Business Scene

The Israeli law firm of Firon Bar-Nir & Co Ltd., which operates in Romania, has been accepted as a member of the prestigious international association of vetted law firms Interlaw, thus making

PELEPHONE GENERAL Manager Gil Sharon has reluctantly accepted the resignation of Deputy CFO Shlomo Zohar, who has been appointed Deputy CFO of the Supersol Group. Zohar, 52, has been with Pelephone for the past four years, during which time he also was a member of the company's board and a full partner in its decision making process. Sharon credited Zohar with making a significant contribution to Pelephone's success, especially its recovery and efficiency program. He also praised Zohar for his talent for raising capital to the extent of NIS 1.3 billion from the institutional market and from abroad, which was a key factor in bringing Pelephone to the profitable levels it enjoys today. Effie Rosenahus, General Manager of the Supersol Group said Zohar's appointment will become effective on September 1, when he takes over from Naomi Gold. Zohar, who is married and the father of four, has a Bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA in accountancy and financing from Tel Aviv University. Prior to joining Pelephone, Zohar spent three years as CFO of the Ampa Group. Before that he was with Tadiran for 19 years, working in a number of senior positions. AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR Tim George hosted a reception for a delegation of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange headed by AICE Chairman Albert Dadon, which came to Israel for the opening at the Jerusalem Cinematheque of the AICE Australian Film Festival 2006. Other members of the delegation include Israeli-born AICE fund-raiser Dug Pomeroy, who hadn't been to Israel in 21 years and marveled at the extraordinary changes in the country's development, Megan Simpson-Huberman of the Australian Film Commission, Senator Alan Ferguson, Senator Stephen Conroy and Master Jong Hyuk Kim, a Korean-born internationally recognized exponent of Hapkido who holds a 9th Dan, Black Belt, making him the highest ranked Hapkido Master currently teaching in Australia. He is a former martial arts instructor to the special forces of the South Korean Army, but more importantly, he regards himself as a friend of Israel. Also present at the reception were members of the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce and of Israel's film industry. Israel and Australia recently entered into a joint film-making venture. During its visit the delegation had dinner with Ofra Fuchs, the widow of Ehud Manor, who was a founding member of the AICE Israel Committee. The group also met with media monitors, journalists, government ministers and Members of Knesset, inspected the security fence, about which they were particularly curious, and visited the Golan to get a better understanding of the situation along Israel's northern borders. FINANCE MINISTER Avraham Hirchson met with Israel Bonds President Yehoshua Matza and Chairman David Halpern at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on Monday. Hirchson said in the meeting that the economy was on the right track and that by the 2007 budget, the Government intends to invest resources to cut social gaps in the country. LEADING A large delegation of German business leaders who came to Israel last week for the inaugural meeting the Israel-German Business Council was German Economy Minister Michael Glos, who arrived during a period in which Israelis, who pay sky-high fees for electricity, were suffering a spate of electricity outages. Germans living in the state of Hessen also suffer inflated prices. However, the state government plans to force companies to reduce their prices if they fail to do so of their own initiative by January 1, 2007. Glos told reporters he welcomed the decision. As for the Business Council, its purpose is to boost the already excellent trade relations between Israel and Germany. Bilateral trade in 2005 was in the realm of $4.7 billion, and there are expectations of a 20%-25% increase over the next five years. Germany is Israel's largest trading partner in Europe, and Israel's second largest trading partner in the world, coming second only to the US. BELIEVE IT or not, some people would forsake the glamor of a television environment for that of a dairy. It hasn't quite come to that in the case of Stella Banar Karayoff, 37, but it is a fact that she is leaving her position as research manager at Channel 10 to become become Marketing and Communications Manager at Tnuva Dairies, responsible to Hagit Adler. Prior to joining Channel 10, Banar-Karayoff was responsible for strategic planning at Karet Media and before that was head of media acquisitions at BBDO. At Tnuva, she will be responsible for the overall promotion of Tnuva products, which means that she will still keep her hand in the television business, but from a somewhat different perspective. AFTER 15 years as head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Beilinson Hospital, Prof. Bernardo A. Vidne is stepping down to make way for a successor, Dr. Eyal Porat. Recognized as a world-class surgeon, who has trained a whole generation of surgeons to follow in his footsteps, Vidne will continue to function as a senior surgeon within the department, but will also have more time to devote to research. Porat, 45, is married and the father of three. A graduate of the Faculty of Medicine at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, he was most recently the Medical Director of the Memorial Hermann Institute for Cardiovascular Research and Robotics Technology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. THE ISRAELI law firm of Firon Bar-Nir & Co (Europe) Ltd., which operates in Romania, has been accepted as a member of the prestigious international association of vetted law firms Interlaw, thus making Romania the 18th country to join the association. The membership was announced at a festive gathering at the Grand Hotel in Oslo attended by Roni Bar-Nir and Jacob Sarov who are partners in the firm. They were accompanied by Daniella Lazea, a leading Romanian expert in commercial and civil law, who specializes in law pertaining to real estate. Firon, Bar-Nir & Co. is one of the largest Israeli law firms operating in Romania and represents inter alia Ashtrom Construction Group, Solel Boneh Construction Group, Benny Steinmetz Group and Poalim Capital Markets. THREE LAW firms have merged to form a new partnership which is registered as Doron-Rogel-Ben Ami. The partners are Shahar Ben Ami who served for six years as head of the Shoham Municipal Council and is an expert on municipal, civil and administrative law; Avi Doron, a member of the New York Bar Association and a former partner of Doron, Weinberg & Partners whose New York office he managed, and Jerusalemite Gilad Rogel, whose field is civil law and whose specialization is representing local authorities. FASHION COMPANY Comme il Faut has announced the appointment of Mirit Cohen as its spokeswoman and public relations consultant. For the past four years, Comme il Faut enjoyed a harmonious and fruitful relationship with the Public Relations firm of Yaffa Efrati, but after expanding its operations to a group that essentially incorporates four companies, Comme il Faut decided that it needed a full-time in-house spokesperson. Prior to taking up her new role, Cohen spent three years as an accounts supervisor with Rimon-Cohen Communications, a division of McCaan Eriksson. Prior to that, she worked for Keshet Broadcasting and in cable television. A graduate of the University of Haifa, Cohen has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in communications. SOME OF Israel's leading accountants have joined an advisory committee that will prepare the curriculum for a course in International Accountancy to be taught at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. The committee is headed by Reuven Schiff, Vice President of the Association of Accountants. THE FUTURE of hi-tech companies is influenced primarily by what happens abroad. It is, therefore, important for Israeli companies to guard against losing their competitive edge and to adjust to fluctuating markets, both in terms of the end consumer and in relation to capital markets said Ilan Birnfeld, a managing partner in Deloitte Brightman Almagor at Israel's annual Capital Markets conference. The worrying situation in the American market, an immediate market for Israeli hi-tech products is an indicator to Israelis that they should already be looking for alternative markets such as India and China warned Birnfeld. This will also require familiarization with different cultural, business and communication norms, he said. AFTER PROVING his mettle as deputy general manager of the Tiv Tam Group, Dubi Schneidman, 33, has been promoted to general manager, but will continue with his previous responsibilities in tandem with his new position. This is in accordance with a decision by Tiv Tam's proprietors Kobi Trebitsch and Amit Berger.