Grapevine: Bylaw battle

A round-up of news from around Israel.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
MEMBERS OF the Tel Aviv City Council who may have been hoping that Mayor Ron Huldai would make a bid for the Labor Party leadership, and in the event of winning would leave City Hall, leaving the field clear for a successor, are disappointed. Even though they like and may even admire Huldai, they would prefer to see him go, but Huldai may want to establish a record. He has been in office for 19 years, and even if he didn’t run for a fifth term, he would still be Tel Aviv’s longest-serving mayor by the time his current term expires. Huldai is now embroiled in a battle with Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and with Interior Minister Arye Deri over the maintaining of Tel Aviv’s status quo.
Tel Aviv has for decades been a live-and-let-live city in which food shops and restaurants as well as certain other facilities were open on Shabbat, but also where religious institutions flourished. The Tel Aviv Municipality in 2014 passed a bylaw that permitted more grocery stores to be open on Shabbat, but it had to be approved by the interior minister. Usually there is no problem attached to the approval of municipal bylaws, but a series of interior ministers – namely Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan and Silvan Shalom – had a political problem with approving such a bylaw, even though none of them is religiously observant. The cabinet relieved the interior minister of the responsibility, but after a period of time, threw the ball back in his court – and there is no way that Deri, as the head of the religious Shas party, can approve Shabbat desecration, albeit in a largely secular city.
Meanwhile, the matter went to court last month and the High Court of Justice in a landmark ruling approved the opening of minimarkets on Shabbat. Deri and Lau are fighting the decision, and Huldai is equally determined to uphold it. Whether this will eventually lead to a political crisis remains to be seen.
■ AS PART of a campaign throughout April, The Ritz-Carlton in Herzliya joined forces with Make-A-Wish Israel to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The campaign helped to raise thousands of shekels for the cause. Last Tuesday, within the framework of the campaign, Ned Capeleris, CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya, Denise and Avi Bar-Aharon, Founders of Make-A-Wish Israel, together with Izik Uzana, CEO of Ace Hardware Israel, came together with Make-A-Wish board member Gal Sapoznikov at the hotel.
Sapoznikov, who suffered from cancer, had wished to meet Lionel Messi, the Argentine star soccer player for FC Barcelona.
He had his wish fulfilled a few years back by Make-A-Wish Israel.
He shared his experiences at the event, saying that the wish and its becoming a reality gave him incredible strength during such a difficult time in his life. Now free of cancer, Sapoznikov is a Make- A-Wish volunteer.
Everyone present raised a toast to celebrate World Wish Day and 37 years of granting wishes in 50 countries. Brief speeches of appreciation were followed by the launch of balloons over the beautiful Herzliya marina, where the hotel is located.
Hotel guests were invited to participate in the campaign by adopting a wish or part of a wish or by making a contribution at checkout. All proceeds will be dedicated solely to fulfilling the wishes of the children for whom Make a Wish exists.
For more information on how to become involved in this humanitarian effort, contact Make-A-Wish at (09) 760-2848 or go to their Facebook page, Make-A-Wish Israel.
■ JUST A week after his retirement following a 10-year tenure, Dr. Yitzhak Berlowitz, former director of the Wolfson Medical Center, was named a Friend of Bat Yam. A citation to this effect was presented to him in the chambers of Bat Yam Mayor Yossi Bachar.
The honor was conferred on Berlowitz in the presence of Dr. Zahavit Ziv-Ner, who was Berkowitz’s deputy and is now acting director of the medical center, Ben Hur Yerushalmi, the chairp of the Friends of Wolfson, and Hannah Gochshtat, the CEO of the Friends of Wolfson. Also in attendance were Etti Ashkenazi, a member of the Friends executive and Pnina Arad who was Berkowitz’s assistant for the past decade. Bachar said that Berkowitz’s work both within the medical center and on behalf of the residents of Bat Yam was much admired and highly appreciated.