Business Scene

The media have been giving international businessman and philanthropist Arkadi Gaydamak a drubbing.

Arkadi Gaydamak 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Arkadi Gaydamak 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
HYPER-ENERGETIC banking and business tycoon Nochi Dankner, who chairs the IDB (Israel Discount Bank) Group, and whose appetite for acquisitions is insatiable, not only amasses wealth, but also gives it away. Dankner is an exceedingly generous philanthropist whose name is linked to numerous causes. Dankner, who was one of many Israeli business leaders whose largesse helped people of the North to cope after the second war in Lebanon, has continued and will continue to be supportive. In a visit to Acre on Sunday in the company of Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski, Dankner told the city's mayor Shimon Lankri that the Jewish Agency and the IDB Group, via the IDB Foundation and the Netvision Internet company, would donate NIS 5 million towards the establishment of a regional tennis center to serve the people of Acre and the Western Galilee. Bielski noted that since the outbreak of the war, the Jewish Agency, through funds raised by the United Jewish Communities and Keren Hayesod United Israel Appeal, had invested NIS 400m. to assist residents in the North. The resources of the Jewish Agency and Jewish communities around the globe are channeled not only towards the North, he said, but also towards buttressing Sderot and the Gaza Perimeter. Bielski, who has put this mission at the top of the Jewish Agency's agenda, declared that it should be in the forefront of Israel's national priorities. The key to the success of this mission, he added, is a good liaison between the government, the Jewish Agency and the business sector. Bielski characterized the initiatives of Dankner and other prominent people in the business sector who have taken this responsibility upon themselves as a praiseworthy Zionist act that will contribute significantly towards closing socioeconomic gaps and providing employment opportunities and improved quality of life for myriads of residents in peripheral communities. Dankner, whose business acumen has been a significant factor in the strength of Israel's economy, stressed the importance of investing in the people of the nation. It was this philosophy that led the IDB Group to announce at the end of the war that in addition to the aid that it had already provided to northern communities, it would provide at least another NIS 100m. in the year ahead to be used for projects within the framework of the reconstruction of the Galilee and the welfare of residents living on the northern and southern conflict lines. Since then, the IDB Group has donated NIS 50m. for education, health, welfare, culture and sports projects. Netvision CEO Ravit Barniv who accompanied Dankner and Bielski, said Netvision was proud to be part of the tennis center project, the first of its kind in the Western Galilee. Netvision's policy, said Barniv, is to be part of the community. NOW THAT Shari Arison, the wealthiest woman in Israel has purchased the most expensive apartment in Israel for the mere trifle of $13m., the real estate pundits are taking bets on the identity of some future apartment buyer who will break her record. Of course there will have to be a sufficiently luxurious and well-positioned apartment to be worth more than Arison's yet to-be built penthouse in the Hashoftim Tower project on Tel Aviv's Ibn Gvirol Street in hop, skip and jump distance from her office. The 23-story tower which will be put up by Gindi Holdings - owned by siblings Avi, Guy and Ro'i Gindi and their sister Lital Gindi-Matalon - is one of several large scale, prestige residential projects that are rapidly changing the Tel Aviv skyline. The Trump Tower on the seam of Ramat Gan will offer serious competition in terms of luxury, and in the southern part of the city, the Neve Zedek Tower, which is being built by the Coral Red Sea Company, a subsidiary of Red Sea Hotels, headed by real estate tycoon Eli Papoushado, is courting affluent buyers. The Coral Red Sea Company recently recruited NIS 75m. for the purpose of developing state of the art residential projects in Israel and abroad. Neve Zedek was one of the first neighborhoods of Tel Aviv and has a charm to it that only a vintage neighborhood could have. Although it is surrounded by modern, high-rise buildings, it somehow maintains some of the ambience of yesteryear, which is one of the reasons that many of its residents choose to live there. ALTHOUGH IT features him daily, the media have been giving international businessman and philanthropist Arkadi Gaydamak a drubbing. However, viewers watching Channel One do not share the opinions expressed by the media. They are less cynical and much more appreciative of Gaydamak's largesse - so much so that they voted him Man of the Year, despite the fact that one of the other candidates was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose performance Gaydamak has criticized on more than one occasion. AFTER YEARS of working with Natan Sharansky in the course of his political career and even before he became an MK, Vera K. Golovensky has followed him into the hallowed halls of academia and has been appointed Director for International Relations at the newly founded Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center. Sharansky is the chairman of the Institute and Golovensky's job will be to make the ISS well known abroad through liaisons and joint projects with other institutes, academic institutions and political entities around the globe. THE ISRAELI Federation of International Forwarders and Customs Clearing Agents has elected Shlomo Sharon to serve as its chairman for a second term. Sharon is the deputy chairman of Transclal. The IFIFCCA operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce. THE NEW director general of the Misgav Regional Council is Etti Levy, 43, married and the mother of three children. A resident of the area, Levy is no stranger to the Council. She previously served as the head of the Council's division for human resources. She has been working for the Council since 1998 and is trained in public administration, group supervision and accountancy. MIGDAL CAPITAL Markets has announced the appointment of Ron Torem, 42, married and the father of five, as the company's CEO. Torem has been with Migdal Capital Markets for 11 years. For the past two years, Torem was the deputy chief of the department for business development. Before that he managed the company's Haifa branch, and prior to that he was in charge of investment portfolios. AT THE initiative of the Jerusalem Council for the Advancement of the Status of Women, a special course was set up in the capital to train female directors of municipal enterprises, government companies as well as public companies and corporations. There were 31 graduates of the first course, among them lawyers, business managers, senior civil servants, university lecturers et al. At the graduation ceremony, where certificates were distributed city councilwoman Mina Fenton, who heads the JCASW, updated current and potential company directors on the number of companies in Jerusalem and the ratio of women who sit on their boards of directors. Of 48 conglomerates, companies and not-for-profit enterprises, she said, only four have an adequate representation of women, namely at least 30%, on their boards - this means that only four companies are complying with the law. The four are the Gihon Water Company, the Israel Festival, the Khan Theater, and We're with you for a healthy city. Only the first of the four is a strictly business enterprise. THE ONE1 Group has appointed Ohed Zahavi as vice president operations and projects. He will be primarily responsible for the company's BI and CRM projects. Zahavi who has an MBA and a degree in Information Systems, was previously project manager at Soft Cubes-One1.