Business Scene

Lev Leviev intends to open at least two more luxury stores in Dubai.

Lev Leviev 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Lev Leviev 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
PRO-PALESTINIAN organizations in the US are urging the Dubai authorities to withdraw approval for Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev to engage in business there. Leviev, who already has one prestige jewelry store in Dubai, which he opened in March in the lobby of the Qasr Hotel, has announced that he intends to open at least two more luxury stores. Palestinian human rights groups in the US and their American supporters have called on the United Arab Emirates to boycott Leviev because companies he controls are allegedly building settlements on the West Bank. According to various publications, Leviev made no effort to conceal the fact that he is an Israeli when he applied to expand his business operations to Dubai. Meanwhile, Leviev, who a few months ago transferred his place of domicile to Britain, was featured in the annual Sunday Times Rich List released this week. Leviev was ranked the 21st richest person in Britain. His good friend Roman Abramovich is No. 2 on the list. Israel's Sammy and Eyal Ofer, who have the distinction of also appearing on the Forbes list of the world's richest people, as do Abramovich and Leviev, are No. 15. Among the other Israelis whose names are among the 100 richest people on the Sunday Times list are Poju Zabludowicz and Benny Steinmetz. WHILE ON the subject of rich people, Richard Pratt, chairman of privately-owned Visy Industries, which started out as a cardboard boxes and packaging company, and expanded into waste-paper recycling, is the third richest man in Australia, with an estimated personal wealth in 2007 of A$5.3 billion. The Pratt family is among Australia's leading philanthropists, donating up to A$10 million per year to numerous charitable causes. Pratt and his wife Jeanne have each been awarded Australia's highest accolade, Companion of the Order of Australia, for their wide-ranging philanthropic activities. Pratt and his wife arrived in Israel this week for the dedication in Beersheba of The Park of the Australian Soldier, one of the numerous projects the Pratt Foundation, which they founded in 1978, is associated with in Israel. The Pratt Foundation's focus in Israel is quality of the environment, children and youth at risk, education and culture, combating violence, and children and adults with special needs. The dedication ceremony on Monday was attended by a large delegation of Australian Army veterans and their spouses, Australian Defense Force reservists, Australian students on yearlong Zionist study and volunteer programs, as well as a delegation of some 50 Australian commercial, hi-tech, investment and university executives and government officials led by Victorian Member of Parliament Evan Thornley. The delegation is in Israel under the auspices of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce to investigate the potential of expanding bilateral trade and investment and to look at Israel's technological innovations. Paul Israel, director of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce, said it was "a happy coincidence" that the business delegation was in Israel at the same time as the ANZAC delegation. Several of the Australian visitors, including the Pratts, will be guests Tuesday night at a state dinner hosted by President Shimon Peres in honor of Australian Governor General Michael Jeffrey, who inter alia is in Israel for the dedication ceremony as well as to pay Australia's respects to Israel on its 60th anniversary. THE NATIONAL Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, which was initiated two years ago by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is establishing an NIBN Industrial Club for biotechnology in the Negev to create an academic, industrial and financial common denominator for all the players in the field of biotechnology in the southern region. The initial meeting of the NIBN Industrial Club will take place on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Building 38, Hall 10, on the BGU campus. The club is intended as a meeting place for ideas and initiatives that will ultimately benefit the Negev and the national economy. HAIFA'S NATIONAL Museum for Science, Technology and Aerospace has a new director. Dr. Ronen Mir, 50, has already taken up his position. Mir, who served as acting head of the museum in the Daniel and Matilda Recanati Center, will simply continue his previous activities under a more permanent title. Mir is a physicist and a musicologist who studied at the Weizmann Institute and at Tel Aviv University. He was previously the director of the Sci-Tech Museum in Illinois, which he was instrumental in developing over eight years. He also worked as consultant to other science and technology museums in the US. HP HAS announced the appointment of Gal Barak as operations manager of the company's industrial printing division for Asia and the Pacific. For the past eight years, Barak worked in various management positions with HP LFP Industrial Solutions in the United States, the last three as general manager for North America, including Canada. For five years before that he was general manager of Scietx Vision in Mexico and Latin America. Barak has a first degree in civil engineering and completed a course in business management at Harvard University. PIXIT SPECIALIZES in digital publications of photographs and texts. It has appointed Yogev Ben-Tov, 26, as its general manager. Modern technology, via the Internet, enables instant transfer of material to be published from home computers to digital printers and the return of the completed project within a matter of days. AMERICAN REAL estate magnate Joseph Grinkorn has acquired 25 percent of the capital stock in ML Corporation Corp. for NIS 8m. ML Corporation Corp. holds the exclusive rights for the Michael Lewis brand name in the US.