Grapevine: A sporting chance

New sports stadium; Haifa Grand Canyon Mall; car-clogged cities.

hapoel petah tikva_311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
hapoel petah tikva_311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

■ PETAH TIKVA has a new sports stadium, which can compete favorably with similar facilities in other cities in the country. On hand for the inauguration ceremony were celebrity coach Avraham Grant; CEO of the Petah Tikva Development Company Avi Cohen; city manager Avi Ben-Hamo; Mayor Itzik Ohayon; chairman of the Israel Football Association Avi Luzon; and Deputy Mayor Ya’acov Ben-Simhon. Anyone who travels extensively in Israel will notice a tremendous amount of construction, not only of residential and commercial premises but also of soccer stadiums and other sports facilities.

■ IF YOU have ever wondered how it is that economically underprivileged women are dressed in relatively up-to-date fashions, one of the answers is the Haifa Grand Canyon mall, whose CEO Israel Savyon, within the framework of a project called Feminine Horizon, persuaded all the clothing-store proprietors of the mall to contribute surplus stock to women in distress. This includes women who are victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, as well as those whose income is negligible. Feminine Horizon was established in 2008 with the assistance of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Social Affairs Ministry and the Haifa Municipality.

■ ISRAEL’S CITIES are among the most car-clogged in the world. Buses, trucks and motorcycles also contribute to the congestion – so much so that when Friends of Beit Lessin organized a daytime premiere of Blood Brothers last Friday, the curtain was late in going up because so many people were still parking their cars or picking up their tickets.

Of course, it’s almost always a Murphy’s Law affair. Anyone who leaves home or the workplace early in order to be on time will encounter one of those rare occasions in which the streets are almost devoid of traffic and will sit around for the best part of an hour twiddling his or her thumbs; while those who calculate the time factor and leave themselves a leeway of 10 to 15 minutes almost invariably get caught in traffic and arrive late. Among the early birds was Nava Barak, who seems to be a member of or on the guest list of every major organization in Tel Aviv.

■ ALL THE guests who attended the reception hosted by Japanese Ambassador Hideo Sato in honor of the 78th birthday of Emperor Hirohito received a small bottle of Choya, the traditional Japanese plum liqueur, as a souvenir presented to them as they exited. There were numerous Japanese delicacies on the buffet, and many of the guests, including kibbutznik MK Shai Hermesh, who is the chairman of the Israel Japan Parliamentary Friendship League, and Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Rada, took delight in displaying their chopstick proficiency.

British Ambassador Matthew Gould, who seldom has time to attend the receptions hosted by his colleagues because he and his wife, Celia, host so many receptions themselves, actually had a night off and looked very pleased to have the opportunity to do some casual networking. Asked where his wife was, he said she was home putting up Christmas decorations.

■ AN ICON who recently turned 60, Tzvika Pik’s popularity endures with both adults and teeny boppers. The Maestro, as the singer/composer/musician is generally known, after appearing in concert halls around the world and all over Israel, appeared on the roof of Ashdod’s Sweat Star complex and could be seen and heard at quite a distance. There will be a more limited audience for his New Year’s Eve indoor appearance in Ashdod, where he will perform some of his greatest hits under the title of “Love at the End of Summer.”

A prolific composer who has written the music for many of Israel’s best musical comedy shows, as well as for Israel’s Eurovision entries, Pik could have opted to go to a regular New Year’s Eve party. But entertainers live to entertain, and that’s what he’s going to do.