Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Raannana Real Estate

· Israel ranks 17th out of 58 of the world’s most economically developed nations, according to IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook rankings. The Swiss research institute’s 2010 report showed that Israel climbed seven steps up from its 2009 ranking but was also ranked first in several of the index’s sub-categories. For instance our economy was deemed the most durable in the face of crises, and came in first place in the rate of investments in research and development centers. The Bank of Israel also received high marks and was ranked first among central banks for its efficient functioning, after receiving 8th place in 2009, and despite the talk of a brain drain Israel also leads in its supply of locally available skilled manpower. The time has come, and this is not the walrus talking, to brand ourselves as the world’s safest investment haven.

· But it’s not only economics that makes us special. Our Prime minister is making a trip to Canada in a week’s time and by coincidence he found himself in the field observing a live-fire exercise with the Givati brigade. At the end of the maneuvers the PM introduced himself to the warriors amongst whom was a lone soldier from Vancouver. Our top politician didn’t hesitate for a moment and offered to personally deliver the lone soldier’s regards to his parents whom he hadn’t seen in over a year. After a moment’s thought Mr Netanyahu said; better still, you’ll come with us. Before Private Yonatan Feder could recover from the ‘shock’, a furlough was arranged with his commander and everything was in place for the trip. And that folks is what makes Israel, Israel.

· Sergey Brin, an extremely clever young man, promised during his last visit to Israel in 2008 that Google and we all know what that is, would buy local companies – and now it has. Two weeks ago, the Internet giant announced the acquisition of its first Israeli startup: LabPixies. Though no price was announced, estimates are that Google paid $25 million for the Company, which develops software gadgets ranging from calendars, news feeds and to-do lists to entertainment and games. Looks like the first of many.

· Everything seems to have fallen into place for the 23-year-old Israeli Shahar Pe’er, who climbed to number 19 in the world earlier this week, her best ranking position since May 2008. Pe’er has reached at least the semifinals in half of the 10 tournaments she has played so far this year, including the lucrative events in Dubai in February and in Madrid just last week. Her results against Top – Ten players in 2010 show an even 5-5 record. She has beaten the likes of Caroline Wozniacki #3, Svetlana Kuznetsova #6 and Dinara Safina #9. Ms Pe’er is obviously playing very good tennis and some.

· We reported last week that Israel is now a member of the exclusive International Club called the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation [OECD]. Analysts at Citigroup tell us that for reasons that we won’t go into now, investors who concentrate on developing markets will be withdrawing $2.8 billion, although they don’t seem in a hurry to pull out. That’s the not so GN, but the GN is that this would be more than offset by inflows of $3.6 billion, as a result of club membership, a short-term negative with a long term positive. The Tel Aviv 25 index hit an all-time high last month of 1,237.85 points. Watch this space.

· The Old: An archaeological excavation, on Koifman Street in north Jaffa, unearthed an impressive gold coin from the reign of Napoleon III. The ten franc coin was minted in Paris in 1856, at the time of the Second French Empire, and is made almost completely of pure gold (93%).The image appearing on the obverse is that of Louis Napoleon III, nephew of the well-known N. Bonaparte. Besides being related, they both declared themselves Emperor of France. A bit of a chutzpah we’d say. The coin is well preserved and beautiful.

· The New: Israel unveiled it’s first gold coin on Jerusalem Day. With a face value of NIS20 the actual value of the piece will be dictated by the price of gold and stood at NIS6, 393 on day of issue. It shows the Tower of David and the Lion of Megiddo on the obverse. Interest in this magnificent piece was so great that the telephone lines at the Coin and Medals Corp crashed on the first day that it was available.

· Whale lovers, and we are amongst them, take note: In what was thought to be first time this giant mammal has been seen outside the Pacific in several hundred years, a grey whale made an appearance off the coast of Israel and has stunned scientists. Measuring approx 11 meters [even basketball players don’t grow much above 2m], nobody quite knows how it made its way from the Pacific to the Med but here it is. First a mermaid and now this. Perhaps it’s looking for Jonah.

· On May 7 Israeli film directors Yael Hersonski and Tomer Haymann took home a couple of the biggest accolades of The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival, held annually in Toronto. Hersonski won the top honor of the event, the Best International Feature Award, for ‘A Film Unfinished’. The awards jury stated …” the film is a profound exploration of the testimonial value of the cinematic image, based on found footage of a Nazi propaganda film shot in the Warsaw Ghetto. This is a film for the ages.” Now we’re not quite sure what that means but it sounds profound and it earned her $10,000 in prize money. Haymann’s film, ‘I Shot My Love’, was presented with the Best Mid-Length Documentary Award. The jury said about this one that it “contains beautiful use of homemade footage, it focuses on the meaning of love and the universality of suffering.” Touching.

· And while we’re on the subject of film, we were in London this week in time for the opening of two Israeli films; ‘Lebanon’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ both of them garnering reviews bordering on the ecstatic.

· Tomatoes may be nutritious and tasty, but very few people think of them as raw material for creating light, but an LED light has been invented that is powered by tomatoes. The specially designed lamp receives its electricity from the chemical reaction between the acid in the tomatoes, zinc and copper. Inhabitat, that’s the name of the developer, says the light is not only an energy source but also sends a clear social message regarding the production and consumption of energy, and so it does. What’s next, a ketchup fuelled car?

· Maayan Ventures says one of the startups in its technology incubator in Dimona, Magna B.S.P., has received its first order for a radar system to protect nuclear reactors, from Japan. The order is worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, Maayan Ventures says, without being more specific. Magna adds that the Polish Air Force recently held a successful test of its radar system, and negotiations about a deal are proceeding. Successful start-ups are always GN.

· 12 of our most brilliant young scientists, all doing doctoral research in a variety of fields were the recipients of $1m grants made possible by Marcel Adams, a very special person, who fought in Israel’s War of Independence, migrated to Canada as a penniless survivor of the Holocaust, subsequently created a fortune in business and is now making the wisest investment of all, in human potential.

May 21, 2010 | 3 Comments »

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  1. · And while we’re on the subject of film, we were in London this week in time for the opening of two Israeli films; ‘Lebanon’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ both of them garnering reviews bordering on the ecstatic.

    I would guess these films are anti-Israel.