The Philanthropist

The World Jewish Congress yesterday awarded its annual prize to Nochi Dankner, for giant contributions made by his business group, IDB. Also yesterday, IDB subsidiary Koor settled a class-action, filed by retired accountant Dov Kahana, over its sale of Makhteshim-Agan.

He's a rare breed, Kahana - more's the pity. We, the public, should award him a prize. The millions IDB donates don't help the public as much as Kahana's victory will.

He is the only one who decided, six months ago, to insist on his rights, when Makhteshim-Agan was sold to ChemChina. He claimed the public was being shortchanged in relation to the price Dankner arranged for himself and his partners. His action forced IDB to fork out another $45 million.

Koor set up its heaviest guns against the aged accountant, but he prevailed.

But our satisfaction is muted: The real problem is that the bodies and regulators that are supposed to protect the public's money did nothing. The problem is that the institutional investors who squeeze us for millions in management fees each year remained mum.

People managing trillions sat silent while Kahana stood up and shrieked. The reason is a market failure. Dankner controls Clal Insurance, but what of the rest? Migdal, Excellence, Menorah, DS, Psagot? Israel's public is on its own and one Kahana isn't enough.