The Shmooze

Lady Gaga Greets Tel Aviv Fans With 'Shalom' Video

By JTA

Lady Gaga issued a short video in advance of her performance in Tel Aviv, greeting her fans with “Shalom.”

“Shalom, Israel,” the American pop star said in the 10-second video. “I’m so excited to perform my new tour in Tel Aviv.”

The performer’s manager announced Sunday that the Sept. 13 concert would go on as planned, despite cancellations by other high-profile performers due to the Gaza conflict and its aftermath.

The video, which reportedly has gone viral online elicited angry responses from some of her Arab fans, Al Arabiya News reported.

Fans in social media platforms called her “disgusting,” “devilish” and insensitive, in response to the video. The date for the concert in Yarkon Park, part of her “artRave: The ARTPOP Ball” international tour, is listed on Lady Gaga’s official website.

Tickets remain on sale and tens of thousands of Israeli fans are expected to attend.

Neil Young, The Backstreet Boys, America and Lana Del Rey are among the stars who canceled performances this summer due to Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

Lady Gaga performed in Tel Aviv in August 2009, despite of attempts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to have her cancel.

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Israel Scraps Neil Young Gig Over Rocket Fears

By Reuters

Getty Images

Palestinian rocket fire on Tel Aviv has forced the cancellation of veteran rock star Neil Young’s concert scheduled for Thursday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Sunday the show was canceled by police for security reasons “in order not to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk”.

Militants in the Gaza Strip have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since Tuesday, when the Israeli military launched an air and naval offensive on the coastal enclave. Palestinian officials say 159 civilians have been killed.

Some of the Gaza rockets have been fired at Israel’s commercial hub, Tel Aviv, and have been either intercepted by anti-missile batteries or have landed in open areas, causing no casualties.

Some 30,000 people had bought tickets to the Canadian singer-songwriter’s show that was to be held at Tel Aviv’s main Hayarkon Park, a representative for the show’s organizers, the Shuki Weiss production company, said.

Young, who was to be accompanied by his longtime band The Crazy Horse, last performed in Israel in the 1990’s.

Artists including the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and The Pixies, have performed in Israel in the past few months despite pressure from pro-Palestinian groups to cancel their performances over Israeli policy toward Palestinians.

The Pixies canceled a show in Israel in 2010.

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12 Times Mick Jagger Spoke Better Hebrew Than You

By Jeffrey Salkin

Yes, the concert was undersold. And, while some said that it was just OK, that Jagger’s voice is showing its age (71, to be precise), that Keith Richards’ guitar licks were a tad uninspired, that the set list could have been better (perhaps too many relatively obscure songs), it doesn’t matter.

Why? Because it turns out that the most important words that emanated from Mick Jagger’s throat were not the words that he sang.

They were the words that he said.

I’m referring, of course, to this week’s Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv. Dayennu that the Stones bucked the BDS movement. Dayennu, as well, that the Stones decided to begin the concert later so as to accommodate fans who wanted to observe Shavuot. Dayennu, as well, that Ronnie Woods and Charlie Watts took a pre-concert detour to Jerusalem to visit the Western Wall.

But back to Mick Jagger. What was it that he said to the crowd in Tel Aviv that was so memorable?

  1. Erev tov, Tel Aviv (“Good evening,Tel Aviv!)

  2. Chag Shavuot Sameach, Yisrael (“Happy Shavuot, Israel”)

  3. Anachnu HaAvanim Hamitgalgalot (“We are the Rolling Stones”)

  4. Todah. Shukran (“Thank you”, in Hebrew and Arabic)

  5. Hakol Sababa? (“All good?”)

  6. Referring to sneakers that guitarist Ronnie Wood was wearing, he asked: Kanita Na’alayim Bashuk? (“Did you buy shoes in the market?”)

  7. Jagger went on to refer to backup vocalist Lisa Fischer as maksima.

  8. Not only was Charlie Watts al ha-tupim (“on the drums”)…

  9. Jagger reminded the crowd that it was also the drummer’s Yom Huledet (“birthday”).

  10. Jagger asked the crowd Atem Nehenim? (“Are you enjoying yourselves”?)

  11. And told them Atem kahal meturaf (“You’re a crazy audience!”)

  12. And then, it was Layla Tov, Ve’Shalom Tel Aviv (“Goodnight and goodbye, Tel Aviv!”)

But here’s what’s most impressive about Jagger’s foray into Hebrew:

First, he made the effort to inquire about how to say certain phrases. They’re not even standard phrases — did he go to some quickie ulpan in order to learn how to ask Ronnie about his shoes?

Second: he actually took the time to learn them.

And third: he spoke in both Hebrew and Arabic, reminding the world of the linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity of modern Israel.

And now, the big, disturbing question: How is it that Mick Jagger, an English gentile rock star with no detectable Jewish background, actually spoke more Hebrew in one night than most American Jews will ever speak in their lives?

Because, as we all know ( or at least suspect), when it comes to Hebrew, American Jews have utterly failed the literacy test. Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, has called this generation of American Jews the “spoiled brats of Jewish history” — not only because of our failure to create a Jewish culture that is rooted in Hebrew, and not only for having the historical hutzpah to think that we are the only Jewish civilization that thinks that it can dispense with Hebrew, but for not even having the basic desire to learn Hebrew.

Now, I’m not going to get all Eliezer Ben Yehuda on you, and remind you of the miracle of the resurrection of a language and how that resurrection of a language mirrored and echoed the resurrection of a people in its land.

Why should I? Mick Jagger did it for me.

Just twelve phrases in Hebrew (one for each tribe of ancient Israel?). To paraphrase the Stones themselves: it’s only Hebrew, but I like it.

Rabbi Jeff Salkin is a well known writer and rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Bayonne NJ.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones (in Tel Aviv)

By Anne Cohen

On the off chance that you couldn’t shell out the NIS 700 (approx. $200) required or charter a private jet to attend the Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv tonight, the band has been nice enough to post a sneak peek to Instagram.

Charlie Watts and Ron Wood were spotted at the Kotel in Jerusalem yesterday, while Mick posted a picture from Caesaria to Twitter:

Enjoy!

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Rolling Stones 'Excited' To Play Israel

By Anne Cohen

Listen up, Israel: The Rolling Stones are excited to see you.

A video released by the band, on Tuesday shows guitarist Ronnie Wood saying: “We are so excited to be playing Tel Aviv on June the 4th. We can’t wait to be there, and we can’t wait to see you all in the park.”

Squeal!

The band has resumed its 14-country world tour, which was suspended in March after the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, fashion designer L’Wren Scott. First stop: Oslo, where they first played on tour back in 1965.

The Rolling Stones will be appearing at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on June 4. Israeli fans can request songs via the band’s website or mobile app.

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Lana Del Rey to Play Israel This Summer

By Anne Cohen

Photo: Getty Images

Israel’s summer concert lineup just keeps on getting better.

The latest famous name on the list is Lana Del Rey, who just announced she’ll be performing August 20 in Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon.

According to Haaretz, tickets will range from 400 shekels ($116) for standing room to 1,000 shekels for seats closer to the stage. Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 8 a.m.

The “Born to Die” singer will be closing an impressive concert season, which starts June 4 with The Rolling Stones, followed by Passenger (June 10), The Pixies (June 17), Hugh Laurie (July 7), Neil Young (July 17), Paul Anka (July 24) and the Backstreet Boys (July 29).

And let’s not forget Justin Timberlake, who may play a song or two if his Twizzler needs are satisfied.

Summertime Sadness”? Sounds like anything but.

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34 Things Justin Timberlake Can't Live Without on His Trip to Israel

By Anne Cohen

If you’re heading to Israel this summer (or already live there), you’re in for quite a concert lineup. The Rolling Stones, The Back Street Boys and Justin Timberlake have all announced tour dates in the Holy Land over the coming months.

But before the first note is played, some demands must be met. Ynet has a list of 34 things that Justin Timberlake cannot possibly live without on his trip to Israel. These include:

  • Two folding padded chairs inside his room behind the scenes and four outside the room.
  • Two makeup tables
  • 24 glasses (either blue or red)
  • One makeup mirror and accessories
  • Two large tables for the catering
  • One television stereo system
  • One “quiet fridge”
  • One blender for protein drinks
  • One microwave
  • One kettle
  • An espresso machine and a special coffee table
  • One sofa which “must be clean”
  • One dining table with four matching chairs
  • Machines which blow cold air and drops of water (to cool his entourage)
  • Cases of Coca-Cola Zero and Dr. Pepper
  • Jamaican beer
  • Chocolate and strawberry Twizzlers
  • Bowl of fruit with melon, pineapple, kiwi and berries on the table
  • Peanut butter
  • Jars of honey
  • Lemons
  • Potato chips
  • Strawberry and grape jam
  • One loaf of white bread
  • One loaf of whole-wheat bread
  • One small box of ice
  • Heat-resistant cups with lids and handles
  • Campari
  • Red wine
  • Tequila
  • Whiskey
  • Vodka
  • Stella Artois beer and light beers
  • Selection of local beer

No Twizzlers, no song.

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New York Journos Pay Tribute to Ed Koch at Benefit

By Masha Leon

“Mayor Koch believed that mayors were not elected to be president…but to pick up garbage …balance the budget…” said Marcia Kramer, CBS2 New York chief political correspondent and a panelist at the April 3 Tribute to Mayor Edward I. Koch and Benefit for Beit Morasha’s Edward I. Koch Center for Public Policy and Jewish Ethics In Jerusalem.

Held at the Harmonie Club, emcee NBC4 New York Anchor, Chuck Scarborough recapped President Ford’s “Drop Dead!” message to the City and its “1977 riots and death spiral.” Discussion moderator “Maury Povich,” — taking a break from his syndicated “The Maury Show” featuring couples anxiously awaiting results of paternity tests — expounded on Koch’s agile maneuvering “to get elected and save the city.”

“Koch made chutzpah a New York virtue.” joshed NBC4 New York senior correspondent Gabe Pressman. “In the 1970s he was considered a schlemiel…. grew into the job as mayor and was more available than any other mayor.” Pressman also alluded to the “pain in his life”— the suicide of Queensboro President Donald Manes. “It haunted him for a long time…. He was never accused of city corruption but it was on his watch.”

Ido Aharoni and Pat Koch Thaler // Photo by Karen Leon.

N.Y. Post political correspondent Michael Goodwin remembered Koch as “a loyal Democrat to the end [and] I suspect he’d have supported de Blasio but not a lot of his rhetoric.” Also on the panel: Peter Solomon, former deputy mayor of economic policy and development in New York City.

Preceding the dinner and panel discussion, Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ido Aharoni— bracketed by the mayor’s sister Pat Koch Thaler, American Friends chairman of the board Mel Salberg, and Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat — recalled Koch’s “special relationship with Jerusalem’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek.”

Aharoni acknowledged his “debt to “dear friend” [public relations maven] Howard Rubenstein when he arrived in New York “two months before 9/11” and was told, “the first person I need to meet with and seek advice from was Ed Koch… He was a legend in Israel…. Why would he meet with me? Not only did he take my call, but invited me to his office, interrogated me about my career, my work for Shimon Peres.

Harking back to the prior night’s JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) Annual Gala at The Pierre at which he was the keynote speaker “with Mayor de Blasio present,” Aharoni said, “I grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv and would pass a street named La Guardia every day. I had no idea who LaGuardia was…. Later I discovered a street named Ed Koch and — of course — there will be something named after [Michael] Bloomberg. So I told Mayor de Blasio that I wish for him one day there’ll be a bridge in Tel Aviv named de Blasio Bridge so that my grandchildren will pass the bridge and know who de Blasio was.

Aharoni concluded: “On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to express our profound appreciation of [Koch’s] unwavering support, his friendship and his unconditional love for the State of Israel.”

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Tel Aviv Makes Top Ten 'Selfiest' Cities List

By JTA

Tel Aviv has the sixth-most “selfie-takers” per capita of any major city, according to a ranking in Time Magazine.

One-hundred thirty-nine Tel Aviv residents per 100,000 frequently take selfies, or self-portraits taken with a cellphone, according to the survey, published Monday. The magazine calculated its results by surveying 400,000 selfies tagged according to location on Instagram, a popular photo-sharing online social network.

The survey looked at selfies from every city worldwide with at least 250,000 residents. Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-biggest city, has a population of approximately 400,000. Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and biggest city, did not crack the top 100. The Philippines’ Makati City won the distinction of the “Selfie Capital of the World,” with 258 “selfie-takers” per 100,000.

The United States holds three of the top five spots, with the New York borough of Manhattan placing second, Miami placing third and the metropolitan area of Anaheim and Santa Ana, Calif., placing fourth.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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Natalie Portman in the Holy Land

By Haaretz

Getty Images
Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied

Natalie Portman is currently in Israel working on a film adaption of an autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz.

The Jerusalem-born Oscar winner will direct and star in “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which is to be filmed in Hebrew in Jerusalem. This will be her feature film directorial debut.

Portman, who is staying at a Tel Aviv hotel, is currently writing the screenplay and ironing out production details, with filming scheduled to begin in January.

“A Tale of Love and Darkness” is based on Oz’s autobiographical novel of the same name, which takes place in Jerusalem in the second half of the 1940s. The story focuses on the author’s childhood, his mother’s mental illness and his father’s helplessness on the backdrop of the period’s historic events.

Portman is expected to play the role of the author’s mother, and will act in Hebrew.

Read more at Haaretz.com

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Will Madonna Call Tel Aviv Home?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

It looks like the Kabbalah-loving Madonna may be trading in a London flat for an apartment in the Holy Land.

Madge was apparently seen toting a brochure for a high-end housing project in Tel Aviv. Israel’s Channel 10 reported on a photo circulating on Facebook showing her with sales material from the Meier on Rothschild tower, a 50-story luxury apartment building going up at the corner of Allenby St. and Rothschild Ave. The project is named for the man who has designed it — famed American architect Richard Meier.

We’re fairly certain the steep prices will not be a problem for the superstar. Apartments in the building have already been sold for between $1.4 million and $47 million.

We already know from Madonna’s several recent visits to Israel, including for the kickoff concert of her 20102 MDNA tour, that she finds the Holy Land inspiring. If pictures don’t lie, it would seem that she might also soon find spiritual uplift in an “awe-inspiring view of the Mediterranean,” as the Meier on Rothschild sales literature suggests.

Who knows? The Israeli paparazzi might soon catch Madonna making Aroma runs (Sorry, Madge, there’s no Starbucks in Israel).

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Chelsea Clinton Touts Israeli Coffee App

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton really loves coffee.

On Wednesday, she took to Facebook to gush about CUPS-Unlimited Coffee, the Israeli coffee app that allows users to enjoy unlimited coffee at 55 participating Tel Aviv coffee shops for $45 a month.

“Pretty incredible!” she wrote. “An Israeli startup created an all-you-can-drink coffee app for coffee addicts (like me!). I think we need something like this in America.”

We agree (as do the 664 people who “liked” her post).

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Public Transportation on the Sabbath?

By Nathan Jeffay

iStockphoto

Of all the ways that religion impacts the Israeli public sphere, the lack of public transportation in most of the country on Sabbaths and religious holidays has possibly the largest week-to-week impact on people’s lives. It means that those who don’t have their own vehicles can’t get far from home on these days.

The difficulty this poses is made greater by the structure of the work week here. In contrast to in the United States, where Saturdays and Sundays are rest days, here Sunday is a working day. That means that Saturday, when there is no transportation until nightfall, is the only full day off available for going on trips or to visit friends and family.

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Shack Up in a Tel Aviv ‘Pixel Hotel’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

It used to be that if someone asked you if you wanted to shack up on the beach in Tel Aviv, there would have been a good chance they were rudely propositioning you. But now, they could very well be assisting you in making upscale hotel reservations for your trip to the Big Orange.

Looking to the pixel hotel trend that started in Austria (a pixel hotel has rooms scattered around the city in unconventional and abandoned locations, like old storefronts, former workshops, hidden courtyards, or even on boats), the Atlas hotel chain and the Tel Aviv municipality have announced that they will be upcycling lifeguard shacks on the Bograshov beach into boutique lodgings. Talk about a beachfront view!

Lilach Chitayat, Anat Safran, and Alan Chitayat are the designers for the project, and they hope to “pixelate” areas beyond the beach. They envision similar projects in the Jaffa Port, Neve Tzedek and water towers all around the country.

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Tel Aviv Makes 'Most Creative City' List

By Haaretz

Tel Aviv had the honor on Thursday to be named one of the world’s most innovative cities, alongside London, Sydney, Stockholm and Shanghai. A special report by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper proclaimed that “while Tel Aviv is small, it’s one giant innovation engine.”

“The entire population of Israel may only number seven million—smaller than New York City,” the report says, “but this Middle Eastern state spends more of its GDP on research and development than any other nation.”

The writers highlight two main examples of Israeli innovation. One is the facial recognition software called Face.com, founded by Gil Hirsch and three other colleagues in Tel Aviv. “Face.com really made waves when Facebook integrated its site,” the report says. “Two Facebook-specific apps—Photo Finder and Photo Tagger—spawned calls from other developers eager to work with the technology.”

The second example of Tel Aviv’s technological creativity is Waze, a crowd-sourced GPS navigator. The software, developed by Ehud Shabtai and two other colleagues in 2009, optimizes driving routes with drivers contributing their data in real-time. According to the article, “since its arrival in the U.S. last year, two million users have begun contributing data, and Waze is now working to develop partnerships with broadcasters.”

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Terrorist's Widow Treated in Tel Aviv Hospital

By Nathan Burstein

Being the widow of one of the Middle East’s most notorious terrorists isn’t enough to stop Israeli doctors from treating you.

In one of today’s stranger news items, Israel’s Channel 2 is reporting that the wife of Mohammed Oudeh, the mastermind behind the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, is receiving medical care at Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv. Channel 2 reporter Ohad Hamo says she’s in a coma, and is being visited by daughters who’ve arrived from Jordan and Ramallah. A third daughter is reportedly on her way from Syria — an unusual situation, to say the least, given relations between the two countries.

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Israel To Convert Army Bases Into Apartments

By Nathan Burstein

Israel’s government may kill two birds with one stone by converting as many as eight army bases into residential living areas.

The plan, still under discussion among the treasury, defense ministry and Israel Land Administration, would initially turn four bases into apartment complexes, in a move that could eventually create up to 40,000 new housing units in the greater Tel Aviv area. The plan addresses two sources of local protest: anxiety among residents who’ve seen real estate prices sky-rocket in recent years because of a housing shortage, and concerns among army officials over a treasury proposal to cuts its budget by 3 billion shekels (about $795 million) annually.

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Claire Danes: Tel Aviv is a ‘Party Town’

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Claire Danes surprised TV talk show host Conan O’Brien by telling him what Tel Aviv nightlife watchers already know — that it’s “a party town.”

She told O’Brien that she learned this when she went to Israel to shoot the pilot for her psychological thriller Showtime series, “Homeland”, which is based on the Israeli series “Hatufim.” “The big reveal, the big surprise, for me was that Tel Aviv was the most intense party town I have ever been to,” she said.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers (Finally) Perform in Israel

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It took more than a decade, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers have finally found a “more suitable time” to perform in Israel.

The band, which received a Grammy nomination yesterday for best rock album, will play in Tel Aviv next September in support of its latest release, “I’m With You.” The show will take place more than 11 years after the band’s original date for the concert, which it called off because of security concerns in August 2001, during one of the worst periods of the second intifada.

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Low Fence Blamed for Tel Aviv Skyscraper Suicides

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Wikimedia Commons

The Azrieli Towers have come to define the Tel Aviv skyline in recent years, but they have also become the prime location for those seeking to jump to their deaths. There have been 10 suicides from the towers in the past three years.

Israel’s Channel 2 News reported yesterday that the Tel Aviv police have opened an investigation into possible negligence on the part of the Azrieli Group and the towers’ management company. There is a fence around the perimeter of the towers’ rooftop balconies, but some feel its height is not sufficient. Three years ago, then Tel Aviv district attorney Ruth David sent a letter to the management company asking it to raise the height of the fence, even though it was technically up to code.

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