Grapevine: An investment in Israeli youth

The bank’s controlling shareholder dreamed up initiatives that help add to the quality of life of people not been dealt a good hand by fate.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Former South African President Nelson Mandela 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
■ CHILDREN FROM low socioeconomic backgrounds often miss out on what classmates whose parents are in better financial positions can enjoy. But thousands of children whose parents can’t afford to pay for summer camps can enjoy the benefits of Bank Hapoalim summer camps and leisure days.
The bank’s controlling shareholder is philanthropist and businesswoman Shari Arison, who dreamed up and supports many initiatives that help bridge social gaps and add to the quality of life of people who have not been dealt a particularly good hand by fate. Some of the causes Arison supports are directly through the bank, as in the case of the summer camps, and some are through the Arison Family Foundation.
Approximately 9,000 children in Kiryat Shmona, Safed, Hatzor, Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Gat, Yeroham, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Ramle, Lod, Acre, Tel Aviv’s Hatikva Quarter, Shlomi, Ofakim, Tirat Carmel, Hadera, Beersheba, Or Akiva, Elad, Kiryat Malachi, Ofakim, Beit Shemesh, Beit Jann, Shfaram, Usfiya, Daliat al-Carmel, Tuba-Zanghariya, Nesher, Tiberias, Modi’in Illit, Haifa, Baka al-Gharbiya, Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Reina, Kalansuwa and Sakhnin will be able to enjoy summer camps – just like their more affluent friends. Furthermore, a total of some 20,000 children from mostly the same areas will be able to take part in leisure day activities sponsored by Bank Hapoalim.
This will be the fifth consecutive year in which the bank is sponsoring summer activities for children, including those from minority communities.
It’s not just a matter of funding the camps or the leisure days. It’s also teaching the youngsters the fundamentals of money management and savings, so that this young generation will be better equipped than its parent generation to take care of its finances.
The bank has a policy of community involvement through both formal and informal education; it’s tantamount to getting interest without having a deposit.
■ THE LATE president Nelson Mandela will be commemorated at a panel discussion on Thursday, July 10 at Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College, 2 Rabenu Yeruham Street, Jaffa. The event is hosted by Forum Tzora and Wits Alumni, with the support of the South African Embassy.
The panel, moderated by Tova Herzl, a former ambassador to South Africa, will include current Ambassador Sisa Ngombane; Prof. Mohammed Dajani, a political science professor at Al-Quds University; South African journalist and author Benjamin Pogrund, who now lives in Israel and personally met Mandela; and South African-born Nicholas Wolpe, founder and CEO of the Liliesleaf Trust, which preserves the memory and the legacy of South Africa’s liberation struggle. MK Dov Lipman has indicated he is interested in attending, and may be prevailed upon to contribute to the discussion.
Each of the speakers will present their perspective of Mandela’s legacy and its relevance to Israel, beginning with a quotation by the man himself: “In every dispute you eventually reach a point where neither party is altogether right or altogether wrong, when compromise is the only alternative for those who seriously want peace and stability.”
■ THE TREATMENT at Safed’s Ziv Medical Center of Syrians injured in the country’s civil war was the focal point of an international conference on orthopedics that took place in the Galilee last week. Many of the physicians in attendance were also experts on trauma, which affects a large percentage of the Syrian patients.
The visitors from abroad were deeply impressed with the humanitarian aid that is being given to people from an enemy country, and commended their colleagues at Ziv to Prof. Arnon Afek, director of medical administration at the Health Ministry. They were particularly impressed with the work of Prof. Alexander Lerner, director of Ziv’s orthopedic department.
Among the participants at the conference were Lt.-Col. Mark Fleming of the orthopedic trauma service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; Lt.-Cmdr. Jowan Penn-Barwell, a British combat trauma expert; and Chicago-based health advocate and trauma surgeon Prof. Eduardo Smith Singares.
More than 320 Syrian patients have been treated at Ziv to date.
■ THE HISTORIC Carmel wine cellars in Rishon Lezion have been sold to Castro heir Ariel Rotter and his partner, Amir Biram.
Built in 1887, it was the first enterprise in the country to use electricity and a telephone; its employees included David Ben-Gurion, who went on to become Israel’s founding prime minister. Approximately a month ago, it was announced that the Israel Wine Producers Association had put the property up for sale, and that it had been purchased by a group of unnamed investors.
It appears that Rotter and Biram saw the possibility of transforming it into something similar to Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market, jumped at the chance and shelled out NIS 165 million.
The condition of sale included preservation of the original façade and maintaining as much as possible of the inside of the premises; this will cost an additional NIS 80 million.
When the project is completed, it will include restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and handcraft and art galleries.
However, none of these plans can come to fruition before the preservation aspect of the project is completed. Rotter and Biram competed against the Rishon Lezion Municipality, which, unlike many other municipalities that think nothing of tearing down or gutting old buildings, makes every endeavor to maintain them and reinforce them.
They promised municipal officials that the property, which is right in the heart of Rishon Lezion, will receive all the respect and care due to it.