Make Business Not War – Palestinian Tycoon Purchases Israeli High-Tech Company

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Two weks ago, Hani Alami, a Palestinian resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood  of  Beit Hanina, was engaged in a determined struggle to acquire  Alvarion, a once-promising Israeli telecommunications company.  Israeli company Sigma Wave Ltd. offered to acquire Alvarion’s assets for NIS 38 million ($10.5 million), raising its bid after Alami had offered to pay NIS 21 million [$5.8 million] for the company. However, at the very last minute, Alami decided to jump on the opportunity and match the offer. In the end, Alami won the bid — in part, thanks to the support of the 48 employees of the company, to whom he had offered 10% of the company’s shares, promising to keep them all as his employees.

Alami is a Palestinian telecommunications tycoon who established a number of telecommunications companies — first and foremost Coolnet, an Internet service provider that operates high-speed Internet services using ADSL technology, as well as Wi-Fi-based, OFDM-based and microwave-based broadband communications services. Coolnet also operates integration services for wireless communication networks, carries out projects for Israeli companies like Bynet and Radwin, and serves as a project contractor in the Arab sector for the Israeli telecommunications company Cellcom and for Israel’s largest telecommunications group Bezeq. In the framework of this activity, Alvarion was a technology provider for Coolnet. The company has even signed an agreement with Israel Electric Corp. for the supply of Internet services to the West Bank territories through fiber-optic lines.

According to Alami, there will be no direct relationship between the companies run by each of the partners and Alvarion, although some of these companies are already its customers. “As the director of a service integration company, I am a customer of Alvarion and thus, I am using its products in my activity in Africa and the Middle East. I am familiar with its products, as well as with those of the competitors, and I know the market,” Alami says. “I decided to bring into the deal Peleg Hadar, who specializes in financing programs and who was one of the key architects of the ViaEuropa bid, and Jorge [Pinievsky], who has vast experience in communications and integration projects. We will each incorporate the Alvarion equipment into the communications projects we run. We are going to open branches outside Israel, to be able to market to the Arab world

When asked to what uses he intends to put the Alvarion technology, which did not seem to be in large demand, Alami argues that it is a misconception. “Alvarion specialized in Radio Frequency (RF) and microwave technologies, which make the Internet accessible anywhere, even in rural and remote areas. Fiber-optic technology is great for urban environments, but when you go out to rural areas, microwave communications can readily provide you with Internet connection, and this, at a low investment.” Alami adds that “Alvarion has a complementary Wi-Fi technology based on its acquisition of  Wavion [in 2011].  Our network currently provides wireless Internet connectivity to 20 thousand customers in the territories.

I don’t care whether Alvarion is an Israeli or a Palestinian company.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s just business. I know the company.  And I worked with it for long years. I am interested in running the company, and eager to bring it to success. As a native of Jerusalem, I can tell you that if each of us does his own share, as best he can, we may yet achieve peace.”  he told Calcalist.

(read more at  Al-Monitor)


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