Begin, Rabin to appear on new Israeli bills

The images of the late Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin will appear on new Israeli currency.

The late writer S.Y. Agnon and poet Rachel Bluwstein Sela, who was known simply as Rachel, also have been chosen for the honor.

The Bank of Israel announced the new series of banknotes, and its honoring of the political and cultural history of Israel, on Sunday.

Begin and Rabin were chosen for signing peace treaties with Israel’s neighbors—Begin with Egypt and Rabin with Jordan and an interim agreement with the Palestinians—Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said.

The image choices require Cabinet approval.

The new currency, in the form of 20, 50, 100 and 200 shekel bills, is scheduled to be issued in 2012 and will include advanced anti-forgery methods.

The Importance of Being Michael

“Why aren’t you talking about Michael Jackson more?”

The question, from a caller to Larry Mantle’s KPCC-Pasadena public radio program “AirTalk,” interrupted a ” title=”study” target=”_blank”>study by the Project on Excellence in Journalism.  At the start of the week, nearly a third of the stories monitored – 58 outlets, covering print, online, network, cable and radio news – were about the protests in Iran.  By the end of the week, the velvet revolution wasn’t the only story that had largely been abandoned by journalism.  The economic crisis, health care reform, the energy and global warming bill: you’d need an FBI investigator to find coverage of them.  Only Governor Mark Sanford’s soap opera could compete, barely, with the death of the King of Pop.

By going all-Michael-all-the-time, cable news wasn’t jamming this story down America’s throat.  Even though nearly two-thirds of Americans said last week that the Jackson story was getting too much coverage, the same HCD Research “>“Planet Money” guys on National Public Radio, you know that credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations can be as interesting as Natalee Holloway’s disappearance.  When Arnold Schwarzenegger suggests that negotiations on California’s fiscal crisis should be broadcast (“Budget talks as a reality TV show?” was the ” title=”story” target=”_blank”>story about the daily 4 p.m. meeting where the paper’s editors decide what stories warrant front-page treatment.  In The Times’s Page 1 conference room, “the belief remains that editing isn’t tyranny but perhaps a little closer to curating.  Pick whatever metaphor you like: wheat from chaff, signal from noise, gold from dross.  Without that process of selection, one is left to find the news on a Borgesian online map that is as big as the world itself.”

I’m glad that anyone who needs to can Google the meaning of Borgesian.  I’m just a teeny bit less glad that no one on the planet needs to Google Michael Jackson. 

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear Professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication.  Reach him at {encode=”” title=””}.

Ha’am Hits Stands, Again

UCLA’s 32-year-old Jewish newsmagazine Ha’am has been struggling with growing pains over the past year. Last spring saw the release of their first print edition in five years, and the staff planned to make it a quarterly publication. That’s still the goal, but their follow-up issue just recently hit the stands in time for, again, spring.

“To put it together was kind of a whole new process for all of us,” said Debra Greene, Ha’am’s outgoing editor. “The paper and the staff was pretty much from scratch. We had a good staff in terms of writers and the business manager who did our advertising, but we did have some trouble with design.”

In order to finish designing the newsmagazine, Greene and incoming editor Shiva Ganjian taught themselves how to use the publishing software application QuarkXPress.

“There weren’t many people on staff who knew Quark,” Ganjian said.

Founded by UCLA students in 1972, Ha’am remained in print until about five years ago, when it went exclusively online. With the help of an anonymous $3,018 donation last year, the editorial staff decided to reestablish Ha’am as a print publication. They’ve raised funds since then through advertising, which they plan to increase.

Ha’am currently prints 5,000 copies of their publication, with 3,000 distributed around campus alongside the mainstream student newspaper The Daily Bruin. The remaining 2,000 are dropped at Jewish institutions around Los Angeles.

Ganjian said she will continue to keep the paper online for those who won’t have access to the print version.

After more than a year of restructuring and transitioning, Ganjian anticipates the production of three improved Ha’am issues for the fall, winter and spring quarters. She cites stronger emphasis on design and structure as the means to that end. She also plans to recruit new students every quarter to ensure that the staff remains committed and enthusiastic.

Greene, who will serve as vice president of the Jewish Student Union next year, is also optimistic. Of the Spring 2004 issue, she said, “We have many more articles, a lot more content, and it’s a lot more professional…. We have a strong staff that’s going to stay with us for next year, so we have continuity.”

To visit Ha’am online, go to

World Briefs

Senate Makes Malaysian Aid

The U.S. Senate made military aid to Malaysia conditional on religious freedom, including greater tolerance of Jews. On Monday, the Senate passed an amendment to its foreign aid spending bill that would require a State Department determination of religious freedom and tolerance in Malaysia before the country could receive a planned $1.2 million military aid package. The move came after Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, told the leaders of Islamic countries at a conference earlier this month that Jews “rule the world by proxy” and that the Muslim world must unite to defeat them. The amendment’s sponsor, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Mahathir’s remarks “lent credence and legitimacy to the hateful message of local terrorists that seek to sow mayhem throughout the region.” After the Senate’s action, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar complained Tuesday that the Senate vote was an example of the United States trying to “discipline the world in their own mold.”

He said, “So, now it is another Muslim country that is being zeroed in for their so-called disciplining,” The Associated Press reported.

Oxford Professor Suspended

An Oxford University science professor has been suspended without pay for two months after rejecting a graduate student for being Israeli. Andrew Wilkie rejected an expression of interest from Tel Aviv University student Amit Duvshani in late June, partly on the grounds that Duvshani had served in the Israel Defense Forces. Oxford announced on Monday that it would suspend Wilkie, prompting him to resign his chair at Oxford’s Pembroke College. The resignation of his chair does not prevent him from resuming his normal teaching duties when his suspension ends.

Students Resign From Brandeis Paper

Five journalists have resigned from Brandeis University’s student newspaper after a racist remark was printed in a sports column. In a column in the Brandeis Justice, Dan Passner referred to Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who is black, by quoting another Brandeis student: “The only thing Baker has a Ph.D. in is something that starts with an N and rhymes with Tigger, the cheerful scamp who stole all of our hearts in the Winnie the Pooh series.”

The paper’s editor-in-chief and sports editor were among those who resigned.

Aliyah for Slain Doctor

Jewish groups will sponsor the aliyah of 10 North American doctors in memory of a doctor killed by a Palestinian terrorist. Nefesh B’Nefesh, a group that subsidizes North American aliyah, and the Friends of Dr. David Applebaum on Monday announced the Applebaum Fellowship for physicians. Applebaum was the American-born doctor who was killed last month with his daughter Nava in a Jerusalem terrorist attack the day before her wedding. Applebaum was director of emergency services at the Shaarei Zedek hospital in Jerusalem and the founder of Terem, an emergency medical-care system that Applebaum deployed throughout Israel.

“By bringing 10 new olim who are experts in the field of emergency medicine to live and work as practicing physicians in Israel, we are responding to” the attack, said Nefesh B’Nefesh director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass.

Rabbis Say Pigs OK

Orthodox rabbis reportedly approved the use of pigs to guard Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The move supersedes the prohibition on raising pigs in the Holy Land, Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot reported. Pigs have a finely tuned sense of smell that can detect weapons and intruders, and they also may deter would-be Muslim attackers, since pigs are considered unclean in Islam as well.

Holocaust Claims Approved

A German court ruled that Holocaust-related property claims may be valid even if original ownership documents cannot be found.

The Oct. 23 court decision overturned two lower-court rulings that blocked claims on property taken by the Nazis in the former East Germany on the basis of legal technicalities, The Associated Press reported.

The new ruling establishes that in cases where claimants are unable to come up with documents specifying original owners, they may submit supporting documents through the Claims Conference instead.

Briefs Courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency