ISRAEL'S PLACE in the world of business has been assured by the ongoing innovations emanating from her hi-tech industry. Thus, the annual contest conducted by the Israel Management Center to determine the hi-tech managers of the year is not just another competition, but a valued mark of prestige for the winners. The numerous entries were whittled down to 19 finalists of whom five were named Hi-tech Managers of the Year at a gala ceremony at the beginning of this week at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. The winners were Dov Moran of M-Systems, Haim Shani of Nice Systems, Kobi Bar Zvi of Wintegra, Alex Kornhauser of Intel and Yoram Oron of Vertex Venture Capital. Among other awards presented during the evening, were Life Achievement Awards to two of the pioneers of Israel's hi-tech industry Uzia Galil and Dan Tolkowski.
MCDONALD'S ISRAEL owner and chairman, Omri Padan, and Druse dignitary, Sheikh Araf Nasser Al-Din, don't usually move in the same social circles but they were both on hand for the launch of the first branch of the golden arches food outlet in a Druse village. Many excited members of the Druse community showed up at the ribbon cutting ceremony in Dalit el-Carmel, where locals will now be able to enjoy a Big Mac or anything else on the company's menu without having to wander further afield. The Druse branch is the 127th link in McDonald's Israel chain, and its d cor is based on that of the first ever McDonald's burger restaurant, which opened in Chicago in 1955.
THE DREDGING up of old political issues and personalities may get some people to wonder what happened to Aviv Bushinsky, the bright, young radio reporter who became the spokesman for Binyamin Netanyahu during his stint as prime minister. A second generation communicator, Bushinsky, who is the son of veteran international newsman Jay Bushinsky and is also a chess champion, found it more profitable to go into business. He is currently chairman of Life Wave High Tech Medical Devices Ltd., representing Canadian businessman Gerry Schwartz, director of the Onex Corporation in Israel . Schwartz's wife Heather Reisman, a successful business tycoon in her own right, is president and CEO of the retail chain Indigo Books. She is also a director of the Onex Corporation. Life Wave specializes in non-invasive devices.
ISRAELI COMPANIES and individuals that need to make frequent shipments abroad, and not necessarily directly from Israel, can take advantage of the Drop Shipments service recently announced by Yossi Atoun the managing director of FedEx Israel. The service guarantees express delivery to all of the 220 countries in which FedEx operates, and enables an Israeli shipper who is sending a shipment from one of these destinations to another to maintain remote control over the operation while sitting in Israel.
RECENTLY PROMOTED by Xerox from the position of general manager of Xerox Israel to a more senior position on the company's central executive board in Brazil, Yoram Levanon just managed to squeeze in his 50th birthday celebrations before leaving the country. The well-attended festivities were held in the hangar of Kfar Vitkin where Levanon was born and continues to maintain a home. Aside from business associates such as his successor Alex Remez and other members of the Xerox Israel management, were friends and satisfied clients such as Dedi Zuker and Tzachi Fishbein, the general manager of Office Depot, as well as friends with whom Levanon had grown up since childhood. Before entering the printing industry, Levanon worked as a dairy farmer on Kfar Vitkin. Currently, he's studying Portuguese so that he will be able to communicate in his new country. According to his wife Galia, 50 is a great age for new beginnings - and they used to say that life begins at 40.
THE ISRAEL Postal Company directorate last week gave the nod of approval for Yaron Ratzon to take up the long vacant position of director of the Israel Philatelic Service. With the exception of a temporary replacement, the job has been an opportunity going to waste for approximately two years. Ratzon, 41, was previously director of the Masa Aher group, which publishes books, atlases, maps and magazines and operates a photography school. Before that, he was CEO of Ma'ariv Publications, which he turned into a profitable enterprise in the space of a year, proving that he had made proper use of his MBA degree. One of Ratzons' major challenges will be to promote the use and collection of postage stamps in a digital era. Whereas children in previous generations were encouraged at home and at school to collect stamps from around the globe and preserve them in albums, it's much more difficult to pass this hobby on to children born into a hi-tech world.
IT'S A long time since brothers Zohar and Yehuda Zisapel graduated from the Haifa Technion, but they have continued a strong association,which inter alia includes the annual distribution of scholarships to first degree students in the Technion's Electrical Engineering Faculty. Through RAD Data Communications, the company they founded in 1981 and the flagship of the RAD Group, the brothers for the fifth successive year awarded 10 scholarships valued at $5,000 each at a festive on campus ceremony. These scholarships are worth more financially than any other scholarships awarded at the Technion. Six of the 10 recipients are immigrants from the former Soviet Union and four are sabras. In presenting the scholarships, Zohar, who is the chairman of RAD, asked the students to focus as much as possible on their studies, but more important, to remain in Israel after they graduate so they can contribute to the nation's brainpower.
MORE THAN 2,500 students who served in the Israel Defense Forces as reserves during the Second Lebanon War were among the latest batch of recipients of Jewish Agency scholarships distributed last week at an Army Radio-sponsored pop concert at Hangar 11 at the Tel Aviv Port. Altogether, 8,700 students - many of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union - who were called up during the war - have received Jewish Agency Scholarships valued in toto in excess of $8 million. The scholarships were funded by the Israel Emergency Fund supported by the United Jewish Communities, the Federations of North America and Keren-Hayesod United Israel Appeal. Among the recipients was Ashkelon resident Roman Kizner, 26, an engineering student at the College of Judea and Samaria who was born in the Ukraine and came to Israel in 1990. Kizner served with an elite combat unit and spent 29 days in uniform in July and August. Kizner who supplements the cost of his studies by working as a security officer in the Rosh Ha'ayin Industrial Zone, had planned to work overtime during the summer with the intention of saving money towards his education but the war put an end to that. Married on August 31 only a few days after his demobilization, Kizner said he regarded the scholarship as a wedding present from the Jewish people. Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski, who greeted the scholarship recipients, said the students who were prepared to go and fight as soldiers at a moment's notice "are the heart and soul of Israel."
THE NEWLY appointed Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem is Dorit Novak. She succeeds Dr. Motti Shalem who has led the school since 1994. Novak, who has an MA in Education, previously managed the "welfare to work" pilot administration in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor. Prior to that, she served as development and employment head of the cooperative project run by the Ministry of Trade and the Joint Distribution Committee. Novak established and ran the countrywide educational program, "Haznek," which today is supported by Discount Bank. During her military service she served in various educational capacities, including head of the Hasbara and culture branches. During his tenure at Yad Vashem, Shalem developed the three main avenues of work of the International School: teacher training, student seminars and the production of multilingual lesson systems and educational material. He also oversaw the establishment of the European Department and expansion of the pedagogical use of the Internet through on-line courses and educational networks. Similarly, a number of partnerships were established with various bodies, such as the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), ICHIEC (International Commission on Holocaust Insurance Era Insurance Claims), the Council of Europe and the Israel Defense Forces. Shalem also initiated programs that brought young people from diverse backgrounds closer to the study of the Holocaust, including members of the Arab sector, the ultra-Orthodox sector and at-risk youth. The International School for Holocaust Studies, established in 1993, develops teaching tools, multimedia materials, curricula, lesson plans and didactic principles used by thousands of educators worldwide. Seminars in 11 languages take place at the school for students and teachers from abroad and are tailored to meet their needs based on their country of origin. The school's Internet site contains a plethora of material and annual on-line seminars in many languages.