Friday, May 09, 2003

Case of Ofer Glazer

Case of Ofer Glazer
Eilat, Israel
Tel Aviv, Israel

Convicted sex offender.  Found guilty of two incidents of committing obscene acts and of sexual harassment.  Glazer has consistently denied the charges against him of assaulting two women, including a nurse who was hired to care for his wife.

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Table of Contents:  

  1. Heat Wave (05/09/2003) 
  2. Israel's Richest Woman Packs Her Bags (10/03/2003) 

  1. Gafni connection re: Case of Ofer Glaze, Eilat, Tel Aviv, Israel  (10/20/2004) 
  2. Ofer Glazer indicted for sexual harassment, molestation  (10/21/2004) 
  3. Shari Arison's husband denies charges of sexual harassment (12/02/2004) 
  4. Glazer rejects sexual assault charges (12/02/2004) 

  1. Glazer convicted of sexual harassment (07/25/2005) 
  2. Sex scandal rocks super rich  (07/26/2005) 
  3. Ofer Glazer, husband of Shari Arison, guilty of sexual abuse (07/26/2005)

  1. Billionaire's husband begins jail sentence (02/18/2007)

Related Cases:
  1. Case of Rabbi Marc Gafni (AKA Marc Gafni, Mordechai Gafni Marc Winiartz)


Heat wave
By Aviva Lori
Bambili - May 9, 2003

It happens all the time: According to police data in Eilat, 45 complaints about rape and sexual harassment were filed in 2002. This year, one case has made headlines - that of Ofer Glazer, the man who married the richest woman in Israel.

At the marina in Eilat, life proceeds at the languid pace dictated by a temperature of 44 degrees in the shade. The veteran skippers have gone off in search of air-conditioning, leaving on the decks of the anchored yachts a cluster of foreign workers - young, fair-haired types with an obvious fondness for tattoos. In this torpid, lazy atmosphere, nothing really seems all that important. Even the story of Ofer Glazer has become hazy and blurred in the Eilat heat. Charlie Siton, the skipper of the Strauss family's yacht, the Lambada, remains at the Marina. He sits on the deck, sunburnt and naked from the waist up, and when he talks about Glazer, there's an impish, knowing gleam in the corner of his eye.

"In Eilat, it's not a big story what Ofer did," he says. "That's how it is here. It's the air. Ofer is a good guy. I know his brother." And then he says, "What happened to Ofer is a good thing. When he married the millionairess, he was nothing. No one knew him. Now, because they talk about him on the news, everyone knows who Ofer Glazer is."

Besides the heat, the air in Eilat is full of little tales of debauchery that no one makes a big deal of. Pinching a bottom that is half-exposed to begin with isn't considered sexual harassment, and even if it is, the harassee - most likely an illegal worker or a tourist - probably isn't going to complain to the police. Nor do the young Israeli women who come down to Eilat seem to be in any rush to complain about every unsolicited touch or caress, or even something more.

And then, about a month ago, the rules of the game suddenly changed - ostensibly, at least. Ofer Glazer resurfaced in Eilat as a suspect accused of sexual harassment. This is the same Glazer who married Shari Arison, Israel's wealthiest citizen (with a fortune worth $2.4 billion), who holds the controlling interest in Bank Hapoalim and is the chair of Arison Investments. What did the guy really do? wonder the skippers. What's the big deal? "At most, he gave them a pat on the ass, nothing more," a local Eilat paper said.

Nothing has yet been proven. Glazer was questioned by the Hayarkon district police after four women complained that he had sexually harassed them. The first was a nurse who cared for his wife after she had cosmetic surgery. After that matter was publicized, three other women came forward to file complaints. One claimed that Glazer raped her about 10 years ago, but the police closed the file: the statute of limitations had passed. Another woman says that Glazer sexually harassed her five years ago on the deck of the Nirvana, a yacht that Glazer owned in Eilat, and the police are investigating her complaint. The last woman, an Eilat resident, claims that Glazer sexually harassed her when she went to rent an apartment from him in Eilat five months ago. Glazer firmly denied the accusations in all four cases, saying, "They are spilling my blood and justice will come to light." When the police investigators confronted him with the woman who'd rented the apartment, he called her a liar.

Meir Rosenman of the Red Sea Sport Club, who runs tourist cruises, is nonplussed: "I've been in the Eilat marina for 22 years and I think that they're going a little too far with him. I know the subject from up close. The atmosphere here is different, very flowing and laid-back. Here the girls go around in bathing suits all day, so you touch a shoulder or a hand - They go along with it. They like it, and nothing is coerced. The same for the Israeli women. That's the atmosphere here. Food, drink, tourists with tattoos, far from home. Anyone who's not inside it can't understand it. Everyone tries to make it with everyone. Some succeed and some don't. That's how it works. No one does anything by force. They really don't. When I heard about Ofer, I was surprised. I'm divorced and I have a 22-year-old girlfriend now, so are people going to say, `Look at that 46-year-old donkey with that 22-year-old girl?'"

Rosenman may be surprised, but the police data in Eilat tell another story. In the year 2002, 45 cases were opened by the Eilat police following complaints about rape and sexual harassment. Practically a case a week.

What happened aboard the Nirvana? The mother of one of the complainants against Glazer had no idea what was happening in Eilat. If she had, she says, she might have gone there five years ago to stop her daughter, who was then at the pre-army enlistment stage, from going to work for Glazer on the Nirvana. "She is an innocent girl with a lot of ideals," says the mother. "A child of nature who wanted to gain some experience before embarking on life and to save a little money before the army. We supported her. She was offered a job on the Nirvana and started to work at all kinds of things, like waitressing and maintenance, like a lot of young people who worked there at the time. And then one night she calls me, all hysterical, crying hysterically, saying that she can't take it anymore, that he is harassing her.

"That was the first time I heard about it. I'm very sensitive to the matter of sexual harassment and I told her: `Now you go to the police and then you come right home.' She went to the police in Eilat and filed a complaint, and that same evening they brought him in to the police station and questioned him, and of course he said that it was all made up, and then they wanted to have him face her but she didn't consent to it. She was very afraid of him and didn't want to confront him. The next day, she sent a girlfriend to the ship to fetch her things and then she came back home with her boyfriend and another girlfriend, who are both from South Africa. They left together with her. Afterward, she enlisted and then after the army she went to Australia and we forgot the story."

A few months ago, when her daughter saw the television reports about Glazer's marriage to Shari Arison, she was disgusted, says the mother. And when she heard that complaints had been filed against him, the daughter decided not to keep quiet any longer. "Apparently she'd repressed it all. She didn't want to touch it, but when she saw him in the pictures, it erupted. And then, when she read in the papers that he said the nurse who complained against him was a liar, she said, `I'll show him what a liar is,' and decided to renew her complaint, and that's how it began."

What does she say he did to her?

"He would forcefully sit her down on his knees, touch her on the rear and on the chest, threaten that if she didn't sleep with him, he'd fire her. The first time I heard what he'd really done to her was when she was interviewed by Yael Dan on Army Radio. Until then, I didn't know all the details. I remember that I listened and I cried and I said to myself, `Where were you?' It was very hard for me to accept that she hadn't shared this with me."

Glazer's associates say that your daughter and the others only remembered to complain after all this time because he married a rich woman.

"Money doesn't really interest her and anyway, when this whole thing came up with her, it was before she knew that there were other women accusing him. She says that she repressed it all these years, but that as soon as she saw his face and heard what the nurse was accusing him of, it all surfaced and she suddenly understood the significance of the things he did. Now she is more mature and can cope with it. She said to me: `He is menace to women and menace to society as a whole.'"

Glazer relayed the following response to Army Radio: "The false complaint was indeed made to the Eilat police five years ago. After the police investigation, the case was closed due to lack of guilt. I am appalled by the desire to tarnish my name and to spill my blood at any price."

During her interview on Army Radio, the daughter said: "He doesn't think that it's harassing. He thinks it's sexy. He thinks that that's the way he starts with women. He thinks it's cool. He's like this macho guy who thinks that everything is permitted for him. He thinks that if a girl works for him or needs something from him, then anything goes."

Something very provocative
Motti Asraf, captain of the Eclipse, the yacht aboard which Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein met secretly before the signing of the peace treaty with Jordan, says that the sexuality in the Eilat air simmers and bursts out as a result of the encounter between middle-aged men who deal with young and liberal female employees, girls from all over the world who fall in love with the place and the work.

"People here often exploit their standing as bosses and push their hands in a little here, or ask a little something of her there, and if she isn't strong enough to hold her own, then she doesn't complain," says Asraf. "But there are also some who are more cognizant of their rights or are just disgusted by the man or by the idea of it, so they do complain. It has happened a lot of times. It happens all the time, in fact. There's something very provocative about this involvement with the sea."

Is Eilat sort of the end of the world?

"Could be, in terms of the permissiveness. Any girl who comes here suddenly discovers freedom. Suddenly she wears rose-colored glasses and it's okay to walk around barely dressed, to do drugs. These girls take the midnight bus and arrive in Eilat in the morning with bleary eyes, and there are so many wolves waiting to rent them a room and then to take them on a trip on the sea and give them a little drugs, and then the refusal is hardly unequivocal and then unpleasant things happen. It happens in Eilat with tremendous frequency. I don't know if a day goes by without a few girls being raped and not saying anything. Yes, it's forbidden, but it's not his stumble alone. It's the stumble of all the Eilat residents. I have a 17-year-old girl, and now I suddenly see where all this stupid permissiveness is leading."

"As an Eilat resident and as a woman, I am sorry to hear what the skippers say," says a local journalist. "It's not that in Eilat the atmosphere is more permissive, but that a lot of foreign girls work here, and they keep things to themselves more than the Israeli girls because they're not here legally. I don't imagine that a Czech girl enjoys being pinched on the ass by a disgusting 50-year-old man. It's too bad that we don't hear more men protesting against this kind of thing."

One man who is speaking out against it is Max Perez, chairman of the marina's shipowners' association. Perez sold Glazer the Nirvana, a 16-meter-long wooden Turkish ship. "I wasn't blown away when I heard about his exploits," says Perez. "I knew generally that he was into that, but I didn't know that he was doing it on the Nirvana. If I'd known, I wouldn't have given him the name, which is very precious to me."

It's likely that no one would have bothered to look into the sexual harassment on Eilat's yachts or been much interested in Glazer's actions and character if it weren't for his highly publicized marriage to Arison and for the accusations against him, which came just two months after their fairy-tale wedding. In this context, many people are asking just who is behind the now-familiar description of Glazer as an "Eilat businessman and real-estate tycoon."

"He was never a local force here - economically, socially or politically," says the journalist. "He won't appear on any Eilat list of leading people. I don't think he ever received a line of coverage in any local paper. There is a lot of cynicism in the attitude of the locals toward him. You have to understand that Eilat is a small city, and then, into this provincial reality, a woman like Shari Arison, who is more or less from the fairy tales, suddenly appears and chooses this Ofer Glazer fellow, a man with a very powerful ambition for money whom hardly anyone knows - and those who do know him do not paint a sympathetic portrait."
It's all because of jealousy

Glazer, 43, was born in Kiryat Yam. His father a skipper for the Ha'ogen company (now called Ma'agan) in Haifa and his mother had a fabric store in Kiryat Yam. He went to the Orim elementary school and later was a boarder at the agricultural school in Kfar Galim, where he concentrated on agricultural studies. He did not complete high school.

In the army, Glazer served as an education officer and after his discharge, he worked on the security staff of a Bank Leumi branch in London and later as an insurance agent in Tel Aviv, for his first wife's father. But the insurance trade wasn't to his liking and in the late 1980s, he took a 10-year lease on the swimming pool at Moshav Sde Moshe, not far from Kiryat Gat, renovated it and operated it. During that time, his eldest daughter, who is now 15, was born.

At the Sde Moshe pool, Glazer met Orly Schwartzman, who was living on the moshav at the home of her father, Tuvia Schwartzman. After a while, Glazer left his first wife and married Orly. In the early `90s, Ofer and Orly moved to Eilat. Glazer leased and operated the snack bar on the glass-bottomed Jules Verne ship. His wife worked in Eilat as a pre-school teacher and sometimes helped out at the snack bar. The couple had two daughters. Ofer's younger brother Dror and his family followed him to Eilat, and his father, Yona, who retired and divorced Ofer's mother, also came to live in Eilat and worked as a skipper on various ships.

In 1992, in addition to his other job, Glazer began working as a salesman, sellingtime-shares at the Club Royale. He was fired after a year and a half and then opened a clothing store of the Honigman chain in Eilat. But he left that after a short time, obtained a franchise from the Shilav baby products chain and opened a store on the city's main street.

The chain's owner, Itzik Oren, says that Glazer was an excellent franchisee. "I have only good things to say about him. It was fun to do business with him. He is a responsible fellow and was really fine in terms of business."

A few years later, Glazer brought Rama Avraham in as a partner in the Shilav store, and in January of this year, she bought out his interest in it. Avraham basically ran the store for the last few years, while Glazer tried his hand at other businesses. He sold apartments for the local Amdar company and then sold time-shares for the Ontario Technologies company. He and his father bought the Nirvana from Max Perez, and Glazer renovated it and operated it as a tourist ship in the Eilat bay.

He still keeps in touch with some of his friends from the Kfar Galim boarding school. Yaron Arnon, a physical education teacher from Ra'anana, was a good friend. "We slept in the same room; he was big and I was small and he made sure I didn't get beat up. Ofer didn't finish school. Maybe he finished an equivalency certificate. We were in touch after the army, too. I was at his weddings and he came to the naming ceremony for my daughter, and he was also my insurance agent.

Were you surprised when you heard the news?

"It didn't fit in with my knowledge of Ofer's. To the best of my recollection, he was not violent. After the wedding, he called me and told me that he was happy, that he loves her. He apologized that he hadn't invited me to the wedding, that they'd kept it small and couldn't invite everyone. He said that his daughters were with them on the yacht and that everyone was getting along great. I was sorry to hear the things that they're saying about him. People will do a lot of things nowadays for the sake of publicity or money. After all, the man was divorced, and a divorced person doesn't sit at home all day playing pick-up-sticks."

Eli Arviv from Herzliya, also from his school, is ready to wager that it's all a lie and a plot. "He is a terrific guy and everyone's trying to jump on some bandwagon now. Every person does trivial things at some point in his life, but when you get to certain situations, suddenly things are said in a different tone and in a different atmosphere. In my opinion, the guy is innocent. In school, he was lively and friendly, intelligent and athletic, a hard worker. A great guy. I once worked in Eilat for nine months and we ran into each other. I went sailing with him on the Nirvana once and we took a few trips together. I think it's just abuse what they're doing to him."

Barak Gabai of Kibbutz Usha organizes the class reunions and has thus stayed in occasional contact with Glazer. "I suppose that it has to do with his money. It doesn't seem likely to me that a woman would suddenly wake up after all these years and claim what she is claiming with the motive being pure. I remember him as a nice, friendly guy and he is the same way today. I spoke to him before he got married and he said to me: `Barak, I'm not going to change. I'm still going to be the same Ofer that you know.'"

Men behaving badly
Eilat residents first got to meet Glazer on the maiden voyage of the Jules Verne. Attorney Tali Oren and businessmen Zvika Oren, the ship's owners, say that they brought Glazer to Eilat to operate the ship's buffet. "Yes, he worked for us on the Jules Verne, but we aren't friends," says Tali Oren. "We didn't have any relationship outside of work."

Shalom Azarzar was one of the skippers on the Jules Verne at the time. "He is a very impressive person in general. When you don't know him and you meet him for the first time, you come away very impressed," he says. "But anyone who knows him a little better knows that he is a very coarse person and quite stingy. I didn't like him. He'd turn the world upside down for the sake of one shekel. I don't believe that he has many fans here and I wasn't surprised by what they're saying about him, or that he looked for a rich woman or that he behaved the way they say he did. After he got divorced from Orly, he went on a diet and said: `I need some good-looking babes now that I'm single.'"

But not everyone in Eilat has negative memories of Glazer. Ruti Korotz, The present skipper of the Jules Verne thinks that the detractors are basically motivated by jealousy. "It's true that Ofer always loved women - where there's smoke, there's fire - but I don't think that he ever had to rape anyone in order to get sex," she says. "He is very charismatic and could have got everything without using force. In my opinion, they're suddenly trying to bring this up because he is a millionaire. A lot of men let their hands roam where they shouldn't, and if he weren't a millionaire today, no one would pay any attention to it."

Woman to woman
It was in 1992 that Glazer began selling time-shares at the Club Royale, a chain that belongs to David Lewis, a founder and owner of Isrotel. Everyone who knew Glazer during that period says that he is an excellent salesman who could sell anything to anyone. "If he wanted to convince someone that it's night when it was day, nothing would stand in his way," says an old acquaintance. "He's a sledgehammer."

Glazer worked for Club Royale for about a year and a half, first in Eilat and then in Tel Aviv, until he was dismissed by Isrotel CEO Rafi Sadeh and Eilat Rahav, the chain's director of marketing. His personal file says that the dismissal was due to a company reorganization. Rahav remembers him as "an aggressive person, a marvelous salesman who knows how to give whatever it takes, a person with a lot of charm who can be a nice conversationalist, also when it comes to flirting, which he did a lot."

A woman who was Glazer's superior at Club Royale in Eilat remembers him a little differently. "One day, I noticed that a girl who worked for us was depressed," she says. "I took her aside to talk but she didn't really want to talk. Two weeks later she suddenly opened up and told me that Ofer gave her a lift after her shift, then came into her home and raped her. I confronted him about it and he was horrified. He swore to me that it was just an aberration, a one-time thing. He was in tears and he begged for his life. The girl left the job and they promoted him to work at the Club Royale in Tel Aviv."

David Medina, director-general of the Club Royale Eilat, remembers Glazer, but not "the incident," as he calls it. "I came to the company in September 1993 and he left in July 1994, and from January `94 on he was working in Tel Aviv and not in Eilat, and so I don't recall every little detail. What I do remember is that he was someone with a presence who was working at a job that suited him very well. I never heard about this story. If there was such an incident, something about it should have appeared in his file and it doesn't appear there at all."

Rafi Sadeh also did not find anything untoward in Glazer's records. "We checked, it must have been in 1993, under the previous director, Danny Rubenstein, who was just handing the reins to David Medina then, who says today that when he came into the job, he was told something like this, but it happened before he came to the company, and nothing like that appears in Glazer's personal file."

The woman who was Glazer's superior says that she wasn't surprised by the recent accusations against him. "The truth is that after the first complaint from the nurse, I called the police and I told them: `First of all, you should believe her. This is the type of person he is.' One day I came to work wearing a red bra that peeked out from under my blouse, and I'm his boss, but that didn't stop him from making sexy comments about the bra. He has an amazing ability with this kind of thing. There is no girl that he doesn't look at. After I heard about his wedding, I wanted to write a letter to Shari, woman to woman, and tell her everything. I was shocked, like all of my girlfriends who know him, but they warned me that it would get me into trouble. To be honest, I was afraid, because he is very aggressive when he is annoyed, and it could have been very unpleasant."

How did the police react?

"They took the matter seriously and I told them everything."

Let's make a deal
Today the Nirvana sits in the marina, up for sale. Glazer's father met a woman who didn't want to live in Eilat and he moved up north with her. His brother Dror is now the ship's owner (Last year, the ship was rented for use in the porno film, "Desert Sex"), but he and his family also plan to leave Eilat soon. He calls the claims against his brother "bullshit" and says: "The family stands behind him and I'll deviate from my custom and tell you just one thing - check the past of whomever you're speaking with very, very well."

Shai Arnon, former owner of the Eilat restaurant Pedro, now lives in Amsterdam. He recalls Glazer as a pompous show-off who liked to impress everyone. When Orly celebrated her birthday, for example, Glazer invited friends to a meal at which he displayed to all the guests, on a small dessert dish, the keys to the new car he had just bought for her.

Three years ago, Glazer's marriage to Orly fell apart and the couple divorced. Orly's family assiduously protects her privacy and will not let her speak publicly; after his marriage to Arison, Orly moved into a nice house in the Bavli section of Tel Aviv, so that the girls could be close to their father and go to a good school.

When Ofer met Shari
After the divorce from Orly, Glazer tried his luck in Tel Aviv. He found work as a junior salesperson at Tzameret Financing, a credit removal company that is a subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim. He spent weekends and holidays at hisvilla in Eilat. It was during this time that he met Arison.

There are two versions of how they met - an Eilat version and a Tel Aviv version. The Eilat legend has it that Arison's yacht (the Teddy) was moored in Eilat during Sukkot of last year while Arison vacationed aboard the ship with her girlfriends. The group of women went dancing every night at the Three Monkeys pub in the Royal Beach Hotel, and Glazer, so goes the tale, who was aware of this, went there every night until he finally managed to capture the most eligible woman in Israel.

Alex Posin, the club manager, says he doesn't know anything about this. "I'm in the club every night and to the best of my knowledge, it isn't true. I'd be very happy if it were true." In the Tel Aviv version (which was published in Yedioth Ahronoth), matchmaker Ruth Peri figures prominently. Glazer reportedly registered with her matchmaking agency and ranked wealth high on his list of desired traits for a prospective bride. He explicitly asked for a rich woman, Peri said. Her sister Ilana, who works with her at the agency, knows Arison through her husband Aharon, who is a childhood friend of Shari's. And that's how the connection was made.

After this version was publicized, Peri received a cautionary letter "before [legal] proceedings are initiated," sent on behalf of Ofer Glazer. "You have created the impression that Mr. Glazer's desire to find himself a life partner derives solely from pecuniary greed," attorney Ofer Tzur accused Peri, "despite knowing very well that this is completely untrue."
Tzur went on to assert that Peri had breached her duty to uphold client confidentiality and had violated Glazer's privacy when she revealed sensitive information about "his character, his personal status ... his economic status and other information that was given to you by him solely for the purpose of enabling you to do your job in finding him a suitable mate."

Peri was asked to publish an apology and to donate NIS 1 million to the Israel Cancer Society in the name of Ofer Glazer.


Israel's Richest Woman Packs Her Bags
By Elli Wohlgelernter
FORWARD - October 3, 2003

JERUSALEM ñ With an estimated worth of $2.4 billion, Shari Arison is the richest woman, and perhaps the richest citizen, in Israel. Or, rather, she was.

Arison, a banking and corporate executive who ranked 158th on this year's Forbes list of richest people in the world, is not suddenly facing poverty. She is no longer the richest woman in Israel because has left the country.

Arison, 46, immigrated to Israel from her hometown of Miami in 1992, following in the footsteps of her billionaire father, Israeli-born Carnival Cruise Lines magnate Ted Arison, who had left his homeland for the United States in the 1950s only to return in 1990. But a spate of negative publicity — about her business practices and her personal life — has hounded the businesswoman recently. Two weeks ago the Globes business newspaper wrote that she had decided that the bad press had become too much, and she had moved back to Miami.

It is not uncommon for North American immigrants to leave Israel; around one-quarter eventually do so, according to the Interior Ministry. But for this high-profile case of yerida — the Hebrew term to describe leaving Israel — everyone from the president to pundits to editorial writers have weighed in on the significance of Arison's choice and what it says about Zionism and the state of Israeli culture.

Arison, a major shareholder in Bank Hapoalim, garnered negative publicity last December when she laid off 900 of the company's workers. Although she offered extensive severance packages and later reinstated 107 workers, she drew criticism for cutting jobs when the bank was turning a profit. Protests occurred outside her home, and a billboard campaign funded by the Histadrut labor federation screamed: "Shari Arison laughs while 900 families cry." Op-ed pages savaged her.

Then, when she got married for the third time in May — to Eilat businessman Ofer Glazer, in a ceremony performed by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger — the gossip pages had a field day. This attention only increased when Glazer was investigated for sexual harassment.

Associates of Arison said she was "fed up" with "the country, which devours its inhabitants," and was disgusted by "everything that was being done to her in Israel." A spokeswoman for the family released a statement announcing that Arison and Glazer were moving to Florida "for personal reasons."

The statement didn't say, but it was reported later, that Arison was also closing the Ted Arison Family Foundation, which donated $23 million last year to community projects and hospitals in Israel.

The coverage surrounding Arison has only gotten more intense since the announcement of her move, although not all of it is negative.

President Moshe Katsav said he was less concerned about the loss of Arison's contributions to charity than he was about her departure, because increasing immigration was more important than any fundraising challenge. "I want all Jews to live here," he said. "I regard her decision as negative."

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post defended her, arguing that Arison was a private citizen, entitled to be left alone and to expect her husband to sort out his legal affairs in private.

"Shari Arison possesses alluring alternatives few of us can dream of," the editorial concluded. "Yet she opted to live among us. She came here with good will, only to leave feeling spurned, derided, and slandered. Our society — given to snap judgment, provincialism, sordid sensationalism, gossip-mongering, vulgarization, and envy — gave her a raw deal. The loss is all ours."

But Ha'aretz columnist Yoel Marcus asked rhetorically whether an American tycoon like a Rockefeller would leave the United States and close down his charitable (tax-exempt) foundations just because the tabloids were after him. Marcus — who wrote that closing the foundation was a way of "collectively punishing the needy" — added that the publicity Arison generated was of her own making.

"We didn't poke around in Shari Arison's life," Marcus wrote. "She voluntarily put herself on display. We read about her plastic surgery. We were shown her grandiose house and fabulous yacht. It was her mistake to call a press conference to explain why 900 employees of Bank Hapoalim were fired during a year when the bank raked in profits. Whose fault is it that the camera caught her a short time later laughing and singing merrily at a sing-a-long at some bar? People who can't take the heat should stay out of the kitchen.

Perhaps Arison's story was like that of so many other Americans who arrived with idealistic dreams but were forced by circumstances to return from whence they came.

Not that she arrived here like every other immigrant. Her billionaire father was himself one of the richest men in the world. Born in 1924 in Tel Aviv, where he grew up, Ted Arison fought in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in World War II, serving in Italy and Germany and attaining the rank of sergeant major. In 1948 he fought in the War of Independence as a lieutenant colonel in the Seventh Brigade of the Israeli army's Armored Corps, seeing action in the pivotal battle of Latrun.

He moved to the United States in the early 1950s, eventually setting up Carnival Cruise Lines, which became the Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise line in the world. He established the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, based in Miami, brought professional basketball to South Florida with the forming of the Miami Heat and established the philanthropic Arison Foundation in Israel and the United States.

In December 1990 he returned to Tel Aviv and founded Arison Investments Ltd., which in September 1997 headed a consortium that purchased the controlling share in Bank Hapoalim.

When he died in 1999, his daughter became the chairperson of Arison Holdings and the Ted Arison Family Foundation. Aware that in Israel, unlike in America, corporate involvement in philanthropy was uncommon, Shari formed the charitable organization Matan as a way of building corporate responsibility for the community. She received a great deal of press — mostly positive — for her philanthropy.

But Israel's current economic situation here dented her financial holdings, and in the last year alone, she lost some $900 million in Bank Hapoalim and elsewhere. As the economy soured, so did her press coverage. In fact, even now that Arison has decided to leave, the negative press continues: It was reported this week that Arison is asking $25 million for her three-story home on three acres in Moshav Bnei Zion — double what some real estate brokers say the property is worth.

Yotam Lurie, who holds the Heinz-Horst Deichmann Chair of Business Ethics at Ben-Gurion University, told the Forward: "The quality of the press, the way they cover stories, the way they cover people in high profile is very offensive, and I can understand her decision to move, temporary or permanently — nobody knows right now — to Florida. From her point of view it's a wise decision."

Lurie added that her decision to leave Israel should be seen as a personal decision, not as a comment on Zionist ideology. "These are two separate issues," Lurie said. "The fact that Zionist ideology doesn't like it — it's true, it doesn't sit with the Zionist ideology. But in the global world, in global economics, an individual like Shari Arison can decide that Florida suits her better for now, whether it's because the newspapers have gone against her or whether it's because of other personal issues."


Gafni connection re: Case of Ofer Glaze, Eilat, Tel Aviv, Israel
By Levi Ford

Ofer Glazer is the husband of millionaire heiress Shari Arison. Reportedly, Shari Arison financially backed Gafni's (Rabbi Marc Gafni) television show:

He's paying (or his backers are paying, such Shari Arison, then the richest resident of Israel) for him to be on TV. It's like 6 a.m. for three minutes.


Ofer Glazer indicted for sexual harassment, molestation
By Zvi Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Haaretz - October 21, 2004 Cheshvan 6, 5765

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Wednesday indicted Ofer Glazer, husband of millionaire heiress Shari Arison, for sexually harassing and molesting two women, including a nurse who had been hired to care for his wife.

According to the indictment, Glazer, 44, met a woman in May 2003 who was interested in renting an apartment he owned in Eilat. While they were in the apartment, Glazer complimented the women, stroked her hair and her head, embraced her and clasped her waist. The complainant said that Glazer tried to convince her to be his lover, but she told him that she was not interested and that she had a boyfriend.

After giving him rent checks for the apartment, the two went to Glazer's residence, in the same building. There, Glazer embraced the woman again, according to the indictment. She told him to stop and pushed his hands off her. Glazer insisted, "just one kiss," telling her that even if she had a boyfriend, one kiss was not horrible. He kissed her on the mouth against her wishes, and the woman later cancelled her rental agreement over the incident.
In addition, Glazer was indicted for sexually harassing a nurse in the Tel Aviv apartment he shared with his wife. He embraced the nurse, and when she went to the kitchen, he approached her and asked, "Can I come onto you?" Glazer ran his hand from the woman's waist to her chest.

Prosecutor Hadas Porrer said the woman told him "no" and hurried out of the kitchen. While she was in the hallway, Glazer caressed her back and buttocks.

Another time, while the second complainant was watching television late at night, Glazer complimented her and stroked her left breast. Glazer told her that he could not go to sleep because he know that she wanted him. According to the prosecution, he told her that she did not need to fear his status. When he returned to her room a second time, he took her head in his hands and forced her lips to his. He entered her room again later that night and said he could not sleep. The complainant advised him to have a cup of warm milk with honey.

Glazer later rubbed himself against the woman and whispered in her ear that he "wanted warm milk."


Shari Arison's husband denies charges of sexual harassment
By Zvi Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Haaretz - December 02, 2004 (Kislev 19, 5765)

Ofer Glazer, husband of millionaire heiress Shari Arison, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of sexually harassing and molesting two women, including a nurse who had been hired to care for his wife.

Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on October 20 indicted Glazer on charges of sexual harassment and molestation.

According to the indictment, in May 2003, Glazer, 44, met a woman who was interested in renting an apartment he owns in Eilat. While they were in the apartment, Glazer allegedly complimented the women, stroked her hair and head, embraced her from behind and clasped her waist.

The complainant also alleges that Glazer tried to persuade her to be his lover, but that she told him she was not interested and that she had a boyfriend.

After giving him checks for renting the apartment, the two went to Glazer's residence, on the first floor of the same building. There, the indictment says, Glazer embraced the woman again. She demanded that he stop and pushed him away, but Glazer didn't let up.
"Just one kiss," he allegedly said, explaining that even if she had a boyfriend, one kiss was not a terrible thing to do. He then kissed her on the mouth against her will. The woman subsequently revoked her rental agreement over the incident.

The second clause of the indictment outlines Glazer's behavior toward a nurse at the Tel Aviv apartment he shares with Arison. Glazer allegedly caressed the nurse, and when she went to the kitchen, he approached her, pressed himself up against her from behind and asked: "Can I come onto you?" He then ran his hand from the woman's waist to her chest, the charge sheet says.

Prosecutor Hadas Porrer said the woman told him "no" and hurried out of the kitchen. While she was in the hallway, Glazer caressed her back and buttocks.

On another occasion, while the second complainant was watching television late at night, Glazer allegedly complimented her and stroked her left breast, telling her he could not get to sleep because he knew she wanted him.

When Glazer returned to the nurse's room a second time, the indictment says, he took her head in his hands and forced her lips to his.

Later that same night, Glazer is believed to have entered the nurse's room for a third time, again telling her that he could not fall asleep. The complainant advised him to drink a cup of warm milk with honey.

Some time later, Glazer rubbed himself against the woman and whispered in her ear that he wanted "mother's milk."

"I am very sorry about the decision to serve an indictment, but I respect the state prosecution's decision. I believe in my husband's innocence. My family and I will continue to support Ofer," Arison said on October 20 through her spokesman, Ran Rahav.

"I am certain of my innocence," Glazer said. "I hope the truth will come to light in court."


Glazer rejects sexual assault charges
By Yaakov Katz
Jerusalem Post - December 2, 2004

In his first court appearance since charged with sexual assault and harassment, Ofer Glazer – husband of billionaire Shari Arison – rejected the charges against him Thursday at the opening of his trial at the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court.

Glazer arrived at the hearing surrounded by three of Israel's top attorneys – former justice minister David Libai, Yehoshua Reznik and Pnina Dvorin. Glazer refused to answer reporter's questions and was not accompanied by his wife – Arison estimated to be worth $4.9 billion.

Glazer, 44, returned to Israel together with Arison in June after a much publicized nine-month sojourn in Miami. He is suspected of assaulting two women, including a nurse who was hired to care for his wife.

In the summer of 2003 a nurse was hired to care for Arison following a surgery she underwent. According to the indictment, Glazer while in the same apartment with his wife, approached the nurse in her room and stroked her hair while telling her that he was happy with the way she was caring for Arison. Later that same evening, Glazer entered the nurse's room and while the woman sat and watched television, began to run his hands over her left breast.

He then forcibly kissed the woman. The nurse told him to go to sleep and that if he had trouble sleeping he should have a cup of milk with honey.

Glazer leaned into the woman, whispering, "I want breast milk."

The second case involves a woman Glazer met with who was interested in renting an apartment of his in Eilat. During their meeting and while the woman sat down on the floor to write checks, Glazer suddenly appeared behind her and began to stroke her hair.

The woman told Glazer she was not interested but he allegedly persisted and forcibly kissed the woman who later canceled the rental agreement.


Glazer convicted of sexual harassment
By Yaakove Katz and JPOST Staff
Jerusalem Post - July 25, 2005

Ofer Glazer, the husband of billionaire heiress Shari Arison, was found guilty on Monday morning of two incidents of committing obscene acts and of sexual harassment.

Glazer has consistently denied the charges against him of assaulting two women, including a nurse who was hired to care for his wife.

Judge Ziva Hadassi-Herman, deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court, wrote in the verdict that a recorded conversation presented by the prosecution was considered to be "a first confession to the charges," even though Glazer did not explicitly admit to the acts in the recording.

"The plaintiffs' accounts appear reliable, while the accused's account is evasive," Hadassi-Herman wrote in the verdict.

"The court convicted ... the defendant of indecent acts and sexual harassment against two plaintiffs and sent a very important message today that it doesn't matter who the defendant is, these are serious acts that the public and society do not accept," state prosecutor Hadass Forer said.

Glazer's sentence was to be announced at a later date, Army Radio reported.

In the summer of 2003 a nurse was hired to care for Arison following surgery she underwent.

According to the indictment, Glazer approached the nurse in her room and stroked her hair while telling her that he was happy with the way she was caring for Arison.  Later that same evening, Glazer allegedly entered the nurse's room and, while the woman sat and watched television, began to run his hands over her left breast. He then forcibly kissed the woman. The nurse told him to go to sleep and that if he had trouble sleeping he should have a cup of milk with honey.

Glazer leaned into the woman, whispering, "I want breast milk."

The second case involves a woman Glazer met who was interested in renting an apartment of his in Eilat. While the woman sat down on the floor to write checks, Glazer suddenly appeared behind her and began to stroke her hair. The woman told Glazer she was not interested but he allegedly persisted and forcibly kissed the woman, who later canceled the rental agreement.


Sex scandal rocks super rich
News (South Africa) - July 26, 2005

Jerusalem - The husband of Israel's richest woman, Shari Arison, was convicted on Tuesday on two counts of indecent acts and sexual harassment, said the justice ministry.
Ofer Glazer, married to the billionaire heiress of late Carnival Corporation cruise lines founder Ted Arison, was convicted of trying to kiss a woman who wanted to rent a flat from him in the southern Israeli city of Eilat and of telling a nurse hired to care for his wife that he was interested in drinking mother's milk.

According to the indictment, Glazer made the comment to the nurse after she suggested he drink a glass of milk to help him sleep.

Denying the charges
Glazer denied the charges, and Arison, ranked 84th on the Forbes list of global billionaires with a fortune estimated at $5.5bn, stood by him throughout the trial. The couple divide their time between Israel and Miami.

State prosecutor Hadass Forer said: "The court convicted the defendant of indecent acts and sexual harassment against two plaintiffs and sent an important message that it doesn't matter who the defendant is, these are serious acts the public and society do not accept."
Sentencing is expected next month, media reported. The maximum sentence is three years' imprisonment, the Haaretz daily said.

"I hope the general picture at the end of the trial will be favourable for the defendant," said Yehoshua Reznick, Glazer's attorney.


Ofer Glazer, husband of Shari Arison, guilty of sexual abuse
By Zvi Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Haaretz - July 26, 2005

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Tuesday convicted Ofer Glazer, husband of multi-millionaire heiress Shari Arison, of sexually harassing and molesting two women, including a nurse who had been hired to care for his wife.

Judge Hadasi Hermann stated that Glazer sexually molested a young woman who was interested in renting an apartment he owns in Eilat, as well as a nurse who was helping his wife following an operation.

The maximum sentence for these charges is a three-year imprisonment. His final sentence will be given in several months.


Billionaire's husband begins jail sentence
By Vered Luvitch
YNET News - February 17, 2007

Ofer Glazer, the husband of billionaire Shari Arison, arrived Sunday morning at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court in order to begin the process of serving his jail sentence.

Glazer was convicted of indecent conduct and sexual harassment, and was sentenced to six months in prison.

From the courthouse, Glazer was taken by the police to the Nitzan Prison in Ramla, south of Tel Aviv, for classification and medical checks.

Glazer was accompanied to the courthouse by his wife, and lawyer Ofer Tzur. Earlier, the family asked the Israel Prison Service to allow Glazer to arrive at the court before it opened in order to avoid meeting reporters, but was informed that this was not possible.

Glazer was convicted of indecent conduct in July 2005, after he harassed a nurse who was hired to look after his wife at the couple's Tel Aviv apartment following surgery. According to the court ruling, Glazer approached the nurse from the back, caressed her body and whispered in her ear, "I want your milk."

He was also convicted of sexually harassing a young woman who asked to rent an apartment from him in Eilat. During their meeting, Glazer hugged the woman from the back, complimented her and stroked her hair. He also tried to convince her to let him be her lover and asked her to kiss him.

On Friday, Glazer celebrated his 47th birthday, and held a party attended by 150 people, including former Knesset Member Dalia Rabin.


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