Market Wise

Israeli David Fattal recently purchased a historic, stately Bauhaus building in Berlin that served as the police headquarters of East Germany.

Berlin hotel 88 224 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
Berlin hotel 88 224
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
IT SEEMS somehow symbolic in Israel's 60th anniversary year that Israel, whether directly or indirectly, should market its continuity in Germany, the country whose crazed leader led a nation on an inhuman mission to destroy the Jewish people - and failed. Israeli hotelier David Fattal recently purchased a historic, stately Bauhaus building in Berlin that served as the police headquarters of East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The building has been designated a preserved site, but Fattal received permission to build a hotel as an extension of it, providing that the external and internal facades, the floor and certain fixtures remain intact. The hotel will be built at a cost of €45 million. The cornerstone for what will be the Leonardo Royal Berlin was laid with the participation of the Berlin Mayor Franz Schulz. In Germany, the custom is to break down a wall to begin construction, and Fattal, who is an old hand at the game, happily joined Schultz in wielding a sledgehammer to do the job. But he added an Israeli twist; for the actual cornerstone, he brought stones from Israel. The hotel is scheduled to open in August 2009. It is one of 30 Fattal hotels in Europe, six of which are in Berlin. And they're not the only Jewish- or Israeli-owned hotels in Berlin. RADIO AND television commercials keep warning us not to drink if we drive and not to drive if we drink. But few imbibers take note, because so many drivers are absolutely convinced that they can hold their liquor and that whatever they've consumed will not affect their reflexes. Ironically, most drunk drivers involved in road accidents manage to survive. It's the innocent families they run into who die. Cassiopeia, the banquet hall at the Herzliya Marina, is trying to prevent guests who've had "one too many" from getting behind the wheel. They've installed equipment by the exit door that tests the alcohol content in blood and gives instant accurate results. Guests can perform self examinations, if they're sober enough to do so. Cassiopeia is believed to be the first banquet hall in Israel to install such equipment. Cassiopeia CEO Tsafrir Ginsberg says it's important to check sobriety in banquet halls because people are inclined to drink more when the liquor is free and plentiful. In addition to the test on the way out the door, Ginsberg wants to introduce a rule that anyone already visibly inebriated will not be able to drink any more alcoholic beverages that evening and will be given a bottle of water to dilute the alcohol content in their system. That's pretty good marketing, because anyone who cares enough on one issue, is bound to be pretty caring on others. People will be happy to come to a banquet hall dedicated to saving lives. FOLLOWING IN the footsteps of Yair Lapid, Tzipi Shavit, Michal and Assaf Amdurski, Haim Rebibo and Itzik Zohar, are Tal Berman and Aviad Kitsis. They, too, have been snapped up to be the new presenters for Bank Hapoalim. It's the first time they've been involved in a financial campaign of such magnitude. They're doing a set of comic video sketches set in a tzimmer (bed and breakfast), which is fertile ground for situation comedy. When they appeared on the set at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, they surprised everyone present with the broad range of their fiscal knowledge. FOR YOUNGSTERS in the South, Purim will come several days early. Eyal Carmi, the manager of the Beersheba branch of Toys R Us, has invited youngsters from all over the South, especially Sderot, to come to the Beersheba store next Tuesday for a Purim party. The store will be closed for business in the afternoon to make way for the party. Among the attractions will be Diko the magician and Geoffrey Giraffe. There will also be a few surprises and fantastic discounts on most items in the store, especially those related to Purim. Therein lies the rub. The Purim party is a fine gesture. Meaningful bargains represent another fine gesture - but it's also a way of getting rid of surplus stock. When you let a kid loose in a toy store, even those brought up with the best of manners find it difficult to show restraint. They go wild, and will scream and yell for certain items until their parents give in just to shut them up. With hundreds of such kids, it would be interesting to see the store's sales tally after the party. UNLESS THEY decide to come home to Israel on a permanent basis, it looks as if moderator, actress and fashion model Sandy Bar and her husband, actor and model Aki Avni, will be on a permanent commute between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. The couple lives in LA with their young son Liam, but come to Israel separately and together several times a year to take part in movies, television productions or modeling assignments. This time around it's Sandy's turn; she's signed a contract with the New Hamashbir to be its presenter for 2008. The contract includes work with the chain's fashion, cosmetics, housewares and textiles departments. She'll also work for the cosmetics department of NewPharm, which was recently purchased by Hamashbir owner Rami Shavit. Hamashbir has not had a presenter for its advertising campaigns for the past seven years. The last presenter was international fashion model Shirli Boganim. The first in the series of campaigns featuring Bar will be broadcast before Pessah on Channels 2, 9 and 10. She will also be seen on billboards across the country and in a catalogue that will be sent to 400,000 members of the 365 Club, which is a significant part of Hamashbir's customer base. Bar will also participate in a number of PR and marketing events.