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Grapevine: Being Rami Levy

CM 29/07/2021


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In January of this year, the Tel Aviv District Court approved the sale of Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. to BGI Investments (1961) Ltd., which is controlled by Rami Levy and Shalom Haim. Levy has come a long way since being born into a poverty-stricken family of six siblings in their parents’ one-room shack in Nahlaot adjacent to the Mahaneh Yehuda market, where he used to shop with his mother.
His grandfather had a stall in the market on Hashikma Street, and after completing his army service, Levy took it over and began selling to individuals at wholesale prices. That was the nucleus of his chain of discount supermarkets. After a few years, Levy began to diversify, launching his in-house brand of products under the Hamutag (The Brand) name. He also opened several fast-food outlets, and clothing and shoe stores that sold merchandise at low prices. In 2000, his diversification extended to real estate, and he bought up plots of land collectively zoned for thousands of housing units. Levy subsequently broadened his base by entering into communications, and this year added travel and tourism to his business acquisitions.
For all that, he never allows himself to forget from where he started, and there is still a Rami Levy store on Hashikma Street – upgraded somewhat from the one he originally operated, but nonetheless on the same street, not only as a reminder of his origins, but as a symbol of inspiration to other young men and women from poor families who are striving to escape the cycle of poverty.

■ ON MONDAY of this week, the relationship of Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein with the Hadassah Medical Organization was officially and finally terminated after a tumultuous period of disagreements with medical staff, the Hadassah board of directors, the Health Ministry and Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. This does not mean that Rotstein did not do any good during his term. It’s just that what worked for him in Tel Aviv for decades was not compatible with the way things are done in Jerusalem. Prof. Yoram Weiss, who has been director of Hadassah Ein Kerem, will serve as acting director general until a replacement for Rotstein is determined.
■ THERE HAS been considerable publicity of late about the centenary of the Cairo Conference, at which the territorial future of the Middle East was largely decided. The Cairo Conference might never have taken place without the help of NILI, the Jewish spy ring whose intelligence information was of great assistance to the British in putting an end to Ottoman rule in the region. One of the founders of NILI was Avshalom Feingold, whose niece Tamar Eshel, a resident of the Nofei Yerushalayim retirement home in Bayit Vegan, this week celebrated her 101st birthday. A former diplomat, politician, secretary-general of Na’amat, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and more, Eshel is the oldest living former MK – a survivor in every sense of the word. In celebration of this fact, she was visited by Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, who knew her in one of his previous roles as Jerusalem police commander. Levy came bearing a blue-and-white birthday cake decorated with the Knesset crest and the words “Mazal Tov Tamar 101.”
Eshel is a most articulate bilingual public speaker who spoke out on behalf of women’s rights. She was a pioneer in combating violence against women, was physically active until her mid-90s, still driving her car all over the country, and traveling abroad, especially to London, where she was born, while her parents were Zionist emissaries there.
But then she developed a severe lung disorder that brought about a change in her lifestyle. She can no longer drive and her doctors have forbidden her to travel abroad. However, she still gives interviews to journalists from Israel and beyond and speaks to groups of young women who come to her for inspiration and advice.
When she turned 100, and was asked how long she wanted to live, Eshel replied that she wanted to keep going for as long as her mind was still clear and active. She helps to keep it that way by playing memory games on her iPad.
Eshel is one of several former diplomats and academics, as well as other people of note who made significant contributions to the state, who live at Nofei Yerushalayim, which is managed and run by its residents, and offers a broad range of cultural and occupational activities. Many of the residents knew each other before they came to live at Nofei Yerushalayim, which has made it so much easier for all of them to integrate with each other.
■ LAST WEEK, the President and Prime Minister Memorial Council held its annual commemorative ceremony at the President’s Residence with the participation of President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The Council is a unit within the Prime Minister’s Office. To bring the deceased presidents and prime ministers to greater public awareness, the Council, in conjunction with the Government Press Office, mounted a photo exhibition at the entrance to Safra Square. Anyone waiting to board the Jerusalem Light Rail at the stop adjacent to Safra Square, and knowing that it will take several minutes for the next train to arrive, would do well to refresh their memories about the past leaders of the nation. The exhibition is sufficiently close to the pavement to enable viewers to get back to the train stop in time.
■ AUGUST IS a bonanza month for Jerusalemites as far as in-person entertainment options go, particularly in the field of music. Among the many venues are Safra Square, Hansen House, Heichal Shlomo, Hutzot Hayotzer and more, with singers presenting songs in almost every genre. It seems that the City Council wants to bring Jerusalemites to Safra Square for reasons other than to pay for arnona or to complain about services – or rather lack of them.
Although there is no doubt that every performance at Safra Square will be memorable for those attending, probably the most memorable will be by the two most veteran singers: Esther Ofarim, who turned 80 in June, and Yehoram Gaon, who turned 81 in December. Both are still going strong and continue to attract large audiences wherever they sing. Ofarim, who was born in Safed and has lived in different parts of the world, now lives in Hamburg, Germany, but returned to Israel for three special performances with Gaon, only one of which is in Jerusalem. 
Gaon is a native son of Jerusalem and a former deputy mayor, but he hasn’t lived in the capital for a long time. However, he does maintain strong ties with the city of his birth. Appearing with them on Tuesday, August 10, will be the famed and beloved Gevatron Choir, which more or less indicates that the whole evening will be one of musical nostalgia.
greerfc@gmail.com

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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