Business Scene

THE New York Sun reports on the growing number of Israelis making inroads in the New York real estate scene.

THE New York Sun reports on the growing number of Israelis making inroads in the New York real estate scene. Under the heading "Prominence of Israelis Grows in New York Market," the paper in its March 9 real estate section mentioned people such as Ofer Yardeni, who arrived in Manhattan in 1986 with a sum total of $600, and over the past two years, together with his partner Joel Seiden has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on prestige residential properties. Another Israeli mentioned in the article is Yair Levy who came to New York from Tel Aviv in the early 1970s. Then 24 years old, he initially made a career for himself in the garment industry, eventually founding a ladies' sportswear and ready-to-wear company. Meanwhile, he was also investing in real estate and in 1998 this became his main business interest. Together with fellow Israeli Serge Hoyda and developer Kent Swig, Levy last April paid $480 million for an 845-unit rental apartment building on W. 57th Street. Since then, together with other partners, he's paid out more than $500m. for other properties. The article mentions several Israelis including Shaya Boymelgreen, who is partnered in several New York projects with Lev Leviev, but it doesn't mention Leviev, who recently acquired half of the historic Apthorp building on the Upper West Side for $426m., nor does it mention Yitzhak Tshuva, who caused somewhat of a ruckus in the Big Apple following his purchase of the famed Plaza Hotel. The article refers only to resident Israelis, not non-residents. Incidentally, Tshuva has broadened his interests in the US and is said to be building a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. "TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY students must be given every opportunity to exploit their potential in order to be able to successful integrate into the world of hi-tech," said Microsoft Israel CEO Danny Yamin at a conference on interfacing science and technology with regular college studies. Microsoft Israel was one of the sponsors of the conference in conjunction with the Mediatech and High Tech College, the largest of its kind in the north of the country in terms of teaching Matrix and Microsoft based computer studies. Microsoft Israel awarded certificates of authorization to 10 educational facilities in the North - five of them in the Arab and Druse sectors - indicating that they are qualified to teach Microsoft technologies. HE DIDN'T literally burn his fingers, but Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer star Avi Nimni they did burn figuratively when a Tel Baruch beachfront restaurant in which he had invested, went up in smoke before he could even begin to operate it. Undeterred, Nimni has signed a new five-year contract with Atarim General Manager Itamar Shimoni to manage the northern beach at Tel Baruch and to build a new restaurant on the site of the one that burned down. NEW ADDITIONS in and around Ben-Gurion Airport, continue to make it more attractive to international travelers who really don't have the time to go and explore areas that are more than a half hour's drive away. The latest addition according to a YNet report is the Zeus Sports Club, which plans to open a branch in the airport's Duty Free Area so passengers with long waits for flights can work out and work off their tension. The airport branch is due to begin operating in May at an investment of $2.5m. In addition to exercise equipment, it will also include a sauna, whirlpool, lounge, and hair salon. Zeus was founded by businessman Gilad Avigad who owns five other sports clubs in Israel. Avigad recently sold 50 percent of Zeus to the American Spartan company. Frequent fliers can take out an annual $200 membership in the club. One-time use of facilities will cost $18. BEYOND THE Israelis named in the new Forbes list of billionaires, there are several members of the tribe, some who have been there for years and some who have made the list for the first time. Among the 55 new American billionaires are former Disney chairman Michael Eisner and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. The Hebrew papers had a field day last Sunday, as they gleefully notice that Stef and Eitan Wertheimer had nudged Shari Arison aside as they took over first place in the ranks of the richest Israelis. Arison is now in second place, but with all the business deals she's doing, it would not be at all surprising to see her back in number one slot the next time around. AS FOR Stef Wertheimer, he is being honored left, right and center. Aside from being named the wealthiest Israeli by Forbes, he was also given a special lifetime award for long-time excellence at the Dun & Bradstreet management awards ceremony at the Tel Aviv Museum on Sunday. He was also honored as Man of the Year by Netanya Academic College at a ceremony at the Tel Aviv Hilton. The top 10 Israeli CEOs named at the D&B event at the Tel Aviv Museum were Bank Leumi President Galia Maor, Strauss Group Chairperson Ofra Strauss, Africa Israel Investments Chairman Lev Leviev, IDB Holding Corp. controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner, Alrov CEO Alfred Akirov, Makhteshim Agan and Supersol Chairman Avraham Bigger, Blue Square Israel Chairman David Wiessman, Bank Hapoalim CEO Zvi Ziv, former Partner CEO Amikam Cohen and Israel Corporation President Yossi Rosen. The winners were selected by a jury of 19 of their peers from among 300 contestants. HELIX MEDICAL Systems Ltd., a company that develops innovative medical imaging devices to diagnose and treat cancer has appointed Luthar Koob, general partner of Extera Partners, as the acting chairman of its board of directors. Koob has held several senior position in the medical equipment and services industry as executive vice president of Analogic (2001 to 2006) and president of Zeiss Humphrey Systems, a developer of ophthalmic diagnostic instrumentation and a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss, Inc. (1998 to 2001). In addition, he was employed in senior managerial positions by Siemens Medical Solutions, a supplier of healthcare services and medical device equipment. THE BANK of Jerusalem has announced the appointments of Michael Ben Yishai as retail credit manager and Amos Ephraim as head of the bank's 16 branches. Ben Yishai will be responsible for developing new credit products, underwriting and supervision. A Bar Ilan University graduate, he holds an MBA and a Master's degree in economics. He has been with the Bank of Jerusalem for nine years. Prior to that, he spent 26 years with Bank Tefahot. Ephraim, in addition to overseeing the bank's branches nationwide, will be responsible for expansion plans in the retail field. In another development, Yaacov Sisso, who was deputy CEO at the bank and head of its retail division, has chosen to step down and go into private business. EMET SOFTWARE CEO Yoav Weinberg has announced the appointment of Ron Vishnitz as the company's product manager. Vishnitz will be in charge of marketing and sales operations for Symantec, Net-App, IBM and Sun Microsystems. Vishnitz, 47, spent the past five years as products marketing manager with HP Israel. THE BOARD of Directors of Teshen, a Hebrew acronym for the Fuel and Energy Infrastructure Corporation, has elected attorney Yechiel Gutman to serve as the permanent chairman of the board, pending approval by the committee that authorizes appointments to government companies. Gutman is a partner in the Jerusalem-based law firm Gutman-Neiger and is involved in public affairs in a variety of capacities. He is a member of the board of the Securities Authority, a member of the board of Netvision, chairman of the board of Nechushtan, a director and member of the board of both the International Bank for Industrial Development and Bank Otzar Hahayal, a director and member of the board of Israel Oil Refineries, an arbiter in the court of the Bar Association, a judge in the court of tribunals of the Israel Police Force, a published author, a script writer and moderator of a television program "Law and Justice." JERUSALEM HAS put hi-tech education high on the agenda said Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yigal Amedi at the ceremony for affixing a mezuza on the Jerusalem branch offices of John Bryce Training Center. Ziv Mandel, the joint CEO of John Bryce, noted that there was a marked increase in the number of Jerusalemites who have expressed an interest in exploring the various options available for hi-tech courses. Mandel predicted that Jerusalem would evolve into the country's hi-tech capital, and said that his company wanted to be part of this development. MTS, THE consortium that won the tender for the construction of Tel Aviv's light rail network, has appointed Yochanon Or as its CEO. Or was previously CEO of Netivei Hayuval, a subsidiary of Danya Cebus, a member of the Africa Israel group, which is one of the five companies that each have a 20 percent stake in MTS. The other four are Siemens of Germany, the Egged Bus Cooperative, CCECC, a Chinese infrastructure company and Da Costa Soares, a Portuguese infrastructure company. Or will oversee the MTS operations from funding to implementation of all that is required to make the project operational. JEWS AND Arabs have joined forces to create a nature rehabilitation project. Yehuda Wilk, the CEO of Derech Eretz, the Highway 6 operator, and Haj Yihye Abed El Hakim, the Mayor of Taibe, together with 150 Jewish and Arab fourth and fifth grade schoolchildren got together to launch the Nirbata Park where Taibe youngsters together with members of their peer generation from nearby kibbutzim joined Wilk and El Hakim in planting saplings. AFTER 20 years in the employ of the Manufacturers Association of Israel and four years as head of its economic department, Nira Shamir has decided that she's gone about as far as she can go, and has tendered her resignation. Shamir who turned the department into a professional and trustworthy body whose influence is felt through the Israeli economy, is looking for new challenges in other economic spheres.