Grapevine March 12, 2023: Coping with construction

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

 PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG with the Intel-Ignite-Dos Ventures group.  (photo credit: INTEL IGNITE)
PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG with the Intel-Ignite-Dos Ventures group.
(photo credit: INTEL IGNITE)

Not all real estate entrepreneurs care about how their project will affect people in the neighborhood. This often makes for bad blood during the construction process and even more so after the project is completed.

But unlike the previous owner Lev Leviev when he headed Africa Israel, the people engaged in building a new hotel, a commercial center, and public facilities on the site of the old President Hotel, which has been a Jerusalem eyesore for more than quarter of a century, are trying to be cooperative though there are issues on which to date they have been unwilling to compromise.

Members of the planning and construction team of the project, will on Monday, March 13 at 8.30 p.m. hold a Zoom conference in which the project will be explained and residents in the area will have the opportunity to express their views. To receive the Zoom link go to

■ WHEN HE was in Israel this past January, Rabbi James Kennard, the principal of Mount Scopus College in Melbourne Australia, told a large gathering of Israel-based alumni as well as teachers and students whom he had accompanied to Israel, that he wanted to establish closer ties between alumni living in Israel in Israel, their former classmates in Australia and the College per se. True to his word Kennard is back in Israel and will meet with alumni in Jerusalem on Wednesday, March 15 to discuss Israel-Diaspora Relations and to assess what the future holds with regard to this relationship.

■ MOUNT SCOPUS alumni will have a tough choice to make that day between attending a Women in Leadership reception hosted by Australian ambassador Ralph King in Herzliya and the discussion by Kennard in Jerusalem – both at the same time. To complicate matters further, Irish Ambassador Kyle O’Sullivan will be hosting a St Patrick’s Day reception in Tel Aviv, and the guest list includes people who were invited to one or both of the Australian events. These should only be the worst problems that anyone has to contend with.

ADI AND Jewish Agency Chairman Doron Almog.   (credit: SHLOMI COHEN)ADI AND Jewish Agency Chairman Doron Almog. (credit: SHLOMI COHEN)

■ WHEN AN individual, an organization, an institution or a particular community gets a bad name, no matter how undeserved that may be, it’s something that’s very difficult to erase. Ever since the establishment of the State, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has been portrayed in mainstream media as leeches who refuse to serve in the army, who are largely unemployed and live off welfare services provided by the Zionist state to which they are not loyal because they do not believe in or identify with the Zionist movement.

While this has some truth in some sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community, it does not apply to all. There are ultra-Orthodox soldiers in the IDF and thousands of ultra-Orthodox are employed in industry, serve as doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists and more, and even as hi-tech entrepreneurs. A delegation from Intel Ignite and Dos Ventures, met recently with President Isaac Herzog to present their program aimed at promoting additional hi-tech Orthodox entrepreneurs

Herzog told them that he is a big believer in the integration of the Orthodox public into the world of employment and in general into the various circles of Israeli society. During the meeting, representatives of the two organizations discussed Herzog’s initiative in which he called for a fruitful dialogue among the different sectors of the nation.

The partnership between Intel Ignite start-up accelerator is intended to develop a special accelerator for Dos Ventures, said Intel Ignite Vice-President and CEO of Intel Ignite Global, Tzachi Weisfeld who outlined that Alon Leibovitch, CEO of Intel Ignite Tel Aviv, will provide Rami Lieber and Ariel Luzon, program managers of Dos Ventures, with tools for managing the acceleration program to maintain and cultivate the connection between the Orthodox sector and the hi-tech industry that drives Israel’s economy.

Topics raised during the meeting included marketing and sales workshops, product adaptation, raising capital, connecting and creating a community between entrepreneurs and the ecosystem, and mentoring sessions.

So far, the program in Tel Aviv has registered seven successful cohorts in which more than 150 entrepreneurs from 68 different companies raised more than a billion dollars. In addition, more than 20 of the companies that matured from the program held a feasibility project with Intel.


■ WHILE IT is sad to see the growing number of Israelis with mental and/or physical disabilities, it is heartwarming that much more attention is being paid to their needs and to whatever abilities they do have. More facilities are being made available for their care, their accommodation and their education. 

Last week, a large number of people including Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov, chairman of Adi Negev-Nahlat, Eran and the Jewish Agency Doron Almog as well as senior representatives of the Health Ministry, the Ministry for Welfare Services, the Education Ministry, Health clinics, the Adi Executive, and other public figures, attended the official opening of the new Adi Jerusalem Center, which in addition to all the above mentioned services, will also provide therapy to aid the development of motor abilities.

The new facility will support not only adults, but children from babyhood onwards, and will do everything possible to enable them to live as normal a life as their circumstances will permit.

Immediately after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests turned their attention to children who were already receiving therapy and education in the new Adi center. Elisheva, the mother of one of the children, said tearfully, that Adi was not only helping her daughter, but had embraced her whole family. “Even though this is in a sense a hospital, it is also a home,” she said, adding that Adi gives families a sense of meaningful optimism.

The Adi Jerusalem Center is headed by Dr. Leon Josef of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, who has an excellent team of professionals working with him.

Adi Jerusalem CEO Shlomit Grievsky is very appreciative of the joint efforts to bring more quality into the lives of the people who come under the Adi umbrella.

Almog, whose late son suffered severe disabilities, spoke of the obligation of every community to its weakest members, and praised the dedication of the Adi Jerusalem team.

Without appropriately treating the weakest links in any Israeli society, he said, Israel cannot be defined as a society which does not abandon its wounded in the field. “We have a responsibility to all those who need us.”

Relating to the difficult period which Israel is currently experiencing, Bar Simon Tov said that he was happy that the current political divisiveness had not penetrated to health services which are administered with grace and love, and the sense of responsibility by one human being for another. The healing from this place will hopefully extend to the nation, he said.

■ THERE IS always life after the Knesset. For some it comes quickly. For others it takes time. Former MK Ruth Wasserman-Lande, who has just been appointed chair of the Women’s Impact Forum of the World Jewish Congress, is in the category of those who quickly take on something new.

She was the co-founder and chair of the Knesset’s Abraham Accords Caucus, previously served with the Federation of Local Authorities, as an adviser to the late President Shimon Peres and as the de facto deputy chief of mission at the Israel embassy in Cairo.

Throughout her varied career, Wasserman-Lande has sought to promote mutual understanding and social cohesion among different groups within Israeli society and has advocated a more united Israel based on mutual respect among all sectors.

Though born in Israel Wasserman-Lande grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and returned as a Lone Soldier at age 17.

She now begins yet another new chapter in her life.

■ BLOOMFIELD STADIUM in Tel Aviv, which is among the largest soccer stadiums in the country and home to Maccabi Tel Aviv and the National Team, was one of many gifts which the Bloomfield family of Montreal, Canada have given to Israel. Opened in October, 1962, by brothers Bernard and Louis Bloomfield and now owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality, it has undergone several renovations over the years, most recently in 2019.

Montreal-based lawyer Harry Bloomfield is very proud of the soccer stadium that bears his family name, and was prouder still to learn that an upcoming underground station will be named Bloomfield. But what literally got to his gut was entering a bar in Tel Aviv, called 7 to 1, and sampling one of its supreme cocktails.

When he asked what it is called, the answer was “Bloomfield.”

Now he knows that the name has enduring substance.

Bloomfield, who owns a home in Jerusalem, where he stays for approximately a month at least twice a year, is pleased to carry on the legacy of his father, his uncle and his mother Neri Bloomfield who was a great Zionist activist and the leader or member of the executive of various Zionist organizations.

Harry Bloomfield, who has many friends in Israel will be back in May.

He is happy that his sons will be able to carry on the family commitment to Israel, and its involvement in Israel’s development in different fields.