Grapevine: If I forget thee O Jerusalem...

Though usually diplomatic, former Israel ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold was not exactly complimentary to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

grapes 88 (photo credit: )
grapes 88
(photo credit: )
THOUGH USUALLY diplomatic in his remarks, former Israel ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold was not exactly complimentary to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when he asked scathingly whether she wanted to change places with pollster Mina Tzemach, who for years has monitored the pulse of Israel on a broad range of issues. Currently president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Gold was speaking to an audience of well over a thousand people at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue last Saturday night and was referring to a statement by Rice regarding concessions Israel would be prepared to make for peace. "I believe that most Israelis are ready to leave all or most of the West Bank, just as they were ready to leave Gaza for the sake of peace," Gold quoted her as saying. The implication was that with friends like these, who needs enemies. Gold wondered aloud whether Rice was really referring to what the US wants Israel to do, and lamented that many of Israel's "friends" want her to return to the 1967 borders - a reference to comments made last week by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. In an address primarily devoted to the future of Jerusalem, Gold argued that controversial areas of the capital, such as Har Homa, legitimately belong to Israel and recalled that the Clinton Administration twice vetoed UN Security Council condemnations of Israeli construction there. "When the US couldn't openly support our position on Jerusalem, they quietly accepted it," he said. Moreover, said Gold, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 reaffirmed Israel's right to a united Jerusalem. He added that the act, in which the US Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly called to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, had the support of people who today hold key positions in Congress or are running for president. Therefore, he said, it was difficult for him to accept that "our best friends want us to divide Jerusalem." On the home front, he reminded his audience that the late Yitzhak Rabin, at the height of the Oslo process, spoke of keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. "This was the heart of US-Israeli consensus," Gold said. The former ambassador also drew on UN Resolution 242 to show that the Americans never intended for Israel to re-divide Jerusalem. The resolution, drafted by the US and British ambassadors and accepted unanimously by the Security Council on November 22, 1967, calls for "withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." The words all and the are not included in the clause regarding territorial withdrawals, noted Gold, who added that this had been the specific intention of then-US president Lyndon Johnson. Furthermore, said Gold, this was confirmed in a 1980 letter to The New York Times by Arthur Goldberg, the US ambassador to the UN who co-drafted the resolution. He also stated that Jerusalem was omitted from the withdrawal clause and that this, too, had been intentional. n IN THE best laid plans of mice, men and women, little provision is made for the unexpected. Thus, when Jerusalem Emunah was planning its gala banquet honoring Toby Willig, Tzvia and Yossi Glatt and Shalom Lerner, it never occurred to the organizers of tonight's event that the arrival of US President George W. Bush might put a spoke in their wheel. At least half of the people due at the banquet live on or near the streets being cordoned off to traffic and will have to find alternate routes to the Renaissance Hotel on the other side of town. Well, few things Jewish start on time. nPLANNED DEMONSTRATIONS on behalf of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard are likely to be suspended during the Bush visit. On Monday, Pollard's wife Esther asked that all such activities be cancelled because it had come to her attention that the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency, had planted an agent provocateur in the ranks of her husband's supporters. She compared such a person to Avishai Raviv, who had been planted among right-wing activists prior to the Rabin assassination, and said the intent now was to torpedo efforts to gain her husband's release from prison. She also said that as a gesture to the State of Israel on its 60th anniversary, Bush should use his executive powers to grant her husband clemency. n WHILE MOST of Israel is currently preoccupied with the Bush visit, in local literary circles January 9 has an altogether different significance. This year it marks the 135th anniversary of the birth of national poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. nMANY OF the guests attending the wedding of Jill Marie Reinach and Eyal Solganik at the charming HaBe'er Shel Saba, a Petah Tikva banquet facility set in the middle of an orange grove, wondered aloud how President Shimon Peres could appear without warning and mingle freely with guests, whereas security considerations now prevent Olmert from going to such events. There was no special security at the entrance to indicate that any dignitary would attend. Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and her director-general, Avi Balashnikov, were also there, as were former associates of the bride, such as Danny Seaman, director of the Government Press Office, and Michael Jankelowitz, the Jewish Agency's long-serving foreign media liaison. The bride, who looked exquisite in a vintage-style wedding gown reminiscent of the 1930s, is a former Foreign Ministry staff member and was once the foreign press liaison for Peres. She was absolutely thrilled to see him, and he gave her a fatherly hug to indicate how pleased he was to see her as a bride. No two weddings are exactly alike, and in this case little girls scattering flower petals walked to the bridal canopy ahead of the groom rather than ahead of the bride. The groom walked unaccompanied to the canopy, while the bride was escorted by her brother, Andrew. Before coming to Israel, Reinach worked for AIPAC in Washington, and several people who had known her there were at the wedding. One was public relations executive Sara Averick, who introduced Reinach to AIPAC and, together with her husband, Jose Rosenfeld (a former economics writer with The Jerusalem Post), influenced Reinich's decision to come on aliya. Another was journalist Allison Kaplan Sommer, who, as the Post's correspondent in Washington, knew Reinach from AIPAC. Curiously, Kaplan's husband, lawyer Hillel Sommer, knew Solganik, who career-wise mingles in legal and high finance circles. The groom, who usually disdains a suit, made a special sacrifice for the occasion but refused to wear a tie and was not overly keen about posing for photographs. The bride was much more photo-conscious and posed with almost every guest. In their brief speeches, he said that meeting her was the miracle of his life, and she thanked all of their friends who had tried over the years to set them up with shidduchim - and had failed. nON THE subject of weddings, Kinneret Barashi, the young lawyer who sprang to national fame by representing a client who claimed to have been raped by former president Moshe Katsav, is getting married in April - probably before the case gets to court. The groom is chef and restaurant proprietor Elad Harush, with whom she has been keeping company for several months. n MANY OF those who attended the Reinach-Solganik wedding were also among the 1,500 invitees who showed up at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv on Friday morning to join public relations whiz Ran Rahav in celebrating his new role as honorary consul of the Marshall Islands. Although there were fewer people than last year, when Rahav and his wife, Hila, celebrated the bar mitzva of their son Ro'i, there was still a huge crowd of business tycoons, entertainment figures, fashion models, designers, diplomats, politicians, communications professionals and, as always, those whom few people know but are always on Rahav's guest lists because he never forgets people who were part of his life on route to where he is now. For Rahav, the lavish breakfast was actually a triple celebration in that he had celebrated his 16th wedding anniversary the previous day, and he reminded those who had attended the wedding that it had also been at a Dan Hotel - the Dan Accadia. It was also the 20th anniversary of his launch into public relations. He started his career at the Dan Panorama when the hotel, which had previously functioned unsuccessfully as the Hyatt, the Astoria and the Laromme, had been taken over by the Federmann family, which controls the Dan chain. Ehud Olmert, whom Rahav has known for years, was unable to attend for security reasons, but in a telephone call heard by all, he observed that even though the Marshall Islands (with a population of less than 62,000) is very small, Rahav, with his talent, should turn it into an empire. Olmert recalled that, as a young Knesset member, he was invited by Rahav, then serving on an air force base, to come and address the soldiers. Olmert tried various excuses, but Rahav was persistent and Olmert knew that no matter what he would eventually wind up at the base. Rahav, despite his teddy bear appearance and the permanent expression of awe-struck wonder that is his hallmark, has not lost his powers of persuasion, which may explain why his client list includes the creme-de-la-crème of Israel's business world. Rahav made so many complimentary remarks about the Federmanns and the opportunities they had given him, that at the end of his speech, Michael Federmann, whose many titles include that of Honorary Consul of the Ivory Coast, came forward and embraced him. nWHAT GOES around comes around. Yinon Magal, who started his broadcasting career as an announcer and reporter at Israel Radio, then transferred to Army Radio to report on settlements and more recently has been the military reporter for Channel Ten, is returning to the umbrella of the Israel Broadcasting Authority as Mabat News presenter alongside Geula Even. The Hebrew press tipped Magal as the front-line favorite, stating that he had passed the audition with flying colors. However, on Sunday, the IBA released a statement denying all the speculations in the press and declaring that none of the auditions had yet been viewed. Less than an hour before midnight on Monday, the IBA confirmed what the Hebrew press had been printing, and announced that Magal was the most suitable choice. The appointment will become effective at the beginning of February, after Chaim Yavin delivers his last Mabat broadcast at the end of January, climaxing a 40-year career as a television news presenter. nONE SHOULD never break one's own rules. After touting the importance of avoiding such expressions as "the first," "the only" and "the best" the writer of this column made the mistake of reporting that former Polish president Lech Walesa who is due in Israel next week, was the first leader of a former Soviet Bloc country to pay an official visit to Israel. An e-mail noting the error quickly came from Czech Ambassador Michael Zantovsky, pointing out that Czech President Vaclav Havel had come to Israel in April, 1990, whereas Walesa came 13 months later in May, 1991. Aside from the fact that Zantovsky is a former journalist with a memory like that of an elephant, he also happens to have been Havel's spokesman and accompanied him on the 1990 visit. The error in reporting resulted from a trick of memory. The writer of this column, who has deep Polish roots, covered Walesa's visit at the time, but not Havel's. She met Walesa again when she accompanied then president Chaim Herzog on his state visit to Poland in May, 1992. nLISTED AS one of the speakers at the prestigious annual Herzliya Conference, it comes as no surprise that Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the UN, will also address the World WIZO Conference next week. Gillerman has a soft spot for WIZO, and it's hardly surprising. His mother, who was an ardent WIZO member, spent the last years of her life in the WIZO Parents' Home in Tel Aviv. His wife Janice is a member of WIZO and his grandson attended a WIZO kindergarten. The WIZO conference, within the framework of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations, will bring together a thousand women from 36 countries. n HE IS the 680th Lord Mayor of the City of London. He was sworn into office exactly two months ago. His name is David Lewis, and he's due to arrive in Israel on January 21 for a four-day visit. Lewis, who will be heading a business delegation from the UK, will be coming as guest of UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv. Prior to assuming his current position, Lewis served for a year as Sheriff of the city. An eminent lawyer and businessman, he has been involved in some of the largest public takeovers in the UK and beyond. Traditionally, the Lord Mayor of the City of London acts as ambassador for the UK financial services industry and spends three months a year leading business delegations abroad. During his visit Lewis will meet with several high-ranking Israeli officials including President Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On,and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer. As far as the British Embassy is aware, this is the first visit by a Lord Mayor of London since 1999.