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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘company’

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

Estonian gas company apologizes for using Auschwitz in ad

Monday, August 27th, 2012

(JTA) — An Estonian gas company apologized for using a photo of Auschwitz in its advertising.

The website of GasTerm Eesti on Aug. 23 published a photograph of the front gate of the Nazi death camp with the famous inscription “Arbeit macht frei,” or “work makes you free.” The caption read “Gas heating — flexible, convenient, and effective.”

The next day the photo was removed from the site and an apology was posted.

Company director Sven Linros said, according to DzD.ee portal, “Hitler killed himself because he got a gas bill … a lot of people laugh at this, but I do not. I visited Auschwitz with dread. I feel sorry for the victims and their families. The picture was intended for a narrow group of people. We wanted to clarify that the CH4 gas is not toxic and can be used to heat buildings even those with such a sad history.”

Auschwitz photos have been used before in ads. In January, a gym in Dubai used an image from the camp with the tag line “Kiss your calories goodbye.”

JTA

Samsung to Pay Apple More Than $1 Billion Dollars

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

A US Jury found Samsung guilty of patent infringement of key features of Apple’s iOS, iPhone and iPad. The jury awarded Apple over $1 Billion dollars for damages ($1,049,393,540 to be exact). While in the issue of Samsung’s claims against Apple, Samsung was awarded nothing.

The Jury deliberated for less than three days on and decided that Samsung infringed on six out Apple’s seven patent claims, while Apple had infinged on none of Samsung’s five patent claims.

Apple is now seeking an injunction against Samung, while Samsung will be appealing the ruling.

Apple and Samsung both released statements in response to the court’s decision:

Apple:

We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.

Samsung:

Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.

Jewish Press News Briefs

T’shuva Makes the World Go Round

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The Gemara teaches that t’shuva existed before the world was created. In a similar vein, Rabbi Kook writes that the spirit of t’shuva hovers over the world and gives it its basic form and the motivation to develop. It is t’shuva which gives the world its direction and its inner energy to constantly progress. The desire to refine the world and to embellish it with beauty and splendor all derive from the spirit of t’shuva.

T’shuva is the Divine, spiritual force in the universe which is constantly propelling all of existence toward perfection. It is the voice of God calling, “Return to Me, you children of men.” Due to the “separation” from God through transgressions, improper living, or through the act of Creation itself, there is a constant drive in all things to return to a harmony with their Maker. Rabbi Kook writes that, “It is impossible to express this awesomely deep idea.” The force of t’shuva, like gravity in the physical world, is built into the inner fabric of life. It stands as the impetus behind all human history, all world development, all endeavor toward social improvement. It is the force which inspires all cultural, artistic, and scientific advancement. Similarly, the yearning of mankind for universal justice and moral perfection is a product of the encompassing, ever-present power of t’shuva.

On a personal level, when a man sells his house in the country because he wants to improve the quality of his life, he is involved in t’shuva. When a family has a fun and relaxing vacation, they are being motivated by forces of t’shuva. Though there may be underlying factors of profit and self-interest when a pharmaceutical company produces a new drug, they too are involved in t’shuva, if their product truly helps to benefit the world.

“T’shuva derives from the yearning of all existence to be better, purer, more fortified and elevated than it is. Hidden within this desire is a life-force capable of overcoming that which limits and weakens existence. The personal t’shuva of an individual, and even more so of the community, draws its strength from this source of life which is constantly active with never-ending vigor.”

Never-Ending T’shuva

In his writings, Rabbi Kook illuminates the phenomenon of t’shuva in an entirely new fashion. Here we encounter the notion of t’shuva, not as personal penitence alone, but as an ever-active force in the world which constantly works to unite all things with God.

“The currents of specific and general t’shuva flood along. They resemble waves of flames on the surface of the sun, which break free and ascend in a never-ending struggle, granting life to numerous worlds and numberless creatures. It is impossible to grasp the multitude of colors of this great sun that lights all worlds, the sun of t’shuva, because of their abundance and wondrous speed, because they emanate from the Source of life itself….”

In his poetic style, Rabbi Kook describes t’shuva like a sun which sends out constant flames of warming light to the world. Just as God has created the sun as life’s principle energy source, so too is t’shuva the spiritual energy source of existence. T’shuva does not only operate when a person decides to mend his erring ways – t’shuva exists all of the time. It exists both within man and all around him, as a personal t’shuva, and as a t’shuva which comes from Above. Like gravity, or the wind, or the rays of the sun, t’shuva is ever present. It is a constant force always at work, bringing the world to completion. One day the force may hit Jonathan; the next day Miriam; one day soon it will uplift the Jewish people as a whole. Its waves flow by us in a continuous stream. Minute by minute, the song of t’shuva calls out to us to hurry and join in the flow.

That’s our lesson for today. If you don’t want to wait for the daily doses of t’shuva that we’ll be delivering, you can get yourself a copy of The Art of T’shuva and give yourselves a jumbo fix. But one step at a time up the ladder of t’shuva is a wise way to do it, so that you don’t fall back down, God forbid, just as fast as you soared up.

Tzvi Fishman

Jury Throws Book at Muslim Hotel Owner for Throwing Jewish Guests Out of her Pool

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

After five days of deliberation, a Santa Monica jury announced on Wednesday that Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya committed anti-Semitic discrimination when she uttered her now-famous cry, “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!

The jury found for the plaintiffs on multiple acts of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malice, fraud and oppression, and violations of the California Civil Rights Act.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.

The 18 individual plaintiffs and one corporate plaintiff were awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages, but the final amount Adaya and her company will owe is expected to go much higher, because the individual plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages on many of the counts.  In addition, attorney James Turken is entitled to collect attorney’s fees from the defendant under the Unruh Act – California’s Civil Rights Act, which specifically outlaws discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Turken was quite emotional after the verdicts were read Wednesday evening.  He had just been through two of the most draining experiences of his life.  For one thing, Turken is a corporate defense litigator, and so to him this civil rights case, especially representing plaintiffs, was largely unfamiliar territory.  He took on the case, he told the Jewish Press, because when he learned the facts he became “outraged,” and because he was also “incredibly impressed” with the plaintiffs.

On Friday, when the case went to the jury for consideration, Turken went to the home of his younger brother.  He then sat by his side as Dr. David Turken was succumbing to defeat in his years-long battle with Leukemia.  Jim Turken said that his brother had been following the lawsuit closely, despite his dwindling strength.  Even at the very end, when David was drifting in and out of consciousness, he kept asking his brother whether the jury had come back yet.

Turken could not say enough good things about his clients, the plaintiffs.  He praised them on multiple occasions as “the very best we have to offer, these are young people trying to make a difference, who volunteer for all kinds of charities.”  He told The Jewish Press that “as a Jew, I took this case very personally, but the plaintiffs made it a pleasure – I was honored to represent them.”

Ari Ryan, the lead plaintiff in the case, explained why he felt it was so important to persevere through the long, tortuous legal proceeding. Ryan was one of the organizers of the Friends of the IDF event at the Shangri-La Hotel, and as the events unfolded, as the Jews with wristbands were being herded out of the pool, “the gravity of the situation weighed heavily on me.”  He said, “evil succeeds if good men and women don’t stand up and do what is right.”

Well, the Shangri-la plaintiffs did what was right, and in the end, their conviction and hard work were validated.

Tamie Adaya was not in the court room when the verdicts were read, but she is required to be present during the punitive damages phase which starts on Thursday.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jury-throws-the-book-at-muslim-hotel-owner-who-threw-jews-out-of-her-pool/2012/08/19/

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