Ezra Harel Dies of Heart Attack

Israeli industrialist Ezra Harel died Monday night from a heart attack while sailing on a yacht off the Spanish coast. His body will be flown back to Israel.

Harel had diverse business interests, including in real estate, security, communications and tourism. He owned a 65 percent controlling stake in ICTS International, which supplies security checks at airports and is traded on Nasdaq at a market value of $33 million.

Harel was one of fellow tycoon Nochi Dankner's partners in the Third Millennium tourism corporation, which controls the Tzabar group. He also owned 24 percent of, and chaired, ARM Raanana, which built hundreds of apartments in central Israel during the 1990s.

One of Harel's less successful ventures was Rogosin, which collapsed, failing to meet repayments of some NIS 80 million to its bondholders, and several million more to its banks and other creditors. Following Rogosin's downfall, criminal suits were filed against Harel, and an investigation was opened by the Israel Securities Authority. Both Harel and his father Aryeh Mualem, former chairman of Rogosin, were arrested on charges related to the company. The authority will decide in the next few days whether, and how, to progress with the case.

Attorney Pinhas Rubin, Rogosin's receiver, said it was fitting, for the moment, to mourn, rather than dwell on the legal issues. Harel's lawyer, Sinai Alias, said it was premature to see what the legal implications were of his death.

Some in the business community yesterday thought that, though the criminal suits against Harel would certainly be dropped, the civil matters were more complex, as many people who had lost a great deal of money would be reluctant to let the matter be.

Among Harel's other holdings were Harmony Group of the Netherlands, and Lidan, an Israeli firm.

Details of his funeral have not yet been determined.