Grapevine: Back in the water

It is fairly common knowledge that Gilad Schalit, who came home after 5 years of captivity, is a sports fan.

Gilad Schalit escorted 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Gilad Schalit escorted 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
IT TAKES a lot of courage to return to a place where one almost died.
For rower Yasmin Feingold, who was close to death after her boat capsized during a training session in the heavily polluted Yarkon River in 2009, it was a double triumph. Not only did she return to the scene of the near tragedy, but just under two weeks ago she won the 2,000-meter rowing championship.
Feingold, whose father, famed peace activist Abie Nathan, refused to acknowledge her as his daughter, was seriously ill after having been submerged in the water for some seven minutes, and took a year to recover. After the accident she was attached to a respirator for several days. But eventually she went back to rowing and proved that she was the stuff of which champions are made.
Avi Tobin, the Herzliya jogger who dived into the water and saved her life, was on hand to congratulate her both on braving the river and winning the championship. Three years earlier Tobin had been happily jogging along when he saw a group of people standing on the bank of the river and yelling that the police should be called because a woman was drowning. Tobin didn’t think twice, but dived into the river, hoping that he was not too late.
Feingold was trapped by her shoes, which had been caught in the boat.
He managed to disconnect her from the boat and get her out of the river.
Although he was delighted to witness her triumph, Tobin refused to take any credit for win. It was all her own doing, he said.
■ IT IS fairly common knowledge that Gilad Schalit, who came home half a year ago after five years of Hamas captivity, is a sports fan. One of the first things he did in the first week he was back with his family at Mitzpe Hila was to go for a bike ride.
Three months ago, he was seen watching a basketball game at the Nokia stadium, where he had come to cheer on his favorite team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, in its match against Barcelona Regal. Last month Schalit traveled to Orlando, Florida, to watch an all-star NBA game and met with Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi, who was no less excited to meet Schalit than Schalit was to meet him.
Then, last weekend, Schalit was among the thousands of spectators at Ramat Hasharon who watched Israel’s Davis Cup team trounce Portugal, and afterwards visited the dressing room where the Israeli players were thrilled to meet him. Andy Ram remarked that it was not to be taken for granted that on his first Festival of Freedom after his release from captivity that Schalit would want to spend time rooting for the Israeli tennis team.
But apparently Schalit’s captors had inadvertently paved the way for his delight in the game. “They let me watch a lot of tennis on television,” he told the Israeli players.
■ FORMER DIRECTOR-GENERAL and CEO of the Jerusalem Municipality during the reign of Teddy Kollek, eminent lawyer Roni Feinstein died last weekend.
Feinstein, who succumbed to cancer, was the life companion of Shenkar College president Yuli Tamir, who is herself a recovering cancer patient and also a former government minister. Tamir has held the Education, Immigrant Absorption and Science Culture and Sports portfolios.
Feinstein held several important positions throughout his career. He has been vice chairman of Elul Tamarynd; senior vice president of El Al Israel Airlines; chief assistant to the State Comptroller; director of Migdal Holdings & Insurance Ltd. – Israel’s largest insurance company; director of Fattal Hotel Holdings (1998) Ltd.; chairman of the board of Am Oved Publishing Co.; member of the Executive Committee of the Israel America Friendship League; chairman of the board of the Tourist Industry Development Corporation Corp.; chairman of the board and of the executive management of The Jerusalem Theater; chairman of the board of the Jerusalem International Book Fair and lecturer at the Hebrew University School of Public Policy and Department of Political Science.
Feinstein earned his law degree from the Hebrew University in 1968 and continued his studies at New York University’s Central Institute of Management for Civil Service. He also did advanced studies in city management on an Eisenhower Fellowship. While serving as director-general of the Jerusalem Municipality he received the State Kaplan Award, Israel’s highest award for distinguished civil service.
■ DOES CONTEMPORARY architecture have room only for innovation or should it also give consideration to restoration? Francophiles can hear expert opinions on the subject on Friday, April 20, at 12 noon when French architect Alexandre Labasse, the director of the Arsenal Pavilion at the Center for Architectural Exhibitions in Paris, Jeremy Offman, head of the Tel Aviv Municipality’s Department for the Conservation of Historic Buildings and artist Joseph Dadoune present their views. Following the discussion there will be an exhibition of Dadoune’s work under the title Ofakim – Horizons. Both events, in French and Hebrew, will be held at the French Institute, at 7 Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv.