dogs, some in cages and others enclosed in a muddy fenced compound.
The dogs were reportedly kept in harsh conditions, in polluted and foul-smelling cages. Mothers and their newborn puppies were lying on concrete or on urine-soaked newspapers, without warmth or protection from harsh weather conditions. The complex was deemed unsuitable for dogs, and the few moldy loaves of bread and minced chicken leftovers found were said to potentially endanger the animals’ health. The dogs had reportedly been kept in these conditions for years, used for commercial purposes and without the required legal vaccination, against regulations set down by the Animal Protection Law.
This was Israel’s largest-ever dog evacuation, according to the Local website. The dogs were transferred to a protected facility where they will undergo rehabilitation, and will then be put up for adoption.