INDEPENDENCE DAY guests have already begun to check in at the Tel Aviv Hilton, which like most other hotels in Israel, or at least in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, anticipates record occupancies during Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations scheduled for the end of the week. Most hotels in and between the two cities are fully booked, but not everyone coming to Israel at this time, wants it known that they are in the country. Hilton Public Relations director Motti Verses was placed in an awkward position last week after circulating photos and text about an international figure from the world of finance, who after posing for photos decided to play coy. Verses had to phone everyone whom he had e-mailed to ask them to please refrain from using the material. IT IS an interesting coincidence that at the same time that Yad Vashem is showing its 'My Homeland' exhibition in tribute to Holocaust survivors who played an essential role in Israel's cultural, economic and homeland security development, in which the largest amount of space is devoted to fashion icon Lea Gottlieb, the founder and chief designer for many years of Gottex, the beachwear company that put Israel on the international fashion map, the fashion and textile division of the Israel Manufacturers Association is hosting a fashion design convention. The convention organized for May 15 will be held at the MediaTech Design Center Holon and is expected to host some 500 key figures from the country's fashion industry as well as several major designers from abroad. For several years, mainly the 1970s and 1980s, Israel organized an Israel Fashion Week twice a year that attracted buyers from around the globe. But as production costs increased, and Israel found it impossible cost-wise to compete with cheap labor countries such as China and India, the fortunes of the industry began to wane. Several manufacturers found it advantageous to move most of their production facilities to Jordan , Egypt , China and beyond. This was in part due to the loss of Palestinian workers who used to service manufacturers from cottage industries. However as hostilities increased, and the situation became so dangerous that Israelis were forbidden from entering Palestinian villages, manufacturers could no longer rely on Palestinian workers and had to go abroad. Now there is a new move towards restoring pride in the Made in Israel label. Among the participants of the convention are Fox CEO Harel Wizel, Lee Cooper CEO Gidi Goldfinger, designers Sigal Dekel and Kedem Sasson who have their own retail chains with their brand-names and many others. Whether this will also lead to a revival of Israel Fashion Week remains to be seen. LEADING INDUSTRIALISTS, especially those associated with fashion and textiles, will be flying into Israel from around the world for the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of Shenkar College that will convene on May 27 under the chairmanship of Dana Azrieli, whose father noted architect and real estate developer David Azrieli will also be in attendance. Among the local personalities who will also attend the sessions will be Shalom Zeidler, Dov Lautman, Sammy Segol, Gad Propper, Zvi Yemini, Gabi Rotter, Micha Honigman, controversial architect Zvi Hecker, sculptor Danny Karavan and others. WAY BACK in the 1960s and 1970s Elite used to produce a special chocolate bar with the Shekem label sold exclusively in army canteens under the brand name of Hayal v'Hayelet (soldier boy and soldier girl). As part of the company's celebrations in honor of Israel's 60th anniversary, Elite, which is now part of the Strauss Group, decided to take a nostalgia trip both on the taste buds and on the road and temporarily re-introduced the legendary chocolate bars which so many people now in their fifties and sixties remember fondly from their days in the IDF. To create an aura of authenticity, Elite hired a genuine 1949 bus from the Egged, adorned it with old fashioned advertising, and set out on the road covering the length and breadth of Israel as it distributed chocolate bars to soldiers. Ofra Strauss who heads the Strauss Group, and who is involved in a number of projects for soldiers' welfare, joined the bandwagon along with Sigal Shiloni who is the director of the company's leisure and pleasure division. AFTER MUCH talk about developing the electric 'green' car that runs on batteries rather than petroleum and exudes zero pollution, the prototype is ready for a test drive. Following much initiative of Shai Agassi, the very personable CEO of Project Better Place, the car will be test driven on Sunday, May 11 at 12 noon at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds and Conference Center. Agassi will provide updates on the company's work to bring electric vehicles to Israel . The report will include the results of a consumer survey taken to estimate the potential demand for electric vehicles in Israel. President Shimon Peres, who is a great fan of Agassi, spoke about the importance of the electric car at a media conference with the Foreign Press Association on Monday, and said that it should be on the road in Israel by 2010. HEWLETT PACKARD announced two new appointments - one in Israel and the other in the US. Israel Katzir, 38, has been appointed manager of Telecom and Financial Services. He will be responsible for sales and solutions. Katzir has been with HP for ten years most recently as head of projects. He is an alumni of the Haifa Technion with a first degree in industrial engineering and management and an MBA from Tel Aviv University. Ziki Kuly has been appointed general manager of HP's Industrial Printing Division in the US. He began his high-tech career with Scitex Vision in Israel seven years ago. For the past four years he was marketing manager and engaged in sales promotion. He holds a BA in political science, communications and management. KRAVITZ BUSINESS has appointed Yigal Oren, 42, as its deputy manager. He was previously the manager of the Crocker Chain of Stores, and before that business development manager for Fox. He launched Fox Men and oversaw the launch of Fox in Russia.