LEADING FIGURES from the business world, academia and the film and television industry mingled last week at the monthly gathering of business leaders and academics within the framework of the friends of Tel Aviv University. Under the umbrella title of 'The muse is never silent' discussions focused on the artistic and financial success of Israeli cinema. Israeli films are being nominated for prestigious international prizes which they occasionally win, in addition to which Israeli films are screened at major film festivals all over the world. Among the speakers was Katriel Schory, director-general of the Israel Film Fund, who reviewed Israel's film industry, the production difficulties it had overcome over the years and the pride that it had brought to Israel in recent years. The Israel Film Fund receives numerous requests for financial support throughout the year every year, he said, and is unable to accommodate all the requests, but in those cases where it has been able to help, the end results are usually of a very high standard. Many of the quality productions were by TAU students and graduates, he said. Amos Shapiro, President of the friends of TAU noted that research indicates that alongside Israel's high tech and security industries, the film industry is beginning to make an important contribution to Israel's economy. IT WAS music to the ears of Eli Zoglobek, CEO of the Zoglobek's meat processing plant in Nahariya, when Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon, in the course of a tour of the plant, told him that he does the family shopping and comes to Nahariya every Friday to do so. His rounds include a visit to the Zoglobek deli store where his purchases invariably include pastrami. It's doubtful however, that the minister has ever seen a sausage quite the size of the one that his host showed him in the factory. SOME 200 industrialists will today, Tuesday, attend a symposium on how to save on electricity. The symposium, initiated by the Energy Committee of the Israel Manufacturers Association under the chairmanship of Moshe Cohen, will be held at the Avenue, Airport City. REGARDLESS of whatever new government is in power, the Israeli-Palestinian Business Forum will continue to encourage joint business ventures and trade between Israelis and Palestinians. Towards this end, the Israeli-Palestinian Business Forum has introduced The Guide to Investment, Trade and Cross-Border Business between Israel and Palestine, with the aim of providing both Israeli and Palestinian small and medium-sized enterprises as well as international investors with practical information on how to conduct and manage bilateral commerce between the two nations. The uniqueness of this particular guide lies in two distinct features: first, it directly provides its readers with information on how to conduct joint business ventures between Israel and Palestine; and second, it is the first guide to devote considerable attention to details concerning the movement and access of goods and people across and within the Palestinian areas. The need for this latter feature stems from the fact that Palestinian business people have repeatedly testified that one of the primary problems they face in doing business concerns issues of movement and access. Information related to Palestinians is primarily restricted to those living in the West Bank. The guide is a project co-organized with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and supported by a grant from the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Washington, D.C. THE FLUCTUATING rate of exchange has resulted in a 10.5 percent increase in exports in dollar terms and a 7.5% decrease in shekel value in Kibbutz Industry Association exports for 2008 according to Shlomit Arbel, head of the KIA's economic division. Dollar exports amounted to $3.4 billion, which when translated into shekels came to NIS 12.3b. Aside from direct exports, overseas marketing by individual members of the KIA resulted in additional export sales totaling $1.1b. In response to the downturn in shekel earnings the KIA is calling on the government's Investment Center to immediately increase the budgetary allocation to KIA and to inject at least NIS 1.5b. into the Association so as to create new job opportunities, to implement new programs and to prevent dismissal of existing employees. The KIA is an umbrella organization representing more than 300 factories and companies operating in kibbutzim throughout the country. DOMINO'S PIZZA, which has 28 branches across Israel, has appointed Daphna Farber as manager of the chain. Farber, who has an MBA from Tel Aviv University, where she focused on marketing, also has a degree in political communications. She will be responsible for managing the company's marketing division, its advertising and its public relations. Prior to joining Domino's Pizza, Farber, 35, worked for Tnuva, where she was in charge of marketing several different products, and before that she worked in the advertising industry. MAKHTESHIM AGAN'S President and CEO Avraham Bigger, who is the former CEO of Paz Oil Companies, has been named by ICIS International, the online magazine of the chemical industry worldwide, as one of the 40 most influential people in the world of chemicals. He is the only Israeli manager mentioned in the list. Bigger, who has been with Makhteshim Agan for just over two years, introduced efficiency measures which up until the end of 2008 saved the company some $100 million in operating costs. GLOBAL MELTDOWN notwithstanding, international fairs and exhibitions continue to take place and Israel continues to participate. Esther Eldan, CEO of Kitan Industries, along with several other company executives, went to Germany to participate in the opening of the Heimtextil Fair, one of the more important international fairs dealing with home textiles. According to Eldan, Kitan's exports to Europe are in the range of $120 million, and despite the economic situation, the forecast is for a 10% increase in sales to Europe in 2009. Kitan which is the Israeli franchisee for Esprit, has signed a contract which enables it to continue with the franchise for another five years. MULTILOCK CEO Shimon Shekel has been appointed head of the Europe, Middle East and Africa division of the Assa Abloy Group, one of the world's largest producers of locks of all kinds. The EMEA division is the largest within the group, generating sales of $8.5 billion in 2008. In the five years that Shekel served as CEO of Multilock, the company's revenue grew by 300%, to NIS 450 million in 2008. SHENKAR COLLEGE of Engineering and Design hosted the fourth international conference on nanotechnology this week, with the focus on plastic and rubber. Co-host of the conference was the plastic and rubber division of the Israel Manufacturers Association. Israeli participants, in addition to those from Europe and the US included, Shenkar President Prof. Amotz Weinberg, Prof. Shmuel Koenig and Dr. Anna Dotan of Shenkar and Meir Bar El, deputy director-general of the IMA and head of its plastic and rubber division.