NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer will lead a trade mission to Australia from March 19 to 22. Members of the delegation will represent companies dealing with hi-tech, communications, software, electronics, medical technology, biotechnology, infrastructure, energy, environment, agrotechnology, water, homeland security, banking, finance and diamonds. For Ben Eliezer's political adviser, Gaby Levy, the visit will have nostalgic overtones. Levy, who is on loan from the Foreign Ministry, is a former Israel ambassador to Australia. Ben Eliezer will lose Levy's services in the summer when he takes up his new post as Israel's ambassador to Turkey. THE INTERNATIONAL Association for Urban Climatology has conferred the Luke Howard Award on Prof. Arieh Bitan of Tel Aviv University's Department for Geography and Human Environment. The citation lists Bitan's many contributions to the analysis and understanding of climatology. Bitan has long been regarded as one of Israel's leading experts in the field, and is also recognized abroad. He belongs to several international organizations, and has made significant contributions to physical and environmental planning projects. In the early 1990s, he co-authored the Climatic Atlas of Israel for Physical and Environmental Planning and Design. EUROCOM DIGITAL CEO Motti Elmaliach this week hosted Sano San, the Panasonic General Manager for Africa and Europe. In the course of their meeting, Elmaliach asked his Japanese visitor to assist him in getting the world's largest plasma screen - 103 inch - to Israel. The challenge was not too difficult for Sano San. He made a few phone calls and, within a few hours, notified Elmaliach that Panasonic's world executive had decided to grant his request and fly the giant screen to Israel. The cost? A mere NIS 360,000. If Panasonic is willing to send more, Eurocom Digital has already had six private requests from people who have no objection to paying that price. EVEN THOUGH he lost out in his attempt to gain control of Bank Hapoalim, generally speaking, whatever Nochi Dankner wants, Nochi Danker gets. What the IDB Holdings chairman and CEO wants for the not-too-distant future, is Shimon Peres for president - and he's making no bones about it. Speaking in Tel Aviv last week at the annual awards ceremony for Outstanding Industrialists, Dankner, standing on the dais addressed himself to Peres, who had just come home from his headline-grabbing visit to Qatar. "Dear Shimon," said Dankner, "I hope that all of us - the State of Israel and the people of Israel will soon greet you as president of the state. I pray for this with all my heart. Your service as president would symbolize the beginning of a new era in the life of the people and the country - a better era for which we all yearn." Dankner is not the only one who is publicly endorsing Peres. Yehoram Gaon, the new Honorary Consul for Chile did so on his weekly radio program last Friday, and Tommy Lapid, whose former positions include Justice Minister and Director General of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, said in his weekly radio program that although he had no political reason to be fond of Peres with whom he had crossed swords in government, he nonetheless considered Peres to be the most suitable candidate for President at this time. Although Peres has been careful to be politically correct and not to allow himself to be dragged into comments on the subject, the fact of the matter is that he's had so many ministerial positions including prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and finance minister, to name but a few, that this extra feather in his cap would also be one in Israel's cap. Of course, Dankner is not an MK so he can in no way influence the vote. Gaon has been a Jerusalem city councilman, but never an MK, and Lapid is an ex-MK, so none of them holds sway in the Knesset, which will vote the next president into office. AS OF March 1, Eitan Livne will take up the position of CEO of Tadiran-Telcom. In announcing the appointment, Erez Meltzer, chairman of the company and CEO of Africa Israel, expressed confidence that Livne would take Tadiran-Telcom to new horizons in telecommunications. Meltzer added that the company intends to continue to broaden its international base, specifically in North America, Russia, China and India. Livne replaces Herzl Halali who after three years in the company hot seat expressed the desire to step down. Livne, 53, married and the father of three, has in recent years served as CEO of Algo, which is part of the Haifa Chemicals Group. He is a Bar Ilan University alumnus with degrees in economics and business administration. LEADING UK-based professional training and employment provider, A4e has announced the appointment of Dr. Eli Ben-Eliezer as the new CEO of its Israel branch. The company operates the Amin Center as part of the Israeli government's Mehalev Program in the Jerusalem area, and has so far assisted over 8,000 Jerusalem residents. Ben-Eliezer has an extensive background in the areas of employment, human resources, education and welfare. He has previously served as director of the Academic Studies Division of the College of Management, director of education at the Jewish Agency for Israel, vice president human resources at both the Jewish Agency and Bezeq and has directed the Jerusalem Board of Education. He is also the director of a number of academic institutions and social organizations, including Tlalim, which is dedicated to assisting students suffering from serious illnesses. As the senior representative of A4e in Israel, Ben-Eliezer will set the tone for wide-ranging activities in the fields of employment, welfare, financial education, professional training, business support and consulting. In addition, he will serve as CEO of Amin, which operates the Amin Center together with Amin Management Consultants. MOST HAS announced the appointment of Hadar Israeli as vice president projects division. Israeli, 44, will be responsible for the company's projects in the US, Israel, Europe and the Far East, and also will be responsible for project sales and marketing. Israeli has had more than 25 years experience in the field of IT, and has been involved in projects both in technological and managerial capacities. Prior to joining Most, he managed projects in the US and Europe for SPL World Group and also operated as EMEA Services Director. He has a first degree in computer sciences. Most specializes in projects for the financial sector, specifically with regard to system updating and innovations. PELEPHONE GENERAL manager Gil Sharon has announced the promotion of Nir Stern to the position of deputy general manager. Stern was previously in charge of Pelephone's marketing division, and will continue to have that responsibility in addition to his new role. Stern will focus on third-generation operations including marketing, content and value added services and the acquisition of technologically advanced appliances. HIGHVIEW HAS appointed Itay Almog as manager of its projects division. Highview specializes in BI (Business Intelligence). Almog has broad experience in hi-tech project management. For the past six years, he headed a technology development team and was DWH and WEB project manager at Pelephone where his work centered on the BI portal. Before that, he spent five years at Matrix, where he also headed the development team. Almog has a first degree in economics, sociology and anthropology from the Hebrew University, in addition to which he has completed courses in project management, system analysis and programming with John Bryce. PNMsoft HAS appointed Lena Lerner, 31, as head of human resources. Lerner who has been with the company for six years working in a variety of capacities, was most recently resources coordinator. In her new position, Lerner will be responsible for recruiting new talent and developing existing talent. PNM markets support appliances and professional services in the field of BPM. CONTINENTAL AIRLINES Israel general manager Avi Friedman will also be the company's general manager for Greece following a decision by Continental Airlines to introduce daily direct flights from Newark to Athens commencing June 7, 2007. Friedman has headed the company's Israel operations since 1999. YAEL SOFTWARE and Systems has appointed Amit Dover as vice president technologies. Dover will concurrently continue in his previous position as CTO. Dover has a B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering from the Technion and an MBA from Manchester University. In his previous positions, Dover was responsible for research management and development, and managing the technological division and developing business applications. THE NEW Egged secretariat is headed by chairman Gideon Mizrahi, who was born in 1951, has a first degree in business administration and has been an Egged executive since 1992, and a member of the Egged secretariat since 1997. He has held various managerial positions with the company.