Business Scene

Former justice and finance minister Dan Meridor and Rabbi Doctor Moshe Zemer were awarded honorary doctorates by Hebrew Union College at the HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion's ordination and academic convocation in Jerusalem.

dan meridor 224.88 (photo credit: Knesset Web site)
dan meridor 224.88
(photo credit: Knesset Web site)
BRITAIN'S CHANCELLOR of the exchequer Gordon Brown has agreed to be among the visitors from abroad participating in the Prime Minister's Israel Gateway Conference for Export and International Cooperation to be held on Thursday, November 10 at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. Another distinguished global personality among the participants will be James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank and more recently the Quartet's representative in matters pertaining to Israel's disengagement from Gaza. Reuters reported last week that Citigroup had appointed Wolfensohn as its senior adviser on global strategy and international matters, and announced that in 2006 he will become chairman of the company's international advisory board. Local dignitaries scheduled to attend the conference included Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. The closing address will be delivered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. SHAMROCK PRESIDENT and CEO Stanley Gold, along with Israeli entrepreneur Yitzhak Tshuva, will be among the recipients of annual awards presented by the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce headed by Zalman Shoval, Israel's former ambassador to the US. The presentations will be made at the Chamber's annual awards ceremony on November 10 at the American International School in Kfar Shmaryahu. Guests of honor will include Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue and US Ambassador Richard Jones, who is the chamber's honorary chairman. Jones will present awards to the managers of Bird-F Dr. Ed Malavski and Dan Vilenski, to outgoing Executive Director Dov Hershberg and to Senior Country Director of Continental Airlines Avi Friedman. Also among the awardees will be Plasan Sasa, a Kibbutz Sasa-based company that manufacturers armoured protection kits for military and civilian transport. FORMER JUSTICE and finance minister Dan Meridor and Rabbi Doctor Moshe Zemer, a leading intellect and scholar of Progressive Judaism in Israel, were awarded honorary doctorates by Hebrew Union College at the HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion's ordination and academic convocation in Jerusalem last week. Other honorees were Rabbi Mordchai Rotem, who was the first student in the Israeli rabbinic program at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem and in 1980 became the first Israeli ordained Reform rabbi; along with four new rabbis Adi Cohen, Mira Regev, Ofer Sabath-Beit-Halachmi, and Ayala Shashua-Mero. Rotem received his doctorate of divinity, while his four new colleagues were ordained by HUC-JIR President Rabbi Professor David Ellenson. Meridor, the only lay person in the group, is an influential Israeli political figure who served as cabinet secretary under prime ministers Menachem Begin (1982-83) and Yitzhak Shamir (1983-84). In 1984, he was elected to the Knesset as a Likud representative. He subsequently became a leading member of the short-lived Center Party. In the 11th Knesset (1984-88), he served on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. From 1988-92 he served as minister of justice and member of the inner cabinet, where he worked to advance human rights in Israel and initiated the Basic Law in this field. He remained involved in legal issues throughout the 13th Knesset (1992-96), in which he was a member of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. In June 1996, he was appointed minister of finance, in which capacity he cut the state deficit and initiated structural reforms in the economy. In the 15th Knesset, he chaired the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (until August 2001). From then until February 2003, Meridor served as minister without portfolio, responsible for national defense and diplomatic strategy in the Prime Minister's Office. Meridor has been a Knesset observer to the Council of Europe, and has published articles in academic journals. In 2003, he retired from political life and returned to his law practice. He is a fellow of the Israel Democracy Institute, which inter alia is promoting the adoption of an Israel constitution. WHEN PRESIDENT Moshe Katsav travels to Rome next week, he will not be accompanied by a business delegation. He will, however, have a very large delegation of business people with him when he leaves for Nigeria and Ghana on December 11. Not all members of business delegations make friends and influence people. Some just go along for the ride so they can say they traveled with the president or a high-ranking government minister. Mordechai Elgrabli, chairman and president of the Rekah Group, tells of having been part of a business delegation that accompanied the president to Turkey. Appointments had been set up with a large number of Turkish business representatives, and booths had been constructed in the hotel to give each of the Israelis and their various potential business partners an opportunity to sit in comfort while they discussed trade relations. But when they had a chance to join the president and his Turkish hosts on a cruise along the Bospherous, they abandoned their business plans and boarded the ship. Elgrabli stayed behind, along with patriotic industrialist Stef Wertheimer. They armed themselves with the business cards of all their colleagues, kept nearly all their appointments as well as their own, and thus not only saved Israel's honor but also contributed indirectly to expanded bilateral trade.