Tim Boxer

Nina Boxer

[ Israir Airlines ] [ Dan Tel Aviv ] [ Dan Eilat ] [ Birds of Tel Aviv ]

Sabina Biran at Dan Tel Aviv

Israir Pilots Dispense
Laughter In The Clouds

SRAIR is unlike any other airline. When I boarded the inaugural flight last month from Kennedy to Ben-Gurion, I was struck by the informal dress of the crew. The youthful-looking flight attendants sported orange polo shirts and blue jeans.

“Yes, we dress casual all the time,” president and chief executive Sabina Biran affirmed at breakfast at the Dan Tel Aviv. “We encourage our flight attendants to tell jokes, smile a lot and make the passengers relax.”

A former major on the IDF general staff, Biran runs an airline that is unusual in other ways.

“Our airport employees do everything,” she said. “The managers don’t have secretaries. Even the pilots get their schedules on the Internet.”

Biran said Israir has been flying to Europe and Africa since it was founded in 1996, but “the government barred flights to the U.S. in order to protect the interests of EL AL. We sued and two years ago the Supreme Court ruled in our favor, so now we’re flying to JFK three times a week.”

On my return flight, while I relaxed with orange Israir slippers with the logo, “Fun is in the air,” the captain announced, “Don’t forget to take all your personal belongings, including spouses and children. Anything left behind will be distributed among the flight attendants.”

Tim Boxer arrives on Israir

He must have heard the chuckles in Premium Class because there was no stopping him. “We’ll be happy to answer all your questions about Israir. Questions about any other airline we don’t care.”

The captain’s parting words: “Last passenger has to clean the plane.”

“Implementing humor on the job is a very serious undertaking,” Biran told us. “We are actually applying some of the procedures from Southwest Airlines. They do it very well. If it’s up to me, it should be crazier.”

What an airline!

[ Back to Top ]


Jacob Sudri

Ramat Aviv Mall is a popular place

Celebs At Dan Tel Aviv

ACOB SUDRI, general manager of the Dan Tel Aviv, one of the finest hotels in Israel , gave us a tour of the property, including the Royal Suite. That goes for $2,000 a night.

Who can afford to stay there? Christopher Reeve, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Richard Gere, Kathleen Turner, Steve Forbes and Madonna had no qualms about the price.

Incidentally, Madonna is expected back in September for the International Kabbala Center convention that will draw some 1,800 participants. So book now; just don’t aim your camera her way.

Last time Madonna came, she stayed at the King David in Jerusalem , the Dan Hotels signature property. A guest in the next suite tried to snap a picture, which upset the diva no end. She left in a huff and sought solitude at the Dan Tel Aviv.

Rafi Baeri, vice president of sales and marketing for the Dan chain, which maintains 12 hotels in the country, said their highest tourist traffic happened in 2000. Since the start of the current situation four years ago, the biggest drop was tourists from the U.S. There was also a complete drop from Germany .

Now is a good time to visit as the rates are about 35 percent lower than the year 2000.

“Dan Eilat did better than our other hotels,” Baeri said, “because it’s a resort, appealing to vacationing Israelis.”

[ Back to Top ]


Dani Schneider with picture of
Dan Eilat


Pupils Pack The Port

HE structures on hotel row in the port city of Eilat remind me of Atlantic City – each hotel trying to surpass the other in grandeur. The Dan Eilat is often used for fashion shoots.

When I visited last month, the hotel was packed with Israeli families on summer vacation with their school children.

Designed by Adam Tihani, the Dan Eilat opened nine years ago. Already general manager Dani Schneider is planning extensive renovations, such as changing all the carpets.

He already opened a new restaurant, Papagayo, featuring Brazilian fare. In August he’ll open a Chinese/Japanese restaurant, Jade. Coming up will be a dance bar in the promenade, called Privilege.

Born in Haifa 43 years ago, Schneider is also an army captain, part of a military team that visits the families of fallen comrades with the sad news.

He studied tourism at a high school in Herzliyah. “I arranged a job for a friend in a hotel. He owed me, so he introduced me to his wife’s girlfriend. I married her.”

[ Back to Top ]


Noa Kuperberg and Gal Gingold
with a barn owl

Rats! What’s The Answer?

LFRED HITCHCOCK never thought the birds could be anything but menace to society. In Tel Aviv, where there is a rat problem in some areas, certain birds have become society’s best friend.

In Neve Zedek, bordering Jaffa , residents were signing up for free birdhouses.

Two volunteers, software engineer Noa Kuperberg and Gal Gingold, a zoology major at Tel Aviv University , were taking orders for birdhouses for a barn owl and a falcon. They said these birds, and the birdhouses, will be given to anyone in the community who will take care of them while the birds take care of the rats in the neighborhood.

“The bird houses were designed by an agricultural team at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu,” said volunteer Loni Hendrickson.

Maybe Mayor Michael Bloomberg should encourage New Yorkers to raise barn owls and falcons, instead of pigeons, to control New York ’s ubiquitous rat population.

[ Back to Top ]


Copyright©1999 -
15 Minutes Magazine, Inc.

Site Designed, Developed and Maintained by
Internet Web Systems Internet Consultants - Web Site Design -  Website Hosting
Any questions or comments regarding this website, or if you would like one of your own,
please contact us at