Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Trump to the rescue?

The mayor of the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, which was hit by a suicide bombing recently, said that billionaire Donald Trump is planning to help build a huge beachfront hotel complex there.

According to the mayor, Miriam Fireberg-Ikar, a top Trump business associate visited the city three times on his private jet and was planning to build a number of hotels on 38 acres of empty seaside real estate.
We are talking about 2,500 rooms in several three, four and five-star hotels at the southern end of Netanya's beach, next to an 8-mile promenade.

The Trump associate, Michael Dezer, claims that there are plans for a $500 million hotel complex, despite the recent a suicide bomber who killed himself and five others at the city's main mall.
Dezer came up with the hotel idea six months ago when Fireberg-Ikar was visiting Miami. He said he contacted Trump, who agreed to join the project.

Netanya was actually named after the philanthropist Nathan Straus, the owner of Macy's department store in New York at the turn of the century. The city is located 20 miles north of Tel Aviv and boasts some of Israel's best beaches.
Netanya has been among the Israeli cities hardest hit by terrorism, severely damaging its tourism industry.
According to Israeli-born Dezer, “Bombings are a part of life in Israel. We are used to it, and it doesn't change a thing."

Needless to say, the Israeli media jumped on this story.
The leading Israeli daily Maariv ran a front-page headline reading:

"Coming Soon: Trump Hotels in Netanya."

However, Trump spokeswoman Norma Foerderer would not confirm the involvement of the star of NBC's hit reality show "The Apprentice", saying it was "premature" to talk about the Netanya project.

That makes me wonder…is it a clever PR trick of Fireberg-Ikar to boost the image of her city? Time will tell, but in the mean time, linking her own and the city’s name to the Trumpster is not a bad move at all….

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

No matter how much the economy suffers, the wedding & bar/t mitzvah industry still flourishes.
Following the lead from the USA, each event has to be grandiose and outshine all the previous ones.
Hence, weddings were the bride changes her wedding gown half way through, a transsexual perform a “wedding dance” as entertainment and more booze than the average UK pub.
And I am pretty sure that some Israeli zillionaire will find a way to top the
“obermitzvah” that took place in NY.
Long Island teen Elizabeth Brook, daughter of defense industry tycoon David Brooks, had the bat mitzvah to top all bat mitzvahs.
I t took place at two floors of New York hot spot The Rainbow Room at a price tag estimated at just over $10 million.
The 300 guests sampled hors d'oeuvres to the strains of Kenny G's soprano sax.
The main entertainment featured The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh, rap diva Ciara, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and 50 cent.
The goody bags were not too shabby either – each one included a video iPod and a digital camera.

Obviously, the costs of throwing a bar/t mitzvah party are increasing rapidly.
Before the Brookfest, Amber Ridinger's Miami bat mitzvah in November 2005 topped the list. Her bat mitzvah featured performances by rap and hip-hop artists Ashanti, Ja Rule and Marques Houston and set her parents an estimated $500,000 back.
On the other side of the United States, in Los Angeles, Etti Rabb has spent over a year preparing a bat mitzvah for her daughter, Natalie.

The minimum cost for throwing a bottom-of-the-line party is $20,000 – not include the service itself, which costs another $6,000.

But there is one big difference between having a party in the US or in Israel.
In Israel, the guests pay for it themselves, since they hand over a check as a gift.

The sad thing is: the “keeping up with the Joneses” has taken over. The core of the celebration, the religious ceremony, is now a minor detail – food, presents and entertainment is the focus.
And I wonder – who will look at the video and photos in another 5+ years?
May be it’s time to get back to the basics – and make it a memorable and touching celebration again (sans fireworks and circus acts).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iran is at it again...

Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on 14 December 2005 that the
Holocaust is a "myth" that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
Correct me if I am wrong, but there has been a Jewish state (Kingdom), way before
Mohammed was even born.
He justifies his “theory” by stating that the Europeans committed crimes against the Jews and that they (the United States or Canada), should give part of their land to the Jews to establish a state.
He is helpful enough to propose the following:
"give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them (Jews) so that the Jews can establish their country."
He went on to say:
"if you (Europeans) committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?"
As far as I know, the Palestinians never contributed to any Holocaust survival fund or Holocaust museum. (And they don’t compensate their terror victims as well).

Obviously, the Iranian president is not going to transfer any money soon:
"You (Europeans) have to pay the compensation yourself” as he publicly announced.
Mr. President needs a history lesson – or is he peeved that not enough American and European funds are flooding his way?

Ahmadinejad also suggested the week before that Israel should be transferred to Europe.
Now that is an interesting viewpoint, considering the percentage of Muslims in Europe.

By his own logic, if the Israelis don’t belong in the Middle East, Muslims don’t belong in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Obviously, Mahmoud is not a great fan of Israel in October 2005, he called it a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map" .
Considering that Israel is the only democracy in the whole Middle East and has a great track record of products and inventions (Israel won the Nobel Prize for economy in 2005), it is clear that he is talking drivel.

Ahmadinejad also said that the West had harmed Muslims, invaded their countries, and plundered their wealth.
In all fairness, it is true that the colonial powers sometimes treated their colonials disgracefully, but to say that they plundered their wealth is ridiculous.
(don’t forget, this was all before the oil boom).

"If your civilization consists of aggression, making oppressed people homeless, suffocating the voices of justice and bringing poverty to a majority of the World’s people, we say loudly that we hate your hollow civilization," he said.
Funny, that is exactly the point why so many in the Western world hate Muslims and why the war in Iraq started…

They say that each country gets the leader its deserves.
In that case, I feel sorry for the Iranian people who used to have the political moderate
Mohammad Khatami as head of state.
He used to call for a dialogue among civilizations and promote a low-key understanding with the United States that stopped short of diplomatic relations.

If any of you want to give Mr. Ahmadinejad a holiday present that he would really like – there might still be a copy of the Elders of Zion around…….