Friday Five: Benny Gantz, Lena Dunham, Joe Eszterhas, Seth Greenberg & Rali Margalit



Benny Gantz hits hitter with dismissal

The buck stops with Benny Gantz. The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff took action after video surfaced of an Israeli army officer smashing a Danish pro-Palestinian activist in the face with his rifle butt. Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner was dismissed from his post on Wednesday four days after video of the incident during a protest bike ride in the Jordan Valley was posted on YouTube by the International Solidarity Movement. The dismissal also came less than 24 hours after the conclusion of a military investigation of the incident, which found professional and command failures. Eisner has hired a lawyer, which is not a bad idea since a criminal investigation has also been opened into his actions.

Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ gets kvells, kvetches

Lena Dunham’s new series, “Girls,” premiered this week on HBO. Billed as a “Sex and the City” but for Millennials living in Brooklyn and sponging off their parents, the show has courted critical praise and no small amount of controversy, largely due to the whiteness of the cast and perspective. Yet despite the backlash, Dunham, 25, who had previously directed the indie feature “Tiny Furniture,” has announced herself as a creative force to be reckoned with as one of the few female showrunners in the business. (Read Dvora Meyers’ take for JTA on the new series here.)

Joe Eszterhas airs Gibson’s dirty language

We know what Mel Gibson says about Jews when he gets pulled over for drunk driving. But that’s not the only time he spews anti-Semitic bile, according to Joe Eszterhaswho had been signed on to write the screenplay for Mad Mel’s Maccabee movie project. In a letter to Gibson last week, Eszterhas accused Gibson of — among other things — calling Jews “oven dodgers” and “Hebes” and spouting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Gibson said that most of Eszterhas’ assertions were “utter fabrications,” the sour grapes of someone whose screenplay was rejected. Eszterhas responded by releasing a recording of a profane tirade by Gibson, directed not at Jews but at the filmmaker’s ex-girlfriend, his houseguests and Eszterhas.

Seth Greenberg repeats the Maccabiah

Seth Greenberg, get ready for another life-altering basketball experience. The Virginia Tech’s men’s hoops coach was tapped to guide the U.S. squad at the Maccabiah Games in Israel in July 2013, more than two decades after serving as an assistant coach at the games — an experience he called "life altering." Greenberg, 56, a Jewish Sports Hall of Famer who has won nearly 400 games as the head man at Virginia Tech, South Florida and Long Beach State, will be trying to bring the gold back to America. “This volunteer position is important to me because any time you can represent your country and your faith in the same event, it’s something very special,” Greenberg said in a statement.

Rali Margalit red-cards soccer racists

Jerusalemite Rali Margalit doesn’t stand for racism. After hearing chants of “Death to Arabs!” from fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club marching down the street, the 50-year-old musician quickly fashioned a sign reading "Down with Beitar’s racism." Then she was attacked. “Within seconds they surrounded me and started spitting at me," she told Haaretz. "They took away my sign, and one of them — actually an older fan — hit me on the head with the pole of his flag.” The incident is just the latest black eye for the soccer club. Last month, Beitar Jerusalem fans burst into anti-Arab chants at a Jerusalem mall and beat up some Arab janitors. Margalit says she doesn’t regret her actions: "I felt that I did my bit.”

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