Grapevine: Diplomatic cylces

Dutch diplomat Arjen Kool was sole international participant in the Israeli cycling championships time-trial.

Israeli filmmaker Menahem Golan. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Israeli filmmaker Menahem Golan.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ THE DUTCH are known to be keen cyclists, and several members of the Embassy of The Netherlands not only cycle to and from work but also participate in bike races around the country. Last week, Dutch diplomat Arjen Kool, who heads the Innovation and Investment Unit of the embassy, was the only international participant in the Israeli cycling championships time-trial. Starting out from Udim, the best cyclists in the country competed in various categories in the time-trial discipline over a distance of 36 km. Kool, 47, a member of the Tel Aviv Cycling Club, finished eighth in his age category, clocking 58 minutes and 41 seconds.
Kool’s integration into the Israeli cycling scene is yet another manifestation of the bilateral cooperation between Israel and the Netherlands. According to Kool, race biking in Israel is at a high level, and further improvements in bike infrastructure, road safety and urban planning will give a needed boost to both recreational and professional biking. Kool says that he enjoys bonding with Israelis through the biking scene.
■ ONE OF the most prolific Israeli filmmakers who achieved fame not only in Israel but also in Hollywood was award-winning Menachem Golan, who was a producer, director and scriptwriter. Golan, who died 11 months ago at age 85, while planning yet another production, left a huge legacy. He produced more than 200 films and directed 44. He was also an Israel Prize laureate.
He produced and directed films of almost every genre but was particularly fond of fast-paced action films. Some of the props and other memorabilia of those films will be on view this month at The Man and the Living World Museum in the Ramat Gan National Park. The exhibition, a joint effort of the Golan family and the Ramat Gan Municipality, opens on July 6, and many of the actors who appeared in Golan’s films are expected to attend. Among them are Gila Almagor and Chaim Topol, who starred in Golan’s first feature film, El Dorado. Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus also produced Sallah Shabati, which propelled Topol to world attention. Among others expected to attend are Yehoram Gaon, who starred in Kazablan, which was produced by Golan, and in Operation Thunderbolt, the story of the Entebbe rescue mission, which featured Almagor and the late Assi Dayan. The film was produced, directed and scripted by Golan.
■ ACCORDING TO the Magen David Adom website, “Every healthy person aged between 18 and 65 whose weight is above 50 kilos can donate blood.” Exceptions are occasionally made for healthy people over the age of 65, as was the case with Moshe Gelernter of Ramat Gan, who celebrated his 70th birthday by making his 300th blood donation to MDA. Accompanied by members of his family, Gelernter showed up at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer last week, where MDA service people happily accepted his birthday donation.
Gelernter has been donating blood for the past 27 years. He has also persuaded other members of his family, as well as friends and acquaintances, to donate blood.
In honor of the occasion, Blood Services director Prof. Eilat Shinar, together with Yona Kirschenbaum, who chairs the Blood Donors Organization, presented Gelernter with an inscribed plate attesting to his life-saving generosity.
■ BAR-ILAN University is hosting a conference on July 6 in memory of Rabbi Yosef and Rabbanit Bracha Kapach, who were leading members of Israel’s Yemenite community and had the rare distinction of having each been an Israel Prize laureate.
Rabbi Kapach was recognized in 1969 for his contribution to Jewish studies, and Rabbanit Kapach in 1999 in recognition of her amazing charitable works and her contributions to society and the state. Among the many awards that Rabbi Kapach received was that of an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan. To date, the Kapachs were the only married couple to each be awarded the Israel Prize.
Rabbanit Kapach was proof that women who were child brides can rise to greatness.
She was only 11 years old when she married her first cousin. When they immigrated to the Land of Israel seven years later, she was already a mother of three children, one of whom died en route. Not long after reaching the Holy Land, she gave birth to a son. The Kapachs lived in modest surroundings in Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood, where she initially started a Yemenite embroidery factory, employing 50 Yemenite women so they could have an income from which to support their families. In addition, she provided food packages and clothing, including bridal gowns, and cash to some 1,400 of Jerusalem’s needy every year. Just before Shabbat or any Jewish holiday, they would line up outside her apartment and would never go home empty-handed.
Rabbi Kapach was renowned for the breadth and depth of his learning and was a dayan in the Supreme Rabbinical Court.
In addition to presentations by learned rabbis and academics, the conference will be addressed by filmmaker Einat Kapach, who is a graduate of the Ma’aleh Film School and is its director of international relations and special projects. Another member of the family, Rabbi Ofer Kapach, who is also known for his Torah scholarship, will be the moderator of the conference.