Gossip Column

Seven circles of hell must be gone through before one knows when, where and why one social type becomes attached to another celebrity.

This column has in the past commented on its troubled addiction to gossip. Seven circles of hell must be gone through before one knows when, where and why one social type becomes attached to another celebrity. On Israel's social map, there is no yellow brick road - only the money road.

There is a tried and true system for reading a newspaper - start with the back pages and work your way to the front. This practice proved its worth this week, a week in which a car new to Israel was showcased for purchase at a Tel Aviv restaurant. Food was provided by a top chef, and there were Cuban cigars and French champagne. Watches were offered for sale, starting at NIS 20,000. (All these details come from the "Everything's Personal" column in TheMarker; product names have been kept confidential ).

There's no cause to name all persons who crashed this party, pretending they were interested in buying the car. It's the same, fixed group who wander about and rate luxury items up for sale - there's the woman whose underpants were seen missing on a live broadcast, and another on whom a film director tried to pounce, as though he were a dog in heat, and there's another who stuffs and stretches parts of her body out of a foolish hope for eternal youth. In short, all of the white trash of the local social scene were there.

Everyone was there, even the son of the prime minister. He appeared suddenly with a girlfriend and a bodyguard paid for by the public. Our ears still ring with the prime minister's entreaties not to harass members of his family. Not forgotten is the press conference in Germany, held in the presence of the chancellor, during which Benjamin Netanyahu asked that his wife and sons be left alone. Such a request should be honored. But that is on condition his family members make an effort to protect their own privacy, and do not encroach upon the lair of paparazzi, looking for publicity and to preen their feathers. Whoever willingly enters the lion's den of public relations professionals and celebrities is liable to get hurt.

The car they came to see was a good one. Sleazy fast movers attempted to buy it. The car was said to be "unique and exclusive;" it "provides a perfect experience of ownership"; it is designed for "the most demanding people, persons for whom it is important to flaunt their success; it is not for introverts." Wait a minute. I have to go vomit, and then I'll come back. I'm back, and will summarize: "Now in Israel," the car costs half a million shekels. Not a bad price, not as expensive as an apartment.

More than being surprised, we were disappointed. After all, the young Netanyahu received a fine education at home, as we have been informed by innumerable media reports. We learned that the first family takes history- and Jewish history-oriented trips around the country, to get a first-hand understanding of our roots and our ancient homeland; we have learned that at their home in Jerusalem or Caesarea, they return to their roots, that they study Bible night and day, and that the son listens to his father talk about morality, while not forsaking his mother's love of the religion. The Netanyahu family, it is to be assumed, did not wait for guidelines from the education minister before it visited holy sites in Hebron. And what did all this educational investment produce? Party hopping to a car show attended by the glitterati. Does this not provide depressing evidence of the futility of educational effort in general, and of the lack of influence exerted by parents and teachers? Is there not proof here of the triumph of the materialism of the father over the idealism of the grandfather? Yair Netanyahu did not face a life threat by attending the opulent social bash; his only risk was having too much of the good life. Forgotten for the moment was the bodyguard, who has to work for a living, and is saving for his studies. The guard's friends say that he is considering - idiotically - to study social work.