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Prominent Businessmen Launch Worldwide Initiative to Help Develop Israel’s Economy

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Max Fisher, the noted Detroit industrialist and founding chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, announced today that “an initiative to develop the Israeli economy has recently been undertaken by a prominent group of businessmen from Israel and throughout the world.”

This private enterprise initiative, called “Operation Independence,” is “aimed at advancing the economic independence of the Jewish State,” Fisher said. He noted that the decision to establish an international task force for this purpose was made at a planning meeting in Jerusalem last February, initiated by Premier Shimon Peres and attended by Israeli and worldwide business leaders.

Fisher’s co-chairmen are Morton Mandel of Cleveland and Charles Bronfman of Montreal. Other members of the recently established task force executive committee include: Eli Hurwitz, president of the Israel Manufacturers Association; Dani Rosolio, secretary general of Hevrat Ha’ovdim (the economic arm of the Histadrut Labor Federation); Gad Yacobi, Israel’s Minister of Economy and Planning, on behalf of the special ministerial committee involved in the launching of Operation Independence; and Moshe Arens, Minister-Without-Portfolio and Israel’s former Defense Minister.

Zvi Zur, who served as managing director of Clal Industries, has been appointed chief coordinator; and Jacob Burak, a distinguished Israeli businessman consultant, has been selected as chief operating officer.

AREAS UNDER CONSIDERATION

The Operation Independence task force will utilize the experience and professional expertise of task force members and others to further effective economic action in Israel. Areas under consideration include: exports, tourism, joint ventures, direct investments and venture capital. Working groups composed of Israeli and worldwide business leaders will shortly be announced.

The steering committee of Operation Independence met in February in Jerusalem. The executive committee met in New York on April 16 to formulate plans for the task force, including an international task force meeting scheduled for the end of 1985.

In commenting on this new enterprise, Fisher said: “My colleagues and I congratulate the Prime Minister for his initiative in launching this program. We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of those business leaders with whom we have already consulted. We are hopeful that we can meet the challenge of enhancing Israel’s economy in the coming decade. We are very pleased that the government of Israel has expressed its vital support and is prepared to serve as facilitator for this essential project.”

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