Grapevine May 30, 2021: Dr. Cohen, I presume?

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

MICHAL YANAI gives the stop sign to sexual harassment in the L’Oreal Stand-Up campaign. (photo credit: OMRI BARZILAI)
MICHAL YANAI gives the stop sign to sexual harassment in the L’Oreal Stand-Up campaign.
(photo credit: OMRI BARZILAI)
■ Outgoing Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who has been tipped as a future prime minister following the expiration of his cooling off period, has in the course of his career taken on many roles and guises. Today, Sunday, May 30, he will be seen in academic cap and gown as he receives an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in recognition of his work for the safety and well-being of the citizens of Israel, for decades of commitment, innovation and excellence in the service of the state, and for his role in the process that led to the signing of the Abraham Accords. 
Cohen, who completes his tenure as Mossad director on June 1, will deliver remarks on behalf of all his fellow honorary doctorate recipients who include film producer Arthur Cohn, former UK Supreme Court president and civil rights activist Baroness Hale of Richmond, musician Idan Raichel, businessman and philanthropist Haim Taib, the Tzohar rabbinical organization represented by Rabbi David Stav, and Nobel Prize-laureate professor of chemistry Michael Stanley Whittingham.
■ COME SUMMER and Yaron Deckel, political analyst, radio co-host and weekend news presenter for KAN 11 television will disappear from the screen and the airwaves. Deckel has accepted a two-year contract to be a Jewish Agency emissary in Canada. Deckel, 56, is a former CEO of Army Radio. From 2002 to 2007, he was the Washington bureau chief for the now defunct Israel Broadcasting Authority. In addition to covering US-Israel relations, he also traveled widely throughout the US reporting on social and cultural issues as well as on Jewish life and on Israeli families who relocated to the US.
■ NOW THAT hotels are back in business, but the influx of foreign tourists remains sparse and slow, some of the luxury hotels are offering their domestic weekend guests wisdom and music in addition to quality cuisine, well-appointed rooms and suites and elegant spas and swimming pools. In this respect, Jerusalem’s legendary King David Hotel, the flagship hotel in the Dan Hotel chain, has to work somewhat harder than its rivals because the Jerusalem Municipal Council decided to upgrade the road outside the hotel, which means that for the best part of a year, if not longer, King David Street will be closed to traffic. 
There is a somewhat complicated means of getting into the hotel by car or on foot, but the long-term closure of the street to motorized traffic is to some extent affecting all the hotels in this street. Once inside the hotel, guests are pampered in traditional King David style. But the frosting on top of the cake for guests who spend the weekend of June 24-26 there, will be a jazz tribute to Arik Einstein and George Gershwin by Guy Mintus, composer, conductor and international pianist; a lecture by Prof. Yedidya Stern of Bar-Ilan University, who is also president of the Jewish People Policy Institute; a mix of music and talk by historian musician and author Noam Rapaport; a musical interlude with singer and musician Dor Nagar; and the sharing of a riveting memoir by Israel Prize laureate Ron Ben Yishai, Israel’s most knowledgeable and daring military reporter who recently published his autobiography Frontline Reporter in the Line of Fire in Major Conflicts. An ex-paratrooper, Ben Yishai, who was wounded several times in the course of conflict coverage, stayed in the frontlines, not as a soldier, but as a reporter, but has been known to act as a soldier in crisis situations in which he even saved lives.
In other news from the Dan chain, the management of the chain has signed a deal with Mano Holidays – which is part of the Mano Holdings Group owned by Moshe Mano – to manage the Mirabella Plaza Hotel for three consecutive five-year periods. This will bring the number of Haifa hotels managed by Dan to three, including the long-established Dan Carmel and Dan Panorama hotels.
■ FIDDLER ON the Roof, the Broadway musical based on Sholem Aleichem’s story of Tevye the milkman, was the first musical production to have a theater run of more than 3,000 performances, and for almost a decade held the record of the longest running Broadway musical until the advent of Grease, which chalked up 3,388 performances. The stage production was adapted to a film starring Chaim Topol, who has since played Tevya on stages around the world. 
This is the 50th anniversary year of the film. In a career that spans some 65 years, Topol is best known at home for playing the title role in Sallah Shabati, and internationally he remains identified with Tevya or with stage productions or the screen production of Fiddler on the Roof. However, there is such a thing as a real fiddler on the roof who will play as a member of a Chamber Music Trio on the roof of Jerusalem’s Museum on the Seam within the context of the museum’s Tuesday on the Roof series.
■ THE TEL Aviv Arts Council, whose activities are aimed at young people in their 20s and 30s, will host A Night at the Opera coupled with a private wine reception with members of the cast after the show on Monday, June 7. Tickets are NIS 100 each. The show Mothers is a joint production of The Israeli Opera and Gesher Theater. Written by conductor David Sebba, the mothers relate the Genesis saga from a woman’s perspective. The four matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel will be joined by Hagar who was Sarah’s handmaid and the mother of Ishmael, who was sired by Abraham, Bilha, (Rachel’s handmaid and Jacob’s concubine), Zilpa, (Leah’s handmaid and Jacob’s concubine), and the wives of Lot and Potiphar, whose names are not mentioned in the Bible. These roles will be played by Gesher Theater actresses Natasha Mahor, Roni Einav, Lena Freifeld, Lilan Ruth and Neta Spiegelman who will be joined by opera soloists Shai Bloch, Yael Levita, Daniela Skorka and Shaked Stroll. Sebba will conduct an ensemble of musicians from the Israeli Opera and Rishon Lezion Symphony Orchestra.
The production is in Hebrew with subtitles screened in Hebrew and English.
■ THE #METOO movement may have gone overboard in outing famous men guilty of rape and sexual harassment, and there’s no telling how many of the stories are true and how many have been invented by women seeking the limelight. Public rape is rare, though some perverts actually video tape themselves in the act and then post the video on social media, thereby convicting themselves. Sexual harassment, however, is often done in public, in the street, on public transportation and at social gatherings. In a recently launched campaign to prevent sexual harassment, L’Oreal Paris notes that sexual harassment is prevalent all over the world, and while passersby will rush to help someone who falls over in the street, they don’t do the same when witnessing sexual harassment. 
Israeli actress and model Michal Yanai is featured in the campaign, which offers training to help prevent sexual harassment through intervention. L’Oreal in Israel has a long-time relationship with the Association of Israel Rape Crisis Centers, which is launching a Hebrew website, standup-israel.com, which includes tutorials on how to respond safely to sexual harassment.
In addition, the local Hebrew hashtag campaign #StopStandingOnTheSide (DaiLaamodMeHatzad) is integral to the project, and dedicated workshops will annually empower thousands of people.
■ THE ARMORED Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun was the venue chosen by Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Emanuel Sakal for the launch of his fifth book, Sinai BaLev (Sinai in the Heart). The event was attended by many of Sakal’s old army buddies including Uzi Dayan, who inter alia is also a retired major-general. The two were commanders of the 401 Armored Corps, and were also commanders of Southern Ground Forces.
Dayan described Sakal as a true son of Israel, a commander and a fighter on whom one could always rely under any circumstances, who saw his role as commander of ground forces as a mission. In thanking Dayan for his remarks, Sakal underscored the lasting friendships that developed from the camaraderie of soldiers who served together, especially those who served in battle.
■ DIRE FORECASTS that the world would never be the same again after COVID appear to be without foundation. Coffee shops and restaurants are well patronized, markets are crowded, diplomatic events have resumed, movie theaters have reopened, and solidarity missions from abroad have already touched down in Israel. An Amit delegation from New York led by National president Audrey Axelrod Trachtman arrived in Israel last week, and was preceded by a 23 member delegation of rabbis under the auspices of the UJA Federation of New York. Members of the delegation included Rabbi Steven Exler, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; Rabbi Dr. Richard Hidary, Yeshiva University; Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn, The Community Synagogue, Westport; Rabbi Deborah Bravo, Makom, NY; Rabbi Howard Buechler, Dix Hills Jewish Center; Rabbi Claudio Kupchik, Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst; Rabbi Angela W. Buchdahl, Central Synagogue; Rabbi Aaron Brusso, Bet Torah, Westchester; Rabbi Chaim Marder, Hebrew Institute of White Plains; Rabbi Yosie Levine, The Jewish Center; Rabbi Elie Wienstock, Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach; Rabbi Sara Hurwitz, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale; Rabbi Aaron Feigenbaum, Irving Place Minyan; Rabbi Rachel Ain, Sutton Place Synagogue; Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Park Avenue Synagogue; Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun; Rabbi Manes Kogan, Hillcrest Jewish Center, Queens; Rabbi Daniel B. Gropper, Community Synagogue of Rye; Rabbi David Schuck, Beth El Synagogue Center, New Rochelle; Rabbi Hershel Billet, Young Israel of Woodmere; Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst; Rabbi Avi Weiss, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah; Rabbi Meir Feldman, Temple Beth-El Great Neck; and Eric S. Goldstein, UJA-Federation of New York.
It should be noted that the rabbis represented different streams of Judaism, but concern for Israel was their common denominator.
More solidarity missions are on the way.
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