Grapevine: Chock-a-block festival

Former president Yitzhak Navon (photo credit: Courtesy)
Former president Yitzhak Navon
(photo credit: Courtesy)
 ■ THE HEBREW-LANGUAGE festival, which will be held in the Rishon Lezion Cultural Center from February 24 to 28, will close with a memorial tribute to Israel’s fifth president, Yitzhak Navon, under the title of “All the Way,” which is also the title of his autobiography which was launched shortly before his death last year.
The event will be attended by Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Zur. The moderator will be Jackie Levy, and performers will include Galit Giat, Yasmin Levy, Idan Amedi, Yuval Dayan, Dorit Reuveni, Uri Harpaz, Avi Greinik, Uri Gavriel, Albert Eliahu, a Ladino band and students from the Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts. The mayor is going to be very busy attending various festival events.
On the previous evening he will be present at a tribute to Yaron London, whose many attributes include a gift for poetry. Many of his poems have been set to music, and some have become major hits. A selection of these will be performed in his honor.
The festival is chock-a-block with a huge variety of events from morning to night.
■ TEL AVIV Deputy Mayor Mehereta Baruch-Ron, who represents Meretz on the Tel Aviv City Council, was recently in Milan to join Friends of the Tel Aviv Art Museum in presenting Father Virginio Colmegna with the Man of the Year Award for 2016, in recognition of his work in helping people integrate into society. At the ceremony, which took place at the Palazzo Marino in Milan where the city council is located, Colmegna, who is president of the Milan Angelo Abriani Charity House, was given particular recognition for his work with refugees. The award was presented to him by the Friends president Anna Sikos.
The Charity House uses art as a therapeutic vehicle for minors coming to Italy as illegal immigrants. Some of their artworks were displayed together with those of children from Tel Aviv’s Bialik Rogozin School, who for the most part are children of refugees, migrant workers and illegal immigrants. The exhibition was titled Excellence has no Color. This certainly resonated with Baruch- Ron, who came to Israel from Ethiopia when she was 10 years old.
Baruch-Ron also met with officials of the Milan Jewish community and was welcomed by the two presidents Raffaele Besso and Milo Hasbani and by Milan Chief Rabbi Alfonso Arbib.
■ TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Israel Katz is known to be a bulldozer who gets his own way, and that includes the construction of a light rail network in Tel Aviv. The subject was under discussion for decades but never got under way – until Katz came into office.
The upshot is that light rail infrastructure, coupled with residential, commercial and office complexes that are springing up all over the place, has Tel Aviv looking like one giant construction site.
Landmarks have either been destroyed or are hidden behind fences which have gone up all over the city. There is a feeling of disorientation because previously familiar sites are no longer in evidence.
If this situation confuses visitors to Tel Aviv, it has an even greater impact on residents. A quarter-page advertisement on the front page of Haaretz this week signed by “Lovers of Tel Aviv” featured clever graphics in white and blood red on a black background with a request to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop Katz from progressing any further, before it becomes impossible for any vehicle to enter or exit Tel Aviv.
The advertisement, which in Hebrew is headed “The light rail,” is a two-color, clever wordplay with one section in white and the other in red. If each section is taken separately, the heading translates as the composition of a malfunction or failure.
The text of the advertisement states that today everyone knows that the light rail will bring economic ruin and total paralysis of Tel Aviv and environs. The concept of an underground railway is correct when a city is being planned, the text continues, but not when it involves 10 years of digging under a dense, modern city.
This may just be a classic case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.