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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IT'S COMMON knowledge that cosmetics queen Pnina Rosenblum is a very busy lady, but nobody expected her to bow out after she agreed to be one of a number of successful business people who would tell their stories to graduates of the Netanya Academic College. But Rosenblum, who was the glamorous guest of honor, had apparently doubled up on her commitments and was unable to keep her appointment. Still, there were other somewhat less glamorous people present to tell the new alumni some of the secrets of success. Among them were former NAC graduates Shimon Malcha, who handles investment portfolios at Menora Insurance where he is the general manager; Hai Lugassi, commander of the IDF's School of Communications; and Meital Haroush, head of the main business center of Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot. Also sharing their stories were Avi Kaufman, strategic consultant for Migdal Capital Markets, and Itai Ben-Natan, vice president Migdal Capital Markets.
THE AMBASSADOR Hotel, Jerusalem is the venue for a meeting, today, Tuesday, between delegations from the Association of Kibbutz Industries and the Association of Palestinian Industrialists who will explore the possibilities and potential of economic cooperation. The Palestinian delegation will be led by international businessman Bassam Khoury. According to KIA head Amos Rubin, this initial meeting will give members of the Israeli delegation the opportunity to gain some insights into the Palestinian market, to talk to the Palestinians about the various options for cooperation and to exchange know-how.
YOGA ENTHUSIASTS David and Miri Eini, the proprietors of UMI, have decided to turn their hobby into a business and today will officially open Mayoga, which they claim is the largest yoga center in the Middle East. Located in Kfar Saba, opposite the park, it encompasses an area of 1,000 sq.m. and was constructed at a cost of several million shekels. Mayoga will not confine itself exclusively to yoga, although it will be the main focus of its activities. It will also offer various forms of exercise such as pilates and Feldenkreis, meditation, lectures, workshops and treatments such as reike, reflexology, acupuncture, nutrition guidance, etc. Special classes and services will be tailor-made for infants, youth and women.
THE PEOPLE hardest hit by the bread crisis are senior citizens whose only source of income is the old-age pension, Pensioners Union Chairman Gideon Ben-Israel told a meeting of his organization this week. Approximately one-quarter of the people living below the poverty line are old age pensioners, he said. Many of these pensioners are often forced to decide whether to spend their meager incomes on medicines or food, he emphasized, and in the past they have risked illness by choosing food over medicine. Now that subsidized bread, the staple of their diets, is no longer available, many will starve, he predicted. The Pensioners' Union is fully behind Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai who says that if the price of bread is to be increased, the economically weaker sectors of society must be financially compensated for the additional money they will have to lay out for the most basic item in their diets. Aside from the bread issue, the executive of the Pensioners' Union has demanded that Health Minister Ya'acov Ben Yizri set up a commission to investigate the treatment of senior citizens in private nursing homes following reports of abuse by the people who are paid to look after them.
THE BEST foreign market for Israeli carrots according to Heshi Rubin, general manager of the Hevel Maon group of kibbutzim and moshavim in the Western Negev is Russia. Carrot exports from Hevel Maon via Agrexco during the 2006-2007 season which is just concluding, amounted to 11,500 tons of which 24 percent were organically grown. Marketed under the Dod Moshe label, the Israeli carrots can be found in markets throughout Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the past, when the standard of living in Russia was not as high as it is today, Russians ate frozen carrots in winter because the Russian winter is so cold that it's impossible to grow any agricultural produce, said Rubin. But now that there has been a dramatic improvement in income and the quality of life, the Russians don't mind paying for fresh carrots imported from Israel. The carrots account for 16% of Hevel Maon's agricultural exports.
THE GOVERNMENT on Sunday approved a series of new civil service appointments. Deputy Attorney General Rachel Gottlieb has been transferred to the Interior Ministry in place of Director-General Ram Belnikov. Arieh Bar has been named general manager of the population registry, Yaacov Ganot has been appointed administrative manager of the Justice Ministry and Eyal Yitzhaki has been named the chief government assessor.
AFTER BECOMING a major player in the energy market, David Wiessman chief executive officer, president and a director of Alon Israel and chairman of Alon USA, Energy Inc aims to conquer the international convenience store market. Following the completion of the acquisition by Alon USA Energy Inc of Skinny's 102 convenience stores, which he wants to combine with some of Alon's 7-Eleven stores spread across the US, Wiessman said the convenience store market has developed into one of the central and most influential factors in the economy. Alon is currently the largest 7-Eleven franchisee in North America. On the local scene, Wiessman intends to become the most important convenience store player in the country. He already has a head start with the Alonit stores and the AM:PM stores.
This seems to be a good period for Wiessman who, together with his American partner Jeff Morris, was recently named a regional winner in the Ernst & Young Southwest Area Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Wiessman and Morris formed Alon USA seven years ago when they purchased the French-owned Fina crude oil refinery at a time when major oil companies were getting out of the refinery business. Morris, who was a Fina veteran, had faith and so did Wiessman, who has never been afraid to take on a new challenge. Not satisfied with the empire of service stations, grocery stores and convenience stores that he had built up in Israel, Wiessman wanted to spread his wings - and the Fina deal looked like a good way to start. The first two years were disastrous, but then there was a gradual turn-around which took on momentum, and Wiessman who had risked all his savings on the deal began to feel vindicated, especially after his American acquisitions started to grow in number. It was the partners' fearless and courageous approach that contributed to their triumph in the Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Besides financial performance, nominees were evaluated on their leadership skills, innovative approach, future corporate plans and community involvement. As far as he is aware, Wiessman is the first non-American to win the award.
THE WINNING entry in the international architectural contest to design the Jerusalem downtown campus of the new Bezalel Academy of Art and design was announced on Sunday at a festive event on the original Bezalel premises on the capital's Schatz Street. The new campus in the Russian compound will be designed by Studyo Architects, run by Aysin Ipekci and Sam Yurtsevr who maintain offices in Cologne , Germany and Istanbul , Turkey . The adjudicating panel headed by Bezalel President Prof. Arnon Zuckerman, was unanimous in its decision to award the project to Studyo Architects. The plan proposed by Studyo Architects offered the most viable solution to the construction of a new campus in the Russian Compound. Architecturally, it harmonized with the history of the site, yet was sufficiently urban to fit in with the reconstruction of the city. According to Zuckerman, the new campus will integrate perfectly into its chosen environment. The contest attracted 188 entries from 33 countries. Israeli projects represented 34% of the entries, which were narrowed down to nine finalists from which the eventual choice was made.
LIKE MANY other major companies, Amdocs in Israel makes hands-on contributions to the community by involving its employees in community oriented activities. These include fostering close relations through sport with children in various educational institutions. As an outcome of this, Amdocs organized a soccer tournament in Ra'anana with the participation of 350 youngsters from institutions in Jerusalem, Tirat Hacarmel, Ra'anana, Hod Hasharon and Kfar Saba. Of the 350 youngsters, there were than enough to form eight teams, which competed for trophies as well as for money to be used for social welfare activities in their respective institutions. Some 25 Amdocs employees participated in the tournament as players, referees and spectators. It was a lot more than kicking around a football. There were refreshments and all the players received football jerseys. The Amdocs employees had trained with their respective teams in the weeks preceding the tournament and had developed a close bond with the junior players. The winning team was that of the Hadassim Boarding School, which in addition to its trophy, took home NIS 5,000 to use for social welfare activities and the Kfar Batya team romped into second place and in addition to its trophy took home NIS 2,500. "The tournament was an excellent opportunity for Amdocs employees to strengthen the relationship that they have with the children in a sporty, relaxed atmosphere," said Avner Chen who is in charge of Amdocs community relations. "Such activities not only contribute to the development of the community," he said, "but also help to build the character of our volunteers."
TEL AVIV Port General Manager Orna Angel held a symposium at the port to celebrate its transition from a development company to a holding company. The topic of the day was, of course Live Earth, and the future of the planet. The discussion was led by Tal Ronen. Participants included Tel aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Atarim Chairman and former chairman Herzl Shafir and Roni Shatan, director-general of the Tel Aviv Development Company Yossi Porat and Vice President Business Development at Nice systems Kobi Huberman.
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