1948 FLYBOYS: Some 150 members of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel had the privilege to meet two members of the War of Independence generation who served as foreign volunteers in Israel’s Machal division. The AACI honored Smoky Simon, chairman of World Machal, and Yehuda Solter, an air force mechanic during the war, at the air force museum in Hatzerim. Former Be’er Sheva Mayor Yaakov Turner, a former pilot who founded the museum, greeted the crowd, who then watched Nancy Spielberg’s “Above and Beyond” about the role of Machal pilots in 1948. The film featured Simon, who was born in South Africa. “Yehuda was one of the fellows who put together the first Mustangs,” the AACI’s Miriam Green told Haaretz. “He told us this amazing story about this hangar where they assembled them. The parts seem to appear out of nowhere. They got parcels they didn’t know where they were from, and they put it all together.”
AUSSIE PMs: Two former Australian prime ministers will receive honorary degrees next week from Israeli universities. On Tuesday, Ben-Gurion University will recognize Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, who served from 2010 to 2013. “She was outstanding in her support of Israel, most notably during the operation in Gaza [in 2009] when she strongly asserted Israel’s rights to defend itself,” Danny Lamm, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told JTA in 2013. On Thursday, Tel Aviv University will present an honorary doctorate to Tony Abbott, the former Liberal Party leader. Abbott, who was prime minister from 2013 to 2015, suggested in January that if the United States moves its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Australia should do the same.
KINNERET MUSIC FEST: Jacob’s Ladder, the preeminent music festival for the English-speaking community, returns next weekend starting Thursday at the Nof Ginosar Hotel on Lake Kinneret. This spring’s edition features local acts such as the Gabriella Lewis Band (made up of Gabriella Lewis, Shay Tochner, Yonatan Miller, Yonatan Bar Rashi and Betty Maoz), and TRiAD (Becca Kristovsky, Clive Noble, Michael Lavetter and Yonatan Bar Rashi), which will be presenting 100 years of swing music. Also on board will be bluegrass band Arava Riders (Naama Cooper, Bill Slott, Alon Tal, Avi Bellman and Rafael Levy), Judy Antebi, Larry & Mindy, and Libi & the Flashback. And as usual, there will be a raft of side events such as a crafts fair, yoga, various genres of dancing and children’s activities. For more info, visit jlfestival.com.
Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.
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