The man who was a natural-born leader – Avraham (Bondi) Livnat, the founder of the “Taavura” group – an exceptional person who managed to break through ways and touch hearts.
Bondi was a groundbreaking man: not only in the virgin desert roads that paved the country’s early days, but as a pioneer in the transportation and heavy industry in Israel. With his own two hands, diligent and hard-working, he established an extensive business empire whose story is part of the history of Israel. He was always a humble man, welcoming to all. Bondi’s business rivals admitted that he was a tough and stubborn competitor – but worthy, honest and truthful, a man whom one could not help liking. Among “Taavura” employees and customers, he was a legend: those who knew him personally, loved and admired him.
Avraham (Bondi) Livnat was born in Szeles, then under the control of Czechoslovakia, in 1924, one of five brothers and sisters in the Weiss family. He was trained in etching and mechanics.
In 1944 his family was deported to Auschwitz and he was sent to forced labor in a factory that served the Nazi war machine, where he was employed in neutralizing duds of Allied bombs. A few months later, after thorough planning, Bondi escaped from the labor camp, displaying extraordinary courage, which characterized him all his life. The escape route, which also included a passage at the Swedish Embassy in Budapest and a meeting with the emissaries of the Mossad Le’Aliya Bet, could fill the pages of a fascinating and suspenseful book, including a happy end, with Bondi’s arrival to Palestine December 1944.
The early days
In Israel, Bondi began working as a mechanic, and with the money he saved, he opened a small workshop in Netanya, which eventually became a garage. Parallel to that, he joined the Etsel military organization and took an active part in its operations, with exceptional courage. One day, somewhere in the mid-1940s, Netanya’s mayor, Oved Ben-Ami, entered Bondi’s garage, liked the young man and appointed him as his personal driver. Bondi was already a member of the Irgun, and used his freedom of movement as Ben Ami’s driver to smuggle explosives, which were stored under the mayor’s chair. His activities in the underground remained obscure, but for many years Bondi did not travel to Britain fearing that he would be arrested.
To his surprise and great joy, at the end of 1945, Bondi succeeded in locating his brother Isaac in an orphanage in Italy, and was the happiest man, as he put it, when Yitzhak came to Israel to safety. In 1947, Bondi purchased a truck from the British army surplus with the money he saved in the workshop, and in a partnership with another man began his career in transportation. In the early 1950s, Bondi responded to the call of the then Minister of Labor, Golda Meir, to undertake the construction of the Kornov-Sodom road in the south of the country, a project which, beyond the hard work required in a difficult and hot area, required courage. Bondi also worked on emptying the evaporation ponds at the Dead Sea, in the copper mines in Timna and the phosphate factories – it was a hard and arduous work. On weekends, when the workers went home, Bondi remained to handle the tools and prepare them for next week’s work. The satisfaction of his clients led to the fact that they remain Taavura’s customers to this day.
“Taavura” is developing
Bondi founded Taavura in 1955 and took his accountant in as a small partner. Two years later, Bondi added his brother Yitzhak as a partner after he was discharged from the army. The company towed heavy machinery and tanks for the IDF and developed the bulk cement transport industry. Under Bondi’s leadership, “Taavura” specialized in transportation of special cargo, which until then had been transported only by foreign contractors. Since then “Taavura” has been involved in the transportation of exceptional loads of all dimensions and weights, including bridges, huge beams and even ships.
In 1996, the existing partners retired. The “Koor” and “Clal” corporations joined “Taavura” as Bondi’s partners, through their subsidiary, “Mashav”. Under Bondis leadership, “Taavura” continued to develop new fields of business: it acquired control of the cargo terminal at the airport, established a partnership with Egged and entered into other fields that positioned it as a leading company in modern logistics in Israel, while continuing to develop the traditional core areas – transportation, cargo and infrastructure. The combination of hard work, sharp business sense, fair prices, excellent service and personal contact with each customer has done its part, and the company has become a leader in almost all areas of its activity.
In 2008, Bondi won the “Manufacturers Association” award for a lifetime achievement.
Even in the last year of his life, Bondi came to his office in Ramleh every day, until a few days before his death. Anyone who was in Bondi’s presence or met him was left with the feeling that he had met an extraordinary person who, despite his great success, stood out for his modesty, his special attitude toward the weak, the love of man, the extreme protection of human dignity, and other positive traits that are rare to find in a single person.
Bondi’s life journey ended on June 13, 2017, at the age of 93, after a long and active life, surrounded by endless love of his family and friends.