Compliments of Anglo Saxon Ra’anana
Joe, our CEO and the Staff of Anglo-Saxon Real Estate join in wishing our Jewish readers a joyful and Kosher Pesach.
Quote for the Week
“This is the Day the Lord has Made. Let us Rejoice and be Thankful in it.”
(From the Pesah liturgy. Psalm 118. See the first paragraph below)
The Passover holiday is upon us [see quotation for the week above], thorough spring cleaning is underway and:
* The city of Holon will be holding a Seder – the ceremonial, festive evening meal – for 1300 people, all of them recent immigrants from Ethiopia. It will give these beautiful folk the opportunity of enjoying a pleasurable evening and a brief period of spiritual upliftment. And what’s in it for the city? Well they’ll be applying to the Guinness Book people for the record for the largest Seder ever.
* As is the case every year, approximately 82% of all Jewish Israelis will be attending some form of Seder. There are those who will be motivated by religious observance, others by tradition, yet others by the attraction of being together with family and a few we’d guess, by the food. But whatever the reason it’s exciting to think that in excess of five and a half million people in this small land of ours will be sitting in groups large and small to commemorate gaining our freedom more than 3000 years ago.
* The Greeks did it first at a place called Marathon but we did it best, well, sort of; we kept going for forty years in our race for freedom with the finish line right here in the Promised Land. Little wonder then that we held two of the eponymous races in the past couple of weeks. We kicked off in the Holy City and followed a week later with the most testing of athletic challenges, in the Big Orange. A total of 31,000 runners, more than three thousand of them from overseas, participated. Both cities will be making this event a fixture on their annual calendars.
* The Hong Kong and Shangai Banking Corporation known as HSBC to its friends is one of the world’s largest banks and one of their top analysts had this to say; the state of the Israeli economy is “robust,” a word we ourselves have used in this very context. He adds that “a pleasant surprise is a budget surplus of NIS 2.0 billion’. He also says that “strong tax revenues in March [see below] on the back of surging consumer imports suggest that household demand remained strong last month. “And that probably ‘government debt will decline from 75% of GDP last year to 73% in 2011 and possibly lower’. It looks as if Israel’s credit rating will be revised upwards from A solid to A+, and that means that Israel will be able to raise money more cheaply on the world’s money markets and if that’s not GN we don’t know what is.
* Poet John Keats described the pleasure derived from wine as watching the ‘beaded bubbles winking at the brim’ How true and beautifully phrased but eonophiles will tell you that true joy is to be got from the taste and what they laughingly call the nose [no kidding] and it’s all of those combined that won the top prize, two gold medals and the 2011 Wine World Cup, at Vinitaly, Italy’s annual international wine fair, for The Golan Heights Winery beating out 3,720 wines from more than 1,000 producers in 30 countries. The Competition is acknowledged as the most selective and rigorous in the world. So no more Manischewitz grape-based treacle, well as it served us, from now on it’s; Quality award-winning Israeli wines. Right up there with the very best.
* We reported last week that: ‘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.’ Well the GN is that they went up again in March bringing the grand total for Q1 ’11 to NIS 55.8bn, higher than they’ve ever been and that without imposing a single increase in any tax. Now all the treasury has to do is to spend all these lovely billions wisely.
* Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain paid us a lightning 36-hour visit but they managed to get to Beit Hanassi, Yad Vashem, Tel Aviv University, the Rabin Center, the Tel Aviv Hilton for a reception attended by Spanish folk living in Israel and back to Jerusalem for an informal chat with our President Peres. Then on to a State dinner in their honor. It’s rumored that economic, scientific, technological, educational and cultural ties between the countries were on the agenda. Our peripatetic Prez who recently paid a visit to Iberia spoke of the wonderful hospitality he had received from King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. And the Crown Prince reminded him [as if he needed reminding] that he, Mr Peres was instrumental in re-establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries, after many centuries. Altogether a successful day and a half.
* Natural gas is in – trillions of cubic meters of the stuff in fact and all of it in our territorial waters. But what about oil? Well Noble energy, the same folk who are finding all the gas deposits, have also got some very positive things to say about black gold, three billion barrels of the lucre producer to be exact and all in the same place as the gas. Now let’s see, at today’s price of $120 a barrel approx that would give us a cool $360 000 000 000, give or take a cent or two. Not bad as a source of revenue that we’ve never had before. Is there anybody around who is still saying that Moses should have turned right instead of left?
* The Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball side is in the final four of the Eurocup Championships, the Israeli National Football XI has just won two matches and are in contention for the Euroleague Football Championships 2012 but it was left to the ladies to top the lot, Elitzur Ramla Ladies Basketball team won the State Cup, the Eurocup Championships Women and the League Trophy a treble first for any Israeli group. From teams to individuals and Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov who won silver at the 2011 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Berlin in the men’s floor exercise , with a score of 15.400 points this week. Shatilov, 24, came second to Flavius Koczi, who did not drop a single point with a perfect score of 15.500. Second place takes on a whole new meaning when you’re competing against Superman. But roll on 2012 and the London Olympics.
* Check Point is one of those companies that’s like the Israeli economy generally, it’s always ahead of the analysts predictions and first quarter revenue was no exception totaling $281.3 million, 15% more than the same time last year, when analysts’ consensus estimate was for $276.7 million. Net profit was $137 million, prompting Check Point founder, chairman, and CEO, who happens to be one and the same person, Mr Gil Schweid, to comment: “I am pleased to begin 2011 on such a high note,” And who wouldn’t be?