Friday, March 23, 2012

Barak and the Skyscrapers

The israeli Defense Minister , Mr. Ehud Barak ('barak' in hebrew means lightning) has been a lot in the news lately; not because of some outstanding military event or political issue , but because of the sale of his luxurious apartment on the 31st floor of one of the three "Akirov Towers".

The "Akirov Towers" , a three-tower luxury compound, is located in the north part of Tel Aviv, near the intersection of Pinkas and Namir streets. I've seen the complex on various occasions, but I've never been inside the towers. According to the Media, it has security 24 hours a day, a luxurious lobby, spa with pool and Gym , sun balconies, conference hall, underground parking, and a breathtaking view of the city.

What attracts passer-bys' attention are the sharp lines of the three structures, the windows' blue color, and the numbers 62, 64, 66 in the form of a small stone statue in front of the building. ( By the way, Akirov - is the surname of the real estate developer).

Mr Barak wrote on his Facebook Page that he and his wife Nili had decided to sell the apartment because of public criticism. The apartment "created alienation and detachment from the public", he confessed. In a few months they'll be moving to a smaller and less expensive tower.

However, the selling of the house (for 26.5 million israeli shekels) and Barak's confession , haven't stopped criticism. The Media is busy trying to figure out the money profit for him from the transaction , and keep asking unpleasant questions such as how come a person with socialist background like his, becomes so detached from the people he's supposed to represent,
; how does an army officer / someone who has been in public service, has the money to buy such an appartment etc.. etc..

I happen to agree with the criticism. High ranking people should serve as a model of modesty to the public , especially in times of economic decline.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Out Of The Ashes...

A year ago, a massive fire completely destroyed the Ikea store (building and merchandise) near Netanya city. Luckily, there were no casualties as the store was empty when the fire broke out .

The cause of the fire was not clear. Fire investigators were checking some electrical fault near the store's roof. I was under the impression that the fire was deliberately set by someone who wanted the store destroyed, but no injured people. The timing was "perfect" - on Saturday, when the store was closed and no one inside it.

Besides, it looked like someone had "taken care" of the fire detectors . The investigators had no explanation for the fact that these detectors had failed to work. Anyway, the final conclusion was: a short circuit caused by rain water in the electrical system, had brought about the destructive fire.

The store reopened this week, on Tuesday, March 6. Although I was not a frequent customer, I kind of missed my few annual visits there. I like the location - at a major road intersection - its palm trees and nice views of the surroundings.
I'm not very fond of Ikea furniture or textiles , but I do like their smaller items such as lamp shades, kitchen ware, storage gadgets, candles. I also enjoy eating the veggie soup served in a bread loaf, at their restaurant.

palm trees in front of the store

veggie soup in a "bread bowl"

kitchenware stand

So, on Thursday, I paid Ikea a visit to see the store that "emerged from the ashes". The concept is the same, but naturally there are some changes and improvements (especially in the eating areas and in the areas for children activities). The emphasis both outside and inside is on the two vivid, attractive colors dark blue and mustard yellow.

festive rebuilt Ikea

going upstairs

fast food area

gardening department

Ikea is considered a nice, friendly place where adults and children can spend hours shopping, eating, having fun. Let's hope no fire or any other bad thing happens to it again.