While the global economy deteriorates and its ripple effects erode Israel’s economic indicators (e.g., unemployment increased to 7%), there is cause for optimism in the Holy Land:
–Frans Van Houten, the CEO of the Dutch giant, Philips Global recently told Globes Business Daily (Aug. 2, 2012): “Israel’s economic and organizational culture is consistent with Philips’ requirements…. Philips owes part of its enhanced performance [2nd quarter’s earnings – 17% above projections] to Israel’s excellent engineers in the imaging, data processing and data storage areas. Philips has expanded its Israeli presence and acquisitions since 1999, when it acquired part of Israel’s Elscint, then Israel’s CDP and CDC…. Philips will expand its current 600 employee research & development center.”
–Marcos Battisti, head of Intel Capital in Europe and Israel, hired additional investment directors in Israel, expanding Intel’s pursuit of Israeli start ups. Since 1991, Intel Capital invested in 60 Israeli companies, collaborating with Intel’s four research & development centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel (Globes, July 26).
–Israel’s Kayak raised $91MN in a Wall Street IPO led by Morgan Stanley (Globes, July 23). Abingworth Ventures, 7 MedHealth Ventures, Arch Ventures, MPM Capital and F3 invested $38MN in a round of private placement by Israel’s Chiasma (Globes, July 24). Battery Ventures and Bessemer Ventures led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel’s Vayyar Imaging (Globes, Aug. 3).
–Is Israel a future energy superpower? Walter Russell Mead, Editor at-large of the Washington, DC-based bimonthly magazine The American Interest, which specializes in global economy and international affairs, July 2, 2012: “Canada and Russia are moving to step up energy relations with Israel….Israel and Canada have just signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and development of what could be vast shale oil reserves beneath the Jewish State…. The Russian Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction…. Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what seems to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil, in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found…. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India… eager to diversify its energy sources…. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum, Israel may have the 3rd largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels (US – well over 1 trillion barrels; Canada – 2 trillion barrels)…. OPEC’s power to dictate world prices is likely to decline as Canadian, US, Israeli and Chinese resources come on line… An energy-rich Israel… is also going to be a more valuable ally…. The impact of Israel’s energy wealth is dramatic. On President Putin’s visit to Jerusalem he donned a Kippah (skullcap) and went to pray at the Western Wall. Turning to the Wall, he said: ‘here we see how the Jewish past is etched into the stones of Jerusalem….’ In the meantime, we wonder if there was an 11th Commandment at Sinai: ‘Thou shalt drill, baby, thou shalt drill.’”
About the Author: The writer is a consultant on US-Israel relations as well as the Chairman of Special Projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research. Formerly the Minister for Congressional Affairs to Israel's Embassy in Washington, DC, the writer also served as Consul General of Israel to the Southwestern US.
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