Grapevine July 24, 2020: Fashion – then and now

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

 TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli presents a senior citizen with a Kav Zahav/Gold Line card for free travel on public transport. (photo credit: SIVAN SHACHOR/GPO)
TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli presents a senior citizen with a Kav Zahav/Gold Line card for free travel on public transport.
(photo credit: SIVAN SHACHOR/GPO)

Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art includes the Rose Archive for Textiles and Costumes which is a combination of a fashion history museum and a research and learning center in which students study not only shape, texture, styling and cut, but also the impact that fashion has on society and the social order per se.

The outcome of a collaborative effort between Shenkar and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, the archive features more than 8000 fashion items, textiles and accessories, with the earliest dating to the 1780s. The archives also include a unique Israeli collection of garments and accessories ranging from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

Among the most recent gifts to the archives are five dresses and suits worn by the late Aura Herzog, the wife of Israel’s sixth president Chaim Herzog and the mother of current President Isaac Herzog.

The wife of every president – be it of Israel or any other country – must expand the contents of her closet in order to fashionably represent her country at official events that she is called on to attend.

Thus Aura Herzog, who died early this year, had a considerable number of elegant outfits, some of which the Herzog family decided to donate to Shenkar. Aura Herzog’s daughter Ronit, and daughter-in-law Michal who is the wife of the president, brought the garments to Shenkar when they came to view the creations of graduate students.

Any senior citizen knows that in the world of fashion, what goes around comes around, and that what was in vogue half a century ago and more is now coming back with slight alterations, and is being hailed as something new by a generation born long after these styles were considered obsolete.

Among the items that belonged to Aura Herzog were some bearing the labels of leading Israeli designers Lola Beer, Gideon Oberson and Yehuda Dor.

According to Michal Herzog, her mother-in-law saw fashion as an important component of a country’s image and made sure that the items she wore on official occasions both in Israel and abroad had been created by Israeli designers.

Other well-known women whose items of attire can be found in the archives include: Jackie Kennedy, Leah Rabin and Miriam Eshkol.

The collections in the archives also comprise menswear, including garments worn by some of the nation’s leaders.

Labor Party

■ WHILE THE current focus on recently reelected head of the Labor Party Merav Michaeli is on whether or not she can be persuaded to enter into a merger with Meretz, something important that she did last week has been almost overlooked.

At an event at the Rishon Lezion Central Bus Station last Tuesday, Michaeli kept her promise and launched the Kav Zahav/Gold Line card which allows free travel throughout the country on all public transport for people aged 75 and over.

The card is part of a revolutionary move that Michaeli has led in recent months to make travel more affordable to senior citizens, especially those whose total income including pensions, is below minimum wage. In launching the free travel card, Michaeli said: “Israeli society owes a great debt to its elders – to the founding generation.”

She told some of the seniors gathered around her that they can now go shopping wherever they like, visit their grandchildren in other parts of the country, go to the doctor, to exhibitions, to museums to the movies, with no travel costs involved.

The gold card will also allow financially distressed seniors to explore Israel and visit towns and cities that they have never seen before – a factor that may give them a whole new lease on life.

Terrorist neutralized

WHEN NEWS is published that a terrorist was neutralized, it usually means that he was killed. But that’s not what happened last week when Ynet photographer Meshi Ben Ami, while in his car, looked across at a bus in Jerusalem in which a terrorist was repeatedly stabbing a passenger.

Ben Ami exited his car, approached the bus and fired a single shot which did not kill the terrorist but which severely wounded him. Also involved in neutralizing the terrorist was Haim Naim, who had felled the assailant by throwing a well-aimed rock.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who commended the two men for their speedy, courageous and responsible response to the situation, asked to meet them and presented them with certificates of appreciation.

Ben Ami said that anyone who believes that their life or that of someone else is in danger because of where they live or travel, should get a legal gun license and proper training, but recommended that the weapon be used only as a last resort.

At the meeting with the two heroes, neither of whom really sees himself as such, Lapid hailed their resourcefulness. Telling them that through their actions they had saved more people from being hurt, he said: “It is difficult to imagine but were it not for the two of you – civilians would be dead. You saved lives. This is a civic obligation.”

The country needs to know how to thank its citizens, he added as he presented the two men with certificates. “This is appreciation on behalf of the country and I thank you both. It was important for me to meet you and tell you how much we all appreciate what you did.

“Were it not for good citizens, many more citizens would be dead in the streets. Very few people are capable of having both the fortitude and the courage to respond. The terrorist started stabbing and you Haim threw a rock at him and took him down, and you Meshi used your weapon and neutralized him. This was courageous and very impressive.”

Eilat Mayor

■ WHEN EILAT Mayor Eli Lankri took his first vacation since assuming office, he did not leave from Ramon International Airport, but from Ben-Gurion Airport. The reason? He was flying to Bulgaria, and Ramon – badly affected by the corona virus pandemic – became a domestic rather than an international airport. In other words, it caters only to domestic flights.

Lankri speaking from Bulgaria, told Reshet Bet’s Yair Weinreb last week. It was heart-breaking for him to see the over- crowded departure hall at Ben-Gurion, whereas that in Ramon is close to empty. There were some low-cost international flights in winter bringing tourists who follow the sun but in the summer months the flights are all domestic, he said.

As of April this year, there have been no regular international flights to Ramon Airport, although there are several daily domestic flights from Ben-Gurion Airport operated by Israir and Arkia.

At its peak, Ramon International Airport was a destination for flights from more than a dozen European countries.Beginning next month, Arkia will launch flights from Ramon Airport to Cyprus and Georgia at prices more competitive than those of flights from Ben-Gurion Airport.

Aviv Gefen

■ ALSO VACATIONING abroad with his sons Dylan and Elliot is pop singer Aviv Gefen who chose to go much further afield and took his boys to New Zealand where they also toured on a cruise ship.

Gefen decided to spontaneously entertain the other passengers and sang for them while accompanying himself on the piano.

His scheduled gigs on terra firma next month include the Jerusalem Arts and Crafts Festival and a guest appearance in the Between the Vineyards Festival in the Upper Galilee. At the latter on August 15, he is as the guest of popular American hassidic singer Avraham Fried.

On that particular evening, there will be two concerts one after the other at Ein Hozim, with the other featuring Yehoram Gaon, who at age 82, is still going strong.

Although Gefen is a proclaimed atheist, he appears to be moving closer to tradition. When Dylan celebrated his bar mitzvah two years ago, Gefen arranged for religiously observant Evyatar Banai to assist him in putting on tefillin (phylacteries) for the first time.

Aware that it’s customary for the father of the bar mitzvah boy to read from the Torah, or to at least recite a blessing over it, Dylan had told his dad that he absolved him from doing anything like that because he knows that religion is against the grain for him. But Gefen surprised his son by saying that he cared enough about him and about being Jewish to want to read from the Torah.

This was an amazing transformation, as for some two decades, Gefen had been outspokenly antagonistic towards religiously observant Jews, and had stated that religion was unimportant.

But as he matured, he developed a sense of attachment, which he said in an interview was deeper than any ideology or political affiliation.

This change in attitude had already come about before the bar mitzvah.

In 2019, Gefen agreed to perform in Elkana in Samaria. A high percentage of entertainers refuse to appear in the disputed territories. Gefen used to be inclined that way as well, but told the audience in Elkana: “We all live in the Land of Israel, which is why I came here.”

■ WHILE NO big deal was made 2021 of the centenary of the birth of former president Yitzhak Navon, or this year of the birth of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in all likelihood the situation will be different in August next year when the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation marks the centenary on August 2 of the birth of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres.

His legacy is being perpetuated and expanded by his children and the people who worked with him and therefore his centenary will be an occasion to showcase what Israel does for peace, good neighborly relations, innovation and also security. Aside from that, a series of centenary events will serve as effective fundraisers for the Peres Center.

Although there was a lot of criticism over the elaborate birthday bash when Peres celebrated his 90th birthday, the guest list put Israel in the global spotlight in a category other than conflict, nuclear threats and Middle East politics.

Among the guests were former US president Bill Clinton, former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, former British prime minister Tony Blair, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Rahm Emanuel who was mayor of Chicago at the time, Barbra Streisand, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and numerous past and present world leaders, international business tycoons, academics and other celebrities.

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