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DESPITE COMPLAINTS that Jerusalem's younger population is exiting the city for points elsewhere, the capital is proving increasingly attractive to major business concerns. Recent downtown arrivals include fashion houses Dorin Frankfurt and Naama Bezalel, and of course there are new eateries opening all the time. But it's not just fashion and food that are finding new niches in Jerusalem.
The law firm of Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co. (GKH) has expanded, and last week celebrated the opening of its Jerusalem office with a reception at the Dan Pearl Hotel attended by Mayor Uri Lupolianski and leaders of the legal and business communities.
Attorney David Hodak, who heads the firm, urged his colleagues and rivals operating in other parts of the country to follow his example and to open a Jerusalem branch. The call was extended to all service industries. There is no doubt that Jerusalem is becoming an important center for hi-tech, said Hodak, adding since this field was a significant part of his firm's activities, "it was natural for us to see ourselves as part of this development." His company's policy, he said, "is to be as close as possible to our clients." GKH now comprises some 70 lawyers, and the firm continues to grow and absorb new lawyers each year. Admitting to an emotional element in the decision to open the firm's first branch outside Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Hodak expressed the firm's pride in its ability to contribute to the strengthening of business activity in Jerusalem
SOMEONE WHO saw the potential of Jerusalem long before it was evident to others was banker Zalman Shoval, a former Israel ambassador to the US. Shoval, whose Bank of Jerusalem helps keep the Shuvu educational network in the black, addressed members of the British Friends of Shuvu who came to Israel for the dedication of the Renanim School in Nazareth Illit funded largely by Benjamin (Eliezer) Perl and his wife, Shoshana. Perl, who inter alia invests in international real estate, has been a trailblazer in building Jewish primary schools in England. Shoval said that when he founded his bank 42 years ago, Jerusalem was a backwater without any promise of potential. Nonetheless, he thought it important to set up a bank in Jerusalem, and today it is the only bank which is headquartered in the capital where it has three branches, although there are now other branches all over the country. "We will continue to play our part in the economic development of the country," said Shoval, "but specifically in Jerusalem." Referring to the reforms which turned Israel's economy around, Shoval was confident that if the reforms continue, "in 10 years from now, Israel will be one of the 10 leading economies in the world."
Among the British Friends of Shuvu delegation headed by Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, was real-estate developer Leo Noe, who has been buying up shopping malls in Israel and who was the first British sponsor of a Shuvu school, and Harry Schimmel, who was the second British sponsor of a Shuvu school. There are 67 educational institutions in the Shuvu network which was founded 16 years ago and operates in 25 cities, educating a total of 15,000 pupils a year for whom free meals are provided daily. Shuvu operates on a budget of $20 million in addition to what it receives from the government. The money it raises is used for buses to transport pupils to and from school, meals and extended school hours. Shuvu schools teach till 4 p.m. and also provide additional tutoring free of charge. Noe told other members of the delegation that education was the best investment because it gives children from every background the opportunity to become normal members of mainstream Israeli society.
ONLY A few weeks after appearing at International Women's Day at Beit Hanassi, as an example of a woman who has well and truly broken through the glass ceiling, Sabina Biran resigned her position as CEO of Israir. The only woman in Israel to head an airline company (although there are others who head local branches of international carriers), Biran, who was in the cockpit for six years, is being replaced by Israel Ben-Haim, the former managing director of Ben-Gurion Airport. Biran has been reported as saying she was tired and wanted a rest. While she may be parting company from Israir, Biran will remain in the IDB stable. Israir is owned by IDB as is Supersol, where Biran has been appointed to the board of directors. She will reportedly sit on the boards of other IDB holdings and will in the near future manage one of the companies in the IDB group.
BRAINSTORM CELL Therapeutics (BCLI) the developer of NurOwnâ„¢ bone marrow-derived-stem cell therapeutic products for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, has announced the appointment of Haim Nissenson as strategic financial consultant
"We are proud to have a person with such vast business experience and extensive international connections join BrainStorm. We are certain that he will make an important contribution to enhancing our financial base and developing strategies for our company as we move forward into the clinical trial arena," said Yoram Drucker, BrainStorm's chief operations officer and principal executive.
Nissenson has assisted many companies in growth, positioning and financing. As the principal of Dionysos Investments Limited, Nissenson played a pivotal consulting role for leading companies including RadVision, OTI, Xfone and Clickleaders. While working with these companies, he stewarded fund-raising, including IPOs in the US, and helped the companies to significantly improve their revenues and market valuations. Prior to founding Dionysos, Nissenson served as CEO of Rada, a NASDAQ public company in the Defense Electronics-Aerospace market, where he gained vast experience in the US, European and Israeli financial markets. Prior to that, Nissenson was chief economist and strategic planning manager of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. He holds a BA in economics and business from Tel Aviv University, where he also studied for an MBA.
BrainStorm has successfully used adult bone marrow stem cells to produce dopaminergic-like cells, which have been shown to be capable of dopamine secretion and to benefit animal models of Parkinson's disease. BrainStorm also has used its bone marrow stem cell technology to produce astrocyte-like cells with the capacity of producing glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), the most potent neurotrophic factor known for dopaminergic neurons. Transplanted dopamine- and GDNF producing-cells, acting on their own, or in combination, may be a solution for the replacement and preservation of neurons in Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
AT FIRST glance Dalia Maor, the CEO of Bank Leumi is earning a very handsome yearly salary - NIS 5.6 million, according to a report in Yediot Aharonot. But the figure pales in comparison to the salaries of fellow bankers Zvi Ziv, the general manager of Bank Hapoalim who earns NIS 33m., Shlomo Nehama, the chairman of Bank Hapoalim who does not fare as well as Ziv and earns only NIS 23m., Danny Dankner, the chairman of Isracard, whose salary is NIS 15m., and Nochi Dankner, the chairman of IDB, who is lower on the wage scale and gets only NIS 12m. It just goes to show: women are paid less than half of what is paid to men for doing the same job. So much for breaking through the glass ceiling, and being one of the most powerful women in the country.