Grapevine September 3, 2023: A humane attribute

Movers and Shakers in Israeli society.

Yair Netanyahu, son of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in the defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022.  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Yair Netanyahu, son of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a court hearing in the defamation lawsuit filed by former MK Stav Shafir in Tel Aviv, on November 29, 2022.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The ceremony for the Danielle Prize, awarded annually to the country’s leading family doctors, will take place today at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (ICC).

The Danielle Sonnenfeld Prize was established in memory of 20-year-old soldier Danielle Sonnenfeld who was killed in a traffic accident in 2015. Danielle, who planned to study medicine and who had already been accepted to do so in Beersheba, spent much of her army service working with sick children and forming close, heart-warming relationships with them.

It was this special humane attribute that her father, businessman Motti Sonnenfeld, wanted to preserve when he established the foundation in her memory.

Specialists earn many kudos in their careers, but family doctors, who are usually first in line to diagnose patients and refer them to specialists if necessary, do not always get the recognition they deserve. The Danielle Sonnenfeld Prize is one way of amending that lacuna and giving general practitioners their due.

Of recommendations made by 760,000 people from across the country, 14 outstanding physicians from all the clinics operated by the various health funds, were chosen, not only for their professionalism but also for their humanism. Among them is pediatrician Dr. Ella Oshrovsky, who works in Meuhedet’s Modi’in Azrieli clinic, and earned the title of the Most Dedicated Doctor in Israel in 2023. Among the hundreds of recommendations she received, one person stated: “Whenever we come to see Dr. Oshrovsky, she receives us with a smile, in a pleasant manner, and with a willingness to listen. The children are excited whenever we go to visit her. She is not only professional but demonstrates compassion and understanding for all her patients.”

 DR. ELLA Oshrovsky, winner of the Danielle Prize. (credit: Meuhedet Health Maintenance Organization)
DR. ELLA Oshrovsky, winner of the Danielle Prize. (credit: Meuhedet Health Maintenance Organization)

It was quite an emotional moment for Oshrovsky when she was notified of the esteem in which she is held. Her first reaction was to thank all the parents who had entrusted her with the care of their children.

Yair Netanyahu court case

■ HOW MANY more court cases will there be before Yair Netanyahu learns that social media platforms were not created in order for him to besmirch the reputations of other people – especially when such people are innocent of the allegations he has made against them?

Yair Netanyahu has been ordered by the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court to pay NIS 130,000 in damages to Dana Kashdi, who he implied had been involved in a romantic liaison with National Unity MK Benny Gantz. While insinuating that Gantz had been involved in extramarital relationships, Yair appears to have overlooked that his dad was involved in such (well publicized at the time) relationships more than once. Yair’s barrage of attacks against Gantz bordered on the obsessive. Judge Doron Peleg suggested that in the future, Yair should exercise more self-control.

Herzog visits Europe

■ THE STATE visits to Slovakia and Austria this week by President Isaac Herzog will be his sixth and seventh visits abroad this year, and there are still a few months to go. Last year he traveled abroad 14 times. As far as Slovakia is concerned, it was more or less a case of noblesse oblige, since in the past year he visited the Czech Republic. Not so long ago the Czech Republic and Slovakia were a single entity known as Czechoslovakia.

Netanyahu at the UN

■ PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu will also be traveling this month. He is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 21. No one is worried about what might happen during the two days in which Herzog will be out of the country, but there is concern about what National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir might do during the period in which Netanyahu is away.

The Green Party

■ FORMER LABOR MK Stav Shaffir, who was among the most active legislators, opted out of the Knesset in 2019 but did not retire from politics, and is now a leader of the Green Party. She publishes a regular newsletter related to political developments in the country.

Prior to the opening of the new school year, she wrote: “Getting ready for the first day of school used to mean buying a new backpack and textbooks. Today however, it is quite a different story: Our children’s schools will be flooded this year with content created by the likes of the ultra right-wing anti-LGBTQ misogynist racist settler (Noam Party) Avi Maoz and the Netanyahu government. They aim to brainwash our kids with anti-Democratic views, as we’ve been seeing from this government.”

The main target of Shaffir’s concern is Ben-Gvir, whose influence she fears, will extend far beyond his portfolio. But she has also had a legal run-in with him, which may explain why she is particularly negatively disposed towards him.

“Prior to the 2019 general election, Itamar Ben-Gvir received less than 1% in the polls. Despite that, the media gave him vast coverage befitting a candidate slated to be PM. Data from 2019 shows he was in third place among all politicians in media coverage,” she wrote.

“The media opted to continue giving him endless airtime despite his extremely low polling numbers which were not even close to gaining the minimum votes required to pass the electoral threshold. It is easy to be confused, but the numbers speak for themselves. Ben-Gvir was no “fenom” the media covered by virtue of its commitment to fair coverage.”

Shaffir reiterates the negative image of Ben-Gvir that is being published in numerous media outlets.

“Ben-Gvir was on the fringes, on the most extreme edges and outskirts, a racist, a Kahanist, with a sordid criminal past [convicted of incitement to racism], who famously proudly hung a photograph of a Jewish murderous terrorist on his living room wall. The media in its endless race for higher ratings, and some serious flattering to the political right-wing, boosted him and his extremist party, granting him unimaginable public awareness resulting in unmerited political power.”

Shaffir had petitioned the Supreme Court against Ben-Gvir’s candidacy and she refused to participate in interviews where he was present. She was attacked for that choice, and was even told that her refusal to legitimize his candidature, was “harmful to freedom of expression.”

Ben-Gvir sued her and made certain to post her home address on his Facebook page, which led to dozens of threats on her life, forcing her to be accompanied by bodyguards for several months.

Since then, Ben-Gvir has continued with his racist slurs, to which Shaffir’s reaction is: “Racism is not freedom of speech – Racism is a heinous crime.”

Mayoral elections in Ariel

■ FORMER LIKUD MK Oren Hazan, once the bad boy of Israeli politics, may very well be the next mayor of Ariel. Hazan is a frontline runner from among nine contestants in the October municipal elections. Present incumbent Eliyahu Shaviro is not vying for another term.

The Gag Eden Festival

■ MUSLALA, A nonprofit organization established in 2009 by artists, residents, and community activists of the Muslala neighborhood in Jerusalem, has promoted a new spirit of culture, social integration, and empowerment of weaker sectors of the community. Based in the capital’s Clal Building, Muslala organizes art exhibitions, urban art tracks, guided tours, film screenings, and art workshops. It has also opened an active meeting and study center, as well as an exhibition space. It has transformed what was long the capital’s white elephant building, with a rooftop oasis that the public wants to visit.

Muslala’s annual three-day Gag Eden Festival, which is a wordplay related to the Garden of Eden, will take place on September 13, at 9 p.m. on the Muslala Terrace. Garden in Hebrew is gan and gag is roof. Gag Eden is a semi-hybrid for roof garden. The festival, whose focus is on ecological urban renewal, will inter alia feature a screening of the film Matter out of Place, by Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter, and a lecture by Nir Barak on the work of the late Viennese artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who created some of Austria’s most prestigious buildings. Given Jerusalem’s metamorphosis in the ongoing process of urban renewal, the lecture is entirely appropriate.

Leket Israel

■ ISRAEL’S NATIONAL food rescue organization Leket, is primarily involved in rescuing unused food from hotels, restaurants, and banquet halls, and in harvesting food from the fields. But its top officials realize that people who have enough to eat, also want to know more about how to prepare food. So Leket has arranged for well-known chef Sivan Kobi from Sivan’s Kitchen to teach all who are interested, how to braid challah. The date is Sunday, September 10, at 11 a.m. EST and 6 p.m. IDT. Full details are available on the Leket website.