This could well be the foundation for a romantic novel: Nam, 40, who was born in a Thai village without electricity and running water last night married Chaim Hurvitz, one of the richest men in Israel.
“I used to take the buffalo out to the field every day, ” Nam told the daily Maariv. “My childhood was happy. The whole family lived in a wooden hut with our cousins, grandma and grandpa—who was the village chief.”
Her new husband also grew up the son of a kind of village chief, Eli Hurvitz, the legendary CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries from 1976 to 2002, and chairman of the board until his death in 2011. There was a rough patch there, in the 1990s, when Hurvitz Sr. was convicted of an $18 million tax evasion, but he was eventually cleared by Israel’s Supreme Court, so it’s all good.
Chaim Hurvitz has served as member of the board of directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals since 2011. He is also CEO of CH Health, a private venture capital firm.
Nam (who has taken the name Naomi) moved to Bangkok with her family at age 17 and became a model. At age 19 she met her first husband – an Israeli. They moved to the moshav Kfar Galim and Nam worked hard among the banana bushes and in the hothouses. Eventually, they opened a catering business, did well, and then her husband divorced her and took everything. He also had their only daughter convert to Judaism and gave her up to an adopting family in Haifa.
I promised you a romantic novel, didn’t I?
Five years ago, Nam also converted to Judaism, which didn’t mean her life became much easier. She waited tables, tended bar, then took up traditional Thai massage, which she liked doing very much.
Then she went to a local college to study holistic psychotherapy, and continued to work as masseuse in various hotel spas. Today, with the help of her boyfriend-turned –husband, she opened her own luxurious spa called Sheva (as in the number seven) in the Tel Aviv Hilton.
She met Chaim Hurvitz after his divorce, when she was massaging rich folks like him. He liked her, but she says he wasn’t very effusive with the emotional thing. Eventually, he invited him to come help him fix up the house. His divorce left him with shared custody of his three children, and Nam functioned as a kind of den mother.
So that’s it. Now they got married and it looks like a good marriage between two Jewish Israelis.
Only in Tel Aviv…