Grapevine: A race to the top

The ninth annual race to the top of Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Tower took place last Friday, with the participation of several managers of high-powered enterprises.

Azrieli (photo credit: Reuters)
(photo credit: Reuters)
■ THE NINTH annual race to the top of Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Tower took place last Friday, with the participation of several managers of high-powered enterprises.
Participants included Azrieli Towers CEO Arnon Toren, who came in 49th, two minutes under the time he set last year. He managed to get to the finish line in 12 minutes, almost double the time it took winner Daniel Keren, the CEO of Teldan Investments, who raced to the top in 6.5 minutes.
The Azrieli Tower staircase run is one of several such events around the world. It is the least strenuous because, of all the towers involved, it is the least high and has the fewest steps. Participants in this vertical, 187 meter marathon have to run up 1,200 steps. In Taipei, which has the second-highest tower in the world, runners have to scale to 2,046 steps to reach the top of the 508 m. tower.
■ THE ANNUAL conference in Eilat hosted by the Tel Aviv Journalists Association will be co-hosted this year by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Fattal Hotel chain. The conference, which opens this coming Sunday, December 4, at Herods Hotel, starts out with a panel discussion on politics.
Among the panelists will be MKs Nitzan Horowitz, Daniel Ben-Simon, Uri Orbach and Nino Abesadze. Curiously, Shelly Yacimovich, who heads the Labor Party, not only is not listed among these panelists, but does not appear on the program at all – not even on the panel dealing with the media’s handling of the summer’s social justice campaign.
The four-day conference will cover a broad range of topics, some related to national issues and others which are directly media related, such as how a rumor develops into headline news; the Arab(ic) media in Israel; media objectivity; mistakes in reporting; the language of radio; hostile takeovers of the media; religious media; music media; sports media; how the foreign media report on Israel; whether the Israel Broadcasting Authority is an instrument of the state or a public broadcasting service; and of course the conflict between censorship and freedom of the press.
The latter panel will include, in addition to a number of working journalists, former journalist MK Nahman Shai, who is opposed to the proposed amendment to the Libel Law now being discussed in the Knesset, and MK Yariv Levin, who is in favor of it.
■ MANY OF the top-notch executives in the hotel business started as bellboys, waiters, kitchen hands or even toilet cleaners and worked their way up through the ranks. A really good hotel manager can do just about everyone’s job in the hotel because, at one time or another, that’s what he or she did.
Guests at the Tel Aviv Hilton may have been a little surprised to see a senior “bellhop,” in what was obviously an expensive suit, pushing racks of luggage through the hotel lobby. Not too many people recognized the man doing the pushing as Simon Vincent, president of Hilton Europe. Vincent not only handled the luggage but showed guests to their rooms.
He and several other top-level executives from Hilton Worldwide were participating in a business immersion program for managers. The program is designed to involve senior executives in the day-to-day operations of the hotel in all departments.
■ WHILE ON the subject of hotels, top-line entertainers who come to Israel usually stay at the Dan or the Hilton, and occasionally at the David Intercontinental. Not so Spanish heart-throb Julio Iglesias, who is scheduled to perform at the Nokia stadium on December 12.
Sharon Alon, the general manager of Herods Hotel in Tel Aviv, is thrilled to have received Iglesias’s reservation.
As all the luxury hotels in north Tel Aviv are located along Hayarkon Street, it doesn’t make much difference to guests which hotel they stay in. But it certainly makes a difference to the hotel to be able to add the name of yet another dignitary or celebrity to its guest list.
■ BANK HAPOALIM has been engaged for several years now in encouraging children to read more books. As part of this ongoing campaign it has established what it calls a “coexistence children’s library” in Acre. The mobile library, which contains books in Hebrew and Arabic, was inaugurated last week by Bank Hapoalim chairman Yair Saroussi, Acre Mayor Shimon Lancry and members of the city council in cooperation with the non-profit organization Key Books.
Saroussi said that in providing books for both Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking children, the library was not only fostering a love for books but also conveying a message of equality.
Lancry pledged that the library would reach all the children of the city. It would circulate on a daily basis through the different neighborhoods after regular school hours, and continue into the evening, he said. In addition, there would be crates of books at amusement parks and shopping malls.