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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘company’

Better Place Replaces CEO Founder Shai Agassi

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

The board of Better Place, the Israeli/global electric car company, has removed its founder Shai Agassi as CEO of the global company, and replaced him with Evan Thornley, who was the CEO of Better Place Australia.

Agassi will continue on as a board member and shareholder.

Better Place has accumulated costs of $490 million dollars since it was founded.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Minneapolis Israeli Businessman Interviewed about his Success Hours before his Murder

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

For two hours, last Thursday morning, Israeli entrepreneur Reuven Rahamim spoke in overflowing excitement about the success of his company, Accent Signage Systems, to journalist, Todd Nelson, a freelance writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Accent Signage Systems, according to its own website, is a leader in the interior signage industry, serving major sign manufacturers worldwide. Accent has been a major distributor for interior signage materials since 1998.

Rahamim talked about his success, his plans for the future and his philosophy. The reporter, Nelson, said he was “passionate about his company, the products, the innovation he brought to Braille signs.” Rahamim was “family oriented,” Nelson added, he talked about his grandchildren and his environmentally friendly products.

Four hours after, essentially, summing up his life in that interview, Rahamim was killed in a workplace shooting in his factory.

Andrew Engeldinger, 36, who had been fired from his job at ASS, took out a handgun and began shooting, fatally wounding the owner, Rahamim, and four others, before killing himself, according to police.

Police said the shooting lasted less than 15 minutes. It appears that Engeldinger may have chosen to spare the lives of a few former co-workers.

Besides the owner, Reuven Rahamim, 61, Engeldinger shot employee Jacob Beneke, 34, Keith Basinski, 50, a UPS driver, Rami Cooks, 62, of Minnetonka, and Ronald Edberg, 58, of Brooklyn Center. Two other people remained at the hospital, one in serious condition and one critical condition. Four of the five men killed suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

John Croman of NBC KARE 11 interviewed Rabbi Alexander Davis of the Beth-El Synagogue in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park, where Rahamim as a trustee and active member.

“Reuven’s last name is Rahamim, which, in Hebrew means ‘merciful’ or ‘compassionate’, and that is truly who he was,” said Rabbi Davis. “He was a person of great kindness and generosity, and mercy. And it’s something that he instilled into everyone with who he had contact. And that will live on here.”

Croman reported that Rabbi Davis spent most of the day with Rahamim’s widow Shereen and their children, who were “numb with pain and shock.”

“For Reuven his family was everything to him, his beloved wife, his three children and two grandchildren,” Davis told Croman.

Rahamim shared his humble beginnings with Star Tribune’s Nelson. He grew up on a farm in Israel “with no running water and a hole in the ground for a toilet.” He started working at a sign factory at age 14. After immigrating to the U.S., he attended Dunwoody College in Minnesota.

Nelson completed his interview and left about noon.

Rami Cooks, one of the victims, was named after his uncle who was murdered in the Holocaust. His nephew, Saar Cooks, wrote the following dedication on his Facebook page:

“My grandfather’s entire family was burnt at Treblinka  Only his little brother, Yerachmiel/ Rami , managed to escape the fire. But at the very end of the war his German boss lost it and stuck a bullet in (Yerachmiel’s) head. My grandpa called his son, my uncle, after his little brother: Rami Cooks. Yesterday, in Minnesota, Rami’s employee, who was fired, lost it and stuck a bullet in (Rami’s) and several other people’s heads. Fate has a bad sense of humor sometimes.”

Tibbi Singer

Son of PM Yitzhak Shamir Enters Politics

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Yair Shamir, son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (Likud), will be entering the political arena under the banner of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

His political debut will put him just under Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, at the party’s number 2 slot.

Shamir made the announcement on Friday, saying he believes his father would have considered joining the party due to their similar values of “freedom of the individual, wholeness of the nation and the land, and aliyah”.

Shamir, 67, is the former chairman of El Al airlines and Israel Aerospace Industries, as well as a former pilot and IAF Colonel.  He is now chair of the Shalem Center and Gvahim job-placement company for new olim, as well as a partner in Catalyst Investments.

Malkah Fleisher

How to Avoid Being the Next Ponzi Scheme Victim

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

One of the main headlines in world financial news this August has been the fate of ZeekRewards.com, an online company that offered investors the chance to get rich quick. Interestingly enough, I heard about ZeekRewards before this company hit the headlines, when one of its salespeople contacted me and asked me to represent them. The very pushy salesman nagged me to set up a meeting, but the more he pushed me, the more uneasy I felt. So I decided to follow my mother’s adage of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” and I didn’t meet him.

Reading the headlines, I’m very relieved with my decision. ZeekRewards offered promises of returns such as 1.5% of the investment at the end of each day and shares of 50% of the daily profits. Wouldn’t everyone want that kind of deal? However, this August, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an emergency action in a North Carolina federal court because this investment project was yet another Ponzi scheme.

The owners of ZeekRewards must have realized that many of these potential investors were going to ask questions. So, in a bid to protect themselves they added a clause for new users stating that they were not purchasing stock or any kind of “investment or equity,” and they even labeled the whole thing as an “e-commerce subscription.” The SEC saw through their ruse and said that this was not the case and in fact the company was offering its subscribers false securities. However, the average investor did not have the knowledge to understand what they were getting into, and the abovementioned clause probably sounded fair enough.

As people kept subscribing and playing the company’s game, investing and reinvesting, the company’s cash outflows began to exceed its total revenue, leading to a collapse and many unhappy subscribers who were left with nothing.

This time, there are more than 1 million victims of the scheme, making this the largest such bankruptcy case, with around $600 million at stake.

Interestingly, many observant Jews, both in Israel and America, have fallen prey to this scheme. It’s not the first time that Jews have been hit hard by Ponzi schemes (think Madoff).

This raises the question of why Ponzi schemes such as ZeekRewards are tempting to the religious Jewish community. One possible answer is that many religious Jews have large families and in this economic climate finances may be tight. Offer a person who is trying to find legitimate ways to support his family a way to make some extra money, and it’s tempting to find out more.

Sadly, as stated above, ZeekRewards is not a one-off story. Apart from desperation to make more money, another possible reason people fall for these schemes is that the scammers may have gotten smarter.

However, there are three basic measures that you could follow to protect yourself from falling victim in a financial scheme:

1. Remember my mother’s rule: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” ZeekRewards offered high gains for pressing a few buttons and looking at some ads. This is the first sign of something suspicious. When something sounds too good to be true, ask yourself, “What’s the catch?”

2. Do your research. One potential investor who decided against investing with ZeekRewards said that when he heard about it, he did his homework. He discovered that the company’s securities offerings were not registered with the SEC as required by U.S. federal law. Recognized authorities monitor investments for a reason; their absence speaks volumes.

3. Don’t feel pressured. If the company/salesman/friend keeps nagging you, saying that the investment opportunity will be gone if you don’t “buy now,” it may be wise to let the opportunity pass.

While there are no guarantees in the world of finance, taking these three steps will provide a basic level of protection against becoming a victim of the next Ponzi scheme that rears its ugly head.

If you are interested in hearing more about the biggest investment fraud in history, watch this TV interview that I did on the subject of Bernie Madoff. Although this was four years ago, the points remain the same. If anything, there are more frauds out there and we need to be more careful than ever. So be wary and tread with caution.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Israeli Companies Just Can’t Make It in the Japanese Market

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Israel and Japan are celebrating sixty years of diplomatic relations, and so, a week ago, the Israel-Japan Chamber of Commerce marked the occasion with a festive event. But the current commercial ties between the two countries gives less cause for celebration. Israeli businesses find it difficult to understand the Japanese market and Japanese companies are not in a hurry to reach Israel, The Marker reported.

“I have been exporting diamonds to Japan since the sixties,” said Shmuel Schnitzer, Vice Chairman of the Israel-Japan Chamber of Commerce. “Japan is a nation with whom it is a pleasure to do business. When you play according to their rules, the Japanese client will be more loyal to you than any other client in the world. He will remain loyal to you even when a competitor offers merchandise at a lower price, and he won’t switch suppliers.”

Another exporter, selling water infrastructure, has been experiencing difficulties breaking into the Japanese market. “We joined up with a trading company, which, by and large, is how you do business in Japan,” he said. “We approached our targeted clients – beverage and bottling companies. We also tried to connect with engineering companies in the water business. Procedures in Japan are very lengthy, costly and difficult. The culture gaps are enormous. I’ve been to Japan twenty times. I’ve learned that not only do I not understand the Japanese, but I have no chance of ever understanding them.”

Israeli exports to Japan are still modest, and according to that exporter, the main obstacle is the Japanese perception of technology and marketing. “We haven’t succeeded in explaining to the Japanese concepts that are practiced in other parts of the world. One of the central issues there is the concept of time. Procedures are conducted from the bottom up, and nothing happens without consensus. Reaching a consensus depends on every single employee understanding the product or proposal. There is only a technological approval after this entire process is completed.”

The same exporter added that there are definitely language comprehension difficulties. “In one of the rounds of talks, they said ‘yes,’ but meant ‘no.’ Plus, they prefer locally-produced good. If there is a comparable Japanese product or technology, they will prefer it.”

Another obstacle preventing penetration into the Japanese market, according to the exporter, are the high prices. From his experience working in another company, he said, but “the potential is tremendous and the minute you penetrate the market, it’s a real success.”

Trade between Israel and Japan is volatile and varies between $2.5 – $3 billion annually. About 25% of this is Israeli export and the rest import. Cars (mainly Toyota and Subaru) make up a significant part of the imports. Last year, this included machinery and equipment. According to informed sources, the increase in car imports is a result of car imports by Intel as part of their investment in their Kiryat Gat, Israel, plant.

There was a marked decrease of 13% in trade with Japan (down to $1.4 billion) in the first half of 2012 in comparison with the first half of 2011. Exports dropped 8% to $341 million; imports dropped 15% to $1.1 billion. A 38% drop in automobile imports is predicted.

“We haven’t managed to crack Japan,” said Shauli Katzenelson, chief economist for the Export Institute. “Our rate of penetration into Japan stands out negatively compared to the rest of the world. Our share there is a mere 0.11% of their import, compared with our overall percentage of the world imports, which stands at 0.27%. Even when allowing for Japan’s huge oil imports, our situation there is not good.”

Roni Burstein, chairman of the Israel-Japan chamber of commerce and a Kikoman importer for more than 20 years, said “the problem at the moment is not with the Japanese but with us. If Israeli companies give Japan a high priority, which means investing in entering the market, in the end it will pay off, even if it takes a long time. It’s a market of 130 million homogeneous consumers. Once we get in, we won’t be easily kicked out.”

Jacob Edelist

Chabad Buys Manhattan Building for $42 Million

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Chabad said it had been renting the 12-story, 60,000-sq.-ft. building at 509 Fifth Avenue for the past 16 years, before it bought it on Thursday. The building has a synagogue, offers programs and oversees the activities of seven Chabad centers in Manhattan. It also includes a vacant space.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to God for this enormous blessing,” Rabbi Joshua Metzger, executive director of Chabad of Midtown Manhattan, said in a statement. “This record-breaking acquisition presents enormous opportunities and an awesome responsibility to ensure that all of our Jewish brethren in the heart of one of the largest cities of the world are cared for and inspired.”

In April, 2010, the New York Post reported, Metzger filed a $30 million lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against real estate investors David Werner and Amram Kass. Metzger alleged that he discussed with them his desire to buy the building but was subsequently cut out from its purchase. The suit also was filed against the building’s then-owner, 509 Fifth Avenue Associates Owner, which includes Norman Sturner of Murray Hill Properties, the Post reported.

Werner, Metzger alleged, was a matchmaker between seller Joseph Moinian and Sturner, who bought the structure for $32 million, according to the Post.

In January, 2012, Sturner’s ownership group filed a $9 million suit against several groups, including the Chai Foundation – a Chabad operation — and Metzger. It alleged that Metzger had not paid rent and was in the process of being evicted when another company had signed the contract to buy the building for $39 million – a deal that fell through in December, 2011, according to the Post.

JTA

Israel’s Medical Association: ‘Reality Shows Worse than Experiments On Human Beings’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“Many claim that putting people in high pressure, tense situations, for the purpose of observing their behavior at every moment, borders on performing medical experiments on human beings. If we would examine several reality shows in the context of human experiments, it’s doubtful if it were permitted under the Helsinki Declaration,” states a report submitted by an ethics committee appointed by the Israeli Medical Association, according to a report in The Marker.

The Helsinki Declaration determines ethical principles regarding human experimentation which were developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association (WMA). It is regarded universally as the cornerstone document of human research ethics.

“This would hold true just based on the fact that the participants’ consent is not given from an informed position,” states the report.

The harsh verdict was issued in the aftermath of a scandal in which a psychiatrist working for “The Big Brother” reality television show prescribed psychiatric pills to contenders, ostensibly to enable them to stay on.

The committee added that “in contrast with experiments conducted on human beings, where the primary purpose is the development of drugs and healing methods benefiting humanity, reality shows merely gratify the peeping impulse of the viewers, and their main purpose entertainment for the masses and profits of the producers.”

The committee published the results of its recently completed study on Tuesday. The Health Ministry has decided not to initiate procedures against Dr. Ilan Rabinowitz, the psychiatrist at the center of the Big Brother scandal, after he was found guilty of dispensing psychiatric medication to the contestants during the show’s second season, and also not to initiate procedures against the show’s production company, or the franchise, Keshet, which have both been accused of being aware of Rabinowitz’s alleged manipulation.

The Medical Association’s Report is by far harsher than the findings published by the Health Ministry investigation. It opens with an introduction that completely opposes reality shows on moral grounds and indicates potential emotional harm to contestants as well as damage to the public, resulting from the shows.

Professor Abraham Reches, chairman of the Medical Association Ethics Committee, explained that in spite of the convincing ethical flaws found by the committee regarding reality shows, the committee chose, in effect, to acknowledge that the shows are not going away any time soon, and thus to cooperate with them by establishing guidelines.

“I’m a realistic person, and it’s clear that the reality shows will continue to be aired, even though I have a negative view regarding their very message. Therefore, given that these programs will not stop being televised, we are taking at least one positive step by outlining the proper way to safeguard the participants’ health. I am convinced that this will be a gradual remedial process, and it is my hope that the network and production companies will adopt our recommendations,” Dr. Reches told The Marker.

According to Dr. Reches, “Our concern is for the physical and emotional health of the contestants in the reality shows and we are determining where the red lines are, between our absolute commitment to the patient/contestant, and our obligation to the interests of the producer. A doctor remains a doctor even when he gets his salary from a television production.”

Tibbi Singer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-medical-association-reality-shows-worse-than-experiments-on-human-beings/2012/08/29/

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