Business Scene

It's countdown time in Modi'in, where residents have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the mall.

David Azrieli 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
David Azrieli 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
THEY MAY be octogenarians, but hardly a day goes by without brothers Sammy and Yuli Ofer planning some new business project. It's the spark that keeps them going. Right now, the spark they have in mind is a power station in the Negev, the construction rights for which have finally been approved. The rights had been approved but were revoked by former accountant-general Yaron Zelekha. When Zelekha concluded his term of office in December, the Ofer brothers applied again and were successful. The word is out on the street that Zelekha is writing a book about corruption in the upper echelons. Given his commitment to eliminating corruption and the fervor with which he frequently accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of improprieties, the book, regardless of how well or poorly it is written, it is bound to be a best-seller. AFTER A hiatus of several years, the famous British firm of Marks and Spencer is returning to Israel, and is looking for suitable premises in various malls, Yediot Aharonot has reported. M&S operated out of Hamashbir branches during the 1980s as part of a "store within a store" concept. It eventually shelved the idea because it didn't work, even though Israeli visitors to the UK used to automatically head for an M&S store to snap up quality bargains. According Yediot Aharonot, British franchisees, represented by Ido Mazursky, have been secretly engaged in setting up an M&S chain in Israel and have been looking at potential locations in Ra'anana (where there is a large population of British ex-pats), Petah Tikva, Haifa, Kiryat Ono and Jerusalem. The plan is to have six large M&S stores up and running within the next year. It is somehow appropriate that M&S, whose founders and heirs were so closely associated with the creation and development of the State of Israel, should return her during Israel's 60th anniversary year. M&S gave a big boost to several Israel manufacturers and producers of agricultural products and other foodstuffs by importing their goods to England. In addition, the founders and their families were responsible for numerous Israeli academic, cultural and social welfare projects, including the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed; the Sieff and Marks School in Jerusalem. Rebecca Sieff was one of the founders of WIZO in London in 1920. Since then, WIZO has spread to some 50 countries, including Israel, and has raised and contributed tens of millions of dollars to educational and social-welfare projects. IT'S A fact of life in Israel that one of the best outfitters for men's wear is Segal. Bridegrooms who want to look really spiffy on their wedding day go to Segal, as do businessmen who want a suit that's conservative enough for them to be taken seriously but fashionable enough to exude the message that they're as modern as tomorrow. For a long time Segal enjoyed the reputation of dressing men to whom appearances are important, but then, according to Shuki Segal, one of the owners of the family business, they realized they were missing out by not catering to the leisure-wear market, and that many of their regular clientele were going elsewhere to buy their casual clothing. That realization, coupled with the desire to expand, has brought a new product into the Segal stores. It's actually amazing that it took so long, but the penny finally dropped, and they've opened a jeans department that stocks leading international brand names such as D&G, Exte, Boss, Lacoste, AJ, VJC, GF Ferre and Cavalli. Segal has spent NIS 1 million on its new jeans department, which operates under the slogan: "Not only suits…" In line with its expanded image, Segal has contracted television personality Rodrigo Gonzales to model some of the jeans it has in stock. ZHOGLA-KIMBERLY took leave of its vice president, Eyal Malis, who is moving to Tnuva to be the CEO of its dairy division. The festive farewell dinner at the Cordelia restaurant included entertainment by sleight-of-hand artist and mentalist Nimrod Harel, who called Hogla-Kimberly CEO Arikm Schor to the stage and asked him to name the most reliable person in the room. Without hesitation Schor named Malis, which is about the best recommendation that anyone leaving a company could ask for. IT'S COUNTDOWN time in Modi'in, where residents have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the mall. Developer David Azrieli, who is the pioneer of shopping malls in Israel, announced two months ago, in the company of the mall's CEO Pe'er Nadir, that the official opening would take place on March 18. The way things are moving along, it looks as if it will go according to plan. Azrieli has been paying regular visits to the construction site to check on progress. THE NEW manager of the Haifa Mall owned by Delek Real Estate and Summit is Dror Amit, 50. The mall, which is one of the larger shopping malls in Israel, is located at the southern entrance to Haifa. THE EMPLOYEES of the Clalit health insurance fund have elected Prosper Ben-Hamo as their new chairman. The election is particularly meaningful because Clalit has some 30,000 employees who will be represented by Ben-Hamo in negotiations with management. BANK HAPOALIM undertakes numerous projects beyond its regular banking activities. It hosts an annual art exhibition and sale in aid of a worthy cause. Most recently it hosted Israel Design 2008, to which it invited Israel's business community to view 240 impressive works in industrial design. The gala event was hosted by Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner and general manager Zvi Ziv at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. It showcased a splendid array of talent and creativity that emanated from Israel's design community. Also on hand were Communications Minister Ariel Attias and Israel Association of Industrial Designers president David Grossman. The exhibition covered a huge variety of industrial products and included items from 60 end-of-course design projects. HSBC'S CHIEF foreign currency strategist David Bloom was in Israel last week as the guest of HSBC general manager Yehuda Levy. Bloom gave a lecture to an audience of people in the banking business, investment firms and others who deal extensively with foreign currency. He also met with senior personnel from the Bank of Israel.