FOR WELL over a decade, Shari Arison, the wealthiest woman in Israel, has been advocating the importance of philanthropy. She has certainly put her own money where her mouth is, disbursing many millions of dollars annually through the Ted Arison Foundation named for her late father, to numerous and varied projects in Israel. Arison has also encouraged the companies that she controls to increasingly take on corporate responsibility to improve the quality of life for less fortunate Israelis. Her mutual responsibility philosophy was translated into the founding of Matan, a goodwill organization, whose large board of directors includes many of Israel's major financiers and industrialists. Matan is also affiliated with the International Youth Foundation. The organization recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with an awards ceremony at Tel Aviv University where Jacob Schimmel, chairman of the Matan board awarded Arison with a special citation in recognition of her foresight, her pioneering spirit and her successful marketing of one human being's concern for another. Matan co-chairman Avi Fisher, who inter alia is deputy chairman of IDB Holdings, announced that in the decade of its existence Matan had recruited the heads of more than a hundred business enterprises which had contributed more than NIS 200 million and more than 95,000 of voluntary activity through some 800 social welfare organizations throughout the country. Among the board members of Matan is empire builder Nochi Dankner, chairman of the IDB Group, who is not only a dynamic businessman but also a generous philanthropist. Dankner and Fisher, through their company Israir are organizing a special consciousness raising event to mark the 50th birthday of Ron Arad, the Israel Air Force navigator who has been missing in action since 1986. The special event, details of which have yet to be revealed, will take place at Ben Gurion Airport on May 5 under the slogan 'Ron Arad - Born to be Free'. PEOPLE BROUGHT up in Britain will be familiar with the saying that if you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. This philosophy is at the root of an in-flight campaign conducted by Bank Hapoalim and El Al to raise funds for Aleh which cares for brain damaged children and Alut, the Israel Society for Autistic Children. The campaign is based on the premise that most people, unless they make all payments by credit card when traveling abroad, will have some left-over coins in their pockets and purses which will be of absolutely no use to them in Israel other than as a souvenir of where they've been. A brief video screened shortly before landing in Tel Aviv informs passengers of the big things their collective small change can do to benefit the children in the care of Aleh and Alut. Additional information is available in El Al's in-flight magazine 'Atmosphere'. Cabin crews distribute envelopes and passengers fill them with their coins. The money collected is then passed along to Bank Hapoalim which in turn sorts out the various currencies and translates them into shekels which are equally distributed to the two organizations.