Caesarea, with the ancient port in the foreground.
Caesarea, with the ancient port in the foreground. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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The former CEO of Teva Pharameutical Industries, Shlomo Yanai, has been appointed deputy chairman of the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation, a press release issued yesterday by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild announced. He will also serve as acting chairman of the foundation in the country, as Baron de Rothschild’s foundation representative here.

The appointment, which will take effect on April 1, follows a screening process that took several months and in which dozens of candidates, including other senior figures in the business and public sector, were considered. Among the others in the running were former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and outgoing Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon.

Yanai was CEO of Teva from 2007 until last year. Before that he was CEO of Makhteshim Agan and a director of Bank Leumi. He joined the business sector after a career in the Israel Defense Forces that included heading the army’s Southern Command, which includes Gaza. He will be succeeding attorney David Efrati at the Rothchild Caesarea Foundation.

The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation was founded in 1962 by the late Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the namesake of his grandfather, who in the pre-state period was instrumental in his support for the Zionist enterprise. After the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the Rothschild family made a gift of 550,000 dunams, about 137,500 acres, of land to the Israeli government. In the late 1950s, the family transferred its remaining 30,000 dunams to the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation, inviting the state to be a partner in the foundation in support of higher education, as well as to build the town of Caesarea in the vicinity of the ancient Roman port there. The city is one of the most opulent in the country and includes a golf course and an industrial zone.

The foundation’s website describes its current mission as working to “reduce social inequalities through higher education and the development of social responsibility,” adding that it also specifically supports educational projects in the area around Caesarea. The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation came to an agreement with the state giving the foundation continuing responsibility for the development of the Caesarea area, and a tax exemption on its activities. In return the foundation agreed to contribute its profits from the sale of land and from its business and tourism operations to higher education in Israel.

The foundation has two subsidiaries, one of which is responsible for the city’s development, the other being in charge of the Caesarea industrial zone. Yanai will also be vice chairman and acting chairman of both subsidiaries.