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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Obviously he's no idiot

Israeli news "pundits" are trying to figure out what's really behind Russian tycoon Arkady Gaydamak's non-party "party."

He claims not to know Hebrew, but as an extraordinarily successful businessman, the chances are that poker's another talent of his. And one of the key skills in poker is not giving a hint of your "hand" to your opponents. So, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he actually understands Hebrew very well.

Tonight on the TV news they kept stressing that he hadn't used the מ (mem) or "P" word. That's מ for מפלגה, miflagah, Political Party.

He's calling his whatever a תנועה t'nuah, "movement."

Polls show that anything he heads will get lots of votes:

it would receive 14 mandates - the same number as the Labor party, a Channel 10 poll revealed on Wednesday.
The same poll put Likud in the first place, with 27 mandates, followed by Labor and Gaydamak's movement, with 14 each.
Kadima, according to the poll, would win a mere 11 mandates.

But, I have a question. Who is he?

according to Wikipedia

In 1973, Gaydamak left Israel and settled in France. Lacking an academic education, he began his early career working as gardener and a bricklayer. In 1976, Gaydamak opened a translation bureau near Paris, servicing Russian commercial delegations visiting France, and made contacts at a number of French companies. By 1982, Gaydamak Translations was a highly successful business, and he opened a branch in Canada. During that period he began pursuing a more lucrative business path in importing and exporting. He used his ties in the Soviet Union to further his business and sequentially formed various business organizations across Europe. Gaydamak wealth is estimated at anywhere from $800 million to more than $4 billion.

[edit] Angolagate
Gaydamak spent many years in France, but fled the country when an arrest warrant was issued for him in connection to an arms-dealing scandal known in France as L'Angolagate. He is wanted on two charges; illegal arms dealing with Angola, and tax evasion.

A lot of Israelis are happy that under his ownership Betar Jerusalem Soccer team is doing really well. Gaydamak is just the type of guy Israelis go for.

Arkady Gaydamak is something of a renaissance man. He speaks a handful of languages, deals in art, sports and the stock exchange. He holds Russian and Israeli citizenship, and an Angolan diplomatic passport.
The stories he tells makes him sound as though he were a character in a James Bond movie - such as when he recounts saving downed French airmen in Bosnia and receiving military medals in state ceremonies from French President Jacques Chirac. read more here

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