Russian tycoon Merab Elashvili surrounded by his partners, children,
and participants at the Ben Yakir Youth Aliyah Village.
Merab Elashvili, a Jewish-Georgian millionaire, and his partners, Georgi and Roman, have made a generous donation to the Jewish Agency’s Ben Yakir Youth Village. They also donated 30 prayer kits for Bar Mitzvah boys studying in the program.
The Elashvili brothers – Merab and Georgy and their brother-in-law Roman – are partners in a successful company that are the exclusive franchisee of Sbarro Inc. throughout the Former Soviet Union. They also own and operate numerous real estate projects throughout the country.
Ben Yakir, located near Hadera, is a religious youth village that houses over 100 students aged 12-18 (boys only), almost all of whom are immigrants from Ethiopia.
One hundred people attended the ceremony on January 2, 2010, at Ben Yakir. Among the attendees included the rabbis of the Georgian community in Israel, many of whom come come from the city of Kulashi, where Merab Elashvili grew up. Also in attendance were Brigadier (Res.) Zev Farkas, a member of the village’s administration, Leah Golan – Director General of the Jewish Agency’s Israel Department, Nelah Feldsher – a senior consultant who represented the Chairman’s office; and Greg Masel, Director General of Keren Hayesod.
The event featured a series of speeches, the distribution of prayer kits to the students, and the unveiling of the donor plaque in memory of the Elashvili’s’ father, and the plaque on the ark in Ben Yakir’s synagogue.