Grapevine: Capital investments

CISCO Systems is buying the Israeli-founded NDS Group Ltd. for $5 billion.

Rachel Azaria 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rachel Azaria 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
■ THE OUTSTANDING economic news last week that CISCO Systems is buying the Israeli-founded NDS Group Ltd. for $5 billion has prompted Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria, who heads the Yerushalmim faction, to write to both President Shimon Peres and Mayor Nir Barkat urging them to use all the influence at their disposal to make Jerusalem the center of CISCO’s Israel operations. The acquisition will make CISCO one of the world’s leading providers of next-generation video and television software.
Of some 5,000 NDS employees in various parts of the world, around 1,300 work at the NDS Jerusalem R&D Center. Many of them are native English speakers. NDS is now headquartered in the UK where it is owned by Permira, a private equity firm that has the controlling interest of 51 percent, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp which has 49%.
In her letter Azaria writes that Jerusalem has excellent educational facilities for the training of software engineers and other hi-tech professions, and states that now is the time to utilize municipal and government incentives to ensure that the CISCO-NDS merger will be of benefit to the capital and that its operations in the city will intensify. Azaria points out that this is a significant opportunity to dramatically increase the number of jobs available in Jerusalem.
■ AT THE opening of the Furoshiki Design Exhibition in Holon this week, Dikla Saar, a fourth-year student in the Department of Jewelry and Fashion at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, publicly received a certificate attesting to the fact that she had won the first prize in the 2011 Furoshiki Design Contest for both Japanese and Israeli students. She also received 50,000 yen, around NIS 2,400. The contest was one of many projects and activities marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Israel.
The contest, co-sponsored by the Japanese Foundation and the Japanese Embassy, was launched in December 2011, and attracted 190 entries. Saar received the Grand Prize Certificate while the Certificate of Excellence went to Japanese interior design student Shouta Kojima. Two other Bezalel Academy students, Liya Naidich and Michal Caspi, also won awards for their creations. Naidich was one of the 10 Certificates of Merit winners and Caspi received an Honorable Mention Certificate.
Aside from the fact that her work was exhibited at the Mediatech Museum in Holon this week, Saar was doubly thrilled because this was the first time that she had won an award for any of her creations. She was glad to have had the opportunity to work with the Japanese, and described the project as “amazing and creative.”
Furoshiki is a traditional square Japanese cloth used for wrapping and carrying various objects. Versatile, reusable and beautifully designed, furoshiki are an original form of the “eco-bag” that dates back to the Edo period of Japanese history (from 1603 to 1868).
The concept behind the project was to show the fusion of Israeli and Japanese ideas. Saar obviously succeeded in meeting this challenge. Japanese Ambassador Hideo Sato said of her work: “Her design conveys the message of both Japan and Israel for peace through flying doves and flowers with an excellent touch of Japanese atmosphere. Shouta Kojima, in turn, shows menorahs designed in wonderfully arranged patterns.”
■ SYRIAN-BORN Yossi Hadas, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, has written a book, From Aleppo to Jerusalem, which will be launched Monday morning, March 26, at the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute on the Mount Scopus campus.
Hadas will also deliver a lecture in Hebrew on “Egypt and Islam.” Hadas was the Charge d’Affaires with Israel’s first diplomatic mission in Cairo that was headed by the late Eliahu Ben-Elissar. It was Hadas who hoisted the Israeli flag on what was then the interim Israel Embassy.
■ NOTHING IS forever, including the location of the Government Press Office, which after a great deal of talk and preparation finally moved from Beit Agron in Hillel Street, where it has been located for around 40 years, to the technology center in Malha.
The change of location brings with it vastly improved facilities. The new offices, which have been leased for 15 years, include an auditorium for briefings and press conferences. The auditorium is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and can accommodate up to 100 journalists at any given time. There is also an ultra-modern studio for the GPO photo department, plus fiber-optic cables for live transmissions and other technological requirements that will enable the GPO to be faster and more efficient in its work with foreign and local media.