Grapevine: All in the family

The Prime Minister’s Residence, even though it has undergone several renovations, cannot in any way compare with any of the Trump abodes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion airport on May 23, 2017 (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion airport on May 23, 2017
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
The excitement of the Trump visit is over, though photos and comments will no doubt continue to abound in Israel’s print and digital media and in Jewish media in the United States.
For many years the favored chef in the Prime Minister’s Residence was internationally renowned prizewinning chef Shalom Kadosh, who catered for nearly every prime minister over a period of more than three decades. Aside from his culinary talents and reputation, Kadosh was convenient in that he was the executive chef of the nearby Plaza hotel, which has gone through a series of managements and ownerships and is currently known as the Leonardo Plaza. If he needed to supplement his ingredients, all he had to do was to call his hotel kitchen from the Prime Minister’s Residence, and whatever he needed was delivered within less than 15 minutes.
But even though Kadosh is still the executive chef at the Leonardo Plaza, this time the honor went to celebrity chef and television personality Segev Moshe, who, unlike Kadosh, does not reside in Jerusalem. It just so happens that Moshe is married to Sandra Ringler, personal stylist to Sara Netanyahu and the host of the Extreme Makeover television program in which she turns dowdy women into fashionable eye-catchers. It can only be presumed that Ringler’s close relationship with the prime minister’s wife influenced the choice of chef.
The Prime Minister’s Residence, even though it has undergone several renovations, cannot in any way compare with any of the Trump abodes. Fashion-wise, it would also be difficult for Sara Netanyahu to compete with Melania Trump, who apart from having excellent taste and a superb figure, has an unlimited spending account.
But inasmuch as she could be stylish, the prime minister’s lady wanted to wear something that was classic, chic, yet somehow outstanding – and the solution was color. She appeared in red, yellow, black, and blue in outfits that came from the trendy but very expensive Madame De Pompadour, which is owned by Herzliya socialite, businesswoman, philanthropist and former television celebrity Nicol Raidman, who is married to billionaire entrepreneur and industrialist Michael Cherney, originally Mikhail Chernoy, with whom she has a daughter and a son.
The merchandise at Madame De Pompadour carries only top designer labels, mostly from Italy and France. As far as anyone is aware, the garments worn by Sara Netanyahu were loaned to her and not sold, and Raidman was very happy to post instagram photographs of her in her borrowed finery, including a photograph of herself with the prime minister and his wife. Raidman, blessed with a beautiful face and a slim figure, is her own best advertisement, as she is always stunningly groomed and attired. As pleased and honored as she was to be selected to supply the temporary additions to Sara Netanyahu’s wardrobe, she was equally horrified by the staff kitchen, which according to the instagram she posted, was in a shocking state of neglect and, in her opinion, not fit for the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Although the Trump-Netanyahu dinner was supposed to be a tête-àtête for four, Yair Netanyahu, who is considered to be his father’s righthand man, was also seated at the table.
■ MERETZ LEADER Zehava Gal- On killed two birds with one stone on Jerusalem Day when she participated in two separate events at the American Colony Hotel calling for an end to the occupation.
The first was a press conference organized and moderated by Ir Amim’s executive director Yudith Oppenheimer with Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, and Palestinian Authority Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habbash.
Oppenheimer said that as a first step toward peace, Israel should allow Palestinian institutions to once again operate in Jerusalem. In the audience were Laura Wharton, the head of the Meretz list on the Jerusalem City Council, and Pepe Alalu, who for 18 years headed the Meretz list, before resigning from the council in 2015.
Some of the audience stayed for a conference, which was more in the nature of a panel discussion, hosted by the Palestine-Israel Journal, whose co-editors, Ziad Abuzayyad and Hillel Schenker, were joined by Gal-On and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, who described Netanyahu as “the most moderate minister in the present government.”
■ JERUSALEM DAY means different things to different people, depending on where they were in June 1967, how old they are, where they were born, and particularly if they are native Jerusalemites. But for people associated with Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America and Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus, Jerusalem Day also signifies the rebirth of that facility and its biblical implications.
According to Barbara Goldstein, the deputy director in Israel of HWZO, Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, selected Mount Scopus as its site because she was inspired by the Prophet Jeremiah, who stood at the top of the mountain overlooking the vista of Jerusalem and Judea and exclaimed: “Is there no balm in Gilead, no physician to heal my people?”
The Hadassah Mount Scopus complex, designed by Eric Mendelsohn, opened its doors in 1939, and was constantly under threat from Arab forces. In April,1948, an armored convey of doctors, nurses students and administrative and maintenance staff was ambushed and cruelly massacred. The death toll came to 78 people. Hadassah, in great sorrow, had to leave Mount Scopus. It stayed away for 19 years, during which period the complex was guarded by the IDF. On June 7, 1967, Israeli forces, after regaining the Western Wall, regained Mount Scopus. Legendary mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek telephoned Prof. Kalman Mann, who was then director-general of Hadassah, and in his usual gruff fashion said: “If you want your hospital, come and get it.” Mann wasted no time and, although the area was still not safe, came with a delegation to reclaim the hospital, but first he recited the kaddish, the prayer of sanctification of God’s name usually recited for the dead, for the 78 people who had lost their lives en route to healing the sick.
Kaddish was recited for them again on Thursday by current Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein at a 50th anniversary reenactment of returning the keys of the hospital on Mount Scopus to Hadassah. The keys were presented to current HWZO president Ellen Hershkin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat by Hagay Frenkel, the chief medical officer of the IDF Central Command, who also fought in the Six Day War.
As it happens, Barkat has a very personal interest in the hospital on Mount Scopus, as his three daughters were born there, as were the children of Erez Meltzer, the chairman of the Hadassah board of directors, whose family has a four-generation connection with the hospital.
Rotstein took advantage of Barkat’s presence to say that Hadassah Mount Scopus needs a tower like that in Ein Kerem, a maternity hospital, a pediatric hospital and a huge rehabilitation center. He asked Barkat to be Hadassah’s representative to the government in trying to obtain these gifts.
“You know how to put people on the spot,” retorted Barkat, but he made no effort to evade the responsibility that had been thrust on him and said that Hadassah must be at the cutting edge of changes in medicine. “Medical services are what makes the city united,” he said. “Hadassah is beyond conflict.”
Barkat shared a personal story of having been seven years old during the Six Day War. His family lived close to the demilitarized zone facing Jordan, and his mother was always worried when he was playing outside. After the war, he saw adults crying, and he couldn’t understand “why they were crying if we won the war.” But he was so inspired by the paratroopers who made that victory possible that, when he was old enough, he became one himself.
USAID deputy mission director Jonathan Kamin, who also represented the US Embassy and US government, said that his organization was very pleased to support Hadassah in the past and would continue to do so.
Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, the director of Hadassah Mount Scopus, said that the hospital was proud to serve the heterogeneous population of the city, showing that coexistence works. “Medicine is a bridge to peace,” she said. “Mount Scopus is not just another hospital. It’s an icon. It’s Jerusalem!”
■ FOLLOWING TO some extent in his father’s footsteps, Chemi Peres, the head of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, went to Jordan to participate in the World Economic Forum and met with Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief. The two discussed the legacy of Shimon Peres.
“We are committed to continue in his path,” said Mogherini, alluding to the ninth president’s abiding quest for peace, education and equal opportunities for women and innovation at all levels. She said that the EU would continue to support the Middle East peace process and would work diligently in efforts to persuade the two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to return to the negotiating table.
Peres told Mogherini about the workings of the Peres Center since his father died last September, declaring: “I’m very proud to be my father’s son.”