Business Scene

EL AL Chairman Izzy Borovich and CEO Haim Romano hosted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his entourage of city counselors.

Antonio Villaraigosa 88 (photo credit: )
Antonio Villaraigosa 88
(photo credit: )
ALL MAJOR hotels in Israel have hosted celebrity guests, but that doesn't prevent them from getting nervous each time a new celebrity graces their premises. Kristin Davis, one of the four stars of Sex and the City, is currently in Israel to do a photo shoot for Ahava Dead Sea cosmetics, and the staff at the Meridian Hotel on the Dead Sea and the David Citadel Jerusalem are really going through their paces to ensure that everything is to her liking. Davis, who plays Charlotte, the well brought-up socialite in both the television series and the feature film, was chosen by Ahava because she symbolizes quality, which is the message that Ahava wants to put out about its products. Quality is expensive. For instance, Davis is being put up at the $1,000-per-night presidential suite at the Meridian, plus a personal assistant and a personal chef. Davis arrived in Israel on Monday with an entourage that included her regular personal assistant, a personal make-up artist and a personal chef. With all the hoo-hah surrounding her, one can only imagine the fuss that would be made if Ahava had signed up Sarah Jessica Parker. IN THE course of a crowded 24 hour visit to Israel, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met over cocktails and dinner with members of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce, and was welcomed by chairman Chemi Peres and his deputy Danny Ayalon, a former Israel Ambassador to the US . Aside from wanting to put his finger on Israel's political pulse, Richardson, who is close to US presidential candidate Barak Obama, wanted to improve business relations, and also wanted to reassure Israelis who are concerned that relations with America might deteriorate if Obama becomes president. "He's great for America and he's great for Israel," said Richardson. Richardson is not the only prominent American visitor to sing Obama's praises in Israel. Another is eminent, prize-winning journalist Marvin Kalb, who, in an interview with Israel Television's Yaacov Ahimeir, was also confident that Israelis have nothing to fear from Obama and that he is the best future president for the United States . EL AL Chairman Izzy Borovich and CEO Haim Romano hosted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his entourage of city counselors, along with Gina Marie Lindsey, the general manager of the LA International Airport. Villaraigosa expressed the hope that - in view of the success that El Al enjoys with its current five weekly flights to LA - the company would increase the number of round trip scheduled flights to meet increased demand. In reviewing tourist traffic between LA and Tel Aviv Romano, agreed with the mayor that the growth would justify additional flights. Borovich and Romano presented Villaraigosa with a model plane of the new El Al 777. Borovich went so far as to guarantee him that if he placed the model plane on his table it would bring him a lot of votes in the upcoming elections. The Israeli expatriate population in LA is quite large, and so is the Jewish population in general. SAKAL SPORT completed the first quarter of 2008 with a sales turnover of NIS 68 million, representing a 42 percent increase over the same period in 2007. Net profit before taxes was NIS 8,197,000. Solly Sakal, one of the proprietors of Sakal Sport, attributed the impressive increase largely to the popularity of the international brands marketed by Sakal, but also to the company's expansion policy. During 2007, Sakal opened 32 new retail outlets and plans to open another 25 in 2008. Some of the stores are in partnership with Brill. Sakal said that the high turnover experienced in the first quarter, was not a fluke, but more in the nature of a trend which continued into April and May of this year.