GIVEN THAT she is busy trying to become the next prime minister while concurrently meeting with visiting counterparts, heads of state and government, accompanying dignitaries to Sderot and frequently traveling abroad, it's a wonder that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was able to find time for 12-year-old Yuval Dekel from Hod Hasharon, whom she not only welcomed to her office in Jerusalem, but also engaged in serious talks.
Dekel is Livni's opposite number; she's the foreign minister in Israel's youth government and had a few things to say to Livni, especially about kidnapped St.-Sgt Gilad Schalit.
Livni was reportedly favorably disposed to Dekel's suggestion that a special campaign for his release be conducted in the capitals of each of the countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations.
After emerging from the long meeting, Dekel said that she had been impressed that Livni told her that the office belonged to both of them. What both Livni and Dekel have in common in addition to their titles is that they're both fairly good tennis players. Dekel, at this stage, is not planning a political career, but Livni told her that she hadn't planned to enter politics either, it was something that just happened. The youth government was recently elected at Mini Israel and is the brainchild of Mini Israel CEO Haim Rogatka.
KNOWN FOR some of his forthright opinions and remarks, MK Aryeh Eldad (NU-NRP) is scheduled to address the Hatzvi Yisrael congregation in Talbiyeh during the Three Weeks. Organizers of the event have insisted that his talk will not be political, but will be related to the destruction of the Temple. The talk will take place on August 7 at 8 p.m.
JERUSALEMITES ARE about to lose a famous landmark. According to a report in The Marker, the premises of the Hamashbir department store on King George Avenue, which has been patronized by Jerusalemites for more than three decades, will revert to the owners Hachsharat Hayeshuv and the Co-op chain. The idea is that the existing building will be torn down to make way for a shopping mall that will be integrated with office space and residential apartments in line with the City Hall plan to bring more life into the downtown area.
This means that Rami Shavit, the CEO of the Hamashbir chain, has to go looking for a new location. The chain has reportedly been talking with several real-estate agents and developers and may be close to signing with Reit Israel, headed by Amir Biram, who has a seven-story building on Jaffa Road that may just suit Hamashbir's needs.
EVEN THOUGH they suspect that voters for opposition leader Nir Barkat in the upcoming mayoral elections in Jerusalem will again be outweighed by the haredi community, Barkat's supporters are not giving up, and are doing their utmost to encourage the secular community to go to the polls on voting day. Meanwhile Barkat is campaigning both in Hebrew and in English and has two English-language parlor meetings scheduled at the Rehavia home of arts and crafts maven Toby Shuster.
JUST AS one man's meat is another man's poison, the personal tragedy of one family can be turned into something joyful for another. To honor the memory of Tulio Bortolami, an Italian citizen with an incurable disease, who recently died abroad at the age of 68, a group of his friends in Israel who intended to send flowers to his funeral decided instead to do something more meaningful. After contacting his son David, they decided to donate the money gathered for the flowers, which was equivalent to 300 euros, to some charitable project. David Bortolami contributed an additional 100 euros.
Dr. Yosef Mishal, head of Internal Medicine Department B at the Barzilai Medical Center, recommended that the group donate a pair of spectacles to an 18-month-old girl from Gaza who was hospitalized in BMC's Ophthalmology Department. The child had undergone surgery two months earlier for a congenital disease of her eyes and desperately required spectacles, but her parents could not afford to buy them.
Bortolami's friends and relatives immediately agreed for the money to be used to purchase the eyeglasses. Needless to say, the tiny tot's family were overjoyed, and she was finally able to see.