The appointments of new government ministers always signify a shake-up, no matter how minor, in the ministries concerned, because as far as his inner circle is concerned, each minister likes to surround himself with people with whom he feels most comfortable. In addition, he wants to call the shots and he doesn't want anyone telling him what his predecessor would have done in any given situation.
While a certain number of people were left in place in the Prime Minister's office, including political appointee Ra'anan Gissin, the Foreign Press and Public Affairs Adviser and a frequent spokesman for Israel in the foreign media, others higher on the pyramid have changed, as has been mentioned in The Jerusalem Post.
In the Defense Ministry, reporters will find a spokesman who definitely understands their needs after Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Sunday appointed Ilan Ostfeld to serve as his spokesman and media advisor. Ostfeld, 43, who spent much of his life as a career officer in the army, and who for four years was the defense correspondent for Army Radio, last year was the spokesman for then-foreign minister Silvan Shalom. Prior to that, he served in a number of important positions in the IDF, including that of head of the School for Combat against Terror.
Meanwhile, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer has appointed Ronen Moshe as his personal spokesman and media adviser and as spokesman for the ministry. Ben Eliezer was a member of the Israeli contingent that went to Sharm e-Sheikh to participate in the International Economic Forum. Accompanying him were his ministry's director-general Eli Ronen and Water Commissioner Shimon Tal.
ISRAEL IS making sure that one of its most prestigious international conferences, the annual Telecom Conference will be well-attended. Thus when Prime Minister Olmert met last week with Jiangsu Province Communist Party Secretary Li Yuanchao, and discussed with him the importance of Israel-China relations, he also extracted from him a promise that Jiangsu Province representatives would attend Telecom Israel 2006 in November. The two leaders also agreed to establish a joint, Israel-Jiangsu Province fund for investments with the main focus on hi-tech and nanotechnology, but not to the exclusion of other areas of investment.
WAS TEL Aviv University sending out a subtle message when it awarded an honorary doctorate to Sheldon Adelson in recognition of his vision, his initiative and his entrepreneurship? Known widely as the casino king, Adelson is one of the wealthiest Jews in America and a philanthropist of great largesse who has contributed generously to numerous causes and institutions in the US and Israel. He is the chairman and CEO of The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a casino resort network, which grew out of the Sands Hotel and Casino, which he purchased in 1989, and of Venetian Macao Limited in Macao, China. In 1990, he constructed the Sands Expo and Convention center. Adelson has initiated and headed more than 50 successful business enterprises, including the renowned Comdex computer show. The son of poor immigrants, he started his journey from rags to riches selling newspapers on street corners in Boston, and succeeded in building an empire. He launched his first business when he was only 12 years old.
THE BOARD of Directors of the Israel Electric Corporation has announced the appointment of accountant Avner Yehudai as deputy director general in charge of finances. The appointment was recommended by IEC director general Uri Ben Nun. The appointment becomes effective on June 1. In addition, the Board appointed Yaron Megel to head the IEC's newly created finance, regulations and economics division. Other new appointments are in the offing and will be announced shortly. Yehudai, 47, came to the IEC from the business sector in which he has controlling interest in several companies dealing with finance and real estate. He has served in senior positions with Israel Chemicals and Dead Sea Works where he was responsible for finances, budgets and investments. He is also a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. Megel has been with the IEC since 1976 and has held a variety of executive positions in the fields of finance, insurance and capital recruitment.
AMONG THE other TAU honorees was Australian businessman and philanthropist John Gandel, who is Australia's second most affluent shopping center owner after Frank Lowy. Gandel's name, or rather the Gandel Charitable Trust, is listed in Philanthropy Australia among philanthropists who give away in excess of one million dollars each year. Other prominent Jewish families on the list included Smorgon, Besen, Lew and Pratt, all of whom have also contributed liberally to Israel and who continue to do so. Aside from his relationship with TAU through the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University, Gandel is also involved with the Hebrew University where, on Monday, he attended the inauguration of the Gandel Institute, which is a continuum of the Florence Melton School for Adult Jewish Education that has given thousands of Jews around the world a sense of their heritage and an opportunity to explore it in an environment that respects the fact that they may have missed out on Jewish education during the period of their formal studies. Gandel has made a seven figure commitment to the project. His family is very much involved with funding education. Melbourne's Mount Scopus College named its major campus in Burwood after the Gandel family. Australian Ambassador Tim George this week hosted a reception for Gandel as well as for other members of his delegation, members of a Monash University delegation currently visiting Israel and members of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce.
ISRAEL MANUFACTURERS Association President Shraga Brosh has been appointed an Honorary Consul for Turkey in the Gush Dan area. The appointment was conferred on him in the names of President Moshe Katsav and Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni by the Foreign Ministry's Chief of Protocol Yitzhak Eldan at a ceremony attended inter alia by Turkish Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu, Communications Ministry director-general Avi Balashnikov who was formerly Brosh's second in command at the Israel Export Institute, and Yoram Blizovsky, the managing director of the IMA. With his innumerable connections in Israel's business and industrial sectors, Brosh will prove an invaluable asset for Turkey.
SCAILEX CORPORATION, (formerly Scitex Corporation) has announced that Arie Mientkavich was appointed Chairman of its Board of Directors, replacing Ami Erel, who served as chairman from June 2003. The appointment becomes effective June 1. Mientkavich, 64, who served from November 1997 to January 2006 as the Chairman of Israel Discount Bank Ltd., one of the largest commercial banks in Israel, is Vice Chairman of Gazit-Globe Ltd., one of the leading real estate investment companies in Israel. Mientkavich will be an active chairman and dedicate considerable time to the company's operations. Erel is vacating his post to focus on Discount Investments Corporation, of which he is the CEO. The move was sparked by Discount Investments' pending acquisition of a controlling stake in Koor Industries. Scailex Corporation shares trade on Nasdaq and The Tel Aviv Stock Exchanges.
THE 22 member Board of Governors of Beth Hatefutsoth was ratified at the institution's general assembly last week. Composed of prominent Israelis and leaders of Jewish communities abroad, the board is headed by philanthropist Leonid Nevzlin who, together with his partners, established the NADAV Fund within Keren Hayesod - The United Israel Appeal to support projects in Jewish studies and education and to build bridges between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel.
Beth Hatefutsoth, after having been rescued from insolvency by both Nevzlin and the previous government of Israel, is undergoing a major renewal process through which it will be transformed into a vibrant world-class center of knowledge and understanding of Jewish Peoplehood. This is one of Nevzlin's key targets. Other members on the board include Shlomo Lahat, Chairman of the Board of Directors; investment banker Harvey Krueger; Stephen Greenberg; Carol Salomon; Bobby Brown; Sam Bloch; Rabbi Prof. Rene Sirat; Prof. Avi Ravitzky; Salai Meridor; businessman, philanthropist and former banker Leon Recanati; Eitan Raf; and Dov Lautman - all prominent figures in the Jewish world, and some, like Lautman, heads of sprawling industries.
MULTI-FACETED businessman Lev Leviev, notwithstanding his diamond, real estate and tourism interests, is making greater inroads into fashion, doubling his 10 percent stake in Fox. The company was doing very nicely without Leviev's input, but he is known to have a Midas touch, and now with 20% of Fox in his stable, the company can expect to do even better in the future than the remarkable record it achieved in the past.
AFTER FIFTEEN years with the Bank of Israel, media advisor and spokesperson Sarit Giladi-David has decided to quit. She has notified Stanley Fischer, the Governor of the Bank of her intention, but no date has been determined for her departure. Giladi-David, who has a master's degree in communications, was previously spokesperson for the Teachers' Union, the Taxation Department and Bank Mizrahi. In her most recent position prior to joining the Bank of Israel, she served as marketing manager and communications director for the accounting firm of KPMG.
THE MANAGEMENT of the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem, which is often frequented by visiting foreign dignitaries, has announced the appointment of Belgian-born Bruno De Schuyter, 36, as Rooms Division Manager. De Schuyter is fluent in seven languages: French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, English and Hebrew. Most recently, he served as general manager of the Holiday Inn hotels in Barcelona and Venice. Prior to that, he served in a variety of positions with the InterContinental Hotels Group in Tel Aviv, Luxembourg and Berlin, and with the Isrotel chain.