Business and Industry
Ziska Hlavin
The visionary entrepreneur and brilliant chemist, Ziska Hlavin, was born in Riga in 1914. Hlavin developed the revolutionary aluminum-free deodorant cream and body lotion that succeeded in reproducing the effects of the Spanish fly, giving the lotion a sensual appeal. In 1973, the chemist founded a privately-owned company, Hlavin, which quickly became a leading international cosmetics manufacturer and exporter. The company specializes in the field of “cosmeceuticals” – cosmetics with distinct therapeutic value that act in harmony with the human body. After his death in 2011, his company has been run and managed by his family.
Arkady Mayofis
Arkady Mayofis was born in 1962 in the Siberian town of Tomsk. In 1990, he became one of the founders of the regional independent television in Russia, establishing the TV2 channel and news agency. During its 25 years of broadcasting, TV2 received multiple TEFI National TV Awards and Mayofis became a member of the Russian Academy of Television. In 2014, because of the independent editorial line of TV2, it was denied a broadcasting license and forced to close. In 2015, Mayofis moved to Israel with his family where he has begun anew, launching Yoffi (Hebrew for “nice”) – a brand that produces and distributes Israeli gift products for local and international markets. Today, about 30,000 assorted kosher food gifts – such as honey, tahini and dates – are being sold under the Yoffi brand in dozens of shops in Israel, at the duty-free shop in Ben-Gurion Airport and by mail order to foreign markets.
Moshe Novomeisky, the founder of the Palestine Potash Company – the first chemical enterprise on the Dead Sea – was born in 1873 in Barguzin, Russia. An active Zionist, Novomeisky attended the 1903 Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, and chaired the National Council of Jews in Serbia. He also headed the Siberian Zionist Center from 1914 to 1920. He was the treasurer of the Haganah from 1921 to 1922. Despite his dedication to protecting the Yishuv, Novomeisky believed it was critical for Jews to maintain amicable ties with their Arab neighbors. As such, he spoke Arabic fluently and was well-liked by locals of his community. In 1957, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology awarded Novomeisky an honorary doctorate in the technical sciences. He died in Paris in 1961.
Peter (Pinhas) Rutenberg
Peter (Pinhas) Rutenberg was an engineer, politician and businessman. He is best known for establishing the hydroelectric power station at Naharayim on the Jordan River in 1930, for which he was nicknamed “the Old Man of Naharayim.” Rutenberg also opened plants in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberias and, eventually, Jerusalem. He founded the Palestine Electric Company in 1923, which later became Israel Electric Company. Rutenberg, who was born in 1879 in Romny, in the former Russian Empire, played an active role in the two Russian revolutions in 1905 and 1917. A socialist and a revolutionary, he was an active member of the anti-Bolshevik movement. An ardent Zionist, Rutenberg worked alongside Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor to set up the Jewish Legion. He and Jabotinsky also set up the Jewish self-defense militia, the Haganah, the precursor of the Israel Defense Forces. He died in British Mandate Jerusalem in 1942.
Moshe Vilbushevich was an inventor in the field of food technology. Born in 1869 in Belarus, he later immigrated to Haifa, where he and his brothers founded Shemen Industries Ltd. – a company engaged, through its subsidiaries, in the production, marketing and development of consumable oils. He also built the area’s largest mills and a cement plant. Vilbushevich was dedicated to the study of the influence of climate on flora and fauna. He established a laboratory for climate research – later transformed into a meteorological faculty – at the Hebrew University. He died in 1952 in Israel.
Dave Waiser
Born in Moscow in 1975, Dave Waiser made aliyah alone in 1991 and in 1997 launched his first start-up for selling used cars. In 2002, he returned to Russia as head of a local branch of Comverse Technology before going to San Francisco in 2005 to develop a start-up called Loyalize, which was licensed by Yahoo and Motorola. In 2010, Waiser established GetTaxi, – now referred to as Gett – the mobile taxi service, which began to operate first in Tel Aviv, before launching in Russia, the US and Europe. Gett has developed into a global on-demand mobility company that connects customers with transportation, goods and services, operating in more than 100 cities worldwide.