Good News, Israel
Compliments of Anglo Raanana Real Estate
The Central Bureau of Statistics, still our favorite source of GN reported today [Friday] that the period Jan/Feb produced some great figures where they really count and here are just a few:
ü The Industrial production index rose in January and February by 9.1%. We’re producing more and selling more, we’re exporting more too so …
ü The Export of goods index went up by 26.1%, following a sharp increase of 38.3% in the previous quarter.
ü Hotel overnight stays climbed by an encouraging 9% on an increase of 17% in the three months before.
Long may it continue!
· The mortality rate of heart patients in Israel is significantly lower than that of patients in Europe a new study published this month in the European Heart Journal, shows. Combined with our very high life expectancy [see last week’s GN] that’s GN indeed. Comparing data on medical treatment of serious heart attack victims in 29 European countries it showed that the percentage of Israeli heart patients in intensive care who didn’t make it, is significantly lower than 20 other European countries including France , Germany , and Britain which has almost double Israel ’s number of fatalities. The study also showed that the number of catheterizations, a more effective treatment than medication, in Israel following a heart attack is among the highest in Europe : 2,726 per million people per year. That figure is double the number in Britain and 42 percent higher than in France . Add outstanding staff and excellent facilities to all that and all in all Israel seems like a good place to be.
· Bank Hapoalim has raised NIS 1.1 billion in a bond issue. Standard & Poor’s Maalot Ltd. rated the bonds AA+; no wonder demand from the financial institutions overshot the mark by NIS 3 billion. Not finished yet. Tomorrow [Thursday] the bank will hold the offering for Mr and Mrs Israel, in which it expects to increase the amount raised to NIS 1.5 billion altogether and we’re betting that they won’t have any problem with that.
· Weizmann Institute scientists have isolated a single gene that can be hyperactivated by a protein and will then elevate anxiety levels and also increase the risk of a whole range of frightening diseases and we’ll spare you the unpleasant details. The research which has been recorded in a prestigious journal has been confined to mice but ultimately has great potential for preventative medicine in humans.
· We’re a little behind with this one but we felt it was just too good to miss. Christian Americans who were more than a little put out by the perceived treatment that our Prime Minister received on a recent visit to the US decided to make it up to him and to show their solidarity in a most beautiful way, with a bouquet of 16 000 yellow roses. Some bouquet! The PM received 100 of them and the rest went to hospitals. You’ve got to love them for loving us.
· Another poll, another batch of GN. 98% of Israelis regularly act in some way to protect our environment; recycling bottles [we reached the 3 billionth bottle last week That's the equivalent in volume to eight Azrieli Towers], paper and newsprint and not using plastic bags are just a few of the methods that we’re using. All in all 95% of the population are prepared to do what it takes to preserve the precious microcosm that we inhabit. The Recycling Corporation also contended that in just ten years Israel had reached recycling rates for bottles equivalent to that of Europe and the US – almost 70%. See, we told you it was GN. And…
· Shari Arison, one of our favorite uberexecutives who has a net worth of $3.4 billion, is second on the “Forbes” list of environment conscious business people. The prestigious magazine describes her as a “firm believer that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand,” Arison has created businesses that benefit the environment, without taking her eye off the bottom line for one second. She plans to make her public construction company, Shikun u’Binui Holdings Ltd. [which has just started a road maintenance project worth NIS 1.2bn] 100% sustainable – by using solar power, water desalination, and recyclable materials – within five years. And what’s more…
· At a conference held this week it was decided that small wind turbines could be placed on street lighting poles along the coastal highway to take advantage of the sea winds to supply the power needed to light up the lights. Steps are also being taken to integrate systems for producing renewable energy in the infrastructure of highways. A huge number of acres of available land at interchanges can be exploited for placing photovoltaic solar arrays. Many thousands of street lights can use wind turbines and we have to admit that the idea of a little windmill atop every street lamp standard churning out good clean electricity has a definite appeal
· Arik Ze’evi claimed his eighth career European Judo Championship medal this week, defeating Artem Bloshenko of Ukraine in the under-100 kilogram division in Vienna to take home the bronze medal. Arik a three-time European champion, has now won bronze in three of the last four European championships, an Olympic bronze in the 2004 Athens Games and the European gold medal in 2001, 2003 and 2004, the silver in 2005 and the bronze in 1999, 2007, 2008 and 2010. An outstanding record from one of Israel’s greatest sportsmen.
· El Al the national carrier names a number of the aircraft in its fleet in honor of cities and towns in Israel, including Sderot, not the biggest but probably the bravest, unveiled a 767 Boeing named Daliyat al-Karmel, after Israel’s largest Druze community. The airplane took part in the Independence Day air show, a fitting tribute to a group that has shown its allegiance to the State time without number.
· What do Israelis expect of a model citizen? Well the vast majority, 80% in fact, say that the top requirement is serving the country either as a soldier or as somebody performing national service, a somewhat smaller percentage said a model citizen is tolerant and respectful of those who are ‘different’ while a quarter of the population felt that preserving tradition and religion was all important as the main attribute of the model citizen. And how can Israel best improve itself in the next decade? Most Israelis agreed that the answer to that one is by turning the population into model citizens. Sounds logical.
· After failing to defeat a top-10 player throughout 2009, Shahar Pe’er is beating the best-of-the-best on a regular basis this year. Pe’er, ranked number 20 in the world, claimed her third victory over a top-10 player in four months on Wednesday, battling back to beat No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2 and reach the quarterfinals of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart. So if Ze’evi is one of our all time greats [see above] then Miss Pe’er is well on the way to sharing that status and right now she is the sporting flavor of the month.
· The prestigious culinary magazine ‘Food &Wine’ has ranked Israeli chef Yonatan Roshfeld first place in its list of rising star chefs. Now Israel is not on the culinary critic’s regular beat they have to make a special trip to get here and it isn’t humus and falafel that attracts them either, so in Roshfeld’s words: “You can’t ignore the fact that, lately, Israel has been on the map of global gastronomy” Was the trip worth it? It obviously was.
· Carmit Candy Industries Ltd. has signed a contract with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to sell them chocolate coins for Christmas. The first order for December 2010 is worth $500,000. Carmit’s sales in the US totaled $8 million in 2009. A small Israeli company sells chocolate goodies [whatever happened to Hershey we ask open-mouthed?] to the US and the world’s largest retailer and for Christmas. Go figure. And on that sweet note we end this week’s GN.