Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Raannana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    “We can´t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

    Albert Einstein (Governments tend to do this, private enterprise can´t afford to)

· The International Monetary Fund (IMF) – and if they don’t know who does? – forecasts 4.2% GDP growth in Israel in 2010 [4.2%? Who said 4.7%? We did. We’re getting closer.] up from 0.8% growth in 2009. This optimistic forecast is contained in the IMF’s bi-annual World Economic Outlook report that was published today [Wednesday] on the eve of the IMF conference in Washington DC. Their forecast is higher than the Bank of Israel’s 4% prediction, which was issued on September 29, having been revised upwards from its 3.7% forecast in April. It all looks so good and that’s because it is.

· If you want to live longer, quite a lot longer, now’s your chance, no debilitating diets, no excruciating exercises all you have to do is to come and live in Israel. How’s that? Read on. In 1980, the life expectancy for Israeli Jews, for Americans and residents of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, of which we are now one) countries was almost identical, at approximately 74 years. Since then, the gains in Israeli life expectancy have far outpaced those of other countries. Life expectancy in the US grew by four years since 1980, and in the rest of the OECD it grew by six years. But for Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, the gain was over seven years. Simple when you know how.

· And that’s not all. The Knesset has just voted a large sum of money to initiate periodic, compulsory, comprehensive, preventative medical checks for all those over seventy. So not only longer but healthier too. What more can our senior folk ask for?

· The Delek Group yesterday announced that it had completed its deal to buy BP’s fuel retail operations in France, for €175 million. The deal encompasses 412 gas stations, 300 convenience stores and holdings in three fuel storage and distribution terminals. So the next time you’re in France, fill the tank at a BP filling station and think Israel!

· ECI Telecom which is headquartered in Israel provides networking solutions to the world’s largest telecommunications companies and has just opened its first development center in the south of the country this week. Located in Omer, near Be’er Sheva, the center is slated to have 200 employees by the end of 2011. ECI elected to keep it at home rather than head for low-cost labor areas such as India or China. Now that’s GN.

· Not many programs of any kind can boast this sort of success and when it involves bringing young people on their first trip to Israel well, what can one say but GN indeed. During its latest registration period in September, Taglit-Birthright Israel received 23,623 eligible applications for 9,576 places on its winter trips, which will take place between December this year and March 2011. Registration had to close after just seven days in order to avoid disappointing thousands of further potential applicants. And the numbers increase from year to year. Israel is obviously in.

· 5Min Media, an Israeli video startup that produces 5 min. – what else? – videos on the development of management skills is AOL’s most recent Israeli acquisition. They bought the company for as close to $65 million as makes no difference. Not this communications giant’s first buy-out in Israel and it certainly won’t be its last.

· The public portfolio of financial assets grew by 1% from July to August with a total value of NIS 2.3934 trillion. And that’s because Israelis are saving and investing wisely, in the share market for instance where the value of the public’s holdings in stocks increased by 3% to NIS 439.2 billion. It’s also interesting to note that the TA Index of the top 25 companies quoted down in Achad Ha’Am St created a new record on Wednesday before dropping back, but only slightly.

· Israel’s Shahar Peer reached the quarterfinals of the China Open on Wednesday after breezing past Serbian qualifier Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 6-2. Jovanovski, 18, made it to the third round by overcoming the third seed and fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic, but was unable to figure out World No. 18 Peer in the first WTA match between the two. Shahar, as well as pocketing some handy cash – and she’s not done yet – has collected 250 promotion points enough to move up to #13 in the world, her highest ranking ever. What a great sportswoman!

· The European Biennial of Landscape Architecture which was held in Barcelona over the weekend awarded its first prize to the Tel Aviv Port Project, first that is out of no less than 470 submissions around Europe. A unanimous choice by a panel of judges and a voting audience. Mayslits Kassif Architects who designed and executed the complex were duly honored by this acknowledgement of their magnificent contribution to the city of Tel Aviv. It is the most prestigious and esteemed European award in the field of landscape architecture and this is the first time an Israeli project has ever won it but we’re betting that with all the talent out there it won’t be the last.

· We’ve given you a lot of facts and figures about Israel’s economy and they certainly point to a strong, growing, robust situation but what does the average Israeli feel about his monetary state of affairs? Well, pretty good and it certainly appears that Sarah and Ya’akov Israel are not at all overwhelmed by pessimism over the US, PIIGS, European economies and whatever else, quite the reverse in fact and one look at The Israel Consumer Confidence Index proves it. The index rose by 5.4 points in August/ September to 93.8 points. So there we have it, GN all round.

· There supporters are as intense about the game as fans across the sports world. But as spectators they are the best behaved anywhere, not a sound to be heard, not a support song being sung and certainly not a scantily clad cheer leader to be seen. We’re talking about that most cerebral pastime of all, the noble game of chess. Israel’s national chess team participated in the 39th Chess Olympiad, winning third place and a bronze medal out of 148 competing teams. With a #11 ranking going into the event the Israelis proved their true worth by outplaying chess powers like the United States, Armenia (champion at two previous Olympiads) and third-ranked China. Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky won a phenomenal 6.5 points in eight games and was awarded a special €5,000 prize. We don’t suppose that we have to tell you where most of our top players hail from.

· And here’s one for the Guinness Book of Records; master carpenter Ofer Mor decided to build himself something of record size. So he did; it’s 20 ft [6 meters] high; 25ft [7.5 meters] long and 10ft [3 meters] wide. A thing of beauty. We’ve seen it and it is. It’s the largest rocking horse in the world – no two ways about that. It’s ‘stabled’ right here in a village called Kadima. And it rocks, although it probably takes two rugby teams to get it started. Watch the GB of Records for the new record. Oh well.

October 10, 2010 | Comments »

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