Grapevine: An open dialogue

Cashman discusses what is happening in the coming days

Road leading to Western Wall 521 (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)
Road leading to Western Wall 521
(photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)
WHEN DISCUSSING the political future of Jerusalem, namely whether it should remain united, be divided or be internationalized, the general tendency other than in far Left circles is to overlook the fact that Arabs may have something to say on the subject. In a welcome exception to the rule, the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv has invited former MK Tawfik Khatib, former head of the Jaljulya Local Council and political science graduate of Bar-Ilan University, to debate the issue with BIU lecturer Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert on the Israeli Arab population and the Arab world in general.
The debate on Thursday, February 28, will be held against the backdrop of the legacy of Dr. Binyamin Ze’ev (Wolfgang) von Weisl, one of the founders of the Revisionist Movement, who had numerous ideological and political run-ins with both the Arab population and members of the Labor Movement led by David Ben-Gurion. These incidents were often violent and much more disquieting than the fractured relations in Israeli politics today. During the British Mandate period, Jews frequently had to literally fight off Arabs to gain access to the Western Wall. On one such occasion, Von Weisl was seriously injured.
His granddaughter Niva von Weisl will discuss that incident as one of the opening volleys in the struggle for Jewish control over the Western Wall, while Prof. Arye Naor will discuss Jabotinsky and Jerusalem.
ISRAEL PRIZE laureate and one of the country’s leading veteran photographers Micha Bar-Am, who has chronicled the history and development of the state through the lens of his camera, is exhibiting at the Negev Museum of Art in the Old City of Beersheba. The title of his exhibition is “Daroma – Southward.” Curated by Dr. Dalia Manor, the exhibition portrays the diversity of life in the southern region from the time when it was an almost barren desert to the creation and growth of communities pioneered by people of varied national and ethnic backgrounds.
Bar-Am, who was the founding director of the Tel Aviv Museum’s Department of Photography, which he headed for 15 years, is a photo journalist and an artistic photographer. His photographs have appeared in leading publications in Israel and around the world and have been exhibited in major museums in Israel and the US. He has also published books of his photographs and is preparing for an exhibition later this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, which broke out on October 6, 1973.
TO MARK the seventh anniversary of the death of beloved singer Shoshana Damari, whose signature song “Kalaniyot” (anemones) remains a perennial favorite, thousands of people from all over Israel converged on the Western Negev on Saturday and joined in a memorial march in the vicinity of Kibbutz Ruhama to celebrate the anemone season, which heralds the beginning of spring. This was one of several Anemone Festival activities.
AND IN Ein Hod, the eighth anniversary of the death of satirist, caricaturist, illustrator, graphic designer, producer of comic books and artist Dudu Geva was commemorated with the opening of a permanent exhibition of his work. Geva, who was born in Jerusalem, moved to Tel Aviv, where his cartoons and writings were published in several newspapers and humorous booklets.
One of his favorite characters was Joseph the Duck, which was adopted by the Tel Aviv Municipality after Geva’s death on February 15, 2005.
HAIFA MAYOR Yona Yahav has decided to honor three countries that provided a haven for Jews during the Holocaust, and is naming streets and squares in the city for Denmark, the Philippines and Bulgaria and their capitals.
For many years, despite testimony by people who found a welcoming open door in the Philippines when they fled Nazi Germany, Israel refused to recognize what the Philippines government under president Manuel Quezon had done. This infuriated the late Antonio Modena, a former journalist who, as Philippines ambassador to Israel, launched a campaign in November 2005 to have his country recognized by Yad Vashem. He did this in an address to the Rotary Club of Jerusalem and continued to press the point whenever he was invited to speak in different parts of the country. Eventually Yad Vashem relented, though in a very small way.
But Meir Nitzan, who was then the mayor of Rishon Lezion, decided to honor the Philippines in his city’s Holocaust Memorial Park on the Boulevard of the Righteous among the Nations, not with a mere plaque but with a large monument that was designated a prominent place and was designed and created in the Philippines. It was inaugurated in 2007 in tandem with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Philippines and in the presence of some of the survivors who owed their lives to the humane attitude of president Quezon.