WITH ISRAEL Independence Day on the horizon, the media has begun to occupy itself with what the stars of the entertainment industry will receive by way of remuneration from municipalities around the country for working on a night or day that is a holiday for most other people. Figures published by Ma'ariv this week came on the heels of the announcement of a meager rise in the minimum wage, the demand by the Labor Party that the minimum wage be raised to the equivalent of $1,000 per month and the fact that in some municipalities regular employees have been reduced to beggars because their salaries have not been paid for months on end. The really big money is going to Ethnix, which is fair considering that when you're dealing with a pop group, the money has to be split in several directions. For their performance in Haifa, Ethnix will receive NIS 100,000. People on a minimum wage get less than half of that in a whole year. One of the lowest payouts will be to Liron Lev, one of the graduates of 'A Star is Born,' who will receive NIS 8,400 from the Municipality of Givatayim. What is surprising is that someone as famous as Michal Amdursky will receive a paltry NIS 14,000 in Rishon Lezion. The tariff varies not only from entertainer to entertainer but also between night and day performances. Kiryat Shmona wanted to have Ninette Taib for its nighttime show, but balked at having to shell out NIS 51,300. The fee was reduced to NIS 30,300 for a daytime performance. Demands of other stars include: Shlomi Shabat NIS 58,950, Zvika Pick NIS 54,667, Sarit Hadad NIS 53,278, Eyal Golan NIS 48,200, Maya Buskila NIS 32,600 and Roni Superstar NIS 23,300. Some of these amounts appear to be very strange, but that's because they're translated from dollars. PRE-PESSAH sales notwithstanding, shoppers in Tel Aviv's super trendy upscale Kikar Hamedina, know that with the exception of one or two enterprises that charge regular prices, everyone in this wide circle of stores charges an arm and a leg for merchandise. In Kikar Hamedina, the shopper pays not only for quality, but also for the brand name. This is a big brand name street for internationally famous fashion labels such as Lacroix, Valentino, Escada, Dolce and Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferro, Gucci and many others. The new guy on the block is Giorgio Armani who, although he's been in the fashion business for more than four decades and has had his own company for just over 30 years, was not fully represented in Kikar Hamedina. That oversight has been remedied by franchisees Dov Pollak, Orna Dankner, Vered Dotan and Ronit Silon who, at an investment of NIS 2 million, last week opened the doors of Armani's flagship store in Israel. WITH FOOD prices rising all the time, sausages of the hot dog variety continue to be among the most affordable meat products for many households. Aware of this, Zoglobek, one of Israel's most veteran producers of processed meat products has invested NIS 7 million in the production and packaging of a new range of sausages with choices including sausages made from a shoulder of beef, the red meat of Turkey, and spiced or unspiced breast of chicken. According to Zoglobek marketing manager Tal Lazer, development of the new product line took approximately a year. It wasn't just a matter of trial and error tastings until they got what they wanted, there were also technological and nutritional considerations to take into account, with ongoing consultations with experts from Israel and abroad. The end result is what Zoglobek has labeled "Authentic Sausages" or in Hebrew Naknikiot Amitiot, which are sold in 400 gram packages at NIS 17.99 each. THE JERUSALEM Gate Hotel at the entrance to the capital has been sold to American entrepreneur and investor Morris Wilner, who also has purchased the adjacent Center One shopping mall. Wilner has numerous investments in Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular. A resident of Philadelphia, Wilner was the developer or partner in numerous residential and commercial projects in Philadelphia, as well as New Jersey, New York and Florida. In addition to his many business interests, he is a member of the executive committee of AIPAC, and chairman of the Friends of Elwyn, which helps people with special needs. Four people referred by Elwyn are employed at the Jerusalem Gate Hotel. Even though the hotel has recently undergone major renovations, Wilner intends to upgrade it by expanding on the improvements. Aside from the physical aspect, general manager Rachel Goldberg, since taking up her position at the hotel approximately a year ago, has placed a lot of emphasis on courtesy and service. A veteran hotelier, who previously managed the Neve Ilan hotel and more recently the Mount Zion Hotel, Goldberg is also a former chairman of the Jerusalem Hotels Association. The Jerusalem Gate Hotel is one of the hotels that have served as temporary homes to Jewish families evacuated from Gaza. Sensitive to the trauma they have experienced, Goldberg and her staff have done everything possible for their comfort and convenience. As empathetic as she is to their situation, Goldberg would like to see a lot more genuine tourists in the hotel. So would Wilner, which is why he is investing in additional improvements. CLAL FINANCIAL Insurance has announced several new appointments. Omer Ben Pazi has been appointed deputy manager of the finance division with the rank of senior vice president. Ronit Malach has been appointed chief accountant with the rank of vice president. Shai Compel will be responsible for the financial system and will be the comptroller of Clal Finances Investment House. Tikva Arnon will be responsible for the CFI comptroller's division. CONTACT, A company specializing in SMS solutions has announced the appointments of Avi Tal, 34, as vice president marketing and Ido Yaari, 30, as manager of cellular content in place of Tal, who served in the position for a year. Yaari, a newcomer to Content, has a great deal of marketing experience and previously worked for McCann Ericson. IN ADDITION to his responsibilities as general manager of Dizenhaus and Unitours, Aryeh Or, will also serve as general manager of Clal Tourism in accordance with a decision by the company's board of directors. Or replaces Shlomo Preis, who announced his retirement after 23 years in various positions with Clal Tourism, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IDB Group.