■ NOTED HISTORIAN Sir Martin Gilbert comes to Israel at fairly frequent intervals and will be speaking in Jerusalem on Thursday, December 30, to members and friends of the Israel branch of the The Jewish Historical Society of England. His topic, “Britain and Palestine 1917-1947: Researching the Relationship,” is based on research that he has been conducting for four decades. Documents that he has examined are no less fascinating than WikiLeaks, though they deal with an earlier period of history. Sir Martin will discuss the plans that Britain initially had for Palestine and how those plans were modified. Had they not been, history might have taken a different course during the Mandate years. Sir Martin will be speaking at Beit Avi Chai, 44 King George Street, Jerusalem.■ MUSIC LOVERS with a feel for the classics but with lack of wherewithal to pay for concert tickets can now hear a free concert every second Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Music Center at Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The concerts are held in conjunction with Israel Radio’s Voice of Music and are broadcast on the following Friday week at 12 noon. The first in the current series of Youth at the Center featured Batia Murvitz on piano, Dina Zemtsova and Yonatan Grinberg on violin, Lotem Beider on viola and Telalit Charsky on cello. All were prize-winning music students and have continued to garner prizes in Israel and around the world.■ GLASS ARTIST Dale Chihuly’s phenomenal contribution to the set of the Israeli Opera’s production of Bluebeard’s Castle coupled with the opening of his exhibition at the Litvak Gallery drew all sorts of people out of the woodwork. Aside from opera lovers who flocked to Tel Aviv to see as well as to hear, several organizations and institutions organized group visits to the Litvak Gallery, among them some 150 members of Tel Aviv University’s Business-Academic Club.■ IN HER recently acquired capacity of acting president of the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce, Ruth Sheetrit, who heads the Ramat Gan-based Sheetrit Media Group, hosted a cocktail reception in honor of Francois Henrot, a managing partner at Rothschild Bank. Guests naturally included the husband of the hostess, MK and former finance minister Meir Sheetrit, as well as IFCC President Alfred Akirov, who recently replaced Sami Sagol, who a couple of months back was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contribution to strengthening investments and trade relations between France and Israel. Sagol, who heads the giant Keter Plastics company, is now giving his attention to Italy.■ PAST AND present members of the General Security Service gathered at Jabotinsky House in Tel Aviv to participate in the book launch of the docu-novel And the letters that will testify... by former senior agent Eliezer Hillel, better known by his nickname “Gezer,” which means carrot in Hebrew. The book is not an autobiography in the guise of a novel, but delves into the lives of his parents who were members of Etzel (IZL) before the establishment of the state, and is based on the letters they wrote to each other against the backdrop of the era. Among those who came to congratulate Hillel were two of his former commanders – Jacob Perry, who currently chairs the Board of Directors of Bank Mizrahi Tefahot, and MK Yoel Hasson, neither of whom had previously set foot inside the building, and for whom it was somewhat of a revelation. Among the speakers were retired Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar and Arye Mahlul, who both knew the author’s late father, Yaacov Hillel, and who both – like him – were senior members of Etzel exiled by the British to Africa. Also present was Rachel Kremmerman, whose late father Yaacov Meridor was an MK and prior to that the commander-in-chief of Etzel. But the woman who excited the most attention was the heroine of the book, Hannah Hillel, who came with her sister Esther Gliksman and other family members. The Hillels live in the Galilee, and many of their friends came from there to do honor not only to the author but also to his mother and late father.