Grapevine: Holding court

According to people in the know in the Foreign Ministry, Tanzania will open an embassy in Israel next year, after which the ambassador will be resident.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer at JPost Annual Conference (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Dr. Ruth Westheimer at JPost Annual Conference
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Supremes, in the book by journalist Nomi Levitsky, are not a singing group but the members of the Supreme Court who are now embroiled, through outgoing president Miriam Naor, in a struggle with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Naor is trying to preserve the tradition of seniority with regard to successor presidents of the Supreme Court, while Shaked wants the presidents to be chosen by the Knesset.
KAN Radio legal adviser Moshe Negbi says that the status quo is preferable because then everyone knows who the next president of the Supreme Court will be, whereas when there are several candidates who are voted on by the Knesset, the winner risks being beholden to those legislators who voted for him or her, and this could lead to corruption not only in the legislature but also in the Court.
Very few ministers remain in office for long periods of time, and when they introduce change with longrange repercussions, they leave a lot of damage in their wake, as did then-communications minister Gilad Erdan, when he destroyed the Israel Broadcasting Authority, after which the country, for reasons other than the IBA, went to an election, following which Erdan no longer held the communications portfolio.
The book will be launched on June 15, under the auspices of the Friends of Tel Aviv University, and will include a panel discussion on whether the Supreme Court is undergoing a revolution. The book takes readers behind the scenes to reveal how the system works, and how much the personal character of the judge can influence the judgment.
Participants in the discussion will include former education and interior minister Gideon Sa’ar; MK Tzipi Livni, a former justice minister and foreign minister; and author Levitsky.
The venue is the Jaglom Auditorium in the Senate Building on the TAU campus.
■ THE TITLE of an informative discussion to be held Sunday in what is rapidly becoming one of Jerusalem’s most popular venues for cultural and social get-togethers – Mahaneh Yehuda market – is “What’s Brewing in Israeli Society?” It has been organized by the Taub Center, which invites the public to “join us for a beer” at 7 p.m. at the Beer Bazaar near the entrance to the market and to hear from renowned leaders in the fields of Israeli social entrepreneurship, policy and economy, who will speak in English about a variety of issues.
The speakers include Yanki Margalit, Col. (res.) Miri Eisin and Gilad Brand. Margalit, a social entrepreneur and hi-tech investor, will discuss “The Last Machine: Toward a World Without Work.” As robots and artificial intelligence become more advanced, the need for work and human thinking is declining.
What will the world look like when working becomes obsolete? It’s kind of scary but a subject that should not be ignored.
Eisin, a Taub Center board member, is a former adviser to and spokeswoman for the prime minister.
She will talk about “Israeli Society Through the Anglo Eye.” What assumptions do Anglo Israelis make in their understanding of what Israeli society is and what it should be? One only has to read the letters to the editor in The Jerusalem Post to realize how different Anglo mentality is from that of the indigenous population.
The third speaker, Taub Center researcher Brand, with whose subject many people will identify, will discuss “Dealing with the Cost of Living” and examine whether prices are in line with what we earn.
Participation in the event is free of charge.
■ THERE MAY have been greater 19th-century Jewish artists in Germany than Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, but he was one of the very few who did not try to hide his Jewish identity and did not convert to Christianity. In fact, he remained an Orthodox Jew till his dying day. A prominent artist in his time who, despite his faith, was accepted by mainstream society, Oppenheim was for some 20 years the official portrait painter of the Rothschilds.
A documentary film about him, believed to be the first ever made, premiered last December at the Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Due to the great demand at the time, the film is being rescreened in the Springer Auditorium of the Israel Museum on June 13 at 7 p.m.
The film, which is in English and German with Hebrew subtitles, was scripted, produced and director by Isabel Gathof, who comes from Oppenheim’s hometown of Hanau, near Frankfurt, and will be followed by a panel discussion led by senior curator for European art Shlomit Steinberg. Gathof will participate in the discussion and talk about how it took her three years to make the film, which would not have been possible without crowdfunding, followed by a postproduction grant from the Federal State of Hessen, Germany.
Filming took place in four different countries (Israel, Germany, France and Portugal), and for the soundtrack of the film Gathof was able to obtain the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt orchestra plus a DJ for electronic music for a fusion of classical and electronic music, giving a new lease of life to the works of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and his sister, Fanny Hensel, who were contemporaries of Oppenheim.
The museum, which holds one of the largest collections of Oppenheim’s works, is arguably the most appropriate location in which to show the film and to discuss his contribution to both German-Jewish history and art.
■ IT’S COMMON knowledge that 2017 is a milestone anniversary year in many respects, but there are so many milestones that keep cropping up almost unexpectedly. Here’s another.
In just over a month’s time, on July 18, 2017, some of the people still living who were engaged with Aliya Bet, which brought in illegal immigrants to the shores of Haifa and Tel Aviv in defiance of the British Mandate authorities, will make their way to Haifa’s International Cruise Ship Terminal, where a major historical interpretive memorial is being dedicated for the iconic ship Exodus 1947.
Organizers anticipate more than 500 guests, among them Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Construction Minister Yoav Gallant, whose mother was one of the passengers on the Exodus, Deputy Construction Minister Jackie Levy, probably US Ambassador David Friedman and without doubt Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.
There are memorials to the “ship that launched a nation” in Germany, France, Italy and the US, but there has not been a specific Exodus monument in Israel till now, says Klinger, whose society undertook the effort to organize and fund the Exodus Memorial with the aim of unveiling it on the 70th anniversary of the ship’s arrival in Haifa.
■ SEVERAL AMBASSADORS have either left or are leaving this summer, and new ambassadors are presenting their credentials. At least three new ambassadors from Nepal, Honduras and Brazil will be presenting credentials this week, and there is a strong possibility that a fourth, the nonresident ambassador of Tanzania, will also do so. According to people in the know in the Foreign Ministry, Tanzania will open an embassy in Israel next year, after which the ambassador will be resident.
Meanwhile, a high-level delegation from Tanzania, headed by Dr. Aloyce K. Nzuki, permanent secretary at the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, and Devota K. Mdachi, managing director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, will be coming to Israel early this week to discuss increasing cooperation with the Israeli tourist industry and to persuade Israeli investors to invest in what is still considered to be an exotic tourist destination. The delegation will also be hosting a number of promotional events.
The visit, in conjunction with rising cooperation between Israel and various African states, was initiated by Tanzania’s honorary consul in Israel Kasbian Nuriel Chirich.
■ THE 24TH annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society will be hosted by the Israel Democracy Institute on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19-20, at the David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem.
Eli Hurvitz, who died in 2011, was chairman of the board and CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Other positions that he held at various times included chairman of the Israel Export Institute, president of the Manufacturers Association, chairman of the board of Bank Leumi, chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, chairman of the executive committee of the Weizmann Institute and chairman of IDI.
Topics to be discussed at the conference include “Israel’s Pension Crisis,” led by Prof. Eytan Sheshinski; “Macroeconomic Challenges Facing Israel,” led by Dr. Karnit Flug, governor of the Bank of Israel; “Doing Business in Israel,” led by Yarom Ariav, director-general of the Finance Ministry; and “Credit for Small Business: The Key to Growth,” led by Shmuel Hauser, chairman of the Israeli Securities Authority.
Among the speakers will be Prof. Hu Angang of Tsinghua University and adviser to the Chinese government; Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, CEO, Leumi Group; Dr. Augusto Lopez-Carlos, senior adviser, development economics, World Bank; Economy Minister Eli Cohen; Eli Groner, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office; Dorit Salinger, capital market director, insurance and savings department, Finance Ministry; and Prof. Avi Simhon, chairman, National Economic Council. The conference will be chaired by Prof. Eugene Kandel, former chairman of the National Economic Council and currently CEO of Start-Up Nation Central.
■ THE IRREPRESSIBLE Dr. Ruth Westheimer celebrated her 89th birthday this past Sunday. Dr. Ruth, as she is popularly known, continues to commute between the US and Israel, and is scheduled to give one of her scintillating talks at Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem in the not-too-distant future.