Petach Tikvah

YBA Alumni Profiles: Eli Orgad, owner, 'Burger Ranch' fast food chain

Eli Orgad
Eli Orgad was born and raised in Netanya, the sixth son in a family of nine children. "I grew up smelling the feet of my brothers. We slept in the same bed with their legs tucked up by my nose. Eli studied at YBA Yad Avraham, a residential yeshiva high school in Netanya. “I was a rebellious kid,” he recalls, “I didn’t always get up in time for morning prayers. I remember once my father was called into the office after a long day at work, and he said to me, ‘Wait till you have kids and they do to you what you’re doing to me!’”

It was at the yeshiva where Eli got his first taste in business – selling wafer snacks to his fellow students every evening. “The sound of a wafer being crunched while studying at night is something that nobody can resist,” he laughs. "My father always said that I would become a businessman."

At the age of 21, when Eli finished his army service, he couldn’t afford to go straight to college, so he established his first company instead – a cleaning service. At first, the word "company" was a little big for the operation, which relied mainly on him cleaning stairwells himself. But he had a vision, and by the outbreak of the First Lebanon War in 1982, his company was already cleaning forty office buildings. “When you want to go to university and don’t have money, the only thing you can do is cleaning stairwells,” says Eli. He finally received a Law degree 25 years later, from the Ono Academic College.

When war broke out in Lebanon, Eli was called up for reserve duty and his younger brother, Yuval, tried to keep the company alive, but it didn’t really work out. When Eli returned from the battlefield, he discovered that most of his customers had left. But the branch manager of Bank Mizrahi had faith in him. “He extended my credit line because I was in the reserves,” says Eli, “and I have stayed with him in gratitude ever since.”

Eli’s company, Orgad Holdings, Ltd., acquired the Burger King chain of fast food restaurants in Israel in 2003, and later, the more veteran Israeli Burger Ranch chain as well. In 2008 the company merged the two chains and eliminated the Burger King label, making Burger Ranch, with over 100 branches, the sole competitor to MacDonald’s in Israel. “We did extensive market research and found that Israelis preferred the taste of the Burger Ranch products. We saw sales jump 35% in every branch we converted to the Burger Ranch label.”

Eli, a man of faith, is happy to share his worldview: “Israel is the land of endless possibilities. If a person wants to succeed here - he can do anything. That's how I opened business after business. What is stopping someone from opening tomorrow a clothes shop on Sheinkin Street, or any other business? Nothing. You can do whatever you want, start a business and think all day about how to bring in costumers. That's what I do now. Every day I think about how to bring customers to the branches, so they will be full all day long. That’s what I do.”

“But it’s important to always remember to be a good person. I study Gemara once a week, and try to be a good person. Employees remain with us for many years, because I believe we must treat everyone nicely and be a ‘mench’. If an employee is short of money, he knows he can come to me and I'll give him loan.”

What’s Eli’s advice to a 22 year-old, just getting out of the army today?  - “Do what you love to do, as long as you stick persistently to your goal. You cannot be successful without putting your soul into whatever you choose to do. If you can afford college, go study; then, go do whatever your heart desires.”
YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim

YBA Nachal Yitzchak, established in 1955, is one of the oldest schools in the YBA educational network. Today the school serves 485 students in both residential and non-residential tracks. 

YBA Alumni Profiles: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder, "Shurat HaDin" Israel Law Center

Nitsana Darshan-Leiter
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a graduate of  Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, is an Israeli attorney and human rights activist. The organization she founded - Shurat HaDin - the Israel Law Center, whose lawsuits on behalf of terror victims against terrorist groups, their leaders and financial patrons, has earned her the Moskowitz Family Foundation "Oz Tzion" Prize, and being named by the Jerusalem Post as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.

"I remember my years at the Ulpana as happy times. I still stay in touch with some of my friends from high school to this day," said Darshan-Leitner in a recent interview. "In the Ulpana I learned values of leadership, social justice, and fortitude in the face of hardship, which I put into practice today in my professional work. I think that the nerve I have today to take on precedent-setting cases stems from my time at the Ulpana. At the time I wanted to become a doctor, but apparently the drive for seeking justice, and the oratory and debating skills I developed in high school led me to the Law profession instead."

The Israel Law Center has won judgements valued at over $1 billion against numerous banks financial institutions and countries for aiding and abetting Islamic and Arab groups engaged in terror attacks, and over $120 million in payments to victims of terror attacks. 

Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah
UBA Yeshurun joined the YBA educational network in 1978 and is the largest high school for girls in the network today with 1,300 students. 

View interview of Nitsana Darshan-Leiter in English on i24 News

IDF Military Intelligence turns to YBA for Cyber Security Unit recruits

In today's Internet dominated world, Cyber Security has become the IDF's highest priority. The IDF Signal Corps Unit 8-200, which is charged with the task of Military Intelligence, has grown to become the  the largest unit in the army, and is given first priority (above all combat units) in choosing the most appropriate inductees,

In its continuing efforts to expand the pool of potential manpower for the highly specialized Cyber Security unit within Unit 8-200, the Defense Ministry has turned to YBA to launch yet another pilot project - this time in conjunction with six YBA network ulpanot (girl's high schools) and the Bat Ami National Service Organization (Sherut Leumi).

The program will be administered by the Israel Center for Excellence in Science and Cyber Technology. Eldad Cohen, the center's director explains: "The participating students will undergo two years of special training designed to meet the needs of the Military Intelligence during the 11th and 12th grades. Those girls who successfully complete the program will be placed in operational positions in Unit 8-200 in the framework of Sherut Leumi, instead of as IDF inductees.

General Director of YBA, Rabbi Beni Nachtailer, added: "This program will allow religious girls the oportunity to serve the state in a very significant and challenging volunteer capacity within the defense establishment following graduation."

The participating YBA network ulpanot  include: Amana, Kfar Saba; Yeshurun, Petach Tikvah; Orot Modiin, Modiin; Tzfira, Tzafariya, Chen Bamidbar, Beer Sheva; and Hashomron, Elkana.