"I'M NOT part of the pessimistic approach to the economic crisis," President Shimon Peres said last week at a joint news conference with visiting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. He and Napolitano were "old enough to be serious optimists," he said. Peres was averse to comparing what is happening with the economy today to past economies; he was much more in favor of looking forward to future economies in which there would be new opportunities for industry, venture capital, alternative sources of energy, water desalination, biological research and educational systems. Looking at the half-full cup rather than the one that is half-empty, Peres said, "The world is not in crisis; some people are in crisis." An ever-keen advocate for clean energy, Peres expounded on one of his favorite themes: the evils of oil, in that it preys on the poor, it helps to fund terrorism and it pollutes the environment. A quarter of an hour of sun can provide sufficient energy to serve the whole world for a year, he said, adding, "We just have to find the right technology." Convinced that the future holds "new industries that will change our lives," Peres enthused about sun and wind energy and said he could envisage the day when opposition to human embryonic stem-cell research would give way to the realization of the benefits to which all forms of stem-cell research could lead, and this would generate a huge number of new industries based on biological research. ALTHOUGH SOME Jewish Brits are hesitant about advertising their Jewish identities outside their Jewish inner circle, given some of the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist manifestations in Britain, there are others who are proudly Jewish and Zionist - and are taking "Made in Israel" out into the street. Starting December 14, the British Zionist Federation will operate a three-day outdoor Israeli "street market," which will display made-in-Israel products and produce in London. The street market will host 40 exhibitors selling a variety of unique and interesting Israeli products. While similar outdoor fairs are par for the course in this location, as far as organizers are aware, there has never been an Israeli market of this kind. Pitched as "A Taste of Israel," the purpose of the exercise is to make the British public more aware of what Israel has to offer. Although the market itself is a three-day affair, the Zionist Federation will encourage exhibitors to enter into business arrangements with local shops. As far as British Zionist Federation director Alan Aziz is concerned, the timing of the fair couldn't be better, coming just ahead of Hanukka and Christmas. SONOL HAS announced the appointment of Yaron Assael as vice president of engineering. Assael has been with Sonol since 1984 and has held a number of important positions, most recently as manager of the construction, maintenance and engineering division. In his new position, Assael will be responsible for the planning and construction of new service stations and utility stores, along with the upgrading of existing ones, with the aim of giving Sonol a new and enhanced branding based on environmental considerations. He will also act as a consultant to Sonol clients. KAMOR MOTORS CEO Dan Halutz, who was chief of General Staff during the Second Lebanon War, has appointed Israel Ben-Haim as deputy manager of Kamor Vehicles, importers of BMW. Ben-Haim is replacing Zvika Zimmerman, who several weeks ago said he was going into private business. Zimmerman held the post for more than eight years. Ben-Haim, 60, is a former IAF buddy of Halutz's. He stayed with aviation when he doffed his uniform and entered civilian life, serving as CEO of Israir and manager of Ben-Gurion Airport. SOME PEOPLE prefer the security of working for a salary - even a low one - all their lives rather than risking starvation by going out and starting a business of their own. Not so, Iky Bar-Yosef, who up until this week headed the Jerusalem Municipality's tourism department, and Tal Marom, who headed the city's public relations department. The two were heavily involved in the birth and development of Hamshushalayim, a tourism project designed to bring people from out of town to the capital - for a long weekend beginning Thursday - and local residents to cultural venues they had not previously frequented. Bar-Yosef dreamed up the idea when the city was still beset by terrorist attacks. Although he had a lot of support from Mayor Uri Lupolianski (who winds up his tenure tonight) and a small number of City Hall officials, by and large, there was very little enthusiasm, because most people thought it wouldn't work. But Bar-Yosef persevered, and Marom gave the project its name and developed its marketing strategy. This week the two saw the launch of the fourth annual Hamshushalayim and said goodbye to their jobs. They had nursed the project to the stage where it had become a tradition supported by numerous hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, etc. Now they were free to move on - though not out of Jerusalem; Tel Aviv holds no temptations. Marom is going to open her own public relations and marketing firm, while Bar-Yosef is running his own tourism consultation and management company. With the experience and the contacts they acquired at City Hall, neither should have too much trouble.