Grapevine: Eilat a-booming

A hotel is seen against a backdrop of mountains in the Red Sea resort of Eilat [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
A hotel is seen against a backdrop of mountains in the Red Sea resort of Eilat [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
 ■ THE DECLINE in tourism from abroad, which has severely affected hotel revenues in Israel, has not impacted on Eilat. Quite the contrary: This past December-March period, according to Eli Lancry, chairman of the Eilat Municipal Tourist Association, broke all records for hotel occupancies in Eilat, with an overall average of 62 percent.
Despite the general falloff in tourism, many hotels are finding difficulty in recruiting staff. Hotel salaries are generally not high and employees work very hard. Other than those in administration, hotel employees also spend a lot of time on their feet. The staff situation has become so crucial in hotels in the Dead Sea area that Tourism Minister Yariv Levin has proposed hiring Jordanians. For some reason, he did not propose hiring refugees from African countries who have made their way to Israel, and who would pose less of a problem to their neighbors and the authorities, if they were given work permits.
■ BOTH PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev have indicated that they will attend the grand opening of the new wing of Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People on the campus of Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, May 24. Due to strict security precautions the event will be open only to invitees, and even they will not be able to enter the building unless they have an official invitation in their hands. The inauguration ceremony is aptly titled “You are part of the story” in that Jews, whatever their origins, will find a point of identification in the museum.
Meanwhile, the museum has launched a crowdfunding campaign, primarily in the US, to digitize thousands of Jewish music compositions spanning different eras in Jewish history as well as different countries around the globe. Contributors will help to bring the sounds of bygone Jewish life into the 21st century.
To view the campaign video and support the effort, click here.
■ A WEEK prior to the Passover holiday, British Ambassador David Quarrey and the British Embassy hosted a spring fair at the British Residence in Ramat Gan.
More than 400 people came to support the 25 charities displaying their wares, which was an encouraging sign that this event, which has been on the embassy calendar since 2012, is here to stay. This was the third time the embassy hosted a spring fair with the participation of, and in support of, a number of charitable organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in their care.
Handmade gift items included jewelry, handwoven baskets, candles, embroidery, Haggadot, cookbooks, picture frames, mezuzot and more. For the shopping weary, the poolside cafe offered refreshments, and children were entertained with face painting, arts and crafts and a bouncy castle.
The charities represented included those working with women, the disabled and youth and adults with special needs, youth at risk, Holocaust survivors, animal welfare, African refugees, and the Beduin community. Quarrey said that he was delighted to host such an event, especially as each of the charities “does amazing work.” He also praised all those who had come to buy, saying that they will make a difference in people’s lives.
■ AN EXHIBITION of 28 photographs of the western Galilee under the title “Opening a Window” is on view at the Western Galilee Medical Center. The photographs were selected from 420 submissions by leading photographers from Israel and abroad. The exhibition is the joint initiative of the Friends of the Western Galilee Medical Center, the Jewish Agency and the Adelina Restaurant.
One of the policies of the medical center is that art, be it visual or performing, has therapeutic effects, and it is therefore important that patients at the medical center are surrounded by exhibitions of photographs or paintings.
Among those present at the opening of the exhibition were Dr. Masad Barhoum, the director-general of the medical center; Teva Naot CEO Michael Illouz; philanthropist Raya Strauss; and Amir Yarhi, the CEO of the Friends.