Tel Aviv Museum Names New Hall After Fugitive From American Justice

Eretz Israel Museum says it’s proud of ties with family of former Comverse CEO Kobi Alexander.

Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum has named a hall after Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, the former Comverse Technology chairman and CEO who fled to Namibia in 2006 after being indicted on fraud charges in the United States.

The Shaula and Kobi Alexander Center will be used by the museum’s education department, for projects with gifted students and rented out for private functions.

The center is housed in the museum’s Glass Pavilion. Built in the 1950s, the structure had been empty for a number of years until being renovated for the new center. The 5-million-shekel ($1.43 million) cost of the two-year overhaul was split evenly between the Alexander family and the Tel Aviv municipality, which owns the museum.

In 2011, Alexander paid $53.6 million to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into allegations that he regularly arranged for the backdating of his company’s stock options. He still faces 35 criminal charges in the United States. Legal sources have said he could expect a prison sentence of three to four years if he is extradited to the United States or turns himself in to American authorities.

Shaula Alexander-Yemini is Kobi’s sister. She founded the systems management software company SMARTS, which was sold to EMC for $260 million in 2004.

Eretz Israel Museum CEO Ilan Cohen said the donation for the center was made by Alexander-Yemini at the museum’s request, based on an agreement signed three years ago. He added that the museum’s board of directors approved the naming decision.

“Shaula is continuing the tradition of her father Zvi to develop the Museum and make it thrive,” Cohen said, adding, “We are proud of the donation and of the ongoing cooperation with the Alexander family.”

The Alexander Museum of Postal History & Philately, part of the Eretz Israel Museum, was named for the father of Kobi Alexander and Shaula Alexander-Yemini.

Zvi Alexander, who died in 2008, donated his stamp collection to the museum in 2005, the year the Alexander Museum was dedicated. A pioneer in Israel’s oil exploration industry, he was a member of the Comverse board of directors until 2002, as was his daughter.

Ofer Vaknin