Following Eli Rozenberg’s bid to purchase El Al, another frum businessman, Meir Gurvitz, the son-in-law of Mordechai Ben David, joined the race and submitted an application to El Al on Tuesday for a holding permit, a precondition for the purchase of shares in El Al, Globes reported.
El Al transferred Gurvitz’s request to the Government Companies Authority.
Gurvitz is a businessman and philanthropist who was born in Israel, spent much of his life in England, and now lives in the US. He is the controlling shareholder in Arazim Investment Ltd. which owns real estate in the UK, and has business dealing in Israel, throughout Europe, and the US.
Gurvitz was born to a Chareidi family in Kiryat Ata near Haifa. His father died when he was nine and two years later, his family moved to Bnei Brak. At age 15, Gurvitz traveled to England to learn at the Gateshead yeshiva. After learning there for five years, he decided to settle in England, moving to London with only £500 to his name and eventually starting a business in building materials.
By 1986, Gurwitz purchased 73 properties from Lloyds Bank for $50 million with his friend, the late Motti Zisser, and became the controlling shareholder of Arazim. Arazim was worth almost $300 million at its height but was hit hard by the recession in 2008, accruing millions of dollars of debt.
The Globes report noted that Gurvitz consistently refuses to be interviewed by the media, has few connections with the local (Israeli) business community and is connected to the Chareidi community.
According to a Kikar H’Shabbos report, Gurvitz, 66, married the daughter of Mordechai Ben-David in a second marriage more than a decade ago. He owns a villa in Savyon (an exclusive neighborhood in central Israel) and served in the past as president of ZAKA. In recent years, Gurvitz splits his time between New York, near his father-in-law, and his villa in Savyon.
A source said that Gurvitz is interested in El Al because he “believes that the collective agreements that have been signed with the employees, makes El Al ‘interesting.’ It is clear to him that the company won’t be profitable for a number of years while he repays the loan.”
The source added that Gurvitz is also considering purchasing shares in El Al’s scheduled public offering at the end of the month.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)