Slowly returning to normal

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
 ■ THE PLANNED high-profile launch of the Israeli Innovation Center that was to have taken place on Thursday morning at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa – with the participation of President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, president Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai – was postponed as a mark of respect to victims of the terrorist attack that took place in Sarona Market last Wednesday.
Ironically, the new innovation project, which is to be headquartered at the Peres Center, was conceived as a vehicle for peace.
Peres, a lifelong advocate for innovation, encouraged innovation in Israel’s defense systems during the years in which he was director-general of the Defense Ministry and again when he was defense minister. More recently he was a proponent of nanotechnology when it was still in its infancy, and after that he enthused philanthropists and medical scientists to devote greater efforts to brain research.
In late 2014, soon after he completed his term of office as Israel’s ninth president, Peres and his son Chemi, who is the founder of Pitango Venture Capital, set up Amelia Investments and Holdings, a private equity fund dedicated to investing in companies operating in the Middle East with the aim of promoting socioeconomic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians and moderate Arab countries in the region. Like the innovation center, Amelia is also affiliated with the Peres Center for Peace. Amelia is the Arabic word for hope.
By lunchtime on Thursday, regular patrons of Sarona Market, plus others who wanted to show solidarity with restaurant proprietors, filled the tables at the Max Brenner restaurant where the attack took place, as well as at neighboring eateries.
And on Friday, at the corner of Ben-Gurion Boulevard and Dizengoff Street, the open-air Jazz on the Boulevard concert went ahead as planned, attracting a large audience. Dr. Shlomi Goldberg, who was the impresario of the jazz program, is a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as was Prof. Michael Feige, one of the four victims who died in the terrorist attack. Though grieving for his colleague, Goldberg told the jazz lovers who came to the concert: “We’re here to celebrate life.”
Then on Saturday night, Sarona Market was again crowded with people who had come to celebrate Shavuot. Israel has endured so much loss of life through wars and terrorism that without the national resilience and ability to overcome, people would go mad.
■ TO AMERICANS, the Fourth of July is Independence Day. For many Israelis, especially those who were in one way or another involved in Operation Entebbe, July 4 signifies the daring Entebbe rescue mission which in 1976 succeeded in freeing close to 100 hostages who had been on an Air France plane that was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The hostages comprised Israelis, non-Israeli Jews and members of the plane’s crew. Non-Jewish passengers had been released and permitted to fly to Paris. The 29-member Israeli assault force was led by Yoni Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother, who was the only soldier killed in the rescue operation.
Head of the medical team on Operation Entebbe was Brig.-Gen. Dr. Ephraim Sneh, who held several senior roles in the Israel Defense Forces, the last of them being head of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria. After leaving the army, Sneh, whose father, Moshe Sneh, was one of the leaders of the Hagana and a member of the first Knesset, went into politics and entered the Knesset on a Labor Party ticket. He subsequently served as health minister and transportation minister. He was also deputy defense minister.
Sneh will be the guest speaker in the Herzliya Thursday Night Lecture Series on Thursday, July 7, and will share memories of Operation Entebbe on its 40th anniversary. The lecture will take place at the Seven Stars House, 138 Hanassi Street, Herzliya Pituah.
■ PEOPLE WHO have a deep-seated interest in the digital world should save the dates September 27-28 for the sixth annual Digital Life Design Conference to be held in Tel Aviv. Yossi Vardi, whose name is synonymous with all things digital, has announced that the DLD Conference, which originated in Munich at the initiative of Burda Media, is part of the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival, at which there will be many other events in addition to the conference. Several multinational companies have already indicated their participation. Among them are Amazon, Google, Microsoft, PWC, Intel, the Game Developers Association, Facebook, Bank Leumi, GarageGeeks and Infinity.