Business Scene

Zvia Leviev-Alazarov was named to head the board of Africa Israel Residences just before her father, Lev Leviev, made his move to London.

Zvia Leviev-Alazarov (photo credit: Courtesy)
Zvia Leviev-Alazarov
(photo credit: Courtesy)
HIS OFFICE has denied reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert opened a bottle of champagne after receiving a new lease on his political life following presentation of the Winograd Report. But there is no doubt that he was toasted at a reception hosted last Saturday night by eminent attorney Ram Caspi and his wife Ettie. Others in attendance included President Shimon Peres, as well as major players in Israel's business world such as Yair Hamburger, Sammy and Idan Ofer, Shlomo Nehama, Uri Shani, Galia Maor, Yitzhak Tshuva, Shari Arison, Nochi Dankner and outgoing Israel Securities Authority chairman Moshe Tery. Many of the same guests also met Friday at the annual Bank Hapoalim-sponsored art exhibition and sale, with proceeds designated to the battle against AIDS. Considering the frequency of their social activities, one wonders how these tycoons manage to get any work done - or maybe they just play as hard as they work. THE APPLE has not fallen far from the tree in the Leviev family. Zvia Leviev-Alazarov, 30, was named to head the board of Africa Israel Residences just before her father, Lev Leviev, made his highly publicized move to London. She is also vice president of marketing, a member of the board of directors of Africa Israel Investments Ltd., the active manager of Anglo Saxon Properties Agencies and, until this month, was manager of Africa Israel's Mall Division. She is being replaced in the latter capacity by her sister, Rutie Leviev-Yelizarov, who until now was CEO of the company's flagship mall, the Ramat Aviv Mall. Another Africa Israel mall, to be called Big Fashion, is due to open soon in Nazareth. It will be the company's fifth mall in Israel. Leviev-Yelizarov will oversee Africa Israel's local malls, while Leviev-Alazarov will focus on the company's international malls, primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe. Having traveled widely in the world and visited many malls, Leviev-Alazorov says with pride that the Ramat Aviv Mall can hold its own with any mall in the world. The Leviev family are Chabad Hassidim. While it is not encouraged in haredi circles to send young people, especially girls, to university, the two sisters both have MBAs. Leviev-Alazorov received her MBA from Tel Aviv University and has a bachelor's degree in business management, marketing and publicity from Bar-Ilan University. Leviev-Yelizarov earned her MBA at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. At a press conference Sunday at the Ramat Aviv Mall for the opening of a photographic exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of the Oscar presentations, Leviev-Alazorov was immaculately groomed, wearing a slim-fitting, dark leather suit that was neither too formal nor too casual and black four-inch stiletto-heeled sandals, and proving that haredi women can be just as fashionable as their secular sisters, without being immodestly clad. Aside from her business interests, she is a member of the Bar-Ilan University board of trustees and does voluntary work for Yad Sarah. Married to diamond merchant David Alazarov, she is the mother of four, and somehow manages to balance her responsibilities so that she can give quality time to her husband and children and entertain guests on Shabbat. WHILE IT'S true that many of the new bright lights in the world of business and commerce might not be occupying the positions that they have or earning the high salaries that they get if they had joined an enterprise other than one in which parents and grandparents have controlling interests, it goes beyond nepotism. Many of these 20-somethings who sit on boards of directors and play executive roles have been properly trained, and finished their university courses with flying colors. Some deliberately started at the bottom of the ladder to have as broad a grasp as possible in the functioning of the business. The Leviev sisters have spent a decade or so working their way through the ranks, and now Rona Dankner, the daughter of Nochi Dankner, has been appointed to an executive position at Discount Investments, which is part of the IDB Group. Even though there's no doubt that family connections gave her a good springboard, Dankner, 23, completed her MBA studies at IDC Herzliya with excellent results. She is part of a growing number of third- and fourth-generation sabras ensuring continuity in family-controlled businesses. FINANCE MINISTER Ronnie Bar-On is due to tour kibbutz industries in the North on Tuesday as guest of the Kibbutz Industries Association (KIA). The purpose of the visit, according to KIA chairman Yonatan Melamed, is to show Bar-On what kibbutz industries are doing for the economy by recording a steady growth rate over the past decade, doubling exports over the past five years and absorbing thousands of workers, especially in the peripheral parts of the country. THE KIRYON Mall, located on the site of the once legendary ATA factory plant in Kiryat Bialik, has been expanded to include an additional arcade. An announcement to this effect was published this week by Yuli Ofer, chairman of the Ofer Brothers Real Estate Division; Avi Levy, CEO of Ofer Real Estate; and Yossi Peri, CEO of the Kiryon Mall. Construction of the new arcade began in August 2007, at an investment of NIS 6.5 million. Located on the eastern side of the original mall, it includes 12 stores, three of which are brand-name fashion stores. The Kiryon is the largest mall in the North. IT'S A well-known fact that Russian oligarchs support numerous causes in Jerusalem. Vladimir Gosinsky gave generously to projects in Jerusalem before Mickail Chernoy or Arkadi Gaydamak did, even though Gaydamak probably supports a wider range of projects. But there are others who were born in the Soviet Union, such as Leonid Nevzlin and Vadim Rabinovitch, who are giving millions of dollars to synagogues, the Western Wall, the City of David, and various cultural and social welfare institutions and organizations. According to Ma'ariv, another major donor is Evgeny Shvidler, who is ranked No. 165 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people. THE HAREL insurance and financing group has appointed Avi Zimerman, 46, as deputy CEO of the group's financial services. Zimerman was previously the founding deputy CEO for Leumi Card marketing and sales. The decision to appoint Zimerman is based on Harel's long-term strategy to broaden its marketing operations. Zimerman's extensive experience in marketing, financing and insurance combined to make him an ideal choice. SWISS AMBASSADOR Francois George Chappuis, who has concluded his term of office in Israel, was given a farewell luncheon by Gideon Hamburger, president of the Israel-Switzerland-Lichtenstein Chamber of Commerce. Hamburger heads the Harel Insurance and Finances Group. He noted the important contribution made by Chappuis in strengthening relations between Switzerland and Israel, and in the areas of trade and commerce.