Grapevine: A diplomatic ‘meat and greet’

Politicians of all stripes are preaching more or less to the converted.

Eitan Cabel
■ ITALIAN AMBASSADOR Francesco Maria Talo and his wife will host what they term “a buffet meating” at their residence in Ramat Gan next week. No, it’s not a typographical error. Talo has invited Dario Cecchini, a master butcher descended from a long line of Italian butchers who works tirelessly to promote traditional Tuscan food.
Reputed to be an excellent chef and creative butcher, Cecchini recreated on the site of his family’s butcher shop that was destroyed during World War II an antique style macelleria (Italian for “butcher shop”). His cuts of fresh and processed meats are so unusual that his shop has become a tourist attraction.
The culinary piece de resistance of the evening in Ramat Gan will be the traditional bistecca alla florentina. The evening has been dubbed Red Tuscan Night 2015, and the invitation card is red instead of the usual white or ivory. Cecchini’s succulent creations will be accompanied by kosher Chianti Classico Terra di Seta. However, the invitation does not state that the meat will be kosher.
■ POLITICIANS OF all stripes are preaching more or less to the converted.
Right-wing politicians know that they have minimal support among the secular population in Haifa, where political adherence is by and large from center left to left of center. Thus Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who is keen to retain his seat in the next Knesset, thought that Haifa was a fairly reliable area in which to drum up support. Big mistake. Cabel discovered that in Haifa they don’t like people who play two ends against the middle.
Cabel, who was among the people who promoted the continued existence of financially strapped Channel 10, was also among those who were most vocal about stopping the distribution of freebie daily newspapers, most notably Israel Hayom. This did not go over well with a number of Labor Party people in Haifa who accused him of being an agent for Yediot Aharonot and wanted to know why he would support one media outlet and try to suppress another. Cabel opted not to respond. Sometimes no comment is louder than a scream.
■ AMOCAH, THE new Arab Museum of Contemporary Art and Heritage located in Sakhnin, opened its first exhibition under the title of “Hiwar,” which is Arabic for “dialogue.” The aim of the museum’s directorate is to foster cooperation on both the national and international levels and to provide a setting for people to exchange views on a variety of subjects in a cultural milieu.
Among the 200 contemporary works of art in the opening exhibition are exhibits by Austrian artists Barbara Eichhorn, Hermann Nitsch, Eva Schlegel, Valentin Ruhry and Johannes Vogel. The exhibition will be on view until the summer.
■ ONE ASPECT of Austrian culture is the annual Schubertiade, which for the ninth successive year will be held around composer Franz Schubert’s birthday with a series of chamber concerts in Jerusalem, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Kibbutz Ein Hashofet and Rishon Lezion. Among the performers will be Austrian tenor Daniel Johannsen, who will be singing in Jerusalem and Ein Hashofet accompanied by pianist Graham Johnson.
■ NEW YORK-born Richard Steinitz, who has lived in Israel for more than 40 years and is a veteran of more than 20 years of service as a medic in the Israeli army (reserves), was disappointed by the lack of accurately written books dealing with the Israel-Arab conflict. Many works of fiction presume to give an accurate picture of the area and the event, yet contain glaring errors of fact and even simple translation. So Steinitz decided to write a novel that was geographically, demographically and politically correct.
His first novel, Murder over the Border, builds upon his intimate knowledge of Israel and the people that live in and around Israel, as well as the hopes and dreams of the peoples of the region.
Steinitz’s second novel, Kaplan’s Quest, has won the Five Star Review Award on the Readers’ Favorite website. It is available in print and as a Kindle e-book.
The plot centers around Shmulik Kaplan, a young university lecturer whose great-uncle Samuel disappeared during World War II. This disappearance shaped Kaplan’s life. As part of his master’s thesis on the history of Germany between the wars, he sets out to try to discover what happened to his uncle – an outstanding athlete who managed to leave Germany in 1935 but incomprehensibly returned to Berlin, and then vanished without a trace.