Posted by: israelembassysa | September 14, 2010

Israel Update from AngloRaanana

The entrance to Edmond Safra (Givat ram) Campu...

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Israel Update from AngloRaanana

http://www.angloraanana.com

Quote for the week

“But repentance, prayer and the giving of charity nullify the evil decree” (From the liturgy for the New Year in which every man is called upon to uplift himself and his fellow man)

 • If you have never heard of Maladera insanabilis or even if you have then the book that you have been waiting for has just hit the local book stores, the ‘Pocket Guide to Dozens of Common Israeli Insects’ Dr Danny Simon scientific consultant to the publishers said 24,000 insect species have been identified in Israel, but he believes this is only half of what actually exists here. Why so many? We’ll tell you. Israel has a particularly wide variety of airborne creepy-crawlies because of our geographical location so we have African species like Poekilocerus bufonius, a kind of grasshopper that releases venom [yuk] when in danger, and European species like Bombus bees as well as all the little Asian monsters, not to mention our indigenous residents. The guide classifies the insects according to the danger or nuisance they may cause, so as to put unjustified fears to rest. What about Maladera insanabilis? Well first of all the insect is 7 mm long but its name is nearly ten times longer than that, it arrived from Iran, hitching a ride on some pistachio nuts, it’s destructive and a real pest and those are three good reasons why in Hebrew it’s called the Khomeini beetle.

Now let’s look at the year 5770 or some aspects of it anyway

• The year 5770 ended on a joyous note, fiscally speaking: Israel’s cost of raising money on the bond market is among the lowest in the world. But cheap money doesn’t come easily you have to earn it by convincing the rating institutions, the lenders and the financial world generally that you are a really safe bet – like the old story that goes that the banks will lend you money only if you can prove to them that you don’t really need it – Well, Israel has proved all these things and more and that accounts for the joyous note to end the year 5770. A massive vote of economic confidence from the rest of the world!

• Still on the money front and down on Achad Ha’am St the TASE forged ahead for most of the year. In the first nine months of 5770 the benchmark TA-25 gained 30%, but then things cooled down a little, what with PIGS – Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain or PIIGS, if you include Ireland in the stew not to mention the US, whose economies bottomed out with nobody on the horizon willing to save their bacon – if you’ll pardon the expression. The upshot was that foreign investors got a little jittery and the Exchange retreated but the index still rose by a robust 20% for the period. And, and this is important, local stock indexes outperformed most of those in developed countries, in dollar terms.

Now for some details

 • As far as we can remember when we had gas we felt a little uncomfortable and we certainly weren’t considered all that lucky but Israel’s discovery of trillions of cubic meters of natural gas is remarkably good fortune and is going to make a lot of people more than comfortable. In the meantime the biggest gainer was the index of oil and gas exploration stocks that jumped 130% for the year after the announcements of the large offshore discoveries and the possibilities of even larger finds. And….

• When stocks faltered a little, local bonds and makams – the Israeli equivalent of Treasury bills – leapt into the breach and enjoyed a massive influx of $5.9 billion in foreign investment. This led to a rise of between 10% and 15% in bond prices from a year ago. And just when….

• We thought it was all spend, spend, spend, the Bureau of Statistics announced the scope of the public’s portfolio of financial assets that includes savings of course, that stands at NIS 2.4 trillion. We’ll write that out in full for you 2, 400, 000, 000, 000 which is one whole lot of assets. Still not finished….

• Industrial output rose by 14% in Jewish year 5770 (September 2009-September 2010), after falling 6.5% in 5769, the Manufacturers Association of Israel announced on Tuesday. Sales by industry totaled $93 billion in 5770, with the chemicals, electronics, and food industries accounting for 60% of the total. Manufacturers hired over 12,000 people during the year, boosting the labor force by 3.55%. Israeli industry currently employs 352,000 people. There was rapid growth in output in all industrial sectors with pharmaceuticals leading the field and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. turning in a really dramatic performance. We’re not quite back to pre-global economic crisis numbers but we’re getting there. This is something to savor; all industrial sectors achieved double-digit growth for the year with high tech and mixed high-tech industries rocketing 20% and 32%, respectively. And that’s not all….

 • According to ministry figures, July was the ninth consecutive record month for incoming tourists. 1.9 million tourists entering the country between January and July, with 3.2 million+ expected by the end of the year and very welcome they are too.

• Hotels are reaping the benefits from this influx of foreign tourists, well they would wouldn’t they. Since the dispensing with visas, 400,000 Russians now visit Israel annually, second only to the 600,000 visitors from the United States. Seems that we’re looking at the best year ever for tourism. And to finish…..

• They predicted 3.5% GDP [basically all the money earned by a country] growth. Who are they we hear you ask? Well just about everybody, including the Bank of Israel, the Treasury and the Central Bureau of Statistics. But now the CBS has upped it to 4.1% and the others will follow suit. This puts us way, way ahead of most developed countries of which we are now one. We at GN are still saying 4.7% but that’s probably a little optimistic

 • Our sailors are doing well with Gidi Kliger and Eran Sela claiming their first medal as a team on Monday, finishing second in the 470 Class sailing European Championships in Istanbul. Kliger and Sela, are on track for qualifying for the Olympics 2012 while taking home a silver medal each from the competition held in the Turkish city.

 • Not to be outdone Nimrod Mashiah won his second straight medal at the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships on Saturday, finishing in third position in Kerteminde, Denmark. The 22-year-old, who claimed a silver medal at the event last year, joins Amit Inbar and Gal Fridman as the only Israelis to win multiple medals at the championships.

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem together with colleagues from Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered a mechanism by which a single compound in grapefruit can control fat and glucose metabolism and replace multiple drugs used for the same purpose. So there we have it folks, Naringenin, dispensed by the Great Pharmacist in the sky, it’s cheap, it comes attractively packaged and has the potential to treat all sorts of complaints including diabetes and what can be better GN than that


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