AFTER MORE than half a century in business, Mifal Hapayis, the national lottery, is in danger of closing down according to a Maariv report that quotes Mifal Hapayis chairman Shimon Katznelson as saying that the closure would be a gift for criminal elements and for the weaker sectors of society living in peripheral communities. Mifal Hapayis was founded in 1951 under the aegis of the Union of Local Authorities for the purpose of funding community projects such as youth clubs, senior citizens' clubs, libraries, dental clinics, mother and baby centers, sports facilities, cultural facilities, public parks, classrooms etc. The license to conduct the lotteries is granted every five years by the Finance Ministry, which also has a share in the revenues. The Finance Ministry is now demanding the lion's share - 70 percent, whereas the Union of Local Authorities believes that it is entitled to the larger share so that it can fund much needed projects as quickly as possible with minimal bureaucratic red tape. In an interview on Israel Radio, Katznelson said the Union of Local Authorities would be happy to accept a 50/50 division but not a 70/30 split.
Aside from constructing projects to meet community needs, Mifal Hapayis also provides scholarships to students from peripheral communities so they can enroll at institutions of higher learning. If Mifal Hapayis closes down, illegal gambling activities are likely to multiply many times over. The current Mifal Hapayis license is due to expire at midnight on Wednesday, February 28.
DELEGATES REPRESENTING 10 Scottish companies visited Israel last week under the sponsorship of Scottish Development International. Organized by Business Gateway International, this was the second annual Scottish Trade Mission to Israel. Mission members were particularly interested in joint ventures and investments, and were specifically recruited from the hi-tech and life science sectors, areas that are high-priority for both Scotland and Israel. Scottish Enterprise recently launched a bold new 15-year life sciences strategy, ensuring that Scotland is well-positioned to dominate in the areas of stem cell research, medical devices, and drug discovery and development. Led by Wavell Magor, MBE, who served from 1995 to 1999 as Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, the delegation held a series of round-table discussions with the Israel Life Sciences Institute, MATIMOP, Ramot at Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute as well as with the Israel British Chamber of Commerce. The mission also participated in a "Circle of Life" inaugural reception hosted by British Consul General Janet Rogan whose apartment is conveniently located in the Tel Aviv Isrotel complex. Magor said he was particularly pleased to return to Israel with representatives of businesses that have the potential to form successful commercial relationships with Israeli companies.
ONE OF the leading supporters of the Netanya Academic College is businessman Yitzhak Tshuva, who has contributed millions of dollars to NAC projects, thus enabling the college to develop and flourish. Tshuva has received an honorary degree in recognition of what he has done for the college, and was on hand last week when a similar degree was conferred on Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who commented that he would like to be Tshuva's partner in the canal that he is building from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. In a sense he already is, because the canal was Peres's brainchild, and it was he who persuaded Tshuva to invest in a development that will ultimately benefit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians.
THE SHAHAR Group, under the ownership of Avi Elkayam and Neharai Nativ, has announced the appointment of Ofer Gedaliahu as the group's vice president for business development. Gedaliahu, 41, spent the past seven years as vice president marketing for Europe assistance. Before that he held a management position with Cellcom. The position of vice president business development is a new one that was created in-line with the company's growth.
RAFFA LABORATORIES, which is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary, has appointed Amir Levin as chairman of the company's board of directors. Levin is the great-grandson of Zionist leader Shmaryahu Levin, a member of the Russian parliament who was one of the founders of the Technion. He also is the grandson of the founders of Raffa, and a third generation member of his family in the pharmaceutical business. He replaces his father Shmaryahu Levin who for many years served as the company's CEO before taking up the chairmanship. Amir has an MBA degree and spent several years in the US working for Purdue Pharma, one of the world's fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies. After returning to Israel more than a decade ago, he took an active role in the family business, filling various executive positions. Raffa, which is the sixth largest of Israel's pharmaceutical companies, has 180 employees.
FEMINISTS MAY be outraged by the idea, but according to a Harvard study as quoted by clinical psychologist and image consultant Orenia Jaffe-Yanai, the majority of highly successful women were "Daddy's girls." If he was sufficiently convinced of their capabilities, she said, he pushed them to the heights that they attained. "That's the way it always was and that's the way it is," she told participants in a conference on "Business and Women" organized by The Marker. However, other speakers, all of them successful in a variety of fields of endeavor, seemed to have another common denominator - and that was to not be afraid. The message that came across was that if you believe in yourself and follow your dream and do not allow yourself to be either intimidated or humiliated by the men with whom you are working, you can and will reach your goal. Another important lesson was drawing strength from failure. Tmira Yardeni, who is the co-founder and owner of Teddy Productions, shared some of the crises that she had experienced on the road to success and said she absolutely refused to be overwhelmed by them. On the contrary, each one gave her strength to face the next one. While some speakers continued to talk about breaking through the glass ceiling, Prof. Nava Ben Zvi, the President of Hadassah College, said the glass ceiling had never figured in her architecture.
NESS TECHNOLOGIES has appointed Yaffa Farber as group manager for program development. Farber, 42, who holds degrees in mathematics, computer sciences and business administration, will oversee the work of 500 people. Ness Technologies is currently completing a number of mega projects that will come under Farber's jurisdiction.
THE NEW spokesperson for the Israel Post Company is Merav Lapidot who will take up her position on March 18 after winding up her duties as deputy spokesperson at the Finance Ministry. Prior to joining the Finance Ministry a year ago, she was communications consultant to the Minister for Agriculture as well as to a deputy minister in the prime minister's office. During her army service, Lapidot was a spokesperson for various commands. A graduate of Ben-Gurion University, Lapidot, 32, has degrees in behavioral sciences and business administration.
HACHSHARA INSURANCE has appointed Effi Cohen as manager of customer services and public complaints. Cohen, 46, is a Ben-Gurion University alumnus with a first degree in economics and business administration. He also completed a management course with Phoenix and has worked in managerial positions for Phoenix and Ayalon.
BYNET SEMECH, Bynet's outsourcing division has a new general manager. Amos Kruvi, 49, who previously held several managerial positions with HP Israel, decided after several years with the one company that it was time for a change. Prior to joining HP, Kruvi worked in various capacities for Indigo, serving its interests in Israel and abroad. An alumnus of Tel Aviv University, he graduated in industrial engineering and business management.
NOT TOO many Israeli companies can boast of being in business for more than 75 years. Vardinon, a family-owned company whose house wares have found a place in most Israeli homes will next year celebrate its 80th anniversary. Founded in 1928, Vardinon continues to broaden its base and today imports textiles to complement those of local manufacture, and markets and distributes fashionable high quality textile products including bedding, towels, bathrobes, blankets and tablecloths, which in addition to Vardinon's own 27 stores, are sold in homewares stores and department stores. Vardinon has just embarked on a $400,000 advertising campaign featuring models Michael Gundar and Galit Lipper-Mor in a video made for television. The campaign built around the company's new collection is aptly titled Fashion and Passion.
DANCER AND choreographer Ido Tadmor who is one of the adjudicators in Born to Dance, screened on Channel Two, has been selected by Ta'am Teva-Altman to lead its new NIS 2 million advertising campaign for Megagluflex, a medication designed to take the stiffness out of creaky joints. Tadmor was selected because everything about him personifies the product's slogan: "Leguf ein helkei hiluf" (There are no spare parts for the body). The campaign, in print and electronic media, is being mounted by the Shalmor-Avnon-Amichai advertising agency.