Business in Brief

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Foreign carriers slam Israel-only policy for prime minister’s flights

Representatives of foreign airlines yesterday took issue with the Shin Bet security service requirement that the prime minister use only Israeli airlines in foreign travel. “I don’t understand the restriction,” said one, who asked not be to identified. “Why can the president of Israel, a personality no less important or subject to less security, fly overseas on official business on a foreign airline?” They noted that cabinet ministers often use foreign airlines. The complaints came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ran up bills criticized as excessive flying El Al Israel Airline to London and elsewhere. The foreign airline representatives maintained that the absence of any competition for flying the prime minister inflated charges. ‏(Zohar Blumenkrantz‏).

Dutch gov’t fund looking at Israel biotech investments

BOM Capital, a venture capital arm of Holland’s Brabant Development Agency, is sending a delegation to Israel next week to look at opportunities for investment and cooperation with Israeli high-tech companies, mainly in the life sciences and medical device areas. BOM, which has 120 million euros under management, said it is seeking to put money into 10 to 15 Israeli companies over the next several years, preferably in parallel with other investors. BOM will sign a cooperative agreement with Van Leer Xenia, a Dutch company that operates a biotechnology incubator in Jerusalem and will help BOM identify Israeli partners. “We want to help Israeli companies by being a bridge to Europe. We hope that Israeli companies entering the European market start in Holland,” said Richard l’Ami, BOM’s foreign investment manager. ‏(Inbal Orpaz‏)

Qualcomm Israel chief stepping down after 14 years

Eyal Bar-David is stepping down as head of Israeli operation at Qualcomm after 14 years. He will be replaced by Arik Mimran, Paul Jacobs, chairman of the U.S. maker of semiconductors, said at a press conference yesterday. Qualcomm has conducted research and development in Israel for two decades, employing 400 people. Mimran was manager for software engineering at Marvell Israel before joining Qualcomm in 1996. He left Qualcomm for Mellanox in 2007 and returned to Marvell in 2008. Qualcomm’s unit once had a lower profile than other multinational R&D centers in Israel, but that has changed in the last three years with the company’s acquisition of three Israeli startups for a combined $240 million and a 50% increase in local staff. ‏(Amitai Ziv and Orr Hirschauge‏)

An El Al airplane in flight.Credit: Archive