Grapevine: New mayors needed

Whatever the political differences between Israelis and Palestinians, and despite the recent wave of attacks, there are Palestinians engaged in peaceful activities with Israelis.

Orel, a 5 year old cancer patient, sits on his intravenous drip stand decorated with an animal figure at Schneider Children's Medical Center. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Orel, a 5 year old cancer patient, sits on his intravenous drip stand decorated with an animal figure at Schneider Children's Medical Center.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
■ RAMAT HASHARON will have to hold new mayoral elections, following the conviction on corruption charges of Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger. He is not the only mayor who faced corruption charges in 2014; others included Bat Yam’s Shlomi Lahiani and Ramat Gan’s Yisrael Zinger.
■ KIBBUTZ YAD Mordechai was the venue Monday for a meeting between Israeli farmers and their Gazan counterparts. It was the first such meeting since Operation Protective Edge, organized by Israel’s Fruit Growers Association. CEO Itzik Cohen said the get-together had great significance for both sides, because their common interest could best be served by strengthening their personal relations.
■ WHEN COUSINS Julie Fiske and Robert Mort of Miami were thinking about their bat and bar mitzva celebrations, they decided they didn’t want a big party in their home base, but would rather go to Israel and share their festivities with residents of the Gaza Strip and area soldiers.
One of their relatives, Steve Fiske, had come to Israel with several friends during Operation Protective Edge to demonstrate solidarity with Israel, and on returning home to Miami had shared impressions with relatives and friends. At the time, Julie and Robert were planning a gala event to celebrate their Jewish coming of age, but changed their minds after hearing what Steve had to say.
They told their parents they wanted to go to Israel instead and got in touch with Tzeirei Chabad, which cares for more than 3,000 families and whose members include victims of terror; together, they planned the celebration.
The cousins arrived in Israel last week together with 20 close relatives, and started their visit by going to Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center, to chat with wounded soldiers and present them with gifts. They then went to Sderot, where they distributed toys – which they actually purchased in Sderot, in order to do a double mitzva. The group also went to a military base close to the Gaza border, where they hosted a barbecue for soldiers and again distributed gifts.
It was a meaningful experience for all concerned, proving yet again that in a socalled post-Zionism era, the ties that bind Israel and the Diaspora remain strong.
■ DIAMONDS ARE not only a girl’s best friend – they are also a child’s best friend. Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the Israel Diamond Exchange, together with vice president Hezi Blum and CEO Moti Besser, went from Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital in Tel Aviv to Safra Children’s Hospital in Tel Hashomer, to light Hanukka candles and give the youngsters a thrill – by bringing along former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball stars Tal Brody, Aulcie Perry and Amnon Avidan.
The hoopsters distributed gift packages of Maccabi Tel Aviv scarves and hoodies.
■ AT SCHNEIDER Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva, the VIP visitor was Korean Ambassador Lee Gun-Tae, who came to inaugurate the Samsung digital library – which the renowned Korean electronics company has donated to the hospital, to enable patients to keep up with their studies through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Lawyer and South Korean honorary consul Amichai Orkabi was also present, as were several other businessmen and MKs Ophir Akunis and Miki Rosenthal.
■ YOU DON’T have to be Jewish to celebrate Hanukka. Students from around the world – many of them non-Jewish – joined in the Hanukka celebrations of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, which were attended by IDC founder and president Uriel Reichman – who told the students they were responsible for the future of the Jewish people. On Hanukka, said Reichman, everyone should remember that he or she is responsible not only for their own lives but for the lives of others, and that the success of the individual can become the triumph of the many.
■ PRIOR TO the opening of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art’s new exhibition, “No Names, No Title” by Anri Sala, the Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art held a gala evening at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion to meet with the famous French artist. Among those attending were Lizika and Ami Sagi, Dubi Schiff, Yigal Ahubi and Galit Gutman, Moriel Matalon, Daphna and Amir Nechmad, TAMA director Suzanne Landau and many others.
■ WHATEVER THE political differences between Israelis and Palestinians, and despite the recent flurry of stabbings, rock throwing and tossing of Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, there are Palestinians engaged in peaceful activities with Israelis. This week, Ibrahim N. Salman invited Israelis to join in the Palestine Wildlife Society’s celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, which took place Tuesday at Bethlehem’s Santa Maria Hotel, with lunch included. On Wednesday, there was a field trip to Mar Saba Wilderness, to watch the birds at Souq al-Sha’b; on the same day, PWS released a pair of owls back to nature.


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