Grapevine: Head of the class

IDC Herzliya; Museum of the Jewish People; Netanyahu sues reporter.

Israeli team IDC 311  (photo credit: Dov Preminger)
Israeli team IDC 311
(photo credit: Dov Preminger)

■ VICE PRESIDENT External Relations and Head of the Raphael Recanati International school at IDC Herzliya, Jonathan Davis, is positively kvelling over the fact that a survey conducted by the Israel Student Union of 66 universities and colleges throughout the country found that IDC ranked No. 1 in quality of teaching and was the university most recommended by its students. IDC also scored well in a survey conducted by the Council for Higher Education, ranking in top position in 16 out of 20 categories regarding student satisfaction. A recent committee convened by the Council for Higher Education also gave the IDC’s Lauder School of Government high marks in comparison to other academic institutions. That’s pretty good going for an educational institution that first opened its doors only 17 years ago.

It’s not only native Hebrew speakers who are enthusiastic about IDC. Some 26 percent of the student population come from abroad – 84 countries to be exact – and study in English. What’s even more interesting is that even though IDC has no sports facilities, it is ranked No. 1 in the nation in women’s sports, according to Davis, and No. 2 in men’s sports. As a member of the Academic Sports Association, Ilan Kowalsky, head of the IDC Athletic Program, was recently awarded the prestigious Wingate Institute Prize for Excellence in Sports.

■ WHILE ON the subject of sports, a new exhibition about the achievements in spirit and sport of Jewish athletes prior to 1948 is scheduled to open at Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People on January 15 under the title “The Game of their Lives.” Although Jews, including Israelis, have excelled in all manner of sports in the last half century, people are either unaware or have forgotten that Jews were champion athletes as far back as the end of the 18th century when prizefighter Daniel Mendoza was the boxing champion of England. Jewish sports clubs in Europe began to flourish at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century and produced many fine athletes in different categories. In the United States, Max Baer, the son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother, was the boxing heavyweight champion of the world in the 1930s and ’40s. Around the same era, baseball star Hank Greenberg was one of the great power hitters of his time. Ed Nobil was the US basketball champion of the year.

If you thought that Jews did not distinguish themselves in sports till Sandy Koufax and Mark Spitz came on the scene, this exhibition will fill some of the gaps in your knowledge. It’s not just in the US that Jewish athletes were able to shine but also in Tunisia, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. The exhibition shows portraits and team photos of people determined to give their all in order to succeed. This is a Jewish story that not only deserves to be told but demands to be told.

■ THOUGH MIRED in controversy, Channel 10 investigative reporter Raviv Drucker, who is being sued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, was nonetheless one of the prizewinners in the electronic media category at the awards ceremony for the prestigious Sokolow Prize, which is given to outstanding journalists in both the print and electronic media.

Yediot Aharonot could take pride in the fact that two of its staff members – journalist Yigal Sarna and photographer Vardi Kahana – were the recipients of the print media prizes. In addition to Drucker, the other recipient in the electronic media category was Channel 2’s Haim Rivlin. The prize for the best cartoon, named in memory of master cartoonist Dosh, went to Ma’ariv’s Moshik Lin. Nahum Sokolow, for whom the prize is named, began his journalistic career while still a teenager in Poland. He was one of the pioneers of Hebrew journalism. He was also an ardent Zionist activist, serving as president of the World Zionist Congress and later president of the Jewish Agency.

The awards were presented by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. Drucker, who spoke on behalf of all the recipients, referred to Channel 10’s impending demise and said that everything possible should be done to prevent the closing down of the TV station. He also reminded Netanyahu that it is the role of journalists to follow the prime minister and to monitor his actions.

■ SHOMRAT HAZOREA, one of the country’s largest furniture manufacturers, is making life easier for the residents of Beersheba and environs by giving them additional choices for their furniture needs. Shomrat Hazorea launched the ninth in its chain of stores last week, this time in Beersheba, in the presence of Mayor Rubik Danilovich. Also on hand was Shomrat Hazorea CEO Arie Wissman, whose family owns the Wissman furniture store in Jerusalem that was started by his late father, a master craftsman who built almost invisible caches in which the Hagana hid its weapons in places that were more or less under the very noses of the British.

The Wissman family is full or part owner of several furniture factories, and this conglomerate gives them an edge over local furniture makers and importers. The company’s simple strategy, said Wissman, is to offer a wide range of products for each room in the home and to keep prices reasonable. The new store, with a display area of 720 square meters., is located at 48 Seventh Avenue, a.k.a. Hebron Road. Wissman intends to expand the chain right across the country.