Q. Tell us about your journey in the diamond industry, how you began and where you are now.
I was born into a family that was among the founders of the Israeli diamond industry, and over the years, my family has been one of the pillars of the industry. My family began working with diamonds in the 1940s. Already as a child I visited the family’s diamond factory and its offices in the diamond exchange many times during school vacations, and from a very young age I was instilled with a great love for the profession. After serving in the army, I went through a comprehensive training course as a polisher at the factory and then learned the world of rough diamonds at the L.S.L company owned by the dear Dan and Eleazar Kempel.
After the training period, I entered the family business – Moldawsky Brothers, which was established in 1948 and still operates today. Over the years, we have developed many other business activities in addition to diamonds, mainly in the fields of high-tech and real estate.
Over the years I have served in public activity at the Diamond Exchange. I was the Chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute and a board member of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association. I believe that I have brought the knowledge I gained during my many years in the diamond industry and other industries to all my public roles, to the benefit of the public.
Q. What is the current situation in the Israeli diamond industry?
In the past two years, since May 2020, with the opening of the first lockdown in Israel, we began to see a recovery which continued throughout 2021. That year was very good for the diamond industry worldwide. In Israel diamond trading activity flourished and exports rose enormously. Of course, the war in Ukraine impacted the supply of rough diamonds to Israel and rough trading declined in 2022.
Since the beginning of the world economic crisis and the rise in interest rates we have seen a slowdown in trading and in exports.
Q. Looking forward, how will the diamond industry fare during in 2023?
In the current year we expect that the Israeli and the world economy will experience a slowdown which will also impact the diamond trade. We hope that with the new government in Israel, we will see the introduction of incentives that will bring new investments into the Israeli diamond industry.
Q. What are the challenges and opportunities facing the Israeli diamond industry?
The challenges are first of all the global economic crisis and the need to adapt the Israeli diamond industry to changes brought on by the crisis. In addition, in Israel we are experiencing increasing competition from Dubai which was opened to us with the signing of the Abraham Accords.
However, this is also an opportunity, since with the opening of trade with the UAE, Israeli diamantaires are able to develop business in new markets such as Bahrain and Morocco, as well as with new customers in Dubai and the rest of the Emirates. We have also been able to promote the creation of a new diamond market in Qatar, and preliminary agreements have already been signed in this regard.
An additional challenge is the movement of much of the trade from physical to digital spheres. There are still many Israeli diamond companies that have not yet become adjusted to this new reality, and we will need to help them bridge that gap.
The economic crisis actually can be seen as an opportunity. Just as Israel was one of the first countries to rebound after the Covid pandemic, I believe that the Israeli diamond industry will emerge from the crisis stronger than ever. We have done this in previous times of crisis and I believe we will do again.
Q. You will be holding Israel Diamond Week in March 2023, which will include the World Diamond Congress. Can you let us know what you are planning for the week?
Israel Diamond Week will be festive, exciting and one of the most important diamond events on the industry calendar. First of all, this is the Diamond Anniversary of the State of Israel, and we have invited President of Israel Isaac Herzog to open the Israel Diamond Conference on March 27. Senior members of the global diamond community will speak, including representatives of major producers, banks and industry analysts.
The Israel Diamond Exhibition will be held on our huge trading floor from March 28 – 30 and will feature hundreds of exhibitors from Israel and abroad. We expect that this event will be attended by thousands of buyers from around the world. We are very pleased by the registration, which is proceeding at a very rapid pace, and we are looking forward to record participation.
During Israel Diamond Week, there will also be a polished diamond tender offered by Diagurus, a leading international tender company, at the Diamond Exchange’s International Tender Center, and we are sure that interesting goods will be offered.
The 40th World Diamond Congress will also be held during this week, from March 28 – 30 in the Israel Diamond complex. We are happy to host this most important event of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.
Q. Tell us about your interests/family and anything else you would like to add.
I am married to Ayala and we have three terrific children. My family established a philanthropic foundation and over the years we have supported many important organizations, as well as Israeli sports teams.