■ PRIME MINISTER Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are known to bemovie buffs, and in the days when security was not quite as tight as it is now, theyused to slip into darkened movie theaters while the commercials were playing so that no one would recognize them, and leave just before the end. They can’t do thatanymore unless they go to Cinema City, as President Shimon Peres did this week.Neither Peres nor Netanyahu has too much time for movies these days, butPeres had heard so much about Joseph Cedar’s prize-winning film Footnote that he felt he ought to see it.
He could have seen it on video in the President’sResidence, but he preferred to go to Cinema City in Ramat Hasharon in thecompany of his son Chemi and a small group of friends. The Cinema City chainincludes a series of small VIP cinemas, as well as larger auditoriums.He was received by Cinema City owner Moshe Edery, whose next link in thechain will be in Jerusalem – a factor that will enable both Netanyahu and Peresto see the latest movies at minimal notice because special screenings can always be arranged for them.
■ DESPITE THE controversies that prevented him from becoming IDF chief ofstaff, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant, the former head of Southern Command,remains a magnetic attraction. Thus when he was the guest speaker last week ofTel Aviv University’s Business-Academic Club, there was a full house that resultedin contributions totaling NIS 300,000 for scholarships for needy students.Galant spoke about Israel’s security in a changing geostrategic reality.
Obviously still smarting from accusations that he had appropriated public landsfor his own use, Galant started out with an anecdote about a conversation he’dhad with former prime minister Ariel Sharon about Sharon’s good friend thelate general Avraham Yoffe who, after leaving the army, had accepted the chairmanshipof the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. When Sharon hadasked Yoffe why, after such a distinguished military career, he had opted to headan organization dealing with nature, Yoffe’s reply was “Because here, a snake isa snake and a dog is a dog.”
■ IN OTHER Tel Aviv University news, when Amos Shapira, the president ofthe Friends of TAU, inaugurated the new on-campus WIZO day-care center lastweek, he brought along his baby granddaughter Maya, whom he held in hisarms during the inauguration ceremony – a dangerous thing to do, as it’s a wellknownfact that babies upstage everyone, including their grandfathers. Mayawas no exception. Everyone wanted to play kitchy-koo with her.There was also a high-profile WIZO representation in attendance, WorldWIZO President Helena Glaser.
■ ISRAEL’S CITIES are among the most car-clogged in the world. Buses, trucksand motorcycles also contribute to the congestion – so much so that whenFriends 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 theircars or picking up their tickets.
Of course, it’s almost always a Murphy’s Law affair. Anyone who leaves homeor the workplace early in order to be on time will encounter one of those rareoccasions in which the streets are almost devoid of traffic and will sit around forthe best part of an hour twiddling his or her thumbs; while those who calculatethe time factor and leave themselves a leeway of 10 to 15 minutes almost invariablyget 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 organizationin Tel Aviv.
■ ZAKA THIS week hosted a pilot course for Arab women on home safety, accidentprevention and care. Born out of experience of volunteers arriving athomes in Israel’s minority community, the course addressed not only accidentprevention but also taught participants how to provide post-accident care.This is the first time that ZAKA and the haredi community took an initiativegeared specifically toward women in the Arab sector. Approximately 40 womenattended the four-hour course in Kafr Kasim, led by a ZAKA medical professionaland an Arabic-speaking paramedic. It is hoped that the program will beextended to 12 other Arab towns across the country.
ZAKA has an active Minorities Unit based mostly in the Negev, Galilee and thetriangle area of Israeli Arab towns, offering a quick response to emergencies inthese areas. There are more than 100 ZAKA volunteers from the Arab, Beduinand Druse sectors in Israel, with an additional course opening soon.ZAKA founder and chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who created the organizationin 1995, says that ZAKA believes that all human beings, regardless of religion, race ornationality, are created equal. Thus ZAKA is always ready to offer aid to anyone whomay benefit from the organization’s know-how. ZAKA volunteers are on call 24/7 and are equipped to reach the site of any emergency in the shortest possible time.