Grapevine March 31, 2021: Why this day is different?

Publication Date30 Mar 2021
Media were permitted to cover the presidential vote in the Knesset elections, at the Yefeh Nof School in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem neighborhood, but Wednesday will be the first time that reporters will be permitted to cover the president's activities within the presidential complex.

Rivlin is determined, in the interests of democracy, to make everything related to the elections and his decision as to the MK on whom to confer the task of forming the next government, to be totally transparent. His meetings next week with delegations representing all the parties elected to the Knesset will be featured on social media and televised live for the benefit of the whole nation.

■ QUITE A number of members of the outgoing Knesset were not able to hang on to their seats or decided to take time out from politics, and there's a certain poetic justice in the fact that the politically vacillating Zvi Hauser, who was one of the proponents of the Nation-State Law, which is like a bone in the throats of the Arab and Druze communities, failed to make the grade, while Mansour Abbas was quietly confident of crossing the electoral threshold, which he did. One of the things he's asking for is that the Nation-State Law be abolished.

At the same time, there is something totally illogical in the fact that Orly Levy-Abecassis, who joined forces with Labor and then defected to the Likud in order to be not just an MK but a minister of some hastily invented and unproductive ministry, is returning to the Knesset at the cost of the public purse, while some genuinely altruistic parliamentarians who remained loyal to their parties throughout have to leave because their parties did not receive sufficient mandates.

■ AMONG OTHER, more deserving and active MKs who are returning to the Knesset is United Torah Judaism's Yisrael Eichler, who is No. 6 on the UTJ's list and received the opportunity to remain a legislator by way of a birthday gift. He celebrated his 66th birthday on March 27, although he prefers to celebrate on the Hebrew calendar date.

Eichler also has the distinction of being the MK with the largest family. He has 14 children, though it's doubtful that they all came together with their own broods for the Seder. That would amount to quite a lot of people to pack into a dining room.

■ THIS YEAR marks several centenaries. Israel's fifth president, Yitzhak Navon, was born on April 9, 1921, but always celebrated according to the Hebrew calendar date on the first of Nisan, which is not only the beginning of spring but also the first day of the new year for kings. As centuries have passed since Israel last had a monarch, the respect that was given to a king is instead given to the president of the state.

In bygone days, following Navon's tenure, there was almost always an event on the first of Nisan to which Navon was invited, and he would receive a standing ovation as he entered the main hall. Since his death he has almost been forgotten, except by the Habimah Theater, which is once again staging his musical Bustan Sephardi (Sephardi Orchard).

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the murder, during the Jaffa riots, of Russian-born Yosef Chaim Brenner, one of the pioneers of Hebrew literature in the Land of Israel.

This is also the centenary of the founding of the Hebrew Writers Association, which is currently holding a four-day Zoom conference, which was opened on Tuesday by Culture and Sport Minister Chili Tropper, and in which contemporary writers are paying tribute not only to literary icons such as Haim Nahman Bialik, Shaul Tchernichovsky and Nahum Sokolow, but also to writers through the ages, concluding with more recent literary giants such as Natan Zach, Nissim Aloni, Yehoshua Sobol, Amos Oz, Nava Semel, Shulamit Lapid and Erez Biton, with readings from various works, with the participation of several actors and actresses, including Sandra Sadeh and Ruby Porat Shoval.

Among other organizations and institutions celebrating their centenary is the Moshavim Movement, which started with the founding of Nahalal; and Bank Hapoalim.

■ JUST BEFORE Passover, the family of former US ambassador David Friedman and his wife, Tammy, welcomed an addition to...

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