January 4, 2011 / 28 Tevet 5771
Chaim Chesler, outgoing chair of the Jewish Agency subsidiary, Real Estate Participations, Ltd. and past treasurer of the Jewish Agency, was guest of honor at a farewell event held at Jerusalem’s Beit Avichai, attended by Natan Sharansky, Chair of the Executive of the Jewish Agency and distinguished guests, as well as in the presence of his successor as chairman, Avi Maoz, previously Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Housing.
Chaim Chesler said that eight years after assuming office as chairperson, and following a serious financial crisis in the company in 2002, the company’s income has risen by 60 percent - from 100 million shekels per annum to 160 million shekels in 2009.
During that period, the area of the properties administered by the company grew from 300,000 to 500,000 square meters and some 760 new properties have been added to the portfolio. The properties enjoy a 98 percent occupancy rate and the rentals paid to the property owners have increased by 66 percent, while there has been no increase in overhead costs.
Under heavy pressure from the then Chair of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, Alex Grass, Chair of the Executive, Sallai Meridor and the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Ritchie Pearlstone, Chesler says that he took over chairmanship of the company when it was in the throes of a deep financial crisis.
“My appointment was an attempt to find a solution for the problems in the company. I am delighted that, with the active co-operation of the Managing Director, Benny Harfenist and his devoted staff, we were able to embark on the highroad to recovery. Today the company is profitable and it works in close cooperation with Amigour, the Jewish Agency housing company.”
Chaim Mevorach, Director of the Jewish Agency Staff Pension Fund, and Company Director Meir Dayan, said that the success of Chesler is amply measured in the financial results that were achieved during his eight years in office. Harfenist said that Chesler managed to stabilize the relations between shareholders and management and succeeded in installing a warm working professional relationship within the company.
Sharansky congratulated Chesler on his work – he had been the first person he met when he arrived in Israel in 1986 when Chesler was Director of the Public Council for Soviet Jewry - and pointed out that Chesler’s untiring efforts will continue to be devoted to the Jewish people, especially through the project he initiated and runs: Limmud FSU, the educational learning experience for young Russian-speaking adults throughout the world.
Real Estate Participations Ltd. is a commercial business enterprise engaged in property management. The company was founded in 1968 by the Jewish Agency for Israel with the objective of providing a marketing and operational vehicle to income-producing properties purchased by Jewish investors abroad.
Real Estate Participations Ltd. manages income-producing properties on behalf of some of the leading institutions, private bodies and public companies in Israel.