Eduardo Elsztain, Argentina’s richest man and a follower of Lubavitch-Chabad, along with Israeli entrepreneur Motti Ben-Moshe, is set to take control of 75 percent of Israel’s giant and debt-ridden IDB Holding conglomerate that has its fingers in supermarkets, paper, mobile phone, insurance and cement companies.
Credit holders have overwhelming voted for Elsztain and Ben Moshe to enter and take control from Nochi Dankner, who says he will put up a fight against the buy-out.
Israel’s Big Business elite, approximately seven companies that control more than half of the manufacturing in the country, is dominated by Israel’s richest families, almost all of them left-leaning and secular, a term that does not necessarily mean anti-religious and often includes men like Dankner who observe traditions and are respectful of Judaism.
The entry of a Haredi could be a sign of something spiritual happening, or it could not.
The facts are that Elztain’s representative in Israel has been Shlomo Lapidus, a Haredi businessman and also from one of the wealthiest families in Buenos Aires. A textile company founded by his father is translated into English as “With G-d’s Help.”
Elsztain is president of Chabad, has served as treasurer of the World Jewish Congress, founded Hillel in Argentina and is a big investor in the Taglit-Birthright program.
Big Bucks execs like to jet around the world and visit expensive hotels, but Elsztain does not let that keep him from visiting the graves of righteous Jews when he visits Israel.
This may not be a new trend, but it bears watching.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a chain of markets in Israel welcoming buyers with an image of the Rebbe?