Business Scene

Rami Levy recently opened his 16th supermarket, his first in the Dan region.

Rami Levy 88 248 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Rami Levy 88 248
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IT'S REASONABLY safe to assume that all the Luzzattos in the world - especially if they're Jewish - are related. Some of them were very famous and some still are. Although they lived for centuries in Italy, the family lineage actually goes back to Lausitz, Germany, from where the family took its surname. In 1869 Ricardo Luzzatto founded a law firm in Milan. His descendants moved to Israel, where his great-grandson, Kfir, continues the family tradition of commitment to intellectual and industrial property. Luzzatto & Luzzatto is one of the largest patent, trademark and design law firms in Israel. It provides intellectual-property services to clients throughout the world. Edgar Luzzatto, 95, the founder of Luzzatto & Luzzatto, has decided to auction off some of the family treasures, which should excite local collectors. The items on sale are from his own home and have been on view at Hammersite, 40 Tagore Street, Ramat Aviv, since last Thursday. The sale is tonight, Tuesday, at 8 p.m. Collectively, the items are worth millions of dollars. The Luzzatto family can trace its lineage to the 16th century. Of course, the items do not go back quite that far, but some of them were crafted in the 18th century and have been handed down from one generation to the next. Other items, such as the Louis XV furniture suite, were part of the dowry that Fanny Luzzatto brought to her husband, Mario Luzzatto, upon their marriage circa 1820. LEADING BUSINESS people regularly address university and college students around the country. But they are not always involved in major news events and may not excite as much interest as Rami Levy, proprietor of the Shivuk Hashikma supermarket chain, which prides itself on its low prices. Levy recently opened his 16th supermarket, his first in the Dan region. The opening garnered extra publicity because of his offer to rescue the Of Haemek chicken factory in the Galilee, which would save some 200 jobs. Speaking recently to business-management and marketing students at the Jerusalem College of Technology's Machon Lev, Levy said that in addition to wanting to save the jobs of people who had little or no chance of securing employment elsewhere, he wanted to be in a position to reduce the price of poultry and increase sales. If the government takes him up on his offer and provides matching funds to keep Of HaEmek in business, Levy intends to open more branches in Gush Etzion and Beit Shemesh to better serve the haredi market. His offer to purchase Of Haemek was not analogous to the situation of another beleaguered factory, Pri Hagalil, Levy said. He had been motivated by two considerations: the plight of the workers and the potential for expansion. Levy could already visualize the opening of a chain of 30 stores, for which the operational costs in relation to revenues would be marginal, because his company does not pay exaggerated salaries to managers and deputy managers. ISRAEL CORP. chairman Idan Ofer this week received the Bar-Ilan University Business Forum citation from Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun at a reception at the ambassador's residence in Herzliya Pituah. The event was attended by some 130 of the leading figures in Israel's business world, all of whom are members of the Business Forum, which is headed by Justice Minister-designate and former finance minister Yaakov Neeman. Ofer joined a prestigious list that includes Jacob Frenkel, Moshe Wertheim, David Azrieli, Meir Shtir, Ofra Strauss and Ya'acov Nimrodi. He was selected in recognition of his successful industrial development, his business initiative and his contribution to the improvement of Israel's image. IN OTHER Bar-Ilan news, Citibank Israel CEO Ralph Shaaya, recently delivered a lecture at a university conference about the Israeli economy in the shadow of the global economic crisis. In contrast to previous economic crises, he said, this was the outcome of faulty strategy on the part of the global financial network, as a result of which, recovery would take longer than it has in the past. The best way to emerge from the crisis, he said, was to restructure the global financial network, have stricter regulatory control and greater transparency. With regard to Israel, Shaaya said three measures should be implemented as quickly as possible: restore fluidity to capital markets, with the help of government intervention; reduce taxes to encourage investment; invest in technologies geared toward alternative energy, water purification, medicine and other fields that would attract long-term investments. GERMAN AMBASSADOR Harald Kindermann and Bavarian Minister for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology Martin Zeil will host a reception this week to mark the opening in Israel of the Bavarian Economic Bureau. Germany is already one of Israel's best trading partners, and that situation can only improve with the presence in Israel of the bureau. RETIREMENT IS a word that is not in the lexicon of the family of Sarah Wolf, 87. She is the proprietor of the famous Aviv Matza company, which has been in business for 65 years. Wolf founded the company together with her late husband, Eliezer, who died last year at the age of 90 and managed the plant until his dying day. Yediot Aharonot ran a feature on Wolf this week, noting that she continues to come to work every day and has an eagle eye for everything that's going on in the plant. Wolf was literally born into the matza-baking business. Her great-grandfather founded the first professional matza bakery in Eretz Israel, setting up his concern in Tel Aviv's Neveh Tzedek neighborhood. As a small child she used to help out in the family enterprise. Her father was a partner in the creation of Aviv Matzot. Wolf's sons, David and Noam, are today largely responsible for Aviv's operations. David's son, Ro'i, and Noam's daughter, Michal, are also in the business. Ro'i is a professional pastry chef who studied in France, and Michal is responsible for maintaining the quality of Aviv's range of products.