Grapevine: A return to entertainment

Mayor Yona Yahav under whose helm Haifa has flourished enormously in just over a decade, wants the Haifa Stock Exchange to compete with Tel Aviv.

Haifa (photo credit: Wikicommons)
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
■ PROVIDING THAT the cease-fire is upheld, several of Israel’s leading pop stars will be singing at Ashkelon’s Breeza Festival which be held from August 24 to 30, starting with Miri Mesika and Mosh Ben Ari. Others in order of appearance will be Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila, Keren Peles, Hadag Nahash, Rita and Eyal Golan. In addition many of the stars of children’s programs will also be in attendance.
■ THE PROMOTION of Johny Srouji to hardware vice president at Apple, is a feather in the cap for Israel’s Arab community, for the city of Haifa and for the Haifa Technion, of which Srouji is a computer science graduate. According to a media release by Apple, Srouji now leads all of Apple’s custom silicon architecture and development, covering a wide range of devices and technologies.
Srouji, who was born in Haifa, has played an instrumental role in Apple’s presence in Israel. When Apple was considering setting up its R&D center in Haifa, Mayor Yona Yahav at a meeting with the company’s representative began speaking to him in English. The representative happened to be Srouji, who stopped him in mid sentence and began talking to him in Hebrew, explaining that there was no need for them to converse in English, as he like Yahav was a Haifa a native who had come to return to the city what he had gained from it.
■ A MOST ambitious mayor under whose helm Haifa has flourished enormously in just over a decade, Yahav now wants to set up a Haifa Stock Exchange to compete with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, according to a report in Globes. The Haifa Municipality is in the process of publishing tenders for entrepreneurs to submit bids for setting up a NASDAQ-style stock exchange in Haifa that will specialize in technology companies. Setting up a stock exchange requires the approval of the finance minister. The decision to focus on technology derives from the fact that in a addition to a number of startups that operate in Haifa, the city hosts divisions of several global hi-tech companies such as Apple, Google and Yahoo. In addition, four Nobel Prize laureates are associated with the Haifa Technion, whose graduates and faculty staff have won many other distinctions.
■ THE HERZLIYA Municipal Council has decided to appoint a public figure as head of a student delegation to Poland to emphasize the educational importance that the municipality places on such trips. Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon has been approved by the council to lead the tour assisted by his deputy Aya Prishkonik. In previous years, the council refused to fund the flights of public figures, but has reached the conclusion that an exception should be made for a matter of such educational significance.
■ IN RECENT weeks, many Israelis who are not dual nationals and whose only passports are Israeli have been frustrated by their inability to apply for a visa to the United States because the US Consulate in Tel Aviv was working with a skeleton staff during Operation Protective Edge. As a result, untold numbers of people who had planned to visit the US in July had to either defer or cancel their visits. However consular staff have returned to duty, and anyone who now wants to apply for a visa can go through the standard procedures.
■ HI-TECH start-up guru Yossi Vardi, who together with Hubert Burda cochairs Tel Aviv’s annual Digital Life Design (DLD) Festival, has announced that the date for this year’s festival is September 15-20. DLD brings together the best thinkers on issues of innovation, media, digitals, entertainment and science. The festival, which is being held for the fourth consecutive year, is always full of surprises, and in addition to introducing new products and ideas, facilitates hundreds of meet-ups between technology geeks from different parts of the world.
■ SOMETIMES CRIME does pay – but not in the literal sense. A heartwarming item in Yediot Aharonot refers to the generosity of Ami Schreiber, who heads the Tel Aviv Vice Squad. When police from his department confiscate equipment seized in raids on illegal casinos, they don’t destroy it, as was customary in the past, but instead donate it to Holocaust survivors and other people in need. Confiscated equipment includes television sets, heaters, tables, chairs, and other items which are suitable for household use.