Isrotel Ltd. (TASE: ISRO) founder David Lewis died in London last night at 87, after a long illness.
Lewis's ties with Israel began in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when he and his family established a foundation for the rehabilitation of wounded IDF soldiers. He also helped finance the sending of doctors abroad for specialist training in the treatment of combat wounds.
Every year, Lewis would invite disabled IDF veterans and their families as his guest at hotels in Eilat. He also made quiet donations to scores of charities and needy individuals, without seeking any kind of publicity.
In 1980, then-Minister of Tourism Gideon Patt met with Lewis to persuade him to immigrate to and invest in Israel. Four years later, in July 1984, Lewis opened his first hotel in Eilat, King Solomon's Palace, now the Isrotel King Solomon Hotel. That hotel was the start of the Isrotel chain, and Eilat residents commonly talked about, "Before Lewis and After Lewis".
Isrotel CEO Lior Raviv said today, "Isrotel and all its employees and managers bow their heads in remembrance of Mr. David Lewis, who was for us not only an owner of Isrotel, but an example of Zionism, pioneering, courage, vision, imagination, and concern for the State of Israel. He was an inspiration for all of us."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 9, 2011
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011