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RUMORS ARE rife that El Al CEO Haim Romano will resign unless El Al chairman Israel Borovich follows through with his announced intention to sell his shares in Knafaim, which controls El Al, to his brother Dedi Borovich. The share transfer, which was to have been finalized some time ago was announced to have officially fallen through Monday. It is understood that there are differences of opinion between Romano and Izzy Borovich as to how the company should be run.
Meanwhile, in other El Al news, the company has joined forces with the Israel Cancer Association to raise funds for cancer research through in-flight sales of Israeli art prints, signed by the artists, at a cost of $180 each. The price is symbolic in that 18 in gematria means life, so the sum of $180 is symbolic of life ten-fold.
Several Israeli artists have donated original works to the ICA, as have the families of wellknown deceased artists. Copies of the works will be screened in flight and will also be displayed in El Al's King David Lounge at Ben Gurion International Airport.
The living artists include Menashe Kadishman, Yosl Bergner, Meir Pichadze, Yigal Ozeri, David Reeb, Zvia Czekaski, Oded Feingersh, Shuki Griffit and Uri Lifshitz. The families of Reuven Rubin, Nachum Gutman and Moshe Castel have also contributed to the project.
MAYANOT, THE Israeli company specializing in water apparatus, has signed an exclusive franchise agreement with Korean company Wonbong, which is reputed to be one of the world's largest producers of water devices. Under the terms of the agreement, Mayanot will market Wonbong's water purification equipment in Israel to private customers, organizations and institutions.
Wonbong manufactures some 250,000 water systems a year, and markets its products worldwide. According to Mayanot CEO Oren Gilad, it was decided that the two companies would cooperate in developing new water apparatus that will incorporate the latest patents and the most innovative technologies. The first product in this join venture has already been developed, said Gilad, and the intention is to market it in Europe, with anticipated sales of around $2.5 million in the first year.
FEDERATION OF Chambers of Commerce President Uriel Lynn, this week hosted a business delegation from Lodz, Poland which came to Israel for the purpose of upgrading trade relations between Israel and Poland. The delegation was headed by Jaroslaw Wojcieszek, deputy mayor of Lodz, and Waldemar Krenc, chairman of the Federation of Regional Communities of Lodz. In the course of their meeting, Lynn learned that Krenc was due to meet with Israel's chairman of the Federation of Labor Unions Ofer Eni. Lynn took the opportunity to recruit his Polish guests as advocates for the reduction of sanctions imposed by port workers. Lynn said that Israel had a lot to learn from Poland when it came to controlling and breaking dock strikes, and recalled that whereas Poland once suffered from frequent strikes by dock workers, today there are hardly any strikes at all by this segment of Polish workers.
RIKUSHET HAS appointed Yael Broide as Vice President Sales and Marketing. Broide previously managed the lingerie division of H&O, and over the past two years managed the non-food division at the Yellow chain of stores within the Paz Group. Broide is a Shenkar graduate with a degree in chemical engineering and textiles. She has a great deal of retail experience.
HIS FORMER wife Shari Arison has purchased a penthouse apartment for $13 million, but Mickey Dorsman, the former owner and coach of Hapoel Holon Basketball Team, isn't doing too badly in the luxury living quarter either. Dorsman recently sold his 350 sq. m. apartment in Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'Ir Tower to a British buyer who had no problem in shelling out $7.5 million.
AND ON the subject of luxury living, Jerusalem mayoral candidate Nir Barkat has pledged that if elected he will do his utmost to prevent sections of the capital stretching through Baka, the German Colony, Talbiya, Rehavia and Mamilla from becoming a ghost town.
The amount of construction going on in those areas is tremendous, but although many of the apartments in the prestigious residential complexes are being sold quite quickly, the overwhelming majority of buyers are from abroad, and use the apartments as once- or twice-a-year holiday homes during Pessah and some period between the beginning of Rosh Hashana and the end of Succot. In most cases the apartments stand empty for the rest of the year. Because they fetch such high prices, says Barkat, they have a strong impact on the real estate market, forcing up prices of all properties in the same neighborhoods.
Barkat wants to introduce new city ordinances whereby contractors who are building luxury residential complexes must allocate at least a third to be sold at affordable prices, so that middleincome earners will have something to aspire to. He also wants to introduce an ordinance whereby home owners who do not occupy their premises will be forced to lease out their properties if they are left empty for a designated period of time - or pay a fine, for not renting them out. The money accumulated from the fines, says Barkat, will be put into a special fund earmarked for public housing for young people. In that way, he opines, more people will have a higher standard of living, young people will have affordable accommodation and nearly all the residential complexes in the capital will be fully populated.
According to Barkat, there are currently 9,000 empty apartments in Jerusalem. In such a situation, he says, the proprietors of local grocery stores can't make ends meet; schools cannot thrive and sometimes close down; and vital public services are not introduced because there is not a year-round demand for them.
SOME PEOPLE in the global business world are asking whether international business tycoon Lev Leviev has lost his Midas touch. There was a time when almost everything that Leviev touched turned not to gold but to diamonds.
But in recent months, Africa Israel, the diversified company that he controls, has suffered a series of heavy losses, and according to media reports, Africa Israel has sold half the Clock Tower and The Times building in midtown New York, along with two downtown properties in the Big Apple for a total of $350 million.
Leviev may be a victim of the Jewish aphorism "A change of place, a change of luck." Reports of his deteriorating fortunes began to surface soon at the beginning of this year after he spent Â£70 million pounds on one of the most opulent and well-guarded homes in London. Perhaps he would do himself a favor by moving back to Bnei Brak.