THERE USED to be a saying "Go West young man," but since the start of the conflict in the North, North is the direction in which individuals, organizations, institutions and companies of goodwill are heading - It seems that everyone wants to do something to help.
ISRACARD CEO Haim Krupsky, mindful that events in the North have negatively impacted on the finances of residents in the area, has announced that Isracard credit card holders living in communities on the confrontation line can, if they so desire, have their charges deferred for a month - meaning that money for payments made by credit card that would normally be taken out of their bank accounts in August can be deferred to September. Anyone wishing to take advantage of the offer can call 1-800-366-366. Remember the offer applies only to specific communities.
STRAUSS-ELITE has pulled out all the stops to bring supplies to soldiers and civilians in the North. Last Friday, company CEO Giora Bar-Dea sent eight huge refrigerated trucks to the North to distribute food products to people in Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya, Karmiel and Safed who, due to the situation, could not go out to shop. Company employees from the Center and South of the country have also gone to the North in a voluntary capacity to temporarily take over the jobs of their northern colleagues who are busy tending to the needs of their families and are unable to work.
UNDER THE leadership of Hogla Kimberly CEO Arik Schor, the company's division managers got together in Hogla's logistic center to plan how the company would get its products to small outlying sales points in the North. Unwilling to ask regular delivery drivers to risk their lives, Schor drove the truck and some of the managers who went with him distributed the merchandise.
JOINING FORCES with the Nature Preservation Authority, Danya Cebus CEO Ofer Kotler made available NIS 120,000 for two days of recreational activities in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park for children of the North. Danya Cebus is part of the Africa Israel Group, which has involved itself in the war effort in many different ways.
AFTER GIVING NIS 10 million to Magen David Adom to cover its deficit and setting up an enormous camp for refugees from the north in Netzanim, controversial businessman Arkady Gaydamak is setting up a second camp slightly south of his initial endeavor. Maintenance of the two camps is costing Gaydamak well over a million shekels a day - but rather than hold back, he keeps doing and giving more.
SHAMROCK HOLDINGS was not about to allow Hizbullah-launched Katyushas to rain on its parade. Last week as Katyusha rockets roared over Kibbutz Naot Mordechai in the Galilee where the famous Teva Naot sandals first saw the light of day, Shamrock announced that, through its Naama subsidiary, it had paid NIS 130m. for 66 percent of Teva Naot. Concurrent with the Shamrock deal, Haim Geyer of IES Electronic Industries entered into an agreement with Shamrock for an option to acquire 15% of Teva Naot from Naama. Teva Naot's sandals are well known worldwide and 70% of the company's production goes to export. Total sales in 2005 came to NIS 110m., with a net profit of NIS 22m.
BEFORE THE fighting started in the North, the Nakash brothers, who own the Orchidea Holiday Village in Eilat, received the green light from the Israel Land Administration to build a similar 400-room facility on the shores of the Galilee. However, the project may be held up or even cancelled not only by the war but by a petition by 133 environmental activists and scientists who believe that construction of a hotel complex on the site would be harmful to the terrain. Meanwhile, the brothers have another hotel project on their books - not a holiday village this time, but a boutique hotel in Jaffa on the site of the old Kishle Police Station whose future guests probably won't mind being locked up for the night.
FOR A brief moment, it looked as there would be a breath of fresh air at the Israel Broadcasting Authority with the announcement that Eitan Cabel, the minister responsible for the IBA, had nominated entrepreneurial wizard Erel Margalit, a managing partner in Jerusalem Venture Partners. to serve as chairman of the IBA. The announcement met with opposition in some quarters but, in general, it generated excitement, because Margalit, 45, is known to be a highly motivated person who usually does what he sets out to do. The nomination had not yet been confirmed by the cabinet but was expected to go through smoothly. However, in a surprise move last week, Margalit wrote to Cabel stating that he was withdrawing his candidacy so as to avoid a possible conflict of interests. Margalit is the mover and shaker behind an animation studio in the capital, and he intends to be fully involved in its development.
AFTER SOME of the exciting things he's done in the field, such as investigating the smuggling of narcotics and attempts at money laundering, his new job as the representative of the Israel Customs Authority in Brussels may be a little tame for Uri Brok, 39, who replaces Oded Brok, who is returning to Israel after five years in the post. In recent years, the Customs Authority representative also has served as the representative of the Finance Ministry. His job is to strengthen cooperation between the Israel Customs Authority and those of other countries, as well as fostering heightened cooperation with foreign economic organizations and institutions. Brok, who has a doctorate in criminology and a BA in social sciences, has for the past few years headed the international division of the Customs Administration.
LIGAD HAS announced the appointment of Ohad Platzmann, 29, as product manager for portable computers products. He will be in close touch with suppliers and will be responsible for acquisitions, the product know-how training of sales personnel and support services for the firm's clients.
TAMBOUR PAINTS has appointed Eitan Weizman as its new deputy manager for marketing. Weizman spent the previous three years in the forefront of Cellcom's marketing division and has held important marketing positions elsewhere. He has a BA in economics from the University of Haifa and an MBA from the Edinburgh Business School.
PROUDLY SPORTING a feather in its cap is Tzora Global, which won a tender published by Intel, one of the world's leading hi-tech companies. As far as is known, this is the first time that Intel, which demands international quality standards, has approved an office furniture system designed, developed and manufactured in Israel. According to the contract, Tzora Global will provide Intel with hundreds of work stations - some of them modular - for open space systems. Tzora Global CEO Eli Granit said he saw the arrangement with Intel as a strategic move in the advancement of Tzora Global's international reputation and an expression of the confidence that Intel has placed in the company.