Grapevine November 5, 2021 – French Connection

ON FRIDAY, November 5, coinciding with the first day of Kislev, there will be a 10 a.m. service on Mount Herzl in the area reserved for the nation’s leaders to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the passing of Yitzhak Navon, who was the fifth President of Israel, the first president of Sabra and the first to be born in Jerusalem into a multigenerational family of Jerusalem residents. The second Jerusalem-born president was Reuven Rivlin. In all, four of Israel’s presidents were natives. The other two were Ezer Weizman and incumbent Isaac Herzog. Yitzhak Navon was for many years the right hand of the founding Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.

■ THE FRENCH connection is becoming increasingly established in Jerusalem. Laurent Levy, who this week brought 3,000 of his employees from around the world to Jerusalem, has been mentioned several times in this column, but now there is another French national whose name will be linked in perpetuity to Israel’s capital. Billionaire Patrick Drahi has holdings including but not limited to i24, the Jaffa-based international news channel, as well as major telecommunications companies in the US and Europe, and the famous auction house Sotheby’s, which he acquired in 2019.

Drahi and his wife, Lina, live in Switzerland, and in 2014 they created the Patrick and Lina Drahi Foundation, which supports many causes in Israel, Switzerland, France and Portugal in science, education, arts, entrepreneurship and innovation. Drahi was born in Morocco but emigrated with his family to France when he was still a child. His family is descended from Jews expelled from Portugal. With a value estimated by Forbes as of March this year at $ 11.7 billion, Drahi is the main donor of the new Tower of David Entrance Pavilion, for which an opening ceremony was held this week. When completed, it will be known as the Patrick and Lina Drahi Pavilion. It is scheduled to open in November 2022.

■ IT WAS Napoleon who said that an army marches on its stomach, although that observation has also been attributed to Frederick the Great. Either way, you could say that because Israel has a people’s army, the army is perpetually marching upside down and always eager for a new culinary snack. This could explain why donuts appeared in supermarkets and bakeries more than a month before Hanukkah.

It seems like yesterday that we just had challah with honey instead of salt.

CRISIS OR business as usual? A view of the United States Consulate General on Agron Street in Jerusalem. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL / FLASH90)

■ ISRAELIS LOVES to find a reason to congregate, and the former US consulate on Agron Street is the perfect place considering the diplomatic tug of war that is raging on whether or not to allow the building to resume use as a US consulate for the population. Palestine. Due to many objections, and in order to prevent a possible outbreak of violence, a large contingent of black uniformed border policemen stood idly by last week while on duty to protect a relatively small group of protesters against the consulate. who had organized a protest. contrary to the intentions of the United States in Independence Park, in the area in front of the old consulate building, where for many years, the leader of Women in Green, Nadia Matar, has organized the services of Tisha Be’Av.

Although it is not done to have a consulate in another country in the same city as an embassy, ​​the rules can be modified for convenience. All the other consulates in the city are there for the Palestinians and not for the Israelis. It has been suggested that if US President Joe Biden wants to have a consulate for the Palestinians, he should establish one in Ramallah. But if that happened, there would be a huge outcry against the United States granting official recognition to a Palestinian state.

■ CHABAD REHAVIA director Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg was in New York this week for the annual conference of Chabad emissaries from around the world and sent a group photo to people on his mailing list to ask if they could locate him. That was a difficult task considering there are about 5,000 people in the photograph.

The emissaries, known as shlujim, gather in what is arguably the world’s largest rabbinical conference to recharge their batteries and share stories. The first lecture was inspired by a Chabad gathering in Israel in the summer of 1983.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, aware that he had many more disciples in North America, proposed that a similar meeting be held in New York at the Chabad headquarters. The first such meeting in November 1983 attracted some 65 emissaries from the United States and Canada. In 1986, the Rebbe said it was time to bring shluchim from around the world and make it an international event.

The first international conference was in the winter of 1987. Each year the Rebbe himself would open the conference, with the participation of emissaries growing from year to year, as more of his disciples went to far corners of the world to reach Jewish communities. .

The last conference the Rebbe participated in was in 1991. In early 1992, he suffered a stroke.

The Rebbe was well aware that none of his shlujim could be successful without the full collaboration of his wives and children, and in 1991, he decided to hold a separate conference for women, whom he considered as important as their husbands in the world. work of spiritual scope.

When the Rebbe passed away in 1994, cynics who were not well disposed to Chabad began to predict that the movement would disintegrate and fade into oblivion. But the opposite has happened. The year after his death, in accordance with his wishes, a special conference was also organized for the children of Chabad, and attendance at the men’s and women’s conferences has increased from year to year. The lectures are broadcast live on social media and YouTube so that tens of thousands of viewers from around the world can participate.

Even those religiously observant people who are not particularly interested in Chabad, if stranded abroad for any reason, greatly appreciate the presence of Chabad. This was obvious recently when Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Minister of Construction and Housing and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, Ze’ev Elkin, unexpectedly had to stay in Russia for Shabbat.

Chabad came to the rescue with kosher food for the entire prime minister’s delegation. In fact, almost anywhere in the world, travelers who observe Jewish dietary laws and cannot find a kosher restaurant go in search of Chabad.

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