The United Nations published a very misleading report recently. No, not that one – I’m referring to the UN report that showed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Israel was 46% lower last year compared to 2013. However, if you read the report, it shows that FDI in France, the USA and Austria fell by twice as much; Germany and Ireland were practically wiped out and the Belgians ought to be going around with begging bowls. So much for UN reports. In contrast, here are some recent news articles that reflect the real economic success of the Jewish State.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is extremely upbeat about the Israeli economy. Its recent preliminary report noted that Israel’s economy is “performing well” and that the economic outlook is positive. Over at the World Bank, Israel signed an agreement to share best practices on water. And Israel and China are working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman said that Israel is one of China's major economic and trade partners in the Middle East and an FTA will lift bilateral cooperation to a new height.
Cyber security products contributed $6 billion per year to Israel’s 2014 exports and the fifth annual International Cybersecurity Conference in Tel Aviv attracted those seeking Israel’s latest innovations. The Israeli cyber-security start-up Checkmarx, for example, has just raised $84 million of Direct Foreign Investment. Checkmarx customers include the US Army, Samsung, Deutsche Telekom, Deloitte and PwC.
Commercial success is vital in the life-science industry, even though enhancing life is the true priority. Recent news of Israeli successes include the ApiFix system, which has now been used to correct scoliosis (deformed spines) in 50 adolescents since it was launched in Europe in 2013. Other Israeli developments with excellent financial prospects include BondVax’s universal flu vaccine, which has just received FDA approval to proceed with clinical trials. Another is IBM Israel’s Doctome telemedicine platform, which has turned IBM’s Watson supercomputer into a digital doctor. Finally, Israel’s Crowdsourcing platform for insomniacs Sleep ASAP is already described as “Waze for the sleep-deprived”.
Some Israeli companies have no need of FDI. Frutarom, for example, has bought up seven foreign companies in the last 12 months. The latest is Australia’s Taura, a world leading player in concentrated and texturized fruit ingredients, with factories in New Zealand and Belgium, and offices in the US and UK. The FDI report would probably ignore the growth of Israeli renewable energy company SolarEdge, whose value since its March NASDAQ launch has doubled to $1.5 billion. And several more billion-dollar Israeli companies are in the pipeline.
The UN report definitely hasn’t recognized the commercial success of Israel’s TV and Film industry which has been selling virtually every new Israeli series to International studios and channels. The new spy thriller “Kfulim” (False Flag) looks to be the next Israeli “top of the box”. And the Jerusalem Film Fund announced that several long-term animation projects, including a new Walt Disney Studios TV series, will be based in Jerusalem.
Innovation is key to Israel’s commercial success. Israeli startup Sound Better is revolutionizing the music business by providing musicians the facility to record themselves at home instead of in a studio and then collaborate online with artists all over the world. And the world of on-line shopping just became virtual 3D shopping thanks to Israel’s Tridshops. The advanced platform allows retailers to quickly set up an on-line store where shoppers “move” on a virtual walkway past 3D images of products which they can pick up, examine and manipulate through 360 degrees.
There has been no shortage of commercial visitors to Israel. 100 German industry leaders including from SAP, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Merck, Inc., Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa have been attending an investors’ conference in Israel. 60 general managers and senior executives of the world’s largest hotel company, InterContinental Hotels, booked Israel for their annual conference and enjoyed pitches from six Israeli hotel-related start-ups. They may have had a few sleepless nights following American tourism magazine Jetsetter’s naming of the Norman Hotel Tel Aviv as the world’s best boutique hotel. The Israeli hotel industry has also experienced an increase in tourism from Arab and Moslem countries, especially Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Indonesia.
So how can you best get to share in Israel’s wealth? Well if you live in the USA, you could follow the advice of Izzy Tapoohi, President & CEO of Development Corporation for Israel Bonds. He advocates buying Israel Bonds to counter calls from the BDS thugs to Boycott, Divest from or Sanction the Jewish State. “The best defense is a good offense”, Izzy says. And investing in Israel’s economy is the greatest form of offense.
Finally, it was sweet justice at the United Nations when Israel’s Yotam Goren was appointed as deputy chairman of the Administrative and Budgetary Committee to the United Nations General Assembly. The committee functions as the U.N.’s “Finance Ministry,” responsible for a budget of more than $11 billion.
Let’s hope he puts an end to worthless UN reports!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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