Grapevine: No stars and stripes for Adam

Believe it or not, there are non-resident American citizens who are prepared to renounce their citizenship.

Zahava Gal-On. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Zahava Gal-On.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Among the most sought-after citizenships in the world is that of the United States. One only has to see what is happening in terms of desperate Latin Americans who are trying to cross the border into the US to get an idea of how precious US citizenship is to some people. But believe it or not, there are non-resident American citizens who are prepared to renounce their citizenship even though this may put an end to their ability to ever work in America or have their citizenship restored. One such person is popular singer Omer Adam, the darling of Israel’s billionaires and millionaires who, whenever possible, ask him to entertain at their gala events – and pay very handsomely for the pleasure.
Adam was born in California in 1993, when his parents were serving there as emissaries. They registered his birth which automatically gave him US citizenship. After three years in the US, the family returned to Israel. Adam decided to give up all the perks that he would be entitled to under American law, because the current law also stipulates that he must report to the IRS on all income earned, including income earned abroad, and he must pay taxes on such income. Given his earning ability in Israel, the price for US citizenship is just a little too steep, so Adam is painfully and reluctantly relinquishing his US passport.
■ JERUSALEMITES living anywhere near the former US Consulate or the American Cultural Center are well aware of the security precautions. In addition to the metal detector security gates, there are also barriers on the edge of the pavement going well past the buildings on both sides to ensure that no vehicle can deliberately drive through, and the parking areas outside the buildings are sealed off. Now it seems that the joy in US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is marred by frustration in that the relocation of the embassy affects the freedom of movement of people living in the neighborhood, and may also have an effect on public transport.
According to a report in Bonus, the financial supplement of Yediot Yerushalayim, representatives of the embassy have raised objections to a light rail stop on the blue rail route along Hebron Road, close to where the permanent embassy will be built. The objection is based on security concerns.
The Americans would probably prefer to divert the projected line from the main highway, but it’s a little late in the day for that, so the next best thing is to move the stop. But stops are based on passenger convenience and proximity to intersections. To move the stop may result in major inconvenience. Approval for the 20 km route was already given some years ago, and it is much more difficult to introduce changes at this stage than there is for bus routes. The matter is being discussed by the various entities concerned. It will be interesting to see what comes first – construction of the permanent embassy or construction of the light rail along Hebron Road.
■ HOW TO combine the spiritual with the commercial. Being a rabbi is not always the ideal profession for a nice Jewish boy, in that not all congregations can summon sufficient funds to pay a rabbi a salary that will enable him to support his family in the way that he would wish. Thus, many men (and women) who are ordained rabbis find other means of livelihood. In the case of Rabbi Yaacov Peterseil, he’s been a book publisher, public speaker, writer and journalist and now he’s running a hat shop in downtown Jerusalem, where on Thursday evening, December 12, he has found a novel way to do both business of the soul and business via the cash register. Although the media often gives the impression that haredi (ultra-Orthodox) women are oppressed and depressed – this is far from the truth. There are numerous educational institutes for haredi women, many of whom go on to university studies.
There are also a lot of influential bloggers among haredi women, and some 30 of their leading movers and shakers will be in Peterseil’s store, which goes by the name of SherlockS, to share their views of the world before or after taking note of the new season’s hat collection. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.
■ ANYONE WHO has benefited from the speedy arrival of United Hatzalah first responders in emergency medical situations knows the value of their work and the need to support it. That’s why so many people have registered for the annual gala Hatzalah benefit dinner that is being held at the Avenue in Airport City on Sunday, December 8. Guest of honor is Mati Kochavi, the creator of the Eva stories, and entertainment will be provided by Idan Raichel. The evening’s events will be moderated by television and radio personality Lucy Ayoub, who was one of the Eurovision moderators.
■ THE GALA Hatzalah dinner will be held only five days after a similar event in Miami, Florida, the first of its kind, but also intended as part of Hatzalah’s international life-saving and fund-raising activities. Israeli entertainers singer Dudu Aharon and Fauda actress Rona-Lee Shimon were on hand at the Miami inaugural dinner, along with American comedians Renee Willett and Elon Gold. Chairman of the event was philanthropist and businessman Ami Pomeranc, who has been appointed as the International Gala chairman for all international galas run by Hatzalah. Several people involved in both life saving and philanthropy were honored at the Miami gala.
The youngest honoree was Joseph Levi, a young boy who saw his baby brother falling off of the changing table, and with incredibly quick reflexes caught the infant before he hit the ground. Joseph, who was just eight years old when the incident occurred, is the son of Tila and Moshe Levi and the grandson of Duty-Free Americas owner Simon Falic and his wife, Hana, as well as of the former chief rabbi of Panama Zion Levi.
■ FORMER IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Eisenkot has joined the research staff at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) as a senior research fellow. At INSS, Eisenkot will head strategic research on Israel’s security concept and security policy, civil-military relations and the IDF budget.
Chairman of the INSS board, Sir Frank Lowy, and INSS Director Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, welcomed Eisenkot’s addition to the institute’s research staff.
“The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), internationally known as the leading center for strategic thought in Israel on political-security issues, will gain immensely from Eisenkot’s joining INSS,” said Yadlin. “His rich experience and personal and professional values will make a significant contribution to the Institute as it engages in innovative, relevant, high-quality research that shapes the public debate of the leading issues on Israel’s national security agenda.” Yadlin said he firmly believes that Eisenkot will strengthen the institute’s ability to conduct creative policy-oriented research and formulate sound policy recommendations on the security challenges that Israel currently confronts.
■ IT’S A sad day in Israel when an elected member of Knesset is physically attacked. Verbal attacks are also uncivilized. Disagreement and disapproval can be voiced in a much more civilized manner. In fact, if it was, there might be more room for dialogue and better understanding of the other. On Saturday, right-wing activists attacked Joint List MK and Ta’al chairman Ahmad Tibi in protest at an event organized by Yad Lebanim. The event was originally scheduled to be held in the Yad Lebanim building, but following opposition by several bereaved parents whose sons and daughters had fallen during army service, the event was moved to another venue in Ramat Hasharon. But there were people who did not want to give Tibi a platform anywhere in Ramat Hasharon, and called him a terrorist and murderer. He is neither, but as an Arab, it is natural for him to sympathize with the Palestinian cause, just as it has been natural for Diaspora Jews to sympathize with Israel’s cause. It doesn’t mean that they identify with the
worst elements in Israeli society, and likewise, Tibi’s sympathy for the Palestinians does not mean that he identifies with the worst elements in Palestinian society.
In one of its weekend supplements last month, Israel Hayom published an extensive in-depth interview with Tibi by Naama Lanski, in which there is much to be learned about the man and his family. Had they read it, some of the people who attacked him might have thought twice. A gynecologist before he entered the political arena, Tibi, who has been a legislator for 20 years, is a wily politician, who is no less familiar with various Jewish mindsets than he is with the Arab mindsets.
For him, incitement is a two-way street. With all the incitement against the Arabs, he warns that if there is a narrow coalition government, one of the Arab MKs is doomed for assassination.
It’s hard to imagine the somewhat burly Tibi, who will be 61 on December 19, as a football player, but in his youth he played in Tayba’s junior soccer team. Although he now lives in Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, he was born and raised in Taybeh as the second of seven siblings. His father was born and raised in Jaffa and his mother in Ramle. He and his siblings are all well educated, as are his two daughters, Yaara, 28, and Natalie, 21. His wife, May, is a dentist. He gets on well with the religious parties in the Knesset as well as with people on the Left. Former MKs whom he misses include former Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and former Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, with whom he continues to maintain a friendship.
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