Grapevine: An Eyal Golan fan

Eyal Golan (photo credit: PR)
Eyal Golan
(photo credit: PR)
■ NOTWITHSTANDING THE fact that he was denied a visa to the United States in March, popular singer Eyal Golan has been welcomed with open arms by US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, who invited him to the Fourth of July celebration that Shapiro and his wife, Julie Fisher, hosted at the American residence in Herzliya Pituah last week.
Last year, Golan was convicted of tax evasion and false billing, and received a sentence of four months’ community service at a senior citizens’ home in Rishon Lezion – though he was not allowed to sing for the residents. The visa denial, which is still in force, has deprived him of considerable potential income. He had been scheduled to appear in concert with Sarit Haddad in Miami, Los Angeles and New York, and in all probability would have received further engagements from the burgeoning Israeli community in the US. It just so happens that Shapiro is one of Golan’s fans – hence the invitation.
■ AS THE French Embassy and the French Institute did last year on the instructions of French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave, they are once again hosting a street party for Bastille Day. The July 14 party in Tel Aviv will run from 7:30 p.m. onward, in the plaza outside the French Institute at 7 Rothschild Boulevard.
But this year, the festivities will expand to include Hanamal Street in Haifa from 7 p.m. and Independence Square in Netanya from 8 p.m.
The huge influx of French immigrants has made it impossible for the ambassador to host as many as he would like at his Jaffa residence, and the street parties will enable immigrants from France to get together and salute the values of liberty, fraternity and equality – and to dance to good music.
Netanya in particular has become very much a French enclave, and the celebrations there will be as authentic as anywhere in France.
■ IN FEBRUARY, hundreds of people attended the funeral of four-year-old Adele Biton, who had been critically wounded two years earlier in a terrorist attack on her home settlement of Yakir. Her plight tugged at the heart strings of the nation. She was reduced to an almost vegetative state, but with the help of hospital staff and the devoted attention of her mother, Adva, and father, Rafi, she began to show slight signs of improvement.
Eventually she was discharged from the hospital and allowed to go home.
But then she developed complications and was taken to Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center, where she died of pneumonia. It was an incredibly tragic loss for her family, not only because of her tender age, but because so much hope had been placed in her recovery.
Last week, a Torah scroll was dedicated in her name and in her memory at Yakir, where her family continues to live. The dedication coincided with the launch of a nonprofit organization in her memory, dedicated to helping bereaved families, especially those who have lost children. The Bitons received so much support during their ordeal that they felt a need to give support to others.
■ AS THE 10th anniversary of the Gaza disengagement approaches, there is a greater focus than usual on the evacuated Jewish communities.
Among the evacuees was the entire community of Netzarim in Gush Katif, all of whom suddenly found themselves homeless. Empathizing with their predicament, the city of Ariel offered to host them. The displaced Netzarim community was torn between the option of building a new, self-contained agricultural community elsewhere in the country, and the option of responding to their calamity by uniting with Israeli society and contributing to social and educational welfare.
Approximately 25 families opted for the latter course and decided to remain in Ariel, where they could rebuild their lives while giving of themselves to the community. In the interim, another 50 families joined them. Collectively they have made a significant impact on Ariel by providing academically accredited Torah-enhanced education for more than 800 male and female students at Ariel University. They are now reaching out to the wider community and will introduce Monday morning courses for women, with rebbetzins Idit Itzkowitz, Tama Bar-Natan and Bruria Ben-Shahar leading the different fields of study. Those who want to register and find out more can contact