The Israeli Diamond Institute’s new managing director, Eli Avidar, recently replaced Efraim Raviv, who served in the role for 20 years. Most of Avidar’s experience is in government, including a stint as senior diplomatic advisor to Ariel Sharon when Sharon was Israel’s foreign minister. From 1996 to 1997, Avidar was responsible for developing relations with Islamic leaders. JCK recently spoke with him about Israel’s diamond industry.
JCK: What challenges does the Israel diamond industry face?
Eli Avidar: Growing competition worldwide. The role of IDI is to enhance its services and provide [Israelis] with the advantages to compete.
JCK: What are you doing to bring manufacturing back to Israel?
EA: We are not doing it. The competition is huge. What we have in Israel is experience. On high-value and difficult-to-cut stones, it’s better to manufacture in Israel.
JCK: Since the recent Lebanese war, have visitors and buyers come back to Israel?
EA: We don’t feel any effect. … It did not affect the diamond center in Tel Aviv.
JCK: Where do you see Israel’s diamond industry going?
EA: I see it going to China—our major future market. … [We] haven’t even started to reach [our] potential there. [We have an] office in Hong Kong [and are going to] focus on marketing in China and Asia-Pacific. We believe that this is our future.