Grapevine: A tough good-bye

A round-up of news from around Israel.

RONIT HASIN-HOCHMAN, CEO Jerusalem Post Group, with Steve Linde (center) and Yaakov Katz at the Beer Bazaar in the capital’s Mahaneh Yehuda market. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
RONIT HASIN-HOCHMAN, CEO Jerusalem Post Group, with Steve Linde (center) and Yaakov Katz at the Beer Bazaar in the capital’s Mahaneh Yehuda market.
After 20 years at The Jerusalem Post, former editor-in-chief Steve Linde bid a tough good-bye to the paper he loves and the people who help to make it what it is. Linde stepped down from the job some 10 months ago, but agreed to the request of Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO Jerusalem Post Group, to stay on and help his successor, Yaakov Katz, to learn the ropes.
According to Linde, Katz was a quick learner, and there was really no reason for him to hang around, but for the fact that he found it difficult to leave the people for whom he cares so much and whom he regards as extended family. That may be the reason why he was given two farewell parties within two hours of each other.
At the Post, Jewish holiday celebrations, birthdays, farewells and other reasons to get together over food and drink are either at lunchtime or at 4 p.m., so as not to interfere too greatly with the running of the paper. So the people on night duty, along with those who were unable to come to the nighttime farewell at the Beer Bazaar in the nearby Mahaneh Yehuda market, held a party in the Post’s conference room, where Managing Editor David Brinn, whom Linde regarded not only as his right hand but his “angel,” played guitar, while copy editor Ben Fisher sang a version of the ironically titled “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” to suit the situation.
Various staff members spoke of Linde’s decency as a boss, his high degree of professionalism and what they had learned from him. Later, at the Beer Bazaar, Katz spoke of how gracious Linde had been and how much he had valued his advice, adding that Linde would always be welcome at the Post.
Hasin-Hochman, who presented Linde with a very handsome watch, described him as multitalented, lauded his calm character and the spirit of unity and harmony that he had created among the staff, and said how much she had enjoyed working with him, and how much she appreciated what they had achieved together. She also praised his stage appearances at Jerusalem Post conferences in Israel and New York, his ability to deal with unexpected crises and his talent for telling jokes to relieve any tension in the atmosphere. She also admired his ability to keep the paper politically balanced, especially during election campaigns, and said that management had received many compliments for this.
Linde said that Katz had already taken the paper to greater heights in a very short time, and he was confident that Katz would do even more for the paper than he has already.
While working at the Post, said Linde, he had met some of the most amazing people, such as former US vice president Joe Biden, and had the privilege of interviewing personalities such as Michael Douglas and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Yet for all that, the people who meant the most to him were those who had come to his farewell. Among those attending were former employees of the paper as well as former colleagues of Linde when he headed the English-language department of Israel Radio. His Facebook page was saturated with goodwill messages.
After stepping down as editor-in-chief, Linde worked as senior features editor, a position that is now held by Noa Amouyal, who said that he had always been a kind person, and recalled that within a few days of her coming to work at the Post she received a request from him to be her Facebook friend.
Before taking over her new role, Amouyal was previously news editor.
In response to the many questions about what Linde will be doing – he will be completing a book, a biography of entrepreneur, innovator and philanthropist Morris Kahn, who is the honorary president of the 20th Maccabiah Games which will be held in Jerusalem in July. Linde will also take up some speaking engagements, when time permits. For the moment, however, the book is his No. 1 priority.
■ NOTHING IS more worthwhile than the saving of a life, especially when that life is that of a baby, and in Jewish tradition he who saves a single life saves a whole world.
Four-month-old Ella Shalmon was born with a rare respiratory defect, which has caused her to undergo several surgeries despite her tender age. Considering what she has been subjected to, she is a remarkably good natured infant. Unfortunately, doctors in Israel can’t do much more for her.
Ella needs to undergo a very complex operation that can be performed only in Boston.
Warning signs that Ella would not be born healthy showed up on the ultrasound in the 32nd week of her mother Adi’s pregnancy.
Adi and Nadav Shalmon went to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, where it was decided that Adi would be hospitalized and placed under observation. From the moment that Ella was born, she had breathing difficulties, and doctors instantly placed her on a respirator.
Doctors subsequently discovered other difficulties.
When she was only two days old, Ella underwent a five-hour operation. Since then, she’s had a slow heartbeat, a lung infection, kidney failure and more. But this brave little girl with a laughing face has an instinct to survive.
The main problem right now, is to raise sufficient funds for her to undergo the complex operation in Boston that will ensure her survival and enable her to live a normal life – $430,000 – which is beyond the means of the Shalmons. Through generous donations, they have managed to raise just under half the sum required.
Anyone who wants a share in saving Ella’s life has the following options: online via credit card or PayPal via check to Kav Lachayim for Ella Shalmon, Gonen 15, Petah Tikva, or by wire transfer: IBAN: IL60- 0125-3200-0000-0575-245 SWIFT: POALILIT or by telephone: 972-3-925-0505.
■ FEW THINGS contribute more to Jewish unity than a wave of antisemitic incidents.
Disagreements, feuds and enmity are temporarily moved to the back burner, as Jews of every ideology and national and ethnic background join forces to protect the communities in which they live and to fight the foe.
Evidence of this is surfacing now throughout the Jewish world, and was a major topic of conversation this week when President Reuven Rivlin met with heads of Israeli diplomatic missions in North America.
In his opening remarks Rivlin said that this kind of phenomena was not tolerated by Jewish people in the past and will not be tolerated in the future. “When we say ‘never again’ it applies to everywhere in the world,” said Rivlin.
Antisemitism is an issue that demands that the State of Israel and its representatives abroad stand shoulder to shoulder against the perpetrators, said Rivlin, who voiced appreciation to US President Donald Trump for having last week been unequivocally clear in his condemnation of antisemitism and all forms of racism.
Rivlin said that he is also aware of the uneasy feelings engulfing American Jewry, not only with regard to antisemitism but also when there are disagreements between the governments of Israel and the US. Rivlin noted that American support for Israel is not based on politics but on common values, and would remain such even if there are political differences from time to time.
■ TWENTY-FIVE YEARS is the blink of an eye in the annals of history, but a very long time in the memory of the individual.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the death of Menachem Begin, his son, Likud MK Bennie Begin, accompanied Rivlin on a private visit to the grave of the late prime minister, whose image and vision Rivlin carries in his heart to this day.
It was Begin who 40 years ago, in 1977, changed the political balance in Israel, and it was Begin who made peace with Egypt. It was Begin, together with president Ephraim Katzir, who welcomed Egyptian president Anwar Sadat when he came on his historic visit to Jerusalem, where he prayed in the Aksa Mosque and addressed the Knesset. People living in attractive homes in what used to be distressed neighborhoods have forgotten Project Renewal, launched in the first year of the Begin-led administration. It was a joint program of the government and the Jewish Agency aimed at rehabilitating dilapidated housing. And it worked. It was also on Begin’s watch that the Iraqi nuclear reactor was bombed.
It is ironic that the 25th anniversary of Begin’s death is being commemorated at a time when the nation is reacting in sorrow and anger to the State Comptroller’s Report on Operation Protective Edge. Begin resigned largely because of the huge Israeli death toll in the 1982 Lebanon War. In those days, demonstrators could gather opposite the Prime Minister’s Residence – something they are not permitted to do today. Every time Begin looked out of the window, he saw a placard with the rising numbers of dead. The responsibility sent him into deep depression, until he was no longer able to function as a prime minister should, and he resigned in August 1983, saying he could no longer go on.