HERTZ, WHICH claims to be the largest general-use car rental organization in the world, is this year celebrating its 90th anniversary. Its founder, Walter L. Jacobs, was 22 when he pioneered the car rental business, starting in Chicago with a dozen Model-T Fords that he repaired and repainted himself. Within five years, his business generated annual revenues of close to $1 million. Today, Hertz operates some 7,700 agencies in 145 countries, including Israel. Hertz Israel has been selected to provide the vehicles and drivers for the entourage accompanying US President George W. Bush during his visit to Israel. The Hertz Israel franchise is owned by Meir, the importers of Volvo, Honda and Jaguar. Working closely with the US Embassy, Hertz will be providing dozens of cars and personal drivers for the presidential entourage. Hertz's high-profile client won't detract from its general operations; it has 7,000 cars in its fleet. BUSINESS TYCOON, philanthropist and head of the recently registered Social Justice Party Arkadi Gaydamak got two for the price of one when he persuaded Uri Shani to leave his job as Housing and Construction CEO and to head up a holding company that controls Gaydamak's global interests. Shani, who was previously Ariel Sharon's bureau chief, is also expected to assist Gaydamak in his political ambitions, though it is not yet known whether he will head Gaydamak's campaign should the magnate go ahead with his plan to run for mayor of Jerusalem. Gaydamak has contributed generously to numerous causes in Jerusalem. He owns the Betar Jerusalem soccer team, Bikur Holim Hospital and other large enterprises in the capital, but whether his gifts and acquisitions can pave his way to City Hall remains to be seen. FOLLOWING APPROVAL by the Government Companies Authority, Amos Lasker has been installed as CEO of Israel Electric. Lasker, 57, was chosen from among 47 candidates by a special committee headed by IE chairman Moti Friedman. Moshe Bachar, who was acting CEO, will continue to serve IE as deputy CEO and deputy head of IE's production department. Lasker has 25 years of experience in managing and establishing companies in Israel and abroad. AFTER 12 years with the Communications Ministry, deputy director-general Moshe Galili asked to be relieved of his duties. Director-general Mordechai Mordechai acceded to the request, but asked that Galili remain on board until a suitable replacement could be found. Galili worked concurrently in a number of capacities at the Communications Ministry and inter alia was chairman of the National Frequencies Committee. JERUSALEM CAPITAL Studios has announced the appointment of Saar Yogev, 38, as chief producer. Yogev is widely regarded as one of Israel's best producers of drama, and has numerous highly rated productions to his credit. Among them are Ugly Estee, To Touch Happiness and Glad Tidings. For the past two years he has also been the producer of the Jerusalem Film Festival. In his new role, Yogev will be responsible for all categories of projects carried out by the JCS Production Division, including light entertainment and drama series. THE RAANANIM Mall, one of the largest retail outlets in the Sharon area, this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, and will mark the occasion with a festive fair from January 13-18. According to Raananim general manager Dudu Saguy, Raananim has attracted some 60 million visitors, and has reaped more than NIS 5 billion. Sales in 2007 were approximately NIS 600 million, up 5 percent from the previous year. THE PASSING of the baton to the next generation is a sign of continuity. Thus it came as no surprise when Amit Dagan, 45, was appointed CEO of Hashtil, one of Israel's largest plant nurseries for agriculture and adornment. Hashtil, which is a conglomerate of five nurseries, employs 400 workers, including more than 20 agronomists. It was founded 34 years ago by Dagan's father, Yeheziel Dagan, who over the years has held varied positions in the business, and will now serve as chairman of Hashtil's board of directors. AHAVA DEAD Sea Cosmetics has appointed Einat Ostreicher as its sales and marketing manager. Ostreicher, 33, was previously a regional sales manager for Tnuva dairy products. In her new capacity, she will be pushing creams of a different kind. THE TAIWAN government's National Development Fund has announced that it will invest an additional US $30m. in the Giza Venture Capital Fund, according to a report on Radio Taiwan. Giza invests primarily in the hi-tech sector. The Taiwan National Development Fund has previously invested with Giza, and its total investment will now be close to $45. Vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Yeh Ming-feng has praised the quality of Israel's information technology and life sciences industries, saying they made Israel a suitable partner for Taiwanese investment. GIZA has a strong relationship with Taiwan and has assisted Israeli companies to engage in joint projects with major Taiwanese technology companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. KAZAKHSTAN IS poised to become a major player in Israel's economy. Kazakhstan Ambassador to Israel Vadim Zverkov, at his country's Independence Day festivities in December, said Kazakhstan had already invested in several Israeli hi-tech enterprises, and that additional investment would be forthcoming. Kazakhstan is particularly interested in water technologies, communications systems and state-of-the-art medical equipment. It plans to invest approximately $60m. in such enterprises in the coming year, but was ready to invest much more if suitable opportunities would present themselves, Zverkov said. NOTWITHSTANDING THE problems it is experiencing in trying to open up a second store in Rishon Lezion, Ikea Israel is already planning a third store to open in Haifa in 2011. According to Ikea Israel general manager Shlomi Gabay, Ikea Israel's long-range plan, with the approval of Ikea International, is to have a network of stores across the country. An in-depth survey conducted by Ikea Israel indicated that the establishment of a store in Haifa would increase the company's annual sales by NIS 250m. In other Ikea news, Romi Gil-Halifa has been appointed manager of Ikea Netanya, replacing Erez Pitel, who held the position for the past two years. She joined Ikea in 2000 as head of the showroom design team and was closely involved in planning Ikea's first branch in Netanya. IT MAY have been his own decision, or there may have been some firm input from his mother, but soon after his appointment as CEO of the Ted Arison Foundation, Jason Arison decided to appoint Shulamit de Pries as his deputy. De Pries has been working with the Arison Foundation for nine years in various capacities. In announcing the appointment, Jason Arison attributed much of the foundation's success to de Pries, and Shari Arison, who chairs the foundation, was equally generous in expressing appreciation. The Ted Arison Foundation was established in the 1980s in Miami, Florida. In 1991, when Arison returned to Israel with some of his family members, he and his daughter decided that the Arison Foundation would contribute to Israeli causes in the fields of health, education, research, child welfare, the disabled, disadvantaged sectors of the population, culture, art, et al. Shari Arison took over the running of the foundation after her father's death. The Ted Arison Foundation has contributed tens of millions of dollars to causes in Israel and abroad. CHABAD NEWS Service reports that in response to the evolution of a society that prefers plastic to cash, a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, has installed an ATM machine-of-sorts that allows congregants to donate to the institution with the swipe of a charge card. The new device at the Lubavitch Golden Rose Synagogue - which officials believe to be the first such terminal that dispenses money to Jewish causes in this fashion - also allows users to deposit Ukrainian currency and direct the funds to the program or fund of their choice. To enable congregants and others to give to charity in this fashion, officials at the synagogue partnered with PrivatBank to create the unique machine, which looks like an ATM but allows people to charge their contributions to their credit cards. Installed in the synagogue's hallway, the device does not function on Shabbat, when handling money is prohibited by Halacha. According to Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community director Viacheslav Brez, other machines could soon be installed at other community institutions across the city.