Grapevine May 10, 2020: Tennis, anyone?

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

Tennis (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
One of the names most closely associated with tennis in Israel is that of the late Freddie Krivine who was known as “Mr. Tennis.” 2020 happens to be the centenary anniversary of his birth in Harrogate, England.
It is also the 15th anniversary year of the Freddie Krivine Initiative, founded by his daughter Jane in order to continue his work.
Freddie Krivine first came to the Land of Israel in 1935 as a student at the Pardes Hanna Agricultural College. He returned to England in 1938, and at the outbreak of the Second World War, joined the British Army.
After the war, he became a successful businessman, but his heart was always in Israel, and in 1984, he returned to make his home here. Even before that, in 1972, he had been one of the six founding trustees of the Israel Tennis Center, and obviously continued his involvement following his aliyah.
Krivine had two passions in life – tennis and coexistence. As director of women’s tennis, he did all that was possible to ensure that talented young Israeli female players could play on the international circuit. As a result of his efforts, three Israeli women, Anna Smashnova, Tzipi Obziler and Shahar Pe’er were all included at one time in the world’s top 100 women tennis players.
Krivine also introduced tennis to Israel’s Arab community, and his big dream was that Israel would one day be represented at Wimbledon by an Arab player.
Twenty years ago, as president of the Israel Tennis Center, he set up a coexistence program for Arab and Jewish youngsters, bringing them together to play tennis.
It is the coexistence dream that inspired Jane Krivine to set up the Freddie Krivine Initiative, which also brings together youth at risk and gives them purpose and the ability to work out strategies, a requisite for every good tennis player.
On Sunday, May 10, the Freddie Krivine Initiative will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his empowerment, shared society, coexistence and social equality program for Arab Israeli youngsters and for at-risk youth. To date, the initiative has coached more than 3,000 marginalized and disconnected youth.
Jane Krivine, together with South African-born Ian Froman a former Wimbledon player, David Cup team member, director of the Israel Tennis Center, Israel Prize laureate and more recently president of the Israel Tennis Association, will take tennis aficionados and players on a Zoom trip down memory lane to the days when Froman and Krivine persuaded four others to raise funds to build a national tennis center. Froman and Jane Krivine will also reveal some of the behind-the-scenes stories and successes and will be open to questions from Zoom participants. It begins at 6 p.m. in Israel, 4 p.m. in the UK and 11 a.m. EDT.
■ THE BROAD grin on the face of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion last Thursday morning said it all. Like several other mayors, Lion had been advocating for the reopening of the main market in his city because stall holders and shop owners were hurting, and because it made no sense for supermarkets to be open and open-air markets to be closed.
■ HEALTH MINISTER Ya’acov Litzman came under considerable criticism in recent weeks, and many of his critics were happy that he was relinquishing the long-held portfolio in favor of that of Construction and Housing. But a double page feature in Calcalist, the financial supplement of Yediot Aharonot, on the nationwide real estate of the Gerrer Hassidic movement headed by Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter heralds a more frightening prospect of sectarian favoritism of which Litzman was frequently accused. The Gerrer, or Gur, Hassidim, as they are also known, represent the most affluent hassidic movement in the world, and are currently in the process of building a nine-story Gur Global Center in Jerusalem, which will vie with the nearby majestic center of the Belz Hassidim. Both movements originated in Poland and were almost destroyed during the Holocaust, but enjoyed a miraculous revival afterwards with hundreds of thousands of adherents in Israel and around the world.
■ LOCKDOWNS NOTWITHSTANDING and social gatherings, weddings, circumcisions, prayer meetings and funerals strictly limited in the number of participants, theater, television, literary and journalism awards continued, albeit without the traditional ceremonies. This week B’nai B’rith International announced the winners of the 2020 B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage. The winners in the Broadcast Media category in memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf are Branu Tegene, a Channel 12 news correspondent, and news anchor Danny Kushmaro for the five-part series “Mefutzalim” (“Split Up”), the story of the Ethiopian Jewish community, which follows the lives of Jewish Ethiopians left behind after the community’s mass immigration to Israel, members of their family in Israel and their reunion in Ethiopia. Haaretz correspondent Dina Kraft is the print media recipient of the prize in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky for articles on antisemitism in Jewish communities in the US and the UK. Now that restrictions have been eased, it’s quite possible that a traditional awards ceremony will be held.
■ IT’S NOT certain that the traditional photo opportunity at the President’s Residence will be held following the swearing-in ceremony for the new government on Wednesday. In the past the president has hosted an evening reception for the new ministers, who posed for a group photo with the president and the prime minister. But with social distancing still in force, they may have to do a Zoom photo for the record. Doubts as to whether the new government will last long have been expressed on all sides of the political spectrum, but in an interview on Reshet Bet, Tzachi Hanegbi, who was director of the Prime Minister’s Office under Yitzhak Shamir, recalled that similar doubts had been expressed in relation to the rotation agreement between Shamir and Shimon Peres, but it had endured because they had focused more on the issues on which they were in accord than on those on which they disagreed. Hanegbi surmised that the same would happen with Netanyahu and Gantz, particularly because the two are much more politically like-minded than Shamir and Peres were.
■ ON THE opening day of the High Court of Justice hearing on the rotation agreement and whether someone with an indictment against them should be permitted to form a government, retired Supreme Court judge Jacob Terkel was interviewed on Reshet Bet on his opinion of the case. Terkel said more or less the same as the opinion that was subsequently handed down by the judicial panel of 11 judges. He believes that if the Knesset wants a particular person to serve as prime minister, it is not the place of the court to intervene, because the law is the law. He also thinks that televising the court procedure does not serve much purpose because the public does not have the patience to listen to all the legal nuances that can make a difference in either direction. He did not quite say, but implied, that unlike television dramas in which the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the judge(s) are all glib speakers who get the case over and done with within 30 minutes to an hour, in reality it doesn’t quite work that way. He did not think that all the people in court were panning to the cameras. In his view, it was a regular court session like any other.
■ ON SUNDAY of last week Australian Jews who are interested in listening to Israelis speaking from Israel, turned to the Facebook page of the Zionist Federation of Australian to listen to celebrity chef Gil Hovav, who was talking less about food and more about family and about Jerusalem where he was born. Hovav is of mixed Ashkenazi and Yemenite background with illustrious antecedents on both sides.
Hovav, who is the grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who is credited with reviving Hebrew as a modern, spoken language, is an iconic figure in his own right as an author, a TV personality, a food critic and a chef. He often refers to the delicious cuisine of the Yemenite side of his family. Hovav was in Australia last August on behalf of the United Israel Appeal and charmed his audiences with anecdotes about the Hebrew language, food, life as a culinary journalist, his family and Jerusalem, and books on food. Before he became a celebrity, he was a general reporter for a weekly publication in Jerusalem.