Grapevine: The final curtain

Cameri artistic director Nitzan notes that it was a sad day for Israeli theater, of which Harifai was such an intrinsic part.

holocaust 521 (photo credit: Reuters)
holocaust 521
(photo credit: Reuters)
■ IN ONE of those strange and cruel ironies of life, two people associated with the play Happy End, which is about a woman dealing with cancer, died of cancer within less than a month of each other. Anat Gov, who wrote the play, died in December; and Tel Aviv-born actress and Israel Prize laureate Zaharira Harifai, who starred in the play, died last week. Each died in the same month in which she was born.
Though frequently in and out of hospital, Harifai mustered the strength to keep on appearing on the stage of the Cameri Theater, which was her second home. Scores of people filled the theater on Thursday of last week at a memorial tribute which preceded her funeral at Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha.
Many of those present, including Harifai, had attended Gov’s funeral.
Both women had been extremely courageous in confronting their illness and had lived life to the full inasmuch as they were able. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said that Harifai belonged to the generation of giants who had laid the foundations for Israeli theater and had helped to bring it to international standards. Actress Anat Waxman, who had played alongside Harifai in Happy End and who had also been close to Gov, delivered a eulogy for both women. In expressing her love for Harifai, she said, “From the moment we met, you treated me as an equal.”
Cameri artistic director Omri Nitzan noted that it was a sad and difficult day for Israeli theater, of which Harifai was such an intrinsic part. Drawing a parallel between Harifai and her profession, Nitzan said, “Just as the curtain comes down at the end of a great and memorable play, so the curtain has come down on your life and all the roles you played, but the memories remain alive and will continue as your legacy.”
■ TWO WEEKS ahead of International Holocaust Memorial Day, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, in cooperation with Bar-Ilan University and the Minerva Institute for German History of Tel Aviv University, will hold an international conference entitled “Violence and Politics in Germany: On the Origins and Consequences of Nazism for German Political Culture.”
The conference will convene on January 13 and 14 (at Bar-Ilan University on the first day and Tel Aviv University on the second) to mark the 80th anniversary of the National Socialist ascent to power in January 1933. The various speakers at the conference will not only discuss outrageous policies and attitudes related to the past but will also come sharply into the present in the final session at TAU, which will be a roundtable discussion on “Neo- Nazism, Gender and Violence in Germany Today” with panelists Jose Brunner, Sophie Walsh and Marianne Zepp.
■ YOU CAN be one of the most successful businesspeople in Israel, a generous philanthropist supporting numerous causes and on first-name terms with most of the country’s movers and shakers, but it still doesn’t guarantee you protection from the bureaucratic clutches of the municipality.
According to a Yediot Aharonot report, veteran hotelier Michael Federmann, who heads the Dan Hotel chain, may be forced to move out of his villa on Ramat Yam Street in Herzliya on a strip of beach adjacent to the Dan Accadia Hotel.
The villa has been standing there for more than a quarter of a century, but a Yediot investigative reporter discovered in August 2011 that the land on which the villa was built was designated for hotel construction and is not in a residential zone. It took a little while for the Herzliya Municipality to absorb this information and to check it out, after which it sent Federmann a letter in which it more or less gave him 60 days in which to evacuate if he wanted to avoid legal action.
Federmann’s lawyers say that all the necessary permits to build a private home on the site had been obtained, but the municipality says otherwise.
Fighting city hall is generally a lose-lose situation. Case in point in Jerusalem, for instance, is the old President Hotel on Ahad Ha’am Street, which was the first hotel with a swimming pool in Jerusalem. After it stopped functioning as a hotel, it operated for a while as an immigrant absorption center and was acquired by Africa Israel well over a decade ago.
Africa-Israel wanted to build a luxury residential complex diagonally across the road of an even higher standard than that built by the late Edward Reichmann. But the Jerusalem Municipality wanted another hotel. Both the municipality and Africa Israel dug in their heels, and so no progress has been made.
The building is in an extreme state of neglect, with signs that homeless people have broken into it from time to time, and it’s likely to stay that way for a long time, unless the city engineer decides that it’s dangerous and has to be torn down. But that is no guarantee that a hotel will be built on the site.