Competing Kibbutz Water Tech Firms Spout Accusations

In Mexican and Italian courts, over worker poaching.

Evidently the planet's water sector isn't big enough for Israel's kibbutzniks. Competition between two kibbut water technology companies has passed from the business sector to the courts, but not in Israel.

Bermad Technologies, owned by Kibbutz Evron, and Dorot Water Technologies, owned by Kibbutz Dorot, which both engage mainly in a range of water control valves and systems for farmers and fire-fighters, are duking it out in courtrooms in Mexico and Italy. The problem is that Dorot employs two people who used to be top executives at Bermad, which is suing both employees on suspicion or embezzlement.

In Italy, charges have been pressed against Meir Roitman, former manager of Bermad Italy, and in Mexico the prosecution has indicted Arie Alapi, former manager of Bermad Mexico.

Roitman is suspected of faking expenses. The preliminary hearing will be held in January at a Rome criminal court. Bermad said that Roitman was fired after his misdeeds came to light - and he immediately started work at Dorot, for whom he set up a unit in Italy.

Meanwhile, Bermad Mexico sued its former leader, Alapi, on similar charges of theft through falsified expense reports. Alapi too joined Dorot, and set up its subsidiary in Mexico, says Bermad.

Dorot CEO Avi Harpaz alleges that Bermad is trying to stymie Dorot's development through "unprofessional means," such as trying to register for itself the name 'Dorot' in Mexico. "We sued [Bermad]over that in an Israeli court," Harpaz added.

Moreover, Harpaz says that Bermad sued in Italy over Dorot's employment of Roitman, but lost the case, and was slapped with court costs too.

Dorot is a long-established firm, founded in 1946. Bermad was founded in 1965.