Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Saxon Raannana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head. (Emil Zatopek. One of the greatest marathon runners ever. And it applies to swimmers, sailors and all those sportsmen and women who brought honor to Israel this week [see items below])

· It’s been a good week for Israeli sportsmen and women so we’ll give them pride of place in this edition of GN:

    ü Israel has participated faithfully in the Olympic Games since 1952, regrettably with scant reward in terms of medals – a bronze went to Judoka, Yael Arad in 1992 and our first – and only – gold was brought home by sailor Gal Friedman in 2004 – It would seem that all that is about to change if the Youth Olympics is anything to go by. With a small delegation of 15, 14 – 18 year olds we would have expected them to get lost amongst the 3,600 competitors from 205 countries competing in the same 26 sports that are on the current Summer Olympics program. But quite the reverse, Israel has got plenty to show for its 12 days in Singapore. The cry went up: Let the Games Begin! So they did and Gili Haimovitz, Israel’s Tai Kwando champ wasted no time in winning Israel’s first gold medal of the Games and from there on it only got better, seven medals in all; four gold, two silvers, both going to Ya’akov Toumarkin Israel’s only double medal winner, and one bronze, placing Israel 15 out of 205 on the unofficial medal table. Bravo to our young athletes, the shape of things to come, and while we don’t want to single anybody out we can’t resist the temptation to mention Dima Kruyter who placed first in the high jump a really elite event.

    ü Meanwhile across the world, well, half way across anyway, our young sailors were doing us proud at the 420 Junior European Sailing Championships in France where the Levi – Froylich duo walked [or would it be sailed] away with the Gold which they won with a very handsome 21 point lead.

    ü Not finished yet. Last but by no means least those magnificent Israeli handicapped swimmers added two golds to their medal haul in the closing events of the 2010 WPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven a fitting reward for outstanding performances by Inbal Pezaro – a triple medalist – and Itzhak Mamistvalov. Just by the way the Iranians refused to enter the pool with the Israelis, par for the course to mix the metaphors. Why do they let them get away with it? But blind Israeli swimmer Zohar Batar, was up to it all with the perfect put down afterwards: Funny, she said. But I see see my Persian opponents. These great athletes came back home with a total of seven medals too.

    ü STOP PRESS The Israel National Basketball team beat Finland 85 – 71

· Mizrahi Tefahot Bank’s net profit rose to NIS 201 million in Q2 outstripping the net profit of NIS 167 million according to analysts predictions by a handsome NIS34m. Overwhelmed by an unbank-like generosity Mizrahi will distribute a NIS 200 million dividend, their first dividend since June 2008. Yet another sign of a sound economy and GN – particularly for shareholders.

· Not to be outdone Bank Hapoalim announced that their net profit rose to NIS 513 million in the past quarter, up 34% on same time last year. We have the distinct impression that their shareholders won’t be complaining either.

· Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz, who also happens to be a professor of mathematics at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology met in Washington recently with the heads of NASA, at their invitation. And why not we ask, we are after all amongst the elite nations that have put and are maintaining satellites in space. The ministry described the visit as a step leading to the “tightening of ties between NASA and the Israel Space Agency,” which is part of his ministry. Herschkowitz, was hosted by NASA chief Charles Bolden, who was in Israel in January to attend the fifth Ilan Ramon Conference on Space. Minister Professor Doctor Herschkowitz is also an ordained Rabbi, so get all that onto a letterhead if you can.

· VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies Inc, which develops visual prosthetic devices, recently announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s Implantable Miniature Telescope, which is designed to improve vision in patients with end-stage, age-related macular degeneration. VisionCare’s telescope implant is part of a new patient care program, CentraSight, for treating patients with end-stage macular degeneration (AMD) – the most advanced form of AMD in the US and the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. What a boon and what GN.

· Here’s a heart-warming story; Taglit – Birthright that remarkable organization that provides free 10 day trips to Israel for young adults has a Mayanot Israel Friendship Trip which caters for folks with special needs. Zachary and Rachel were in the group and not only did they have a fabulous time but they fell in love and on the second last night Zachary got down on one knee and proposed while the group was visiting a Bedouin tent, shades of Rudolph Valentino. How romantic can you get? Mazal Tov to these two beautiful people.

· Gamida Cell announced recently that its joint venture with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast track designation for its stem cell therapy for blood cancers. The product, called StemEx, is being developed as an alternative to a bone marrow transplant for patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. A substance that will hopefully eliminate the arduous and often heartbreaking task of finding a matching bone marrow donor. GN doesn’t get better than that.

· The great stork migration is upon us. Thirty-one thousand storks flew down the country heading for their winter homes in east Africa. Tuesday this week was the first day of the height of the migration that will take about six weeks to complete by which time we’ll probably have been visited by about 350,000 of these winged wonders. If this is their first stop what is the board and lodging like we hear you ask? Well first of all it’s free and it doesn’t come cheaper than that and it must be 5 star because they come back twice a year, every year. The farmers in the Beit She’an valley help by plowing their fields and stirring up the rodents that do so much damage. Nothing like a fat rat to keep a stork happy. Enter modern technology in the shape of a motorized glider [motorized glider? We always thought that once it has an engine, it’s not a glider anymore]. Anyway we’re sure you get the picture and a beautiful picture it is. Flying with the feathered flocks photographing every move that they make all in the interests of ornithological science. The storks are happy, the scientists are smiling, the twitchers are ecstatic and even the farmers have made their peace with these magnificent creatures. GN all round. More than 500 million birds, yes 500 000 000, of different types are expected to pass through the nation’s skies this winter. What a wondrous sight.

· We end this week with another record. Israel’s mutual funds industry had a stunning month in July 2010. The aggregate assets under management rose by NIS 3.8 billion thanks to NIS 2.45 billion net deposits and a NIS 1.35 billion rise in the value of the money invested, to reach an all-time high of NIS 146.6 billion. And while all this investment is going on consumer spending has certainly not decreased. Sounds like a boom – well a mini-boom – to us.

August 27, 2010 | Comments »

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