The ILDC group is one of the leading public companies in Israel. It features a vast experience, high degree of professionalism, economic capabilities and last but not least –originality and an audacious vision.
ILDC has an excellent reputation, and credibility is its first motto. It enjoys the complete confidence of its customers, its employees and the financial market.
The Israel Land Development Company (ILDC) [formerly PLDC – The Palestine Land Development Company] was founded in England in 1909 by the Zionist Federation, as a tool for the acquisition and development of land in ERETZ ISRAEL [then Palestine, to become later the modern State of Israel].In 1953 it was registered as an Israeli public company and since then, its shares are traded on the Stock Exchange. In 1987 the Nimrodi Family acquired control over the company.
In the course of the years, ILDC focused on several fields which it has been managing with great success. It is presently active, directly and through affiliated companies, in the following main fields: Real-Estate (including Malls, Logistic Parks and Urban Renwal), Hotels, Outdoor Advertising and Utilities and Energy and .
Holdings in Israel
A variety of residential properties, business and industrial buildings across the country >>
Land assets worldwide, logistics parks >>
Real Estate Developments
Initiating commercial, office and residential projects in Israel and abroad >>
Rimonim Hotels, which operates throughout the country >>
Additional subsidiaries of ILDC >>
Theodore Herzl, leader of political Zionism (1901)
Looking back at over
Looking back at over a century of operation of THE ISRAEL LAND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY [ILDC] cannot fail to fill even the most sober with actual wonder.
Following the company’s evolution from its founding to date reveals a miniature but paten expression of Zionism. At first there was only a dream, a dream which seemed so impractical – purchasing land in Israel (then Palestine) and settling Jews on the land! For two thousand years of exile from their homeland Jews had dreamt that dream, but it took the appropriate circumstances and the appropriate visionaries to materialize it.
First were HOVEVEY ZION (Lovers of Zion, Zionist associations founded in the 19th century in Russia and Romania, preaching immigration to Israel, the Jewish Homeland), members of the First Aliya (first immigration wave in modern times) and the Baron de Rothschild, at the end of the 19th century. In the beginning of the 20th century came the JCA – the Jewish Colonization Association founded by Baron Hirsch and the institutions of the World Zionist Organization. At first, the JNF – Jewish National Fund – was designated to be the organ carrying out the redemption of the land in Israel. In the course of the first decade of the 20th century, THE PALESTINE LAND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY [PLDC], also founded by the World Zionist Organization, joined in. Its leaders, Prof. Otto Warburg, Dr. Arthur Ruppin and the inveterate land redeemer – Yehoshua Hankin, were viewed as mad by their contemporaries. This, however, did not deter them, and they went on to seek a massive and persistent acquisition of land to create a territorial continuity in Jewish ownership, to be conquered by Jewish settlement and work.
The founders of ILDC dreamt a dream so vast, that sometimes they had to fight for its realization against the Ottomans who ruled the land, and to strive to impart their belief to the institutions of the World Zionist Organization. These finally gave in, as the founders of ILDC, beyond their outstanding capability to dream, were also blessed with determination, diligence, wisdom, professionalism and a clear understanding of the reality prevailing in Israel. This combination of vision and pragmatism is the secret of ILDC’s tremendous success.
Many years have gone by; the world has changed beyond recognition. The Jewish State was founded in Israel – the independent and flourishing State of Israel. Our sovereignty and ownership of the land is a firm and indisputable fact. But we are still in need of people of vision and deeds. We still admire those individuals, whose audacity produced results that no one but they themselves could foresee.
A person of such caliber is Jackob Nimrodi, who had the audacity to acquire ILDC when it was privatized in 1987, followed by his son Ofer Nimrodi, who has turned the ILDC into a multinational corporation. They demonstrate the same innate qualities which characterized the founders – a perfect blend of audacity and a sober view of reality; of courage and professionalism and responsibility; of the capability to discern what is invisible to others and the swiftness in seizing it and not letting go. This is exactly what one of the greatest leaders of the Israeli Labor Movement – Berl Katznelsson – said many years ago of Arthur Ruppin: “…He brought with him a fountainhead of spiritual and mental vibrancy. A strong belief concealed and bridled by a cautious and skeptical mind.”
From land redemption to the draining of swamps, from planting trees to rural and urban planning and residential construction, from building industrial facilities to erecting hotels, from developing our small country to initiating projects worldwide this is how ILDC evolved and adapted itself to the changing times; a company whose managers today too dare dream great dreams, but their feet are solidly planted on the ground.
A nation reborn on its ancestral soil - JNF poster
Pragmatic Zionism wins
Theodore Herzl, who founded the World Zionist Organization in 1897, believed in political Zionism. He hoped that Israel would be given to the Jewish people as a charter by the League of Nations. Until his death in 1904, Herzl actively strived to attain this goal. The Palestine Land Development Company was an embodiment of another approach prevailing at the time – pragmatic Zionism. This approach held that, in order to promote the Zionist political aims, it is mandatory to address settlement issues – acquisition of land throughout Israel and establishing new settlements thereon.
In the 8th Zionist Congress, held in 1907, the followers of pragmatic Zionism had the upper hand. During the Congress, it was resolved to establish a branch of the World Zionist Organization in Israel – the Israel Office, to be seconded by The Palestine Land Development Company [PLDC]. Dr. Ruppin was to preside over the two organizations simultaneously.
Share No. 1, on the name of Prof. Otto Warburg, issued (1909)
PLDC registers as a company in London
PLDC registered as a company in London on January 20, 1909, with a capital of 50,000 Pounds Sterling, divided into 40,000 shares of 1 Pound Sterling each and 200 founders’ shares of 50 Pounds Sterling each. Upon the founding of the company, its paid up capital reached 7,912 Pounds Sterling. The first meeting of the Board of Directors was held on March 14, 1909, in Cologne, Germany.
Prof. Otto Warburg, who headed the company and later also served as Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said at the inaugural meeting of the Tenth Zionist Congress (August 1911): “Among the institutions founded (by the World Zionist Organization) in the last four years, our institution – The Palestine Land Development Company – is first and foremost. When all will recognize its value, the utmost benefit of this institution will be fully revealed. This company has already started the parcellation (division of the acquired lands into plots and parcels), in planning the setting up of a large settlement in a businesslike manner…”
A new approach in developing the country:
PLDC was designated to assist private entrepreneurs in acquiring land and in setting up new settlements. It also considered as its role to assist in the settling of the workers of the Second Aliyah (2nd immigration wave). Eight years prior to its founding, its older sister – the JNF – was born. The latter was designated to engage in redeeming the lands of Israel in perpetuity, with the help of donations from the Jewish people. The JNF statutes forbade it to sell land. PLDC, however, set itself the goal of encouraging settlement through private initiatives in Israel. It was to cope with all the difficulties inherent in the acquisition of land in Israel, to acquire wide expanses of land, to parcel them, develop them, build infrastructure for new settlements, and sell the developed land plots to private entrepreneurs. This was the way to help private investors avoid all the difficulties which confronted the MOSHAVOT [early town settlements] in the First and Second ALIYOT (1st and 2nd waves of immigration] and contributed to the failure of most of them.
The leaders of the World Zionist Organization understood the expected contribution of the workers of the Second Aliya to rebuilding the country. They were of the opinion that such a qualified group – lacking means but upholding high ideals – should get assistance in settling. PLDC was to assist them in their first steps in settling on the land.
Dr. Arthur Ruppin (1925)
Dr. Arthur Ruppin – Father of Zionist settlement
Arthur Ruppin was born in 1876 to a destitute family in Silesia. He studied law and showed interest in economics and sociology as well. When he was still rather young, he reached the conclusion that “there is no future for the Jewish people in the world of Western culture, where the Jewish essence is bound to fade and disappear.” He believed that assimilation was a solution for individuals but not for a nation. Ruppin thought that the solution for the Jewish people would only be within a national framework, based on foundations of productivity and realization.
In 1907, Ruppin was dispatched to Israel by the World Zionist Organization, to study the state of the Jewish settlement there. He returned to his mandators with a dire report. In his opinion, the YISHUV (Jewish settlement in Palestine) suffered from old age and a lack of Zionist enthusiasm.
In 1908, Ruppin, who had just turned thirty-two, was appointed by the World Zionist Organization to head the Israel Office. That year, he inaugurated the office in Jaffa. Shortly after, he undertook the post of Manager of The Palestine Land Development Company.
Ruppin was acquainted with all the streams of the Jewish settlement: the laborers of the Second Aliyah of 1904, as well as the bourgeois who had come to Israel in the first and second decades of the 20th century. Within a short period of time he had made many friends, and soon all – including his rivals and opponents – recognized that the running of the Zionist endeavor had been entrusted to loyal hands. Ruppin was a man of fresh and original thinking, and the passion of his vision was tempered by his cautious and sharp mind. Beyond his manifest pragmatism, Ruppin was also a man of letters. In the books he wrote he described at large many chapters in the history of the Zionist settlement endeavor in Israel, including the part played by PLDC.
His friend Berl Katznelsson summarized Ruppin’s enterprise as follows:
“Ruppin was not a man of ‘monoculture’. He was no fixed-idea person. He is the one who pushed the founding of Tel-Aviv, the one who sought to foster the beginnings of various industries. He was involved in organizing the capitalist settlers into ‘estates’, in creating Bank Hapoalim (later to become Israel’s No. 1 bank) and the Bank of Artisans, and it is no wonder that the collective settlements became the heart of his endeavor.” Arthur Ruppin passed away in 1943.
Right to left: Otto Warburg, Nahum Sokolov and Zeev Jabotinsky
Prof. Otto Warburg
Prof. Otto Warburg was born in 1859 in Hamburg, Germany. He was a famous botanist. Side by side with his scientific work he contributed significantly to promoting Zionism and was one of the leaders of Zionism in Germany. Unlike most Zionists in Central and Western Europe, Warburg was one of the leaders of pragmatic Zionism. He initiated the founding of The Palestine Land Development Company, gave it its name, led it, and was involved with it until the day he died.
Warburg brought in the JNF as a shareholder in PLDC. He assisted in creating acquisition groups to acquire land from PLDC in order to set up agricultural settlements, and persuaded Zionist leaders in Germany, England, Austria and Russia to purchase shares of PLDC.
Warburg was party, together with other Zionist leaders, to the establishment of the “Migdal” estate in the Lower Galilee, founded by PLDC.
He did not settle for promoting the agricultural sector. He was of the opinion that the urban sector in Israel must also be fostered, in order to create a healthy Jewish society. To that extent, he founded “Palestine Real-Estate” which acquired land in Tel-Aviv, Hadar HaCarmel (Haifa) and Jerusalem. This company later merged with PLDC.
In 1911, he was nominated Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, a position he held until 1920.
Otto Warburg passed away in 1938.
Dr. Thon and Dr. Ruppin at the entrance to the company’s office in Jaffa (1908)
Dr. Jacob Thon
Jacob Thon was born in 1880 in Lvov, Poland.
He immigrated to Palestine in 1907, mandated by the World Zionist Organization, to prepare for the opening of the Israel Office and for the founding of The Palestine Land Development Company. Together with Dr. Ruppin he headed these two institutions.
In the framework of his work at the Israel Office, Thon was involved in the Laborers’ Farm enterprise.
He served as a bridge between the laborers, mostly come from Eastern Europe, and the Zionist leaders, most of whom were from Western Europe.
When Dr. Ruppin was exiled to Turkey in World War I, Dr. Thon served as the only Manager of PLDC.
From 1921 to his passing in 1950, he served as the General Manager of PLDC and in this capacity had a significant impact on the shaping of its mission, challenges and achievements.
Jacob Thon passed away in 1950.
Romania-made dresses and Palestine-made sand bags: laborers at Merhavia (1911)
First land acquisition - Merhavia in the Jezreel Valley
“The Valley” had always stirred the imagination of the founding fathers. The fact that it was a huge chunk of land owned by a small number of Arab landowners, the fertility of its land, and its location as a liaison between the Coastal Plain and the Upper and Lower Galilee, had turned the Jezreel Valley into a prized target. Since the early days of Jewish settlement in Israel, dreamers and pragmatists alike had set their sight on it. One of them was Yehoshua Hankin, the land redeemer.
As early as 1891, landowners had offered Hankin to buy wide expanses of land in the Valley for the “Odessa Committee,” the management organ of HOVEVEY ZION. But the Turkish Government, which feared a large Jewish immigration from Russia and Eastern Europe, had thwarted the sale.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Hankin sought to purchase some ten thousand dunams (1 dunam – 1,000 square meters or 0.1 hectare) of the land of the Fuleh village at the heart of the Jezreel Valley. He hoped that the JCA, with whom he was engaged in purchasing land at the time in the Lower Galilee, would agree to finance the acquisition.
When the time came to sign, he signed without receiving the JCA approval. The latter refused to approve the contract and Hankin, who did not want to renege on his promise to the Arab seller, proposed to PLDC to acquire the land, but the latter did not have the funds required. Ruppin convinced the JNF to acquire one third, and raised the rest of the financing from private individuals. The company still had to overcome the opposition of the Turks to register the land at the Land Registry on the name of the Jewish owners. It took a trip to Beirut, and after many days of “Bukra” (tomorrow morning) from the Turkish officials, they finally succeeded in obtaining the sale deed, the KUSHAN.
But then the company had to face the opposition of the Arab laborers who had worked the land as land tenants of the Arab sellers. This was a common occurrence which would repeat itself almost every time PLDC acquired some land of significance. The company required more funds to evacuate the tenants and compensate them, which increased the price of the land.
It was not easy to evacuate the tenants. Sometimes incidents between Jews and Arabs claimed lives. But all these did not prevent the setting up of the Merhavia settlement.
Center of Artisans, Tel Aviv (1912)
The first Hebrew city
The World Zionist Organization was of the opinion, from theoutset, that in settling Eretz Israel efforts must combineagricultural settlements with urban settlements. The one with out the other would not subsist. Hence ILDC, preceded by“Palestine Real-Estate”, made purchases of vast land plots incities. After World War I, ILDC increased the pace of purchasing urban land.
Tel-Aviv, founded that year, together with the foundation of ILDC, was one of the company’s targets.The houses of Tel-Aviv, just erected, were surrounded by sanddunes. Ruppin saw clearly that the Tel-Aviv boundaries must be expanded. He attempted to negotiate with the owners of theland surrounding the new neighborhood. The latter, knowing well that this area was vital to the development of the city, set exorbitant prices. By contrast, the areas on the seashore werecheap, and Ruppin resolved to purchase them in the meantime, come what may. To Ruppin this was better than nothing, and he indeed executed the purchase in 1912, even though this exhausted all ILDC’s capital.
He handed the areas he had purchased to the Artisans Cooperative, founded to erect small detached houses on the land. For the remainder of the area Ruppin prepared a plan of parcellation, and when he went to Russia in 1913 he advertisedthe possibility of purchasing them in the Zionist magazine “Razsviet”. The bargain price of 1,000 Rubles per parcel attracted the Jews of Russia, and they rushed to buy the land plots.
Some years later, another turn of fate – the Russian Revolution– deprived the Jews of their possessions. Some of them came to Eretz Israel completely destitute five or six years after the revolution. They had a vague memory of having purchased a plot of land, and had had no hope it would ever be of any use to them. Now they learnt from Ruppin that their land plot was “very much there and had doubled and trebled its value”. Formany of them these land plots became their source of livelihoodin Eretz Israel.
The Technion building in Haifa, 1930’s
The Technion and the founding of Hadar HaCarmel
Ruppin’s first visit to Haifa in 1907 left a harsh impression on him. There were some 3,000 Jews in Haifa at the time, dispersed throughout the entire city. Haifa then was filthy and living conditions were harsh. Few found apartments in the German Colony, which had been built by the Templers who had tended to its gardens.
However, in 1908, Dr. Paul Ben-Haim, Director of the German Jews Association, came to Israel. His aim was to find a site for the establishment of a school of higher technical education. He liked Haifa’s location and to Ruppin’s joy he asked him to assist him in locating a plot of land on the northern slopes of Mount Carmel. The site selected overlooked the sea, and was sufficiently removed from the filthy downtown.
When construction of the Technion (Israel’s polytechnic university) started in 1909, it transpired that the area had been designated by the Government for a transportation hub. This plan might have raised prices. Ruppin also thought that it would not be fitting, that a Jewish institution of higher learning be located in the heart of Arab land. He then proposed to Prof. Warburg, who lived in Berlin, to found a company for the purpose of acquiring urban land (“Palestine Real-Estate,” through which German Jewry financed the acquisition of numerous land plots in the area). Within a short period of time the funds were raised and made it possible to acquire numerous land plots around the building of the Technion. This area later became the neighborhood of Hadar HaCarmel.
Cornerstone of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1918)
Land for the founding of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
In 1913, Ruppin was informed that Lord Gray Hill wished to sell his summer residence on Mount Scopus. The British Lord had bought the residence thirty years earlier and was spending time there every year. As he grew old and with travel becoming difficult, he wished to sell the area for 350 thousand francs. He preferred to sell the property to Jews because he believed, although Christian, in “the prophetic vision that the country would eventually become the patrimony of the Jewish People.” Ruppin, like Menahem Sheinkin and David Yelin before him, was of the opinion that Mount Scopus was an ideal site for the establishment of the Hebrew University. This institution was to implement the Zionist cultural conquest of Israel, and would make political achievements possible. The university’s location was of paramount importance. Mount Scopus, overlooking the entire Jerusalem and its top seen from any place in Jerusalem, was the most suitable for this enterprise. The Hebrew University could thus join a series of non-Jewish institutions established on the mountain to obtain political gains.
Ruppin, excited by the prospect of the sale on the top of the mountain, rushed to the headquarters of HOVEVEY ZION in Odessa and asked for their assistance in acquiring the site. Their contribution, amounting to 30 thousand francs, was important but insufficient.
In Passover of 1914, the Vilnius brothers Isaac Leib and Boris Goldberg were touring Israel, and they too became enthused with the location of the summer residence.
In the spring of 1914, Lord Gray Hill wished to conclude the matter of the sale, and Ruppin, who feared missing the opportunity, offered him the 30 thousand francs as a down payment, to secure the option of completing the purchase at a later date. He did so without consulting with anyone, in the hope that “the Jewish People would stand by me and not shame me.”
When World War I broke out, Lord Gray Hill was compelled to return to England, and correspondence with him became impossible. But here, luck smiled at Ruppin: Isaac Leib Goldberg had done very well in his business during the war, and in 1918, he transferred an additional part of the amount required for the purchase of the estate. PLDC performed additional purchases in the vicinity of the estate of Lord Gray Hill, thus contributing to the realization of the dream of the Hebrew University. At the end of World War I, the corner stone was laid for the Hebrew University.
Hankin, visionary and pragmatist
Yehoshua Hankin - the Land Redeemer
Yehoshua Hankin was born in 1865. Throughout his life he engaged in redeeming land in Israel and considered this his calling in life. Hankin was well versed in all matters required to implement his calling. He was familiar with the customs of the Arab population, its culture and language, the land laws, the search for land available for sale, the ability to value land of greater or lesser importance to the Jewish settlement endeavor, and a rare capability to appraise the value of land coupled with an able bargaining power.
He was the right man at the right place. Almost single-handedly, he charted the map of land acquisitions by PLDC and JNF until the late 30’s. Hankin was appointed manager in PLDC in 1932, and was a member of its Board of Directors until he died. Hankin was blessed with a blend of vision and pragmatism. He could move mountains. He never gave up his vision, and with an unbeatable determination awaited the propitious moment to materialize it. Hankin did not have a set method to his operations. He acted on intuition. His entire life was devoted to land redemption and he shunned all the rest. His life was completely ascetic. He was not a man of means, and always put himself and his personal finances at risk in his effort to acquire more and more land.
“Beyond his famous qualities, namely his taut audacity, devoid of any frivolity and light mood,” says Aminadav Ashbel, later Managing Director of PLDC, “Hankin was also a man loyal to those who had assisted him, and when they needed his help, he gave it to them unreservedly.”
Hankin was not a man of words, by his own testimony in a letter he sent to Kibbutz Merhavia: “You have asked me to speak to you on this occasion, and I have never been a speaker, nor am I a writer, and my only language is the language of deeds…” Bialik [Israel’s national poet] said of him: “Hankin is the man of our soil. He is the angel redeeming our land one step at a time. He is quiet and bountiful – just like the earth itself…”
Berl Katznelsson added: “He made himself into a man of one single mission, he shunned any other interest in life, he is no party to any idleness or amusement…”
And Ruppin concludes: “His soul recoils of any sluggishness, anything related to his work is to him of utmost urgency… Sometimes it seems as if he is – miraculously – in several places at the same time. Always in a rush due to his insistence on doing everything by himself, or at least to oversee activities, and to his belief that no time should be wasted when engaged in acquiring land… He would always preach to rush land acquisitions and to expand them as much as possible.” Yehoshua Hankin passed away in 1945. He had dug his own grave in advance, at the foot of Mount Gilboa, next to the grave of his lifelong partner Olga.
The fields of the Jezreel Valley - Beith Alpha (1930)
The Nuris lands and Nahalal - Beginnings of agricultural settlement in the Valley
There is hardly a single story of land acquisition in those days, which is not a story of success against all odds.
Not only was it difficult to sign agreements, but numerous political changes also shuffled the cards time and again. World War I caused the cancellation of agreements Hankin already had with land owners in the Jezreel Valley. Saadia Paz, Hankin’s right hand, writes in his memoirs: “In the meantime the owner of the Nuris lands and Nahalal (the lands of Ein Harod, Tel Yossef, Geva, Kfar Yehezkel, Beit Alpha and Heftziba) contracted with Mr. Solomon Beck Nassif, who was about to found an Egyptian company, and there was a danger the land would be lost to us.” This fear prompted Hankin to make a contract on his own name. He hoped that in any event, private companies would take up his offer and maybe the Baron de Rothschild would be interested as well. The contract terms were rigid, and a sizable fine threatened any cancelling party.
Paz adds: “I remember accompanying Mr. Hankin on a Friday night to the Arab house where the contract was to be signed. Mr. Hankin was nervous and told me that it was quite a risky affair to sign a private contract with such elevated fine, when he had no private funds. But he would do anything so as not to lose the land. None of the institutions knew that Hankin was about to sign such contract.”
Ultimately, PLDC acquired the land on behalf of the JNF. This was the case of most of the other lands of the Valley.
The Yagur swamp before its drying (1924)
Additional acquisitions in the Valley, for national purposes and for private settlements
The contracting for the purchase of the Tel-Adash land in the Jezreel Valley was also held before World War I. For ten years the land was tilled by a group of laborers. Only in 1921 was the transfer in the Land Registry made possible. Of this cluster, 8,000 dunams were sold to the private company “KEHILAT ZION”, for the purpose of establishing Balfuriya. On the restMoshav Tel Adashim, Kibbutz Merhavia and Moshav Merhavia were established.
Saadia Paz tells us about the acquisition of the lands of Yagur and Merhavia:
“In the beginning of 1920 I learned from Mr. Hankin that a company had been founded in London, whose purpose was to set up a cement factory in Israel, and one of its initiators and its head was Mr. Boris Goldenberg. A representative of that company, Mr. Shneorson, was coming to seek a site appropriate for such a factory. The first priority was the land of Yagur, owned by the Huri family. It was resolved that I would go with them to tour the land.”
The Yagur land had been purchased for a somewhat exorbitant price from the Huri family. In addition to Yagur, Hankin had acquired some additional areas in the vicinity and found it difficult to resell them. It turned out the price he had paid was too high for that land, which was mostly mountainous and did not fit agricultural purposes. Later Hankin discovered that what had been sold as some 19 thousand dunams on the map was in reality, in the KUSHAN [the Land Registry Deed], only close to seven thousand dunams. The matter became increasingly problematic and ultimately was conveyed to the Land Court.
View of King George Street, Jerusalem (1945)
Strengthening Jewish Jerusalem - PLDC acquires the center of Jerusalem
In 1922, while the company was engaged in large scale acquisitions in the Jezreel Valley, it transpired that the Greek Patriarch in Jerusalem wished to sell wide expanses of land in the west of Jerusalem, to cover the Church’s debts.
Ruppin engaged in action again. The PLDC signed a contract with the Patriarch, in the terms of which it acquired wide expanses of land in Jerusalem all at once. These acquisitions gave a tremendous thrust to the development of the Jewish settlement in western Jerusalem. To a great extent, this guaranteed the future of West Jerusalem as an integral part of the State of Israel in those years prior to the unification of the city.
The new neighborhoods, planned by the company architect Richard Kaufman, attracted foreign investors. This was the beginning of the Talpiot neighborhood in the south of the city; the Mamila Street was paved; the Ben Yehuda and King George Streets were paved in the center of town where the new commercial center was developing around the Zion Square; the neighborhoods of Givat Eliyahu and Rehavia were established. The national institutions were erected in this green neighborhood: the Jewish Agency, the JNF and KEREN HAYESOD (United Israel Appeal).
Haifa, the 1940’s
Establishing Jewish Haifa - Acquisitions on Mount Carmel
Toward the end of World War I, with the German retreat, the residents of the German Colony in Haifa sought to sell some of their land outside the Colony.
This led to the acquisition of – inter alia – the areas of the Western Carmel and the Central Carmel. Immediately upon the British occupation, Hankin contracted to lease the land of Rushmiya. When the martial law was lifted, he rushed to acquire Neve Shaanan (another Haifa neighborhood). In 1921, he purchased the major part of the Kishon area (Kishon – a river flowing into the Mediterranean in Haifa) and the part of the mountain extending from Neve Shaanan to the road to Nazareth. In his memoirs Paz writes: “PLDC had indeed acquired the western Carmel together with the Anglo-Palestine Bank, but the purchase itself did not suffice. The land had to be conquered through work, in order to prevent various organizations from claiming possession on some parts of the area. Hence the company that purchased the land in 1918, founded a group known as the “Rushmiya Group” and entrusted it with planting pine trees on vast expanses of the Carmel Mountain.”
Drying works in the Zebulon Valley (1925)
The Coastal Plain and the Zebulon Valley
“Quite often the question is raised, why did the World Zionist Organization select the Jezreel Valley for settlement purposes and neglected the Coastal Plain, which suited growing fruit groves and in particular, citrus orchards” writes Ruppin in his book “Thirty Years of Building in the Land of Israel.” In response he explains that the latter was not neglected at all, rather the contrary. When adding all the acquisitions in the Coastal Plain, including the Akko (Acre) Valley, it becomes apparent that 250 thousand dunams were purchased, more than all of the acquisitions in the Jezreel Valley put together. “However, the acquisitions in the Zebulon Valley (Acre region) were performed little by little over a long period of time.” Furthermore, some of the areas were purchased by private people, without intermediaries.
In the Zebulon Valley, Hankin operated as he usually would: with careful planning, wisely and patiently.
In 1924 he acquired 65 thousand dunams, including the Haifa seashore. Some two thirds of the areas purchased were transferred to PLDC.
The areas of the Atta village and of Majdal were hard to purchase, due to their numerous owners and lack of agreement between them on the sale of the land. Furthermore, on some of these areas there were Bedouin residents who claimed possession, because, according to them, the owners had neglected them. Hankin did not relent until he obtained Powers of Attorney from all the owners, which made it impossible for anyone to acquire the land without his consent.
Later the areas of the Zebulon Valley were acquired by PLDC, KEHILAT ZION and the JNF. The KRAYOT (satellite towns around Haifa) were established on these areas.
Tel Aviv - from a neighborhood to a city (1925) - The Idea
Tel Aviv - from a neighborhood to a city (1925) - The Tool
Tel Aviv - from a neighborhood to a city (1925) - The Product
Tel aviv "white city"
FROM SIR PATRICK GEDDS VISION TO TODAY'S REALITY
Drafts plan of an urban layout for Tel aviv.
First and only plan drawn up by Sir Patrick Geddes for Tel Aviv. (Jewish National Library Jerusalem).
General plan of Tel Aviv, end 1925.
First complate parcellatory plan drawn up precisely according to the draft presented by Patrick Geddes. by the Technical Department of the Tel Aviv Municipally between September and December 1925. (The Israel Land Development Company Ltd.)
Development & Construction Plan of Herzliya, the 1920’s
The tribulations of the purchase of the Herzliya area
After the Balfour Declaration, Arab tenants were incited by Arab nationalistic propaganda. The British authorities hence sought not to rouse their anger. This atmosphere caused many tensions bearing on land acquisition in Israel.
In many negotiations with Arab sellers, Ruppin and Hankin found out that the areas offered for sale were in fact larger than the areas registered in the sale deeds, the KUSHANS. This was one of the methods resorted to by the land owners, to minimize the taxes paid to the Government. The effendis and the laborers had to sign declarations attesting that the area was indeed larger than that registered in the deed of sale. This required precise surveys, which could only be performed with the agreement of all the men of the village, but these refused to allow such surveys to be performed. This was the case with the company’s transaction to purchase the areas of Gelil and Al-Haram, on which the city of Herzliya was founded.
The reputation of Hankin and Ruppin acted in their favor. The two were already known among the Arabs due to the successful transaction they had signed in the Jezreel Valley with the Sursuk family. The Arabs were prepared to do business with Hankin. For two years Hankin prepared all that was necessary to bring the contract of the villages Gelil and Al-Haram to a closing.
But after all the surveys and negotiations were completed, Hankin discovered that there were no funds left in the till of PLDC. PLDC convened the Zionist Executive and the JNF, to hear their opinion. By agreement with Hankin and with Menahem Ussishkin, then head of the JNF and of the Zionist Executive in Israel, it was resolved to execute the contract. At that time, Ruppin was in the United States for fundraising. The hope was that Ruppin’s fundraising would come to their assistance. And indeed, the KEHILAT ZION Company in the United States, together with PLDC, acquired the land of the villages. This paved the way to the founding of Herzliya.
Bat-Yam developing, in spite of the riots, Balfour St. in the 1930’s
The first days of Bat-Yam
The first days of Bat-Yam are related to the organization of the association BAYIT VAGAN, which aimed at establishing a new neighborhood for its members. The members of the association were torn by a harsh dispute as to the location. Should the neighborhood be built north of Jaffa or south of it? Meir Dizengoff, who was the Mayor of Tel-Aviv, was against going south, fearing it might hamper the development of Tel-Aviv. Ruppin was of the opinion this would do no harm, rather “on the contrary, it would have two cities developing side by side.”
Eventually, the supporters of going south won and an appropriate area was located – the Jebeliya area south of Jaffa.
The location’s features – the clean air, the open spaces, the sea and the beach – won everyone over. While the dispute was still raging, PLDC acquired a continuous strip of 22 thousand dunams there. However, Bat-Yam was about to face some difficult years.
The Riots [Arab anti-Jewish riots in Mandatory Palestine] slowed down the pace of its development. In the 1929 Riots, the neighborhood had to be evacuated. When peace was restored the residents returned and the neighborhood began to recover. Just a few years later, a new wave of riots erupted, beginning in 1936 and continuing until 1939.
The solution for the arid Negev land (1950)
Southward to the Negev
The advantage of the lands of the northern Negev is in their fertility and in the fact that they expand over a plain. These lands kindled the imagination of the founding fathers. The dry air, the absence of malaria, and the fact that they were only sparsely occupied by Bedouin tribes- all these seemed perfect for a vast Jewish settlement. But it was abundantly clear that the redemption of the land must be paired with a solution of the water problem. Several solutions were suggested, among them building dams to collect rain water, which in the Negev appears forcefully and is mostly washed to the sea, or drilling into the depth of the earth to go past the layers where water is saline.
PLDC, as the World Zionist Organization’s organ for land acquisition, did not skip over the Negev as well.
As in all land redemption enterprises in Israel, the enterprise of redeeming the Negev was fraught with drama and commanded courage, patience and lots of tact. Owing to the moral authority of the people handling this issue – Hankin and Moshe Smilansky, and their assistants like the Danin brothers and others, and to the respect they received from the Bedouins, this acquisition resulted positively.
It was no easy task. Before all, it was necessary to determine how to tempt the British Mandate to approve vast acquisitions. Hankin proposed that the Jews acquire an area double the area they really needed, and hand half of it to the Bedouins. The latter would also be given water from the same source providing to the Jews.
Meanwhile the heads of PLDC encountered complex legal problems in the field of registering the land, as the Negev land had never been registered to the name of the Bedouins who were the land sellers. The company also attended to the redemption of the area of Beer Sheva. With the mediation of Smilansky, who had enlisted groups of British and South African Jews, numerous areas were purchased in the city and around it. The company rushed to till the land. This was the common way of proving ownership. Everywhere Jews riding tractors could be seen, plowing the Negev soil.
PLDC Surveyor on the swamp site (1935)
The Hula Valley franchise
The fertile Hula Valley had given rise to various drying initiatives already at the end of the 19th century.
In 1908, Prof. Warburg asked the World Zionist Organization to acquire a franchise on the Hula, but did not find an attentive ear.
In 1914, the Turkish Government granted the franchise on the Hula Valley to the Sursuk and Bihom families, to dry the lake and prepare the land for agriculture. World War I put an end to this venture, and the Mandatory Government gave the holders of the original franchise an extension, to carry out the project. In 1924 the holders of the franchise approached the Zionist Executive and offered to sell the franchise.
Already at the time he was handling the acquisition of the Jezreel Valley and of the Hefer Valley, Hankin had requested to purchase the Hula Valley. But only in 1933 he managed to obtain the coveted franchise on behalf of PLDC.
The franchise area covered some 57 thousand dunams, of which, on Government order, 15 thousand were to be handed to the Arabs.
Negotiations with the Government were most complex, and required the assistance of the Head of the Political Division of the Jewish Agency – Moshe Shartok (Sharet) [later Prime Minister of Israel] and of Haim Weitzman – Chairman of the World Zionist Organization [later the first President of the State of Israel]. The capital required for the acquisition of the franchise was huge.
The JNF could not participate in the purchase, and hence PLDC contracted with several entrepreneurs and private companies represented by Moshe Smilansky, and together they acquired the franchise.
The financial burden on PLDC in acquiring the franchise was heavy, and the hopes that the JNF would step into its boots and remove this burden faded. This was one of the reasons for the severe crisis which befell PLDC from the mid thirties, a crisis which cast a shadow of doubt on its capability to lead the land acquisition endeavor as it had done in the past.
Watchmen at the Beith Shean Valley (1938)
Draining the Hula swamp
At the end of 1934, engineers Palmer and Triton from London were invited to submit a report on the feasibility of drying up the Hula Lake. In their report they wrote that the drying enterprise would not be feasible unless it included the part north of the Hula as well. Since this specific area benefitted the Arabs mostly, the British Government agreed to the plan of its acquisition. Experts in the fields of quarrying and utilization of peat, which was abundant in the swamp, were also invited. Drilling was done to ascertain the quantities of peat. Ultimately, the peat at the bottom of the swamp would serve the chemical industry and as an organic fertilizer. The reeds too, which occupied vast expanses, found use in construction, in the paper industry and for isolation and refrigeration purposes.
In 1951 the drying enterprise was launched.
However, the drying of the swamp raised the opposition of nature lovers. The opponents organized and founded “The Nature Protection Society." Opponents held that man’s intervention in nature might cause the destruction of the natural balance of fauna and flora. In 1964, in the wake of their struggle, the southern part of the dried lake was declared a protected nature reserve. In the course of the years, it became apparent that the drying of the lake and the swamps had severe environmental repercussions beyond the loss of flora and fauna. The dry peat shrunk and caused the upper layer of the soil to sink, the eastern winds transported large quantities of peat and deposited them in faraway places, the peat lands would often ignite and burn for weeks, and their tilling caused the farmers great difficulties. It also emerged that the drying had, indirectly, spoilt the quality of the waters of the Kinnereth [the Kinnereth Lake – the Sea of Galilee and Israel’s main drinking water supply].
Fifty years after the drying, it was resolved to return the Hula Valley to its initial configuration, and 1,000 dunams of peat soil were flooded with water.
War effort - a workshorp at Sarafand (1941)
Lights in the darkness
The fourth decade of PLDC witnessed calamities at home as well.
It was no surprise that due to World War II and the Holocaust, payments for lands already purchased by private funds in Europe ceased to arrive. PLDC was in dire straights.
In 1943, Dr. Ruppin, PLDC’s founding father and leading operator, passed away.
The improvement in the company’s economic situation came from an unexpected direction. In the course of the war years, the British troops funneled considerable funds into Eretz Israel, and jobs in the army camps and for the army were plentiful. An entire industry developed in the wake of the army’s needs. Employment soared, the economic situation in the country improved and along came the wish to purchase homes.
In 1943 the company acquired the dunes of Rishon LeZion, with a vision to turn it to a resort in future years.
Certificate of Registration of the company in Israel (1953)
ILDC registers on the Israeli Stock Exchange
In 1950, the company’s equity doubled. As a company registered in England, its equity was recorded in Pounds Sterling, even though it operated in Israel and all of its assets were held in Israel. The rate of exchange raised several difficulties, mainly in regard to preferred shares. It was then resolved, in 1951, that the best solution would be to convert the preferred shares to ordinary shares. On November 13, 1953, ILDC registered as an Israeli company, acting in lieu of the previous company registered in England (PLDC). The headquarters of the company moved to the ILDC House in a building purchased on Hillel Street in the heart of Jerusalem, where it would reside for many years.
The industrial zone developing in the Haifa Bay (1948)
Building industrial facilities
In the wake of the great immigration from all corners of the earth to the newly born state, the fifties saw an urgent need for employment. ILDC started to build industrial facilities for leasing, a concept previously inexistent in Israel. In coordination with the Municipality of Haifa, ILDC began to develop an industrial zone close to the Shemen beach. In cooperation with investors from the United States, the first premises were erected and leased to a variety of artisans.
This modest start gave a push to the development of a vast industrial zone in Haifa.
ILDC initiated similar industrial zones in other regions, inter alia Safed, Bnei-Brak and Jaffa.
Meanwhile the company completed the onstruction of a large building on King George Street - the Pygmalion building, as well as the residential buildings at Romema in Haifa and industrial facilities in the Haifa Port area.
ILDC cooperating with HAMELET (cement company) in founding a new industrial zone
Establishing the AZORIM and SHIKUN U’PITUACH companies
The sixties were thriving years for the ILDC.
The company’s equity increased, and its real-estate assets doubled.
In those years, cooperation grew with other real-estate companies, such as “Central Real-Estate Ltd.," in the development of a commercial zone in the north of Tel Aviv and “RAVAD Development Co. Ltd.," in the development of the Rishon-Le-Zion dunes. RAVAD had been established to be in charge of the development of the Rishon-Le-Zion dunes. Through RAVAD, in which ILDC was a partner, ILDC maintained a certain control on the planning of the areas and their various designations, as well as on the implementation of projects on these areas.
ILDC established “SHIKUN U’PITUACH LTD.” [Housing & Development] as a 50%-50% partnership with the Government. The aim of the new company was to raise funds from the public through a shares offering, for the purchase of land and its development.
ILDC also had a share in AZORIM LTD. Together with SHIKUN U’PITUACH it held one half of the shares. The other half was Government owned.
The company also created a partnership with CLAL in two projects in Jerusalem: in the Katamon neighborhood and on Hillel Street.
The renovated Hasharon Hotel (1977)
ILD Hotels Ltd.
In the early sixties, Government representatives approached the company and requested it become involved in the hotel industry. ILDC saw in this industry a way to expand its operations and an additional way to develop real-estate and run it. ILDC established a subsidiary named “ILD HOTELS LTD.” The company acquired control of the Sharon Hotel in Herzliya in 1964. The hotel then had 146 rooms. Shortly after, the company initiated an unprecedented move and built an apartment tower with 132 units, most of which were sold to foreign residents as units of an apartment hotel. This gave rise to the concept of acquiring a hotel apartment as a second home in Israel, which strengthened the link with Diaspora Jewry, their children and grandchildren.
Shalom Doron, manager of the company since 1962, reports: “One of our patrons suggested we visit Bad Weisshofen in Germany – a special resort offering water treatments. The man said he was going there every year and each time becomes five years younger. I went to visit there and was most impressed. We introduced these implements in the HaSharon Hotel. The swimming pool is there to this day.”
The hotel’s public areas were further developed. A grand conference hall and a modern spa were added.
Since before the establishment of the State, the company had been a partner in The Company for the Development of Tiberius Ltd. which, among its properties, counted the Galey Kinnereth Hotel. In 1966 the company acquired full control of the hotel, and added to its 60 existing rooms a tower with 66 additional rooms. The hotel is located on the shores of the Kinnereth and its enchanting scenery can be seen from the hotel. This quality hotel attracted over the years many distinguished guests, among them heads of state, ministers and diplomats. David Ben-Gurion [Israel’s legendary founding Prime Minister] was a regular guest and the senior staff were all familiar with his culinary preferences.
Children playing in Jaffa (1957)
Developing and restoring the center of Jerusalem
The development and restoration enterprise of the center of Jerusalem spanned many years. Already in 1946 the company began establishing a commercial zone. The parcel at 28, King George Street, close to the Independence Park, was designated for a 200-office building. After many years of planning, BEIT HAMASHBIR, built according to the plans of architect David Anatol Brutzkus, was inaugurated.
BEIT HAMASHBIR was the first public building erected in the construction boom which followed the end of the economic recession after the Six Day War. It was the first building of its kind in Israel. The cubic structure emulated the construction style of American malls. In honor of the initiators and builders, the square in front of the building was named “the ILDC Square."
In the same years, the City Tower building was built further down on King George Street in Jerusalem, and completed in the early 1980s.
ILDC’s Sensor building in the center of Jerusalem, the 1970’s
Building enterprises in Jerusalem – the Sensor and Midot buildings
ILDC was always proud of its development work in the capital, and in this decade engaged in the building of two impressive projects in Jerusalem.
The first was the erection of the Sensor Building in the center of the city.
In the beginning of the British Mandate, as we have seen, PLDC had acquired the area that would eventually become the center of Jerusalem from the Greek Church. With the assistance of Architect Richard Kaufman, the area had been parcellated. Following many delays stemming from differences with the local authority, parcels were sold to various investors. The parcel on which the Sensor Building stands today was acquired by the KEHILAT ZION Company. In the early twenties, the company ran into economic difficulties and the parcel was sold to Mary Winnick, an American millionaire.
As indicated, a large expanse of land at the center of Jerusalem had belonged to ILDC for many years, but in the heart of it, on King George Street, where the HAMASHBIR Building stands today, there was an island, an enclave whose German owners refused to sell. On this enclave stood the TALITA-KUMI building.
Only in the fifties it became possible to renew negotiations with the owners, and patience indeed paid up, as the parcel was sold. The purchase was performed by ILDC together with AFRICA-ISRAEL. Later on, the project erected on the site was named BINYANEY MIDOT [large edifices]. Several years later, a symbolic structure, recreating part of the TALITA-KUMI building which had been destroyed to make place for the office building erected in its place, was placed on the piazza in front of the HAMASHBIR Building. It was designed as an environmental sculpture, a compromise between the real-estate enterprise that had demanded the demolition of the building, and the advocates of preserving the original building.
Jackob Nimrodi - successful combination of family man and businessman
Jackob Nimrodi buys The Israel Land Development Company
In 1987, while attending to his business in London away from his family, Jackob Nimrodi resolved to make Israel the focus of his business enterprises. At that time, he came across a pamphlet of THE ISRAEL LAND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY [ILDC] and learned that Bank Leumi, holder of 43% of the equity of ILDC, was interested in selling its shares. He resolved to bid for it. Prior to leaving home, his wife Rivka told his attorney then, Ehud Olmert [later the Prime Minister of Israel]: “I have a good feeling about this transaction. Buy the company. I want Jackob in Israel.” Nimrodi did win the bid and bought the control of the company for some 26 million dollars.
Having signed ILDC’s purchase papers, Nimrodi called his son Ofer at Harvard and summoned him to quit his studies and return home to take the company’s helm. Several days later, he received a letter from Ofer’s professor at Harvard, Prof. John Whitney, pleading with the father to allow his son to complete his degree. “Your son Ofer is a brilliant student,” the Professor wrote. “It would prove a mistake in the long run to prevent him from completing his studies.”
And so, in spite of his ardent wish to place the reins of the newly acquired company in the hands of his son at earliest, Jackob acceded to the Harvard Professor’s request and waited until his son completed his degree, while regularly updating him on the company’s evolution.
The more Jackob Nimrodi delved into the company he had acquired, he discovered that it was a company rich with forgotten treasures. After studying the history of the Israel Land Development Company he also felt great pride that he and his family had become a part of a company with such splendid heritage.
In parallel, Nimrodi devoted time and resources to promote the development of a water desalination plant based on nuclear energy, in cooperation between the then USSR and Israel. This venture did not eventually materialize, but Nimrodi was awarded a Doctorate Honoris Causa of the Russian Academy of Science in recognition of his efforts to promote economic and scientific cooperation between the USSR and Israel.
Nimrodi contributed substantially to the Jewish immigration from the USSR, inter alia by leasing airplanes to bring immigrants on direct flights to Israel, without the need for stopovers in Europe as was the practice at the time.
Ofer Nimrodi “An Entrepreneur is a Composer and a Conductor at One and The Same Time”
Ofer Nimrodi, Chief Executive Officer of ILDC, was born in 1957, while his father Jackob was
serving as Head of the MOSSAD station in Iran. From his early childhood he accompanied his father on his travels and business meetings, and received an extensive training to his future position at the helm of the Company.
He graduated the Tel-Aviv University Law School Summa cum Laude – one of the very few
graduates selected to do their articles at the Supreme Court of Israel. He did his articles under
the guidance of the then Senior Deputy to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court then, later to
become the State Comptroller, Justice Miriam Ben-Porat, and then specialized with the Tel-Aviv
District Attorney (civil), Adv. Naomi Stern. Subsequently he completed the Harvard School of
On entrepreneurship: enjoying climbing to the mountain top Nimrodi defines himself as a born entrepreneur – just like the company he heads.
“ILDC was always an entrepreneurial company,” says Nimrodi. “It implemented the first vast entrepreneurial venture in the history of the Jewish People – the settling of Eretz Israel. It engaged in purchasing land in Palestine and in reestablishing the Jewish Homeland of the People of Israel – the very essence of Zionism.”
“After generations of ownership of ILDC by the Jewish People, through its various institutions,
the company was privatized and acquired by my family, and since then I manage it according to clearly entrepreneurial values.”
“Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s greatest leaders and today’s President of the State, coined the following phrase when describing my father’s achievements: “Only fantasists can attain fantastic achievements.” And indeed, a true entrepreneur is first and foremost an optimist, believing in his own and his colleagues’ capability to climb to the mountain top. He enjoys the climbing;
suffers on the way, spends sleepless nights, but when he drives the flag into the mountain top he feels elated. Yes, there may be obstacles on the way, but a true entrepreneur is someone who is capable of extracting the cart from the quagmire. An entrepreneur who has not experienced failure is not a true entrepreneur.”
“An entrepreneur is also someone who can identify an opportunity unnoticed by others. He can see far, he identifies processes which may evolve in the future and is prepared to take decisions in an uncertain environment. An example – to be inspired by the success of our project in Israel, the Seven Stars Mall, and resolve to emulate it in countries where language, mentality differences, lacking infrastructures and unknown perils are unavoidable risks.”
“Another example: seeing a land plot strewn with metal scraps in the heart of Bucharest, and dreaming that it will turn into a luxurious residential quarter with thousands of apartments and children playing in gardens and music pouring from the windows, and materializing this dream– this is entrepreneurship.”
Nimrodi stresses: “Our real products are not concrete, iron and aluminum. We create an aesthetic environmental product, with outstanding ergonomy. For instance, in our “MILLION” project in Warsaw, Poland, comprising 1600 residential units, we do not sell apartments only, but rather a quality residential environment, surrounded by greenery and technologically sophisticated.
We devote a lot of attention to the architecture. The quality of life of the tenants and their enjoyment of their living environment are at the heart of our concern.”
SUCCESS IS MEASURED BY CREATING A QUALITY ENCOUNTER BETWEEN BUYERS
AND SELLERS In the malls it erects, ILDC makes a point of creating a pleasant atmosphere, an attractive and inviting environment. “Our malls are centers of entertainment and shopping,” says Ofer Nimrodi. “In the morning mothers and babies are there for shopping and breakfast; at midday youngsters returning from school meet to lunch and shop fashion and music; in the evening, friends have coffee and go
to a movie. This is how to create a multi-layer product. Success is measured by creating a quality encounter between buyers and sellers.”
“When we are embarking on a construction project,” Nimrodi sums up, “we connect financers, contractors, architects, ergonomic engineers, marketing and organization specialists. This is a huge orchestra and, in my view, the role of the ultimate entrepreneur is to be the composer and the conductor at one and the same time: writing the music as well as synchronizing the entire orchestra to
produce beautiful music.”
GROWING TALL IN THE HEART OF TEL-AVIV
As for large projects in Israel, “lately ILDC acquired the MAARIV House from the
subsidiary MAARIV MODIIN PUBLISHING HOUSE,” says Nimrodi. “ILDC intends to
take advantage of its planning, entrepreneurial and marketing capabilities, as
well as the financing resources at its disposal, to develop the MAARIV House into an outstanding building. We are planning an impressive 25-30 stories building, similar to the neighboring towers.”
“We intend to take advantage of the fact that the underground section of Tel-Aviv’s metro is scheduled to cross our property, and will include in the building two commercial floors, topped by the office building.”
Nimrodi declares: “The new MAARIV House will be impressive in its architecture and a good business proposition with a fantastic location, in the very heart of the city, close to the former wholesale market project which is about to become one of Tel-Aviv’s real-estate gems.”
Another large project in the planning stage is an impressive tower – 42 stories tall – in the center of Tel-Aviv, about 500 meters south of the Azrieli Towers, which has already received the blessing of the City Engineer.
ON THE VALUES OF ILDC: RELIABILITY AND KEEPING OUR WORD – ABOVE ALL
“In addition to the vision and audacity required of a true entrepreneur, professional
knowledge and a sound and pragmatic perception of reality are also a must,”
says Ofer Nimrodi. “We operate in six countries and invest in vast projects, and such approach to reality commands swiftness in thought and in deeds. I strive to inculcate all of these to managers and employees alike.”
“These values are imparted to each manager and each employee, so that he can act and represent me as if I – the entrepreneur – were present myself. In accordance with the values and operating patterns I learnt from my father, I am a great believer in each manager needing to have entrepreneurial qualities. The secret of our success resides in the strong identification of the managers with
the Company, so strong that they actually manage it as if it was their own private
enterprise, and they successfully convey this credo to the last employees. Such
entrepreneurial managers invest in highly intensive work, racing against the clock
and crossing borders. We all invest our very best to achieve the goals we set to
But above all, reliability is a must. The product we sell is costly and significant. The private buyer, who purchases from us his biggest commodity – an apartment – needs to rely on us. The bank needs to rely on us. Our word must secure the trust of all parties concerned: our creditors, our customers, our suppliers, the authorities and our employees. Keeping our word and maintaining accuracy are to
me supreme values. And the market indeed grants us its trust, and time after time grants us an impressive credit in recognizing our company as a powerful company, both in its finances and in its very DNA and what it stands for.”
ON THE FUTURE: WE WILL BE A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY
“A substantial value-making is achieved mostly through real-estate development,
and as a result of the maturity of the Israeli market, development opportunities in Israel today are rather limited,” says Nimrodi. That is why the Company has four main growth engines: income-producing properties in Israel (some 100); the logistic parks’ company in Poland, in which ILDC holds 50%; the real-estate development division which engages in residential projects in Israel and abroad and presently has some 4000 apartments in various stages of construction, and the malls division, through which the Company implements its growth strategy
in Israel and abroad.”
“ILDC’s income-producing properties span some 374 thousand square meters, of which some 200 thousand in Israel, with annual revenues of 184 million NIS,” says Nimrodi. “The geographic distribution of these properties is 65% in Israel,
29% in Poland and 6% in Canada.”
“The strategy of the malls’ company is to set up malls at a rate which will, within three years, increase the Company’s revenues by over 40 million Euros annually, from malls’ rent alone. This strategy is to be carried out through five Seven Stars’ type malls: the Seven Stars Hertzliya Mall, and the malls to be erected – one in Morocco, two in Romania and one in Moldova. This strategy we are implementing has won the support of the financing bodies. Recently the Company signed a financing agreement totaling some 22 million dollars with a foreign bank, for
the Seven Stars Mall project in Tangiers, Morocco, which will include a 240-room
hotel. This financing adds to the 318 million NIS raised by the Company within 2 months for three projects, from banks in Israel and abroad, in spite of the severe economic crisis both in Israel and abroad. This is no doubt a big accolade to the Company.”
WE ARE MARATHON RUNNERS: ILDC DOES NOT RUN FROM QUARTER TO QUARTER
BUT RATHER LONG DISTANCES Ofer Nimrodi states: “We do not engage in acquiring income-producing properties and attempting to derive profit from the gap between the rent and the financing.
We rather create value through real-estate development. We purchase the land, take the risks involved in the acquisition, the construction, the planning and the
marketing, and are willing to invest hard work and patience required to create value. For example: our logistic parks’ company in Poland is worth today 10 times its original cost, because the final product, when operating, produces excellent results.”
“In the same way, in our malls: we plan and build five-six malls in the aim of creating a multiple of value, in the long term. There are companies which plan for the short term and strive to attain speedy exits. This is not our way. We are marathon runners; we wish to create substantial value, even if it takes time. This is our main characteristic. ILDC is not a company running from quarter to quarter.
We are running long distances.”
Ofer Nimrodi concludes: “In my vision, within five years ILDC will spread its wings and soar. The Company will be strong and even more impressive – a multinational, profitable company, operating in accordance with values of excellence, innovation and leadership.”
In recent years, ILDC has focused on four main fields of operation, both directly and through subsidiaries:
Real Estate: Leasing, management and development of yielding properties in Israel, Canada and Poland, consisting of logistic parks, commercial centers, shopping malls ad and parking facilities, as well as construction, development and sale of residential properties in Israel, Poland, Romania and Canada. Hotels: ILD Hotels, which operates the Rimonim hotel chain with 11 properties throughout Israel, and tourist resorts in Canada.
Infrastructure and Energy: ILDC Energy, which operates in gas and oil exploration projects in Israel and abroad, and ILDC Natural Resources which operates in electricity and mining abroad.
Outdoor Advertising: Rapid Vision.
ILDC possesses vast experience and enjoys an excellent reputation in its manifold operations. The company excels in its professionalism and financial abilities, while maintaining a dedicated employee and customer base, and serving as a trusted partner in the business sphere.