ONE of the pioneers and a long-time leading figure of Israel's hotel industry has passed away. Samo Federmann, who together with his late brother Yekutiel Federmann founded the Dan Hotel chain, was the first president of the Israel Hotel Association and in 1988 became the first Israeli to be elected president of the International Hotel Association, died over the weekend at age 89. Federmann was so popular in hotel circles worldwide, that even most Arab states did not oppose his election. The German-born Federmann brothers, who were active figures in illegal immigration in the pre-State era, used to physically pull illegal immigrants out of the sea near their flagship hotel, the Tel Aviv Dan. In addition to their hotel activities, the brothers were prominently linked to the Israel-Germany Chamber of Commerce. Samo Federmann remained involved in the Dan chain's activities until his final days. ACTING Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ehud Olmert has appointed Ozer Berkowitz to head the wages and labor agreements division at the Finance Ministry. Berkowitz, 52, holds degrees in political science and management. He has held several executive positions in government offices. At the start of his career, he managed the VAT division for Safed, Tiberias and Nazareth, as well as the Haifa Customs Tax bureau. From there, he continued to rise in the ranks until he became second in command in the Taxation Authority. The appointment has been ratified by the Civil Service Commission. ISRAELI expatriates Swiss-based Bruce Rappaport and American-based Haim Saban along with American businessman Daniel Abrahams were among the largest contributors to Shimon Peres' failed election campaign for the Labor leadership. The two expats, who have considerable business interests in Israel and who are also generous philanthropists, contributed $100,000 each. Abrahams was more generous with a $120,000 contribution. The contributions were included in a list of donations to candidates running in primaries made public by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who appears to be working overtime to expose irregularities and violations of the law. The sums received by Peres were in excess of what is legally permissible, and although he received more financial aid than any other politician, he was certainly not the only one to cross the red line. Others included Silvan Shalom, Uzi Landau and Moshe Feiglin. FORMER finance and justice minister Dan Meridor has been elected by the Board of Governors of Netanya Academic College to serve as chairman of the College's Strategic Dialogue Center, an international think tank whose members include present and former world leaders. Meridor replaces Labor MK Danny Yatom who is completing his term of office, and is a candidate for the next Knesset. Meridor, who was a long-time Likud MK, and subsequently one of the founders of the short-lived Center Party, is a lawyer by profession. He held ministerial posts in the governments of Yitzhak Shamir, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and was cabinet secretary in the government of Menachem Begin. He is also a former chairman of the Knesset Fopreign Affairs and Defense Committee. BUSINESS tycoon Lev Leviev is gradually incorporating members of his family into key positions in his various enterprises. Only a month after appointing his daughter Tzivia Leviev-Elazarov as vice president of marketing and manager of the malls division of Africa Israel, Leviev has appointed another daughter Rutie Leviev-Yelizarov as general manager of the Ramat Aviv mall. The two sisters replace Benny Cohen, who held both positions over the past eight years. BANK Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama and general manager Tzvi Ziv are making it a tradition to combine banking with art and philanthropy. For the seventh time in a relatively short period, they are turning the bank's headquarters into a gallery of Israeli art. Proceeds from the works on sale will go towards the Lea Rabin Memorial Task Force in the Fight against AIDS. The exhibition, featuring the works of several hundred artists, opens this Friday, January 20 at 9 a.m. at 63 Yehuda Halevi Street, Tel Aviv. SUPERSOL which recently participated in a fund-raising drive with Variety is now turning its attention to Latet in a national campaign to provide food for the needy. Supersol general manager Ami Rosenhaus announced the campaign this week and said Latet volunteers would be stationed at Supersol branches throughout the country to distribute leaflets of most required food products to shoppers, who will be asked to include one or more of these items in their shopping carts. The extra items will be paid for at the checkout counter and then deposited in special boxes designated for the needy. IT had all the trappings of a publicity gimmick, but considering that all over the world top fashion designers give their names to any number of furnishing, furniture, accessory, and cosmetic items, there was nothing amiss in ID Design's decision to ask 18 Israeli fashion designers to 'clothe' their chairs. Basically, each designer was presented with the same kind of classic, heavy square lounge chair and was asked to decorate it as he or she saw fit. In some cases, the look remained classic, and it was just the color and the texture of the upholstery fabric that changed. Some designers were adventurous and used bold prints or two sets of monochromes to cover the chairs, and some even added frills and side pockets. Among the participating designers were Galit Levy, Dorit Sadeh, Sasson Kedem, Hagit Tessa, Ronen Chen, Raziella Gersho, Ron Mendelman, Mirit Weinstock and other well-known names. Participating fashion chains were Castro and Lilamist. What was interesting was to see how one basic product could undergo so many changes and look so different.