Friday, February 02, 2007

What Have Yair Naveh, Ira Rennart and Aaron Binah Have in Common?

Well, the story starts (*) with this ad that appeared in papers last week:-

The ad, in support of Major-General Yair Naveh (who has been problematic [in Hebrew] in the past), a graduate of Rabbi Aaron Binah's father's Yeshiva, the late Aryeh Binah, made waves (in Hebrew). The Jerusalem Post today provides some background (here).

The ad prompted these wall posters to go up and I photographed this outside Shiloh's Ramat Shmuel synagogue.

It appears that the funder for the first adulatory ad is Ira Rennert who is a major contributer to the religious needs of the Yesha residents. This month, an Aron Kodesh was installed in the Cave of the Patriarchs. Even Shiloh's Mikveh is his donation.

Here he is with is wife:-

Rennert also manufatures Humvees. Humvees are purchased by the IDF. Some people don't like him. Others, too.

Now, think this way: if Naveh eventually has to leave his position (one way of the other), wouldn't it be nice for him to know that his friend, Rabbi Binah, has a friend, Ira Rennert, who would possibly be able to provide him with future employment as a military expert and advisor? He would most probably make a lot of money acting as a go-between to the IDF and other armed forces whose officers have been trained by the IDF and even maybe by Naveh himself.

Everyone would like that. I would.

But the point is, if you knew that future employment was assured for yourself, and you were being pressured by the government of Israel to crack down on "extremists", even using questionable methods, and knowing that because of this future employment possibility you really didn't need to give a damn about criticism, demonstrations in front of your house and even legal actions, would you be infuenced to ignore any moral or ethical qualms you might have? I mean, after all, why care? Even a "Sanhedrin" threat wouldn't bother you. The government told you what to do, you don't like the "hilltop youth" in any case, you are praised by the media as standing up to "fanatics" and you still have a prutah in your pocket at the end of the day.

Is this a possible "conflict-of-interest" case?

Is this a model of public ethics?

Is Rabbi Binah properly weighing Naveh's contributions to the defense of the country against the possible human rights' violations he is involved in?

Is Ira Rennert fully aware of the high controversy level of this matter? Was he informed as to the depth of the situation?

Are legal authorities in the IDF and the Attorney-General's office looking into this matter?

Are the media? (here's a start - in Hebrew)

To be continued, I presume.


(*) Credit to getting me started goes to Esser Agaroth.


JoeSettler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoeSettler said...

As you already know, I've got a slightly different (far less cynical) take on the matter.

YMedad said...

Cynical? Conspiratorial, maybe, but cynical? Well, we'll wait and see.

JoeSettler said...

btw: Rennert sold his Hummer company AM General (or at least most of it) years ago, so I don't think he personally plans to sell the IDF more Hummers.

YMedad said...

I admit I don't know much about cars but I can read:

"Hummer Changes Hands - Daily Auto Insider
The Daily Auto Insider
Thursday, August 12, 2004
August 2004

A holding company owned by billionaire New York financier Ronald Perelman will take over AM General LLC, the maker of the military Humvee and the civilian-model Hummer, the Detroit News reported.

Perelman's company, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., will form a new venture with AM General's current owner, The Renco Group Inc. of New York, the companies said. Renco is run by dealmaker Ira Rennert, who took over AM General in 1992 for $133 million.

Renco will contribute all of its ownership of AM General to the new venture and MacAndrews will contribute cash. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although an Associated Press story said it was "widely reported" to be worth more than $930 million.

AM General builds the Humvee military vehicle at a plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. It also builds Hummer models for General Motors, which acquired the Hummer brand name in 1999."


"AM General Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary, AM General Sales
Corporation (collectively, the "Company" or "AM General" ) is the largest
supplier of light Tactical Wheeled Vehicles ("TWVs") for the Department of
Defense ("DoD"). AM General
is the designer and sole manufacturer of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled
Vehicle ("HUMVEE"(R) or "HUMMER"(R)), which it sells to the US and foreign
military services, and to industrial and retail users through its commercial
dealer network. All of the Company's issued and outstanding capital stock is owned by The Renco
Group, Inc. ("Renco") which is 95.9% owned by Mr. Ira Leon Rennert, the Chairman
and sole director of the Company and Renco, and by trusts established by him for
himself and members of his family (but of which he is not a trustee). As a
result of such ownership, Mr. Rennert controls the Company. Renco established
the Company in 1991.

Would seem that he still owns it.


"Rennert’s Long Island mansion alone, described by Wikipedia as the largest home in the U.S., was worth more than the fund’s shortfall. With 29 bedrooms, 39 bathrooms and a 200-car parking garage, it was valued at $185 million."

JoeSettler said...

Like I said...

"Perelman acquired a majority stake in AM General, maker of Humvee and HUMMER vehicles, in 2004 through MacAndrews AMG Holdings"


"AM General was part of Ira Rennert's Renco Group, but Ronald Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes Holding acquired 70% of the company in 2004."

Aren't there enough conspiracies out there without having to invent new ones?

YMedad said...

Sorry but 30%, while not "all or wholly owned", is still enough for me if I was Naveh.

In 1992, Rennert purchased AM General—the manufacturer of the Humvee and the Hummer—for $133 million, selling a 70 per cent stake for $930 million in 2004.

Anonymous said...

What conspiracy ? its business... and its politix and its DIRTY..

Who's to say that naveh isnt giving renert contracts now ?

The guy can give 10 billion to tzedaka.. who cares ? lansky tried to give chabad in florida 1 million.. they told him to scram.

YMedad said...

a. I feel that Rav Binah probably didn't inform Rennert of all the aspects of the case and possibly could have avoided getting the nice man into trouble

b. Like you, I don't blame anyone for what unfortunately has become normative economic behavior

c. i don't think what Naveh is doing is moral. Use the courts and law system if you have to but don't circumspect.

d. If I was given a million dollars, I be quite amenable. ;>)

ADDeRabbi said...

i don't get it. can't you just as easily say that since naveh has 'pat be-salo' and knows he won't starve, he's free to defy the military establishment if he has moral qualms? especially if his future benefactor supports yesha causes?

YMedad said...

Maybe, but then he might be open to a criminal complaint or otherwise or he couldn't work with the military/defense establishment of Israel, no? Cutting off the branch he'll be sitting on?