News emerged Wednesday shortly after the holiday ended that businessman Nochi Danker's struck a deal with Jewish-Argentinean billionaire Eduardo Elsztain that would provide his heavily indebted IDB Holding Corp. A badly needed lifeline.

According to media reports, Elsztain bought 9.5 percent of the parent company through which Dankner controls IDB for 25 million dollars in an agreement helped arranged by Rabbi Yosef Pinto, Dankner's spiritual advisor.

Elsztain, a Chabadnik and prominent member of the World Jewish Congress, a Jewish advocacy group, is said to have an option to increase his stake in the company by 30 percent for another 75 million dollars by the end of the year.

For Dankner, the deal must come as a huge relief. In recent weeks media in Israel has been rife with speculation that the holding giant with a diverse portfolio that includes stakes in Cellcom, a mobile phone company; Shufersal, a supermarket chain; real estate assets and, until its sale to businessman Shlomo Ben-Zvi goes through, the newspaper Maariv, faces imminent bankruptcy.

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