In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from forty-eight different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at Bialik-Rogozin School fleeing poverty, political adversity and even genocide. Here, no child is a stranger. The film follows several students’ struggle to acclimate to life in a new land while slowly opening up to share their stories of hardship and tragedy: Mohammed, a sixteen-year-old refugee from Darfur, witnessed the killing of his grandmother and father before escaping alone through Egypt to Israel. Having never been in a school before, his sharp mind and tremendous determination enable him to make up the years of study he never had. Johannes arrived at Bialik-Rogozin after spending most of his life in refugee camps across the Middle East. His father struggles to obtain a work visa while twelve-year-old Johannes struggles to adjust to attending school for the first time…
Belgian, Dutch and German clients flock to Finjan restaurant following its inclusion in prestigious Gault Millau guide. ‘Everyone knows we’re Israeli and no one has a problem with it,’ one of owners says
The next time you enjoy a plate of falafel topped with tahini, you’ve probably made the right choice: Israel is on the map. Finjan, an Israeli-owned falafel and hummus restaurant in the Belgian city of Antwerp has been included in the prestigious Gault Millau guide.
The restaurant, which was opened 30 years ago and has been in its current location for 18 years, scored 13 out of 20 points given by the prestigious guide. It is owned by Yossi Haham, 55, of Petah Tikva and Simhoni Hemo, 42, of Netanya.
The two learned about the good news from the enthusiastic Belgian press, which sent a news crew to the restaurant. “It was a complete surprise. We didn’t even know they sent a critic here. We’re not familiar with this guide, we simply work and try to do our best,” says Hemo, who lives in Belgian with his family, just like his partner.
The guide’s critics visited Haham and Hemo’s place after realizing that their restaurant had become a meeting and eating point for Antwerp’s chefs after their shifts.
“That’s why they came here. The guide’s critic heard from many chefs that after work they come to eat here, at 11 pm or midnight. They come and enjoy themselves with a bottle of wine and a conversation. He heard the name Finjan again and again and decided to pay us a visit,” says Hemo.
Following the publicity, new clients have begun arriving from other cities in Belgium, Holland and even Germany, he reports.
Finjan offers a taste of Israeli cuisine, including hummus, falafel, skewered meat and salads. “It’s oriental food with a European flavor,” explains Hemo. “We took the Mediterranean cuisine and made a small change to adjust it to the European sense of taste.”
They still buy their spices in Israel, every few months.
“Our audience is very diverse,” says Hemo. “From students and grandmothers, through businesspeople and lawyers at lunchtime, to many local celebrities: TV and cinema personalities, models, football and basketball players, and even former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. We see a third generation coming here – students who’ve got married arrive with their kids.”
The restaurant, located next to the city’s art museum, attracts Belgian clients mostly, but also gets visits from tourists, some of them Israeli. Despite the recent tension in the international arena, Hemo talks about peace and coexistence.
“We don’t talk politics, but we have no such problem. Some of our workers are Muslims. We even have an excellent Iranian worker, Egyptian, Belgian and Turkish workers. There’s no problem, everyone works together.”
He says they have never been forced to conceal their Israeli roots. “The clients know we’re Israeli. We’ve said it in the newspapers and television to everyone, and they all accept it very naturally and very nicely. There was no problem, not during the flotilla and not during the war. We are very proud of being Jewish and Israeli, and we’re not ashamed to mention it in every conversation. No one has a problem with it.”
Sources inform ”Globes” that fashion chain Forever21 will open its first store in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Center, in September 2011, just before Rosh Hashana. The two-floor store will cover 1,500 square meters, apparently replacing the Yotvata In the City dairy outlet on the first floor.
After negotiating with a number companies, Forever21 decided to operate in Israel directly, rather than through franchises. Gillerman Global Ltd., owned by Dan Gillerman, will manage the brand in Israel.
Gillerman told “Globes”, “I strongly hope that we’ll meet the timetable, and that the first store will open by Rosh Hashana.”
Owners of American clothing brand sign franchise agreement with Israeli businessman, say move likely to revive local market
The trend of international fashion chains distributing their goods in Israel is expanding to baby wear: After H&O signed a franchise agreement with Carter’s, the biggest baby clothing brand in the United States, Little Me, which creates “unique clothing that celebrates those years when newborns transform into toddlers,” sold the rights to distribute its clothes in Israel to businessman Adir Mugrabi.
In 2007, Little Me was purchased by Mamiye Brothers Inc, which licenses or owns the Disney, Nickelodeon and Guess Kids clothing lines, among others. Little Me clothes, intended for kids aged 0-4, will be sold in Israeli baby wear stores.
While Carter’s baby clothes are sold mainly in discount department stores such as Walmart and Target, Little Me’s items are sold at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Toys “R” Us.
Nathan A. Mamiye, one of the owners of Mamiye Brothers, told Yedioth Ahronoth’s financial paper Mamon that Israel is set to be the first country outside the US where Little Me designs will be available.
He said the cooperation with D&B, which is headed by Mugrabi, will revive the children’s fashion market in Israel.
The baby wear market in Israel has a yearly turnover of about NIS 600 million ($168 million). Fox Baby and Shilav control up to 1/5 of the entire market.