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March 19, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Julius Chajes Music Fund Concert Series &
The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
present

"An Evening on Broadway"
Cabaret Concert
featuring
"Company Five"

and gold fixtures. But the
man without a country felt
the need for a more perma-
nent abode. In the 1970s
Shoul Eisenberg chose Israel.
lb ensure his welcome, Ei-
senberg, in a now familiar
pattern, bore down heavily
with considerable charm and
much economic karate: per-
sonal gifts spread liberally;
political contributions (in
Israel's last election he gave
both major parties seven
figures each); investments
(some $65 million); and the
promise, never fulfilled, of a
lot more.
"I warned them [the Israeli
government] not to fall for it,"
a former senior Israeli official
recalls, "but they wouldn't
listen. It was the psychology
of a banana republic?'
The Knesset passed what
became notorious as the Ei-
senberg Law. While other Is-
raeli citizens were forbidden
to hold property, securities or
currency abroad — in 1977
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rab-
in resigned when it was dis-
covered his wife had $2,000 in
a Washington, D.C. bank —
for new citizen Eisenberg's
companies it became quite
legal, and tax-free.
Finally, the middleman
without a country had a
home. "In most places he's
not socially acceptable," says

"In most places
he's not socially
acceptable," says
a former business
associate. "In
Israel he has a lot
of honor."

a former business associate.
"In Israel he has a lot of
honor."
Eisenberg declined to tell
his story. "Someday," he said,
when we cornered him on a
flight to London, "I will write
it myself." But in interviews
with dozens of former asso-
ciates and others who know
him well, a clear picture
emerges.
No one refuses the call to
share a kosher Japanese meal
served on cushions in Eisen-
berg's home near Th1 Aviv.
His name inspires fear, even
among those who have bro-
ken with him. Eisenberg's
present staff aren't called the
"golden slaves" for nothing.
Fealty is demanded, even ser-
vility. And don't talk to
reporters.
"When you are with him,
you are his slave," says an ex-
employee. "He never stops

working, so you cannot
either." Says another: "You
can't take him to the theater
— he's a genius at business,
but he wouldn't understand a
word." lb squeeze an extra
day into his week, Eisenberg
will fly 12 hours to Tel Aviv,
where offices are open Sun-
day, then fly 12 hours back.
His only other passion is
food: He'll eat anything, and
a lot. Money? "He doesn't
really care," confided one
former head of his Third
World operations. "If you tell
him you made $200,000 on a
deal, he'll say, 'Not enough,'
but the money has no mean-
ing." But the getting of it
does.
Eisenberg now has about
$100 million in real estate
($70 million in Washington,
Denver and New York, $30
million in let Aviv, plus as
much as 1.4 million acres of
Amazon jungle). His stakes
in various Israeli companies
are worth more than $150
million. Reliable sources put
his cash and securities hoard
at $250 million, said to be
conservatively invested in
Switzerland and the U.K.
Debt? Don't middlemen
pile up a lot of it, like Adnan
Khashoggi? Not if they don't
gamble away their earnings.
Eisenberg doesn't. "In this
business," says one banker
who has watched Eisenberg
up close, "you don't have
debt" — and here he winked
— "you have overheads."
There has been significant
capital appreciation, and —
with nothing at risk — Eisen-
berg has never incurred an an-
nual loss. (His profits do
swing widely, in the last
decade from $10 million a
year to $50 million).
At 66, Eisenberg is clearly
slowing down. Last year's cor-
onary bypass operation bare-
ly affected him, but with no
more Koreas, Eisenberg must
expend his energies in less
profitable places, like Belize.
He would like to do more
business in the U.S. But here
the moves he has perfected
are unlikely to work: Ameri-
cans call prepaid brokerage
fees bribes. Still confident
that contacts will buy him
entree, Eisenberg has just
hired David Kimche, dis-
tinguished former chief of the
Israeli Foreign Ministry, to
open doors for him in the U.S.
That may not go over so well:
Kimche designed Israel's part
in Irangate.

singing the music of
Victor Hebert, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Kern,
Sondheim, Gershwin and Berlin

Saturday, March 19, 1988
8:30 PM

Jewish Community Center
6600 West Maple
W. Bloomfield, Michigan

Admission: $10.00

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33

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