Grapevine: Going against the flow

It's hard to imagine people wcoming from Tel Aviv and Herzliya Pituah to J'lem for a New Year's party, but guests could hardly refuse.

Erel Margalit 521 (do not publish again) (photo credit: Flash 90)
Erel Margalit 521 (do not publish again)
(photo credit: Flash 90)
■ IT’S HARD to imagine that people would come from Tel Aviv, Herzliya Pituah, Ramat Hasharon, Ramat Gan and Kfar Shmaryahu to Jerusalem for New Year’s Eve! The traffic is usually in the other direction. But when Erel Margalit decided to combine his 50th birthday party with a New Year’s Eve party, his friends on the other side of the country could hardly refuse to come. Aside from anything else, it wouldn’t be good for business. Margalit, who is on the Forbes Midas list, is the driving force behind JVP and has a thriving communications empire in the area once occupied by the old Jerusalem train station. A millionaire several times over, Margalit could easily do without gifts, and to save his guests the headache of trying to think what to give a man who already has everything on his 50th birthday, Margalit asked them instead to donate to a Jerusalem community project which each year underwrites the living expenses for young people engaged in civilian national service projects that benefit the children of the capital. Among the guests were 55 of the young volunteers working in the community project, along with former MK Haim Ramon, Bezalel President Arnon Zuckerman, Moshe Gaon and Dedi Zucker.
■ AT THE beginning of this week, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv launched the Centennial Celebrations of the Republic of China at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque with a reception followed by a special screening of Kung Fu Dunk, starring famous Taiwanese actor Jay Chou. Throughout 2011 Taiwanese citizens will commemorate the centenary ofthe establishment in 1911 of the Republic of China by Dr. Sun Yat Sen.
The reception in Tel Aviv was the first event in the world in celebration of the centenary. Israeli guests included MK Nachman Shai and Deputy Minister Orit Noked, TAU Rector Aron Shai and former Israeli Representative to Taiwan Rafi Gamzo.
Everyone at the reception received a special poster issued by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv, illustrating 100 different ways of writing the word “longevity” in Chinese.
■ KNOWN FOR her stunning bridal wear which is at once sophisticated and romantic, petite designer Pnina Tornai regularly travels from her Tel Aviv headquarters to London, where she has a store, New York and Athens. But following last Friday night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Caesarea Golf Club, her future travels may also include Moscow. Tornai’s creations were chosen for the high-end fashion show that caused several guests to instantly part with several thousand dollars and to acquire a magnificent gown or two for a wife or girlfriend. One guest actually purchased nine gowns. Most of the guests were Russian oligarchs, who had flown into Israel on their private planes. There were also some affluent Israelis. Tickets to the event ranged from NIS 4,500 to NIS 2,000 per head.
■ FIRST THERE was Cinema City, Ramat Hasharon. Then there was Cinema City G in Rishon Lezion, and now there’s going to be yet a third Cinema City in Haifa at an investment of NIS 600 million. The new facility will include 25 auditoriums for cinemas and four theater halls with a total seating capacity of 6,000, plus a Disney style amusement park. There will also be parking facilities for 5,000 vehicles.
Partners in the new venture are Leon Edri, whose name is linked in perpetuity with the two previous Cinema City enterprises, Cinema City CEO and co-chairman of New Lineo Cinemas Yaacov Cohen, the Shamrock Group and the French Metropolitan company controlled by the Hadida family. The opening of Cinema City Haifa is scheduled for sometime in 2013.
■ PHYSICIST AND mathematician Dr. Giora Yaron who is widely regarded as one of the founders of Israel’s high-tech industry, has been appointed chairman of the governing council of Tel Aviv University. Yaron serves as chairman or senior member on the boards of a number of companies including Itamar Medical and Qwint which he founded, Amdocs, Refael, and Yissum, the Hebrew University’s Research and Development Company.
TAU President Joseph Klafter welcomed the appointment, saying that Yaron’s extensive experience in both academia and the world of business, coupled with his entrepreneurial skills and the wide respect that he has earned, will enable the university to broaden its horizons.