Compliments of Anglo Saxon Raanana Real Estate
# Provisional calculations for Israel’s defense exports exceeded $7.3 billion in 2010, and the final figure will probably reach $7.4 billion equaling the all-time high achieved in 2009. Is this GN we had to ask ourselves? After all we are talking weaponry here, but after a long and often acrimonious debate – with ourselves – we came to the conclusion that; yes it is. First, it is very strictly regulated, then it also allows the IDF to maintain its edge with the most sophisticated defense equipment, it also helps Israel to forge strong diplomatic ties with the countries that count, and then of course there are the numbers. Defense exports have been rising for the past five years: from $3.5 billion in new orders in 2005 to $6.6 billion in 2008 and then the highs of ’09 and’10. Figures not to be sneezed at.
# 90 local authorities, including 30 Arab towns and villages, thirty academic institutions throughout the country, pupils in dozens of schools, 5,000 Israel Defense Forces soldiers from 100 different units and 700 businesses got involved in painting the homes of senior citizens, cleaning up beaches and parks, renovating centers for children at risk and creating public gardens or simply giving somebody a smile, a kind word or an attentive ear as part of the more than 2,000 projects that marked Good Deeds Day on Tuesday this week. Initiated by businesswoman, philanthropist, effervescent and tireless dynamo with the ever present smile, Shari Arison [see last weeks GN for Israelis on Forbes list of Billionaires], Israelis participated in the hundreds of thousands in this event now in its fifth year. GN indeed.
# The Bank of Israel has upped its forecast for economic growth in Israel 2011 from 3.8% to 4.5% a dramatic leap when you’re talking huge numbers like this. We’re saying it will be closer to five percent and please remember where you first read it.
# We had a conference this week, Environment 2020 by name at which something that is occupying the minds of those who count – renewable sources of energy, loomed large on the agenda. Katrin-Susanne Richter, Director of Desertec came up with a startling revelation; within six hours – yes 6 x 60 minutes, she said, the world’s deserts receive more energy from the sun than mankind consumes in a year. Neither Ms Richter nor Desertec is Israeli. So what’s the connection? Well as we said, the conference was held here and the lady in question felt that Israel is in a position to lead the world in harnessing solar energy. We have the desert, we have the know-how and we have the drive so we cannot but agree.
# When a Company has a backlog in their order book for about $5.45 billion chances are they’re doing most things right, obviously, and when three quarters of those orders are for overseas delivery then everybody should be happy and so they are. Elbit Inc develops and manufactures electronic systems for the armaments industry and is one of the leaders in the field – as the figures show. [See item above]. And just in case you’re getting the impression that they’re resting on their laurels they announced the sale, last week of a laser guided system to the US Marine Corps for $9.6m and today [Wednesday] they informed us that they’ve won a contract worth around $24 million, for the supply of self-propelled artillery to an unnamed country. Well, well you can’t keep a good arms dealer down.
# The Israeli high-tech market is where the action has been in recent months, mainly because of M&A’s and exits with a lot of money changing hands and we’ve reported on all of those, the result – one of them anyway – is that the demand for high-tech employees in the first quarter was 21% higher than at the same time last year and the competition between companies is on with high salaries being offered for top people. Sounds like old pre-hi-tech bubble times.
# And while we’re on the subject of employers and employees, a report by the Israel National Employment Service today [Tuesday] shows that unemployment is still going down and that, folks, is the best news around. There was a drop of 0.7% in the number of unemployed in February. 0.7% we hear you ask? Only .7%? Let’s translate that into people; 1,300 people back at work with all that that means to them and to those dependent on them, and, no we’re not talking only about the monthly check as important as that is.
# Early last week Lieutenant Rabbi Mansbach arrived in the city of Minamisanriku, Japan with the IDF’s aid delegation and since then he’s been busy keeping everything ticking over in accordance with the rules and regulations of Halacha [Jewish law]. In an interview he assured everyone that while the laws of Shabbat would be observed those being cared for by the team of fifty medical personnel would not even notice the difference because the saving of life takes precedence over everything else. As it looks as if these outstanding people are going to still be there over the Pesach [Passover] Festival the good Rabbi lieutenant will have his hands full preparing and seeing to it that everyone including the local Jewish community, small as it is, will have everything needed to make this Passover as meaningful as possible despite the trauma.
# Taxes are an inevitability but are they ever GN? Have a look at these figures; tax revenues rose to NIS 17.5 billion in February [the latest figures available] from NIS 14.6 billion in February 2010 and this without any raising of taxes. What does that mean, and we ask for the sake of the uninitiated like us? The increased tax revenues reflect a robust and growing economy and that’s GN.
# The stent is an Israeli invention and was originally used to prevent blocking of arteries around the heart. Now stent company ITGI Medical Ltd. has announced that it is starting the next stage of its research in order to receive regulatory approval for its stents for use in the brain. This will involve closing aneurysms, treating arterial walls and sleep arteries [research conducted in Chicago shows that an additional hours sleep prevents calcification of the blood vessels but there’s still a big ? over that one]. Correct treatment of these problems can be life saving, and prevent problems such as blocking the blood flow and clotting in arteries.
# Lumpy jaw disease is not good news but only if you’re a kangaroo or happen to own one. There is a treatment but it involves all the things that wild animals don’t happen to like such as darting, transporting, anesthetizing and anti-biotics. So the treatment is a success but the ‘patient’ dies from related stress. Hebrew University Dental and Pharmaceutical Schools to the rescue with a one-time topical application of a slow release medication that adheres to the teeth. The result no more LJD and no terminal side effects. The keepers are happy; zoos from all over the world want it and the kangaroos? Well the last we heard they were jumping for joy.