Gunter Grass Defends Poem Criticizing Israel

The German author Gunter Grass responded yesterday to criticism of a poem in which he lashed out at Israel, saying he was misunderstood. "The overall tenor is to not engage in the content of the poem, but instead to wage a campaign against me and to claim that my reputation is damaged forever," Grass said in an interview with a German public broadcaster yesterday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday issued a statement condemning the poem, "What Must Be Said." "Gunter Grass's shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel, says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass," Netanyahu said. (Ofer Aderet )

Alesia Weston of the Sundance Institute was recently hired to the top position at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Weston, who will leave her position as head of the international arm of the U.S. film institute's year-round Feature Film Program for the new position, has lived in Israel and pursued post-grad studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her duties will also include overseeing the Jerusalem Film Festival. (Nirit Anderman )

Yochanan Zangen, former director of Channel 2 television franchise operator Reshet, was yesterday appointed chairman of Habima, Israel's national theater. Nurit Dabush, former head of the council overseeing Channel 2, was named deputy chairwoman. Zangen stepped down as Reshet CEO three years ago, after 18 years in the post. He previously served in a number of senior positions in the state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority. (Zipi Shohat )