Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Raannana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    “In the last half-century, over 100 completely new independent states have come into existence. Israel is the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle.”

Paul Johnson, historian and philosopher. (We really need to be reminded of this from time to time)

· They said that Governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer is one of the world’s top seven central bank chiefs, so we said [GN 03 10 10]: ‘They may say he’s one of seven, we say he’s unique’. And, sure enough, on Sunday the magazine Euromoney declared him the best bank governor in the world, during the semi-annual International Money Fund conference in Washington DC, and if that doesn’t make him unique we don’t know what does. The folk from Euromoney must have got hold of a copy of GN ISRAEL. A nice thought but probably not quite accurate. Anyway, his incredible achievements are there for all to see. Congratulations Professor Fisher.

· Elbit Systems Ltd. has won a $68 million contract to supply components, not for the first time we might add, for pilot helmet head-up displays to the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The company will provide its most recently developed equipment for increasing situational awareness and safety for these pilots who are moving through the air at more than twice the speed of sound and where every split second counts.

· In a new initiative, Tel-Hai College – located on Israel’s northern border – decided to award single moms living in the area with a free-of-charge academic degree, which includes babysitting services for their children and a hefty annual scholarship. These hard working ladies living in northern Israel were surprised to find ads in local media outlets that at first glance looked more like a hoax: “The Tel-Hai College calls on single mothers from the Upper Galilee to register for a free bachelor’s degree, an annual grant of NIS 6,000 (about $1,660) for each student, and a babysitting service during study hours.” Hundreds applied and forty were accepted. Now if all the other higher education institutes would follow suit… Oh well it’s a good start anyway.

· Another day, another record down at the TASE where the TA25 index topped out at 1257 points its highest ever and the market ended the week with an increase of 3.3%.

· 10-years ago the then Minister of Health – one of the best we’ve had – introduced a law establishing a basket of services for patients who have been treated for serious mental disorders and then rehabilitating them in the community. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Dr. Michael Hogan, commissioner of NY State’s Office of Mental Health said that the program has produced “greater accomplishments” since 2000 than New York State and the entire US have achieved during the same period. Fulsome praise indeed and from an extremely reliable source. But the important thing is that these folk, who don’t always get the understanding that anyone with an illness deserves are being returned to useful and productive lives. GN indeed. And there’s GN too for those who have to remain hospitalized. The Knesset has just voted NIS150m for an upgrade on all existing facilities in the sector. A new and very welcome attitude to a section of health care that is always too low on the priority list.

· They’re not Israeli and if they’ve heard of Israel they’ve never been here [it would be a nice gesture if one of our hotel chains would offer them a spell of R&R in the Holy Land] but nevertheless GN ISRAEL salutes all the brave, resolute and caring people involved in the magnificent human effort that resulted in the return from the shadow of death of 33 miners in the accident in their workplace in Chile. It’s a hard act to follow. Let’s rephrase that, it’s an impossible act to follow, so we won’t even try but what we will tell you is that the oil rig has arrived at our [possibly] huge natural gas/oil fields off shore, drilling has started and that’s also cause for celebration.

· Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) has signed a $400 million contract to sell unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to Russia’s military. The UAV deals will not only look good on IAI’s balance sheet they will also help strengthen ties with a country that is still a force to be reckoned with on the International scene, and a state that will possibly play an important role in worldwide efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear program.

· Over a decade after his brother Nir won the world championship, Or Shinuk took the gold medal in the slalom event of the World Cable Ski Championships in Tel Aviv late last week. We looked up cable skiing in Wikipedia, we read the article and we didn’t understand a word but basically it is wakeboarding where the skier gets power from an electric cable rather than a motor boat. Back to the championships; Moshe Tzdaka won the men’s overall competition which got him a gold medal and a bronze in the slalom as well as silver in the jump. So he was up on the dais three times as well as going home a very happy man with three colors displayed on his chest. All in all a very good day for Israel.

· News on the job front seems to get better and better. Latest stats indicate that there was a rise of 8% in job vacancies from a daily average of 51,000 in the second quarter to 54,900 in Q3 of 2010. More jobs available with unemployment falling steadily. Sounds pretty good to us.

· Some rather large companies have been out and about with their shopping baskets – and their check books – and they certainly haven’t bypassed Israel so here’s a summary of what’s been going on in the last couple of weeks;

    ? 3M [a really large US company] has acquired Israel’s Attenti for $230m, its first Israeli acquisition.

    ? We’ve reported on this one before – AOL has landed Israel’s 5min for $65m. It is AOL’s fifth acquisition in Israel

    ? Yahoo has taken over Israel’s Dapper for $55m – its second acquisition in Israel

    ? Proctor & Gamble has bought ConTipi for a down payment of $15m and will pay an additional $85m for the deal if certain targets are met.

    ? Asseco Poland, the country’s largest IT Company acquired 49% of Israel’s Formula for $139m.

· And it’s not all one way either:

    ? Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. has signed an agreement this week to take over Wavestream Corporation of the US for $130 million
    which is really pretty good for a few weeks shopping.

    ? Israel ranks fourth in the world in hotel occupancy with 75%, following Singapore, Japan and just a whisker behind Australia.

· The only way that three-year-old Boland, a little boy from Iraq can show his appreciation to the Israeli doctors, who saved his life by performing intricate surgery on an inborn heart defect is by lying in his bed and smiling and he does plenty of that. The Shevet Achim foundation, which cares for sick children in Iraq and Gaza, decided to fly him to Israel for the operation so off he and his mother went, arrived in Israel, the surgeons performed their magic and it won’t be long before they’re back home with young Boland ready to resume the normal behavior of a healthy happy 3yr-old. And this, dear reader is true Medicines sans Frontiers.

October 15, 2010 | 1 Comment »

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