a different side of Israel

Tag: Ron Huldai

Bravo di Opera di la Scala in the park

Summer is often a wonderful time to attend open air concerts. And such was the case Thursday evening when the world renown Italian opera theater, La Scala of Milan, put on a performance together with the Israel Opera Company in Gan Yehoshua in north Tel Aviv. The concert, in which a special open-air version of Verdi’s Requiem was performed, was given free by both the joint performers, and the Municipality of Tel Aviv, together with other sponsors, including the Israel Tourism Ministry, the Italian Embassy, and Subaru automobile importers.

operaFor those thousands of people who had the pleasure of attending this concert, including those of us who came to Tel Aviv by train to avoid all the traffic and parking problems, we weren’t disappointed, although we had to scramble to get chairs and not have to sit or lay on the grass like many aficionados did; as many of those who brought their own folding chairs with them had to leave them at the entrances to the concert site – some sort of stupid management policy, we reckoned. The sheer numbers of people who attended, many of whom even brought babies and small children along (who were as enthusiastic as their parents for the most part) would have made many think that Madona had decided to up her September concert date; which will be performed in the same location.

Things finally got underway at 9:15 pm after some introductory remarks by His Honor, Mayor Ron Huldai, who used the concert as a good platform to talk about the ongoing 100th anniversary celebrations for his city and to express his gratitude for the gracious participation of La Scala, said to be perhaps the finest opera house in the world, depending of which side of the Atlantic Ocean one lives on.

The only criticism regarding the hour and a quarter concert, was perhaps the type of opera itself that was performed, Verdi’s Requiem; which as opera aficionados know, is a very “heavy” and serious performance, with a great deal of religious connotations, especially in regards to Christianity. While not being real opera fans, but were there for the experience, we felt that there might have been some better choices for a mid-summer night’s open air performance; such as Verdi’s Il Trovatore (The Troubador) or even Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. For an audience which was at least 90% Jewish, and with many observant people in attendance, the subject matter of this performance left a bit to be desired.

Despite this minor issue, the concert was still worth attending, even though we had to leave about 10 minutes early (stepping over and around people sitting and lying on the grass) so as not to miss our train north, and thus missed the “grand finale”, fireworks and all.

If we go to Madonna’s gig, we’ll be sure to pitch up early.

Meet the Candidates: Peer Visner

I’ve already introduced the two major candidates in Tel Aviv: Ron Huldai (the flag bearer of Capitalism) and Dov Khenin (the flag bearer of Socialism). However, there are 3 other candidates; one of them is Pe’er Visner, who had also made his bid for the mayor office last time around.

Here’s the transcript of the video translated to English:

“Hello, I’m Pe’er Visner, chairman of the Green party, and currently running for mayor.

What have we done in the past 5 years?

We managed to switch the polluting power station Ree’ding from running on fuel oil to use gas. We decreased the air pollution in Tel Aviv by 25%.

What shall we do in the next 5 years?

First of all, we’ll take care of the public transportation. A fleet of small and environmentally-friendly buses would make the whole city accessible. In the future, there will be an entrance toll private drivers would have to pay in order to enter Tel Aviv with their cars. This way we’ll reduce the pollution even further.

It’s possible to do it. Let’s do it. For us, and for future generations.”

The biggest critism against Visner is that he hasn’t done much in the city council during the past 5 years. On the other hand, Dov Khenin, who’s new to municipal politics, has already done much for environmental issues — on a national level — as a Knesset member.

Personally, after 10 years of Ron Huldai in office, I think it’s time to let someone else “do his thing”. My own choice is Dov Khenin. And although Huldai is ahead in polls, if he doesn’t reach the 40% mark (currently he’s on 41% in polls), there will be a second round of voting, in which he’d go head to head against Khenin.

In such a likely scenario, all bets are off.

But it all depends on voter turnout tomorrow.

Meet The Candidates: Ron Huldai

Raviv Druker and Offer Shelach interviewed Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv, who’s running now for a third tenure in office. The interview took place more than half a year ago, but is no less relevant today.

Before the actual interview, Raviv Druker mentions that Huldai is very shy of the media — an assertion Huldai later admits, while adding that he’s been burnt by the media in the past.

The image that Druker and Shelach construct during this interview is that of a person who says little but does much. A person with a very pedantic and didactic personality, who believes in what he’s doing. After all, he’s been a military officer for many years, as a well as a high school principal.

They ask him: Do you like the job? And he cannot say he does, although he feels satisfaction when things are being done.

They take him for a walk outside, and count how many positive comments he receives from people on the street compared to negative comments. They also take him to the Yarkon promenade, where the Ussishkin Arena once stood — until the city council approved its demolition despite loud objections by sports fans.

I find it amusing that both Dov Khenin and Ron Huldai, the two major contenders in this race, are — hmm, for lack of better words — full blown geeks. Druker himself says that perhaps a turbulent city such as Tel Aviv needs someone sober to do the gray work behind the scenes.

The Race Heats Up

Congratulations to Shahar Tzubery who just won the first Israeli bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics! The race was fantastic.

As for the race to the mayor’s office at Tel-Aviv, today we saw the entrance of a new player to the game: Lawyer Ron Levintal, formerly from Shinui, formed the “Tel-Avivim” party and he’s set on beating the other Ron – Ron Huldai.

As you may remember, Levintal is the man who caused Shinui to disintegrate after he had won Yosef “Tommy” Lapid and managed to gain the party’s No. 1 position.

How is this going to play out? We shall see more in the coming months.

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