Grapevine: Dr. Ruth on target

Amar'e Stoudemire meets president Shimon Peres at his official residence in Jerusalem in 2013 (photo credit: MARC NEYMAN/GPO)
Amar'e Stoudemire meets president Shimon Peres at his official residence in Jerusalem in 2013
(photo credit: MARC NEYMAN/GPO)
In a Twitter exchange, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, responding to quips about her size, wrote: “Go ahead, make fun of me because I’m short. Just keep in my mind I was a sniper in the Hagana & could put all 5 bullets into the little red circle.”
After appearing this week at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, where she was interviewed by Jerusalem Report Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde, who has interviewed her before and who regards her as his favorite interviewee, Dr. Ruth will be appearing at the Forbes Conference in Israel next week. The US business magazine is hosting its first Under 30 Summit Global in Israel next week, with internationally known personalities as speakers.
In addition to Dr. Ruth, speakers will include professional basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire, and supermodel and businesswoman Bar Refaeli, who after giving birth to two children can still model bikinis. The four-day summit, May 6-10, will host some 800 entrepreneurs from around the globe. Other speakers will include Waze founder Uri Levine, celebrated hi-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi and a number of founders and CEOs of start-ups as well as venture capitalists.
The summit will also feature panels, interviews, performances, and pitch competitions.
Guests will take part in events such as the ringing of the bell at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange; a day of “Innovation” in Tel Aviv, with access to an entire Forbes Under 30 Village, featuring workshops, presentations and exhibits of startups; a day to meet with Israel’s top venture capitalists; a guided tour of Jerusalem’s Old City; a food and drink bar tour of Jerusalem’s famed Mahaneh Yehuda market; and tours to various sites and cities across the country.
■ IN ASSOCIATIVE thinking, what comes to mind in relation to Jerusalem Day is Israel’s No. 2 national hymn, “Jerusalem of Gold.” Think of “Jerusalem of Gold” and the immediate associations are Naomi Shemer and Shuli Nathan. It is irrelevant who else may sing “Jerusalem of Gold”; it will long be known as Nathan’s song.
She will be singing it yet again at a Jerusalem Day concert at Moreshet Avraham in the capital’s East Talpiot on May 9 at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the event are earmarked for the benefit of the synagogue’s Bayit Cham (Warm Home) program for children with special needs.
Nathan has always been a strong supporter of programs for children with special needs.
Bayit Cham, which is directed by veteran Jerusalem educator Rachel Leor, serves children from neighborhood schools who are in need of help in their studies and in social integration. The program was started more than 20 years ago, bringing children recommended by their schools into an afternoon of studies and games at Moreshet Avraham and sending them in the summer to a program at the Ramah Day Camp. For reservations call: 02-6737183.
■ THE JERUSALEM Center for Public Affairs generally gets a good turnout at its events, but it usually holds them in premises smaller than the Springer Auditorium at the Israel Museum. Because the JCPA is an academic institution, it included, as part of its pre-Jerusalem Day presentation by its president, Dore Gold, a tour of the museum’s archeological exhibits, with the emphasis on those that prove that there has been a Jewish presence in Jerusalem since before the construction of the First Temple.
Gold, who frequently lectures abroad, had been boasting to key people at the JCPA about the success of his presentations in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, London and Cambridge University on the renewed diplomatic struggle for Jerusalem, to which Prof. Arthur Eidelman, chairman of JCPA’s steering committee, asked: “What about Israel?” Hence the capacity crowd event at the Israel Museum.
Gold, a former permanent Israel representative to the United Nations and a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, is concerned about the growing influence of the Palestinian initiative that seeks to negate the historic Israeli connection to Jerusalem, even to the extent of claiming that there never was a Temple, despite historical and physical proof to the contrary. This runs counter to the information published in a pamphlet in 1924 by the Supreme Muslim Council headed by the notorious Haj Amin al-Husseini, in which it is stated that it is “beyond dispute” that the site of the Dome of the Rock is identical to that of Solomon’s Temple.
■ JEWISH UNITY is one of those popular myths that becomes a reality only in the face of national tragedy or virulent antisemitism. It’s worth taking note of something stated by World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, where he said: “We need to remember that we are one people, from the most Orthodox to the most secular. We are brothers and sisters.”
Of course there are family feuds, but when push comes to shove, we should all bear in mind that whatever our differences, blood is indeed thicker than water, and that Jews are responsible for each other.
■ DEPUTY MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren believes that the system of selecting judges for the Supreme Court should be changed in order to properly reflect the different sectors that make up the population. Speaking to the Foreign Press Association at the King David Jerusalem Hotel this week, Oren said that of the 15 members of the Supreme Court, eight should be selected by politicians, and seven by other people. He fears that if there is no change, the gap between the legislature and the judiciary will continue to widen.
“What is at stake here is the future of democracy,” he said.
Oren spoke to the FPA some seven hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his revelations about Iran’s nuclear arsenal.
In retrospect, it’s hard to tell whether Oren knew what Netanyahu was going to tell the nation and audiences abroad, but he did issue a warning about Iran’s intentions.
■ APROPOS THE King David Hotel, director of operations Sheldon Ritz is busier than ever, with people flocking to Jerusalem for Israel’s ongoing 70th anniversary events, plus state visits and the relocation of embassies. “The pressure is unbelievable,” he says.
For instance, this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after visiting Abu Dhabi and discussing regional issues with Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed, continued on to Jerusalem, primarily to look at progress at the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity, which Japan has established in Jericho to channel goods to the Arab world and beyond. Although Abe and his large delegation came for only one night, they reserved 200 guest rooms and all the halls in the hotel.
Ritz, who has dealt with scores of foreign dignitaries and delegations, says that the Japanese are a challenge for him “because they’re so professional, and therefore everything has to be perfect.”
Also coming over the next week are former German Federal president Christian Wulff, Minister- President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois, and a Russia delegation, after which Ritz will turn his attention to the Americans, who are coming for the relocation ceremony of the US Embassy.
Although the Americans have booked 75 rooms at the King David, the final number can change, depending on whether President Donald Trump decides to honor the occasion with his presence and what the actual size of the congressional delegation will be. Ritz has heard conflicting figures ranging from 500 to 1,000 people. Fortunately, the Dan chain has several hotels in Jerusalem, but even so, the surplus arrivals would also have to be farmed out to other hotels near the King David.
The opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem will take place on May 14, and two days later, on May 16, Jimmy Morales, the president of Guatemala, will usher in the relocation of the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem.
At the same time that Morales and his contingent are at the hotel, Juan Carlos Varela, the president of Panama, will arrive on a state visit. He will be accompanied by Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, who also serves as her country’s foreign minister.
Almost immediately afterward, Ritz will be greeting Norway’s deputy minister of foreign affairs and the Norwegian chief of staff, after which there will be a delegation of British members of Parliament at the end of the month. Then in June there will be the historic visit of Prince William, the duke of Cambridge and future king of England.
He may have a very long wait for that title, as has his father, Prince Charles, the prince of Wales, who will turn 70 on November 14.
The royal family genes are quite admirable. William’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth the queen mother, lived to be 101. His grandmother Queen Elizabeth has just celebrated her 92nd birthday, and his grandfather Prince Philip will be 97 on June 10.
■ IT’S THE season for honorary doctorates, fellowships and other awards, not only in Israel but in institutes of higher education in many parts of the world. While several foreign scholars, philanthropists and other people of note are coming to Israel to be honored in this manner, Prof. Uriel Reichman, president and founder of IDC Herzliya, traveled to the United States to receive the Robert and Joann Bendetson Public Diplomacy Award from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
The award committee stated that Reichman was chosen as this year’s recipient due to his “extraordinary leadership in establishing and building the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, emblematic of the spirit of the award.” A letter sent to Reichman by Prof. Abi Williams, director of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, stated that the institute’s mission aligns with the vision of IDC Herzliya, specifically in building the capacities of young people so they can engage constructively and effectively with the efforts to address global challenges.
The institute established this award to recognize eminent intellectuals and practitioners who have distinguished themselves in their efforts to bring about reconciliation and redress inequities in the world.
■ AMONG THE most meaningful honors conferred by academic institutions are those conferred on its former students or faculty. How great to be recognized by one’s alma mater. For celebrated broadcaster Ilana Dayan, it’s a double whammy.
An alumna of Tel Aviv University Law School and a member of the Israel Bar Association, Dayan also holds an LLM and JSD from Yale Law School and is a former Fulbright Fellow. She has lectured at TAU’s Buchman Faculty of Law since 1993, and teaches a course on freedom of speech. She has also taught constitutional law.
Her career as a journalist began at Army Radio in 1982. She did her army service as a reporter, and after completing her army service, also began working in television, chalking up several firsts. Born in Argentina, she was six years old when her family moved to Israel. She is part of Israel’s famed Dayan dynasty.
Her great-grandfather Eliyahu Dayan was the uncle of Shmuel Dayan, who sat in the first Knesset, and who in turn was the father of Moshe Dayan, who was the father of former MK Yael Dayan, as well as of prizewinning actor, producer, director and writer Assi Dayan and sculptor Udi Dayan. Lior Dayan, a writer and columnist for Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post, is one of the children of Assi Dayan.
Also being honored by TAU is Governor of the Bank of Israel Karnit Flug. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has announced that he will not appoint her to a second term, but at TAU they think she’s great.
Born in Poland, Flug was three years old when her parents brought her to Israel. She has an MA in economics from the Hebrew University and a PhD in economics from Colombia University. In 1984 she joined the International Monetary Fund, and subsequently the research department of the Bank of Israel. From 1994 to 1996 she was senior economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, before returning to Israel in 1997. Global Finance magazine has ranked her as one of the top 10 central bankers in the world.
Kahlon’s degrees are in political science and law. He holds his current position as part of a political negotiation. Flug earned her position, and Kahlon intends to deprive Israel of her services.
Other TAU honorees at the May 3 conferment ceremony include: Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist Ma Yun (Jack Ma), a foundation member of the World Economic Forum; Dmitry Zimin, a professor of engineering at the State University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow; Dr. Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera, a former president of Uruguay and a founder of the Friends of Israel Initiative, promoting Israel’s right to exist; László Lovász, a Budapest- born, prizewinning mathematician, who is a Wolf Prize laureate; and German physicist Prof. Knut W. Urban. Recipients of honorary fellowships will be Parisian-born child Holocaust survivor Lili Peyser- Racine, an Israeli philanthropist, TAU governor and an active member of the World WIZO leadership; and the Batsheva Dance Company.
■ IT HAS been previously mentioned in this column that Malcolm Hoenlein and Rabbi Benny Lau will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates to be conferred by Bar-Ilan University on May 8. But the other honorees include poet Agi Mishol; former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram Cohen; the IDF Orchestra; Etgarim Challenge; philanthropists Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz, who have given so much to education; and Ronnie Stern, president, American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, for advancing the university’s image and promoting its achievements.
The IDF Orchestra is seen as a unifying force among all branches and units of the Israel Defense Forces, and Etgarim Challenge is a rehabilitative organization for the disabled, employing outdoor sports as a means to empower and socially integrate individuals with mental, emotional and physical disabilities.
At the honorary doctorate ceremony the university will also award a Scroll of Appreciation to Prof.
Shlomo Havlin, recipient of the 2018 Israel Prize in Physics, for his groundbreaking research in statistical physics, which has contributed greatly to the advancement of science.
Prior to this, on Sunday, May 6, the university will confer Presidential Awards of Distinction on Mary Liling Goldberg, for her commitment to women and women’s rights in Israel and around the globe; the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York, for its support of Iranian Jewish students at Bar-Ilan; Dr. Gitta Nagel, for supporting Jewish education, her community leadership and support for the State of Israel; Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, for his support of medicine, mental health, education and disadvantaged populations; and Israel Weinstock, for promoting science and technology.
While Israel and North America are the two most influential bases of contemporary Judaism, the past decade has seen deep points of contention between the two on conversion, access to holy places and many other topics which have alienated North American Jews from the State of Israel, and perplexed Israelis who lack a nuanced understanding of Jewish life abroad.
To this end, BIU is launching an impact center for research on Judaism in Israel and North America, believed to be a first-of-its-kind academic framework in Israel or North America, dedicated to addressing this topic. The center’s mission will be to revive and shape public discourse on the connection between the two; create a nonpartisan framework for decision-makers and public leaders to negotiate change; and train a new generation of experts equipped to analyze Israeli and North American Judaism.
The center will be headed by Prof.
Adam Ferziger, a foremost expert on North American and Israeli Judaism, who serves as incumbent of the S.R. Hirsch Research Chair in the Israel and Golda Koschitzky department of Jewish history and contemporary Jewry, and as co-director of the annual Oxford Summer Institute on Modern and Contemporary Judaism, University of Oxford.
At the launch of the center on Monday, May 7, Ferziger will conduct a dialogue on “Past, Present, Future – Judaism in Israel and North America” with Hoenlein, who is stepping down from his 32-year role as executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
■ AT BEN-GURION University’s 48th annual meeting of the board of governors, honorary doctorates will be conferred on internationally renowned classical musician Elena Dmitrievna Bashkirova, of Germany and Russia; psychologist and neurosurgeon Prof. Edvard I. Moser, of Norway; Janet Ann Napolitano, former US secretary of Homeland Security; Prof. Cary Nelson, former president of the American Association of University Professors; British biotechnology expert Prof. Colin Ratledge and British chemist Prof. Carol Robinson.
■ CHANNEL 2’S Dana Weiss will interview BGU president Rivka Carmi on a 12-year retrospect of academic leadership in the morning of Tuesday, May 8, followed by a lecture by Prof. Ada Yonath, as part of a celebration of role models and inspirations: “Women Nobel laureates, from basic science to advanced medicine.” Of Israel’s 12 Nobel laureates, Yonath is the only woman.
Her lecture will be followed by the launch of a permanent exhibition honoring women Nobel laureates, the first of whom, in 1903, was Poland’s Marie Sklodowska Curie, who at the time was a naturalized French physicist and chemist who was the first woman professor at the University of Paris. She was also the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice in two different scientific categories, and the first person to do so.
■ ORGANIZERS OF D-Day celebrations and commemorations are going to be very frustrated. There are so many other events taking place on that date that getting prominent personalities to grace a D-Day function may prove to be difficult. In addition to the above-mentioned events on May 8, there is also Agritech Israel 2018, the 20th International Agricultural Technology Exhibition at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.
In addition to agricultural and scientific experts, speakers will include Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Economy Minister Eli Cohen and Mashav head Gil Haskel, as well as a number of foreign dignitaries, including Carola Schouten, the Netherlands’ deputy prime Minister and minister of agriculture, nature and food quality; and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Schouten has been to Israel before and in 2000 studied business administration at Tel Aviv University.
■ AT AGE 91 the erudite Alice Shalvi – an Israel Prize laureate in 2007; a recipient of the Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize in 2017, as well as of other earlier honors; founder of the Israel Women’s Network; educator; Shakespeare expert; public speaker; and so much more – is still going strong. Shalvi, who has left her imprint on the Hebrew University, the Pelech school, and the Schechter Institute, continues to lecture and participate in panel discussions.
On May 17 at 5:30 p.m. she will deliver a lecture on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, in conjunction with a screening of the 2004 film starring Al Pacino. The event is a fund-raiser for Keshet Hamishalot Foundation, which fulfills the wishes of the terminally ill.
■ IT’S NOT only the State of Israel that is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
There are many Sabras who were born in the same year as the state, though not necessarily on the same day. Among them is Jerusalemite Arieh Wisman, whose late father, Leo, a master carpenter, built some of the hiding places in which the Hagana stored its weapons, undetected by the British Mandate authorities.
Wisman, the director of Wisman Holdings, which controls one of the largest furniture conglomerates in Israel, decided to celebrate in the capital’s relatively new aquarium.
His birthday was actually in March. Although it seldom snows in Jerusalem, on the day that he was born, it was one of the worst snowfalls that the city had endured in decades. Not wanting to tempt fate and have history repeat itself, Wisman delayed the festivities till the last week of April, and as luck would have it, the rain came down in buckets, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of family, friends and employees who came to join Wisman in farewelling one decade of his life and welcoming the next.
The event included a tour of the aquarium, replete with explanations about the different fish, musical entertainment and a brief lecture by oncologist Prof. Hovav Nechushtan, thanks to whom Wisman has spent the last 10 years free of cancer.
Wisman’s older brother Nahum related some of the family history, and told of how their father had become a prisoner of war in Jordan when Arieh was just two-and-a-half months old, and their mother had to take care of her two infants and worry alone about a livelihood for a period of 10 months.
Among the guest were the birthday boy’s childhood friend actor Eli Danker; legendary pilot and former MK Eliezer ‘Cheetah’ Cohen, whose brother Nechemiah, who was killed in the Six Day War, was an army buddy of Wisman; and business strategist Eli Meron. The occasion was also an opportunity for Wisman to meet his youngest grandchild, sevenmonth- old Karni, who was born and lives in the United States.