Grapevine: Consolidating in Jerusalem

According to Jerusalem deputy mayor Ofer Berkovitch, bringing in so many offices would create thousands of job slots in the capital.

AN AERIAL view of the Old City of Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AN AERIAL view of the Old City of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
At a time, when despite all proof to the contrary, UNESCO is casting doubt on the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, it becomes increasingly important for Jews in general, and Israeli Jews in particular to enhance the image of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
It is particularly incumbent on government ministers to do so, which is why Eli Malka, the legal adviser to the Jerusalem Municipality sent a letter to Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, Interior Minister and Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee Arye Deri and Education Minister Naftali Bennett to consolidate all their branch offices and bring them to Jerusalem.
According to Jerusalem deputy mayor Ofer Berkovitch, bringing in so many offices would create thousands of job slots in the capital. But that isn’t necessarily so. Untold numbers of people working in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv don’t live in these cities but commute.
Binyamina in the north is known as a bedroom community and the vast majority of its residents also commute to work in places elsewhere in the country. Bringing government offices back to Jerusalem is definitely an act of solidarity, but there’s no guarantee that such a move would revolutionize the job market in the capital.
ISRAEL IS increasingly turning toward Asia in a series of cooperative projects in many fields including political dialogue, fighting terrorism and cyber threats and of course increasing bilateral trade with countries on the continent. In light of this, the Embassy of Japan in cooperation with the Israeli Association of Japanese Studies and Herzog Fox & Neeman law office, is hosting a special lecture and a panel discussion on Sunday, November 6, at 6.45 p.m in the conference hall of Herzog, Fox & Neeman, at Asia House, 4 Weizman Street, Tel Aviv.
The event is titled New Security Dynamics in East Asia: Japan’s Expanding Strategic Portfolio. The lecturer will be Dr. Ken Jimbo, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University.
Panelists in the discussion that will follow are Prof. Meron Medzini, Department of Asian Studies Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Alon Levkowitz, chair of the Social Science and Civics department at Beit Berl College. The moderator is Prof. Rotem Kowner who specializes in the history of modern Japan at the University of Haifa and is also chair of the IAJS. Entrance is by pre-registration only at: info@ by Wednesday November 2, with your name, organization, title, and contact information.
The lecture will address the balance of power in Asia, the rise of new security domains and Japan’s Foreign and Security Agendas.
THE HEBREW date of Heshvan 3, which marks the third anniversary of the passing of former Sephardi chief rabbi and Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, falls this week.
Yosef’s daughter, Israel Prize laureate Adina Bar-Shalom, who co-hosts a weekly program on Israel Radio said this week that her father had been a unifying force for the family. After their mother died he had insisted that they all come to him for Shabbat and holy days, telling them that he would be their mother as well as their father.
Since his death, extended family gatherings have been few and far between because each of Yosef’s children has several children of their own and are grandparents and in some cases great grandparents, so each has his or her own close-knit nucleus of offspring. However they will all get together this week to collectively mourn Ovadia’s passing and to celebrate his life.
AMONG THE many colorful characters of Jerusalem is real estate agent and story teller David Moonshine, who was born into a family of Ger Hassidim, but who long ago opted for a more Bohemian life style. His latest book, Once There Was Jerusalem, which is a kind of loosely knit autobiography in that it is a collection of anecdotes that to some extent involve Moonshine, caught the attention of Israel Radio’s Yaron Enosh, who gave Moonshine plenty of air time in which to share some of the stories that are in the book.
Not long before the War of Independence, when Moonshine was a boy, his father was a member of the Irgun and some of the organization’s weaponry was stashed in their house. The British Mandate authorities got wind of this and came to raid the premises.
On hearing the loud knocks on the front door, Moonshine’s father made a hasty exit out of the back door.
“Where are the weapons?” the British commanding officer demanded of the boy. “The only weapon is mine...” stammered Moonshine. “Show me!” demanded the officer. Quaking in fear, Moonshine reached under his bed and produced a wooden sword which the British promptly confiscated.
Several years later, while eating goulash served in Fink’s Bar in downtown Jerusalem, where journalists, UN personnel, diplomats and visiting dignitaries and celebrities congregated, Moonshine looked across the room and detected a mustached, vaguely familiar figure. He stared at the man and then told his companion that he thought it was the British officer who had confiscated his sword. Moonshine approached the man with the mustache and asked him if he remembered him. “I’m the boy whose sword you took away,” he said. “You’ve changed a bit,” replied the man with typical British understatement.
“What happened to my sword?” asked Moonshine. “Come with me,” said the man and led him to what had once been a British storehouse, but which was in a state of neglect and abandonment with broken windows. The former British officer used a cigarette lighter to penetrate the darkness.
On the floor, almost in the middle of the room, lay a wooden sword. Moonshine was in awe as he picked it up. “Put it on your shoulder!” demanded an authoritative voice. “Stand to attention. Now march! Left right, left right…” Another Moonshine story, which he did not relate on radio, but which was printed in the local Jerusalem publication Yediot Yerushalayim, concerned a beggar to whom he would toss a few coins whenever he passed him near the Jerusalem Central Post Office. On a rainy winter’s day, Moonshine passed him and heard him mumbling about how cold he was. Moonshine asked if he could help him and the man said he wanted a heater, but not just any old heater.
He wanted a specific brand and a specific color. Moonshine asked where he lived so that he could deliver it to him, but the man refused to part with his address, and asked for it to be brought to where he was. A few days later, one of Moonshine’s clients approached him and asked him to check out a property in King George Street which was for sale, and said that he had a serious buyer. Moonshine went to the property titles office, got the name and address of the owner and passed on the details to his client. A contract was drawn up, but on the day that it was to be signed, the parties concerned were informed that the owner was ill, and that the contract would have to be signed at his home on Cremieux Street in the German Colony, which is one of Jerusalem’s up-market locations.
The owner’s lawyer opened the door and said that the owner was in bed and would not be joining them, but that he would take the contract to him to sign.
Moonshine’s curiosity about the owner was boundless, and he was determined to find out what he looked like. Feigning an excuse to sneak a peek at him, he said he had to go to the bathroom and was told by the lawyer to walk down the hall.
He felt his way along the dark corridor which had several doorways, and finally came to a room where he spied a seated man in a familiar tattered suit and hat surrounded by heaters all of one brand and color including the one that had been purchased by Moonshine.
On the following Friday, Moonshine had to be at the Post Office and once again came across the “beggar”.
This time he was especially generous and gave the man half a lira. He was surprised, and was profuse in his thanks. “Tell me,” said Moonshine, “do you by any chance have a house to sell in Cremieux Street? A large, mischievous grin appeared on the man’s face. “Wasn’t one good deal this week enough for you? Aside from that, it’s a house that isn’t suitable for just anyone. It’s a house that’s suitable for a prime minister!” When he was minister for industry, trade and labor, former prime minister Ehud Olmert purchased a house at 8 Cremieux Street. It was alleged that he had received an enormous discount in return for approving building permits, but there was never sufficient evidence to have him charged – and the case was closed. Moonshine did not refer to this, but there’s little doubt that it crossed his mind when he wrote the beggar story.
VETERAN UNITED HATZALAH volunteer Gavriel Friedson, who currently lives in the United States, and inter alia is Deputy Director of International Operations of Hatzalah Israel came home for the Rosh Hashana to post-Simhat Torah period to spend time with his family. Since his teenage years, Friedson steadily built up a reputation as a first responder to medical emergencies, and during the time that he was back in Jerusalem he proved that he hadn’t lost his touch, and answered quite a number of calls, and administered life saving treatment.
Another reason that he had for being back home was to attend the bar mitzva of Srulie Beer, the son of United Hatzalah Founder and President Eli Beer. Along with four doctors, multiple EMTs, and members of the United Hatzalah psychotrauma unit, Friedson received a call to respond to a medical emergency in the area near the banquet hall.
The emergency turned out to be a car accident involving two vehicles and a fallen traffic light close to the corner of Ben Zvi and Ramban streets just outside of the capital’s Sacher Park.
The volunteer emergency medical service responders raced to the scene where they found three people with various injuries, in conditions ranging from moderate to serious.
“The call was not an ordinary one for us per se, as we were all on the way to celebrate the bar mitzva, and we were all together. Normally we arrive separately,” said Friedson, an EMT who has been with the organization for more than nine years. “It was just like old times, racing to a call and saving lives,” he said.
“We had an amazing response time, and all of the doctors, the EMTs and the psychotrauma unit responders arrived in under three minutes due to our proximity to the accident. That type of situation doesn’t usually happen in the EMS world. The patient I personally treated with Josh Wesfield, an EMT who is currently in medical school, was in moderate condition with suspected multiple fractures.” Explaining the way in which Hatzalah responders work together, Friedson said: “That’s the beauty of how we operate. We can be anywhere, at any time, and get a call. The fact that we can be right next to an accident when it happens cuts down our response time significantly and helps us treat the patients as quickly as possible. We were all sad that an accident occurred, but we were thankful that we were so close by so as to be able to provide help as quickly as we did.”