Jewish Journal

Sam Nazarian seeking new SLS hotel in Tel Aviv

by Karmel Melamed

February 13, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Despite the downturn in the economy here in the U.S. and in Israel, successful Southern California Iranian Jewish entrepreneur Sam Nazarian has expressed interest in opening one of his popular high end SLS hotels in Tel Aviv during a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post newspaper in Israel. He told the Post; “I don’t see a project before 2011, but there could be a deal before. We are interested in an existing property or a joint venture. Traveling to Israel, people are often disappointed with the service. The composition of our brand is similar to the Hilton Hotel chain, adding European hospitality and high-end level of service and design.”

Nazarian who is 33, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of SBE a company that owns and operates a number of popular high end hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and other real estate ventures. I am not at all surprised that he has expressed a desire to invest in Israel because during his last interview with our blog’s podcast he stated his strong support for Israel. Over the past several years he has also opened his nightclubs here in L.A. for fundraisers on behalf of the “Friends of the I.D.F.” and to benefit Israeli victims of terror during the 2006 Hezbollah war. Likewise Nazarian comes from a Zionist Iranian Jewish family that has been well known for being very philanthropic to Israel related causes and universities in Israel for many years. On an interesting side note, his uncle Parviz Nazarian has been quite active in recent years in promoting his CECI organization which is based in Israel and was established five years ago with the objective of promoting more stable and effective governments in Israel through education as well as advocacy of the Israeli public.

Nevertheless, I applaud Sam Nazarian’s desire to invest in Israel because that country needs new capital and he sets a great example for others like himself to support Israel when it comes to business investments. It’s no secret that many real estate developers as well as other successful Iranian Jews often follow Nazarian’s lead when it comes to their business ventures. No doubt, Iranian American Jews have achieved tremendous success here in the U.S. and now it’s time for them to give back—both to Israel and America, which are new homes to the community. Kudos to Sam for being among the first in his generation of Iranian American Jews in aiding Israel through business and through philanthropy!

Read more about Sam Nazarian’s background and rise to success in our previous blog posting here.

You can listen to our November 2008 podcast program’s exclusive interview with Sam Nazarian here.

Sam Nazarian speaking at Hebrew Union symposium on Iranian American Jews at Sinai Temple on Nov. 17th, photo by Jon Vidar

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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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