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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
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Posts Tagged ‘business’

Emergency Measures to Assist Residents of South

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

The Agency for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises at the Ministry of the Economy has announced an emergency plan to assist businesses in war-battered southern communities.

The plan includes special assistance programs for small and mid-sized enterprises in the south, assistance in obtaining money from the property compensation fund, business advice and advice for obtaining financing from funds.  

The special benefits will be available to small businesses up to 40 km from the Gaza border, who will receive fee exemption and expedited treatment. The program will be administered by the Maof network . Services will include 
  *   Assistance in obtaining compensation from property tax – a new service to help enterprises navigate the bureaucracy at the Tax Authority, including filling out forms.
  *   Expert advice and business and marketing consultancy – eligibility for up to 20 extra hours of business consultancy.
  *   Special emergency guidance for businesspeople – led by experts and fully financed by the Agency on subjects related to the emergency situation (financing, labor law, cash flow, etc.)
  *   Advice for obtaining financing from funds – funds which have activated programs for this zone. The advice will help businesspeople fill out the necessary forms of a fund. The service is free.

In addition, the ministries of finance and the economy announced a special supplement of NIS 100 million to a loan-guarantee program for small- and mid-sized businesses in the Gaza Belt region. The program ensures government-backing for business loans in the area. Lastly, representatives of the agencies coordinating the government-back loans will be available to meet businesspeople at Maof offices in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva, and Sderot. The Agency states that businesspeople from the confrontation zone seeking assistance will be exempt from the NIS 250 registration fee and that applications will be handled expeditiously, taking nine days instead of the month required in normal times.

Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett commented, “We are also supporting the soldiers on the economic front. Economic soundness and ensuring financial security of businesses in the south is a critical part of the strength of residents of the south. We are taking steps to support businesspeople and ensure their stability immediately, and we will continue to do so after Operation Protective Edge is over.”

For more information, residents of the eligible areas can telephone 1-700-558-040, or visit the Agency for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprise website at www.sba.economy.gov.il.

Lev Leviev Ups the Ante on Angola Diamonds

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Israeli real estate and international business magnate Lev Leviev, a major philanthropist in the Jewish world, is raising prices on the diamonds he mines in Angola.

Leviev reached an agreement with the Angolan government that allows him to sell the diamonds from his Luminas mine on the world market, according to Bloomberg News.

Up to now, he has sold the gems at a discount to targeted traders from China and Dubai, according to sources who requested anonymity. The sources added that the deal allows Leviev to raise his prices by as much as 50 percent.

There was no comment from Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments Inc., nor from any of his other firms. Angola is the fourth-largest diamond producing country in the world by value, according to Bloomberg.

Bank of Israel May Pop the Bitcoin Bubble

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

The Bank of Israel is considering clamping down on the use of “bitcoins” with stiff regulations and warned the public on Wednesday to beware of possible fraudulent use of the virtual currency.

The bitcoin is a digital currency, but its value is determined by demand. It is worth about $635 today, but was valued at $1,000 late last year and as little as $150 this past September.

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug issued her warning following the bitcoin’s popularity that has attracted several start-ups to allow the bitcoin to be used to buy everything from soup to shares on the stock market.

The bitcoin “is liable to be exploited for criminal activity, including money laundering, financing illegal activities and financing terrorism,” the Bank stated.

“It was agreed to continue to examine various perspectives related to the use of, and trade in, virtual currencies. These perspectives include possible macro effects, their legal standing, their regulation, money laundering and terror financing risks, taxation and consumer protection.”

The statement added, “It is emphasized that they [bitcoins] are also not legal tender of any country, and that the term used does not indicate any legal status as ‘currency.’”

It also pointed out that bitcoins, since they are only virtual currencies and are stored on smartphones or computers, are subject to robbery through hacking.

Regulators in the United States , Canada, the European Union  and elsewhere, who have published similar warnings to the public.

However, all the warnings may be superfluous. Wired.com reported Wednesday that a computer glitch at Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, has scared bitcoin owners.

Mt. Gox said two weeks temporarily stopped allowing customers to withdraw bitcoins, stating that the glitch in bitcoin software affected it and another exchange. The result was a dive in the value of bitcoins at Mt. Gox although it has remained steady elsewhere.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Bonds

Monday, February 10th, 2014

On this week’s podcast, find out about bonds. How do they work? And how would you know if they are a good investment for you? Show host Douglas Goldstein explains what bonds are, their various parts, and how to calculate their yield. Tune in to this week’s show to learn more.

IDC’s Combined Degree in Law and Business

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The world is not only getting smaller – it’s getting hungrier, too!

With international commerce getting more competitive, resources dwindling, banks defaulting and world terror a constant threat, nations often find themselves competing in the board room or before a magistrate rather than in the battlefield – led by lawyers rather than generals. Thus, today’s business lawyer must be an expert in international trade and regulations, and a business major must be able to perform in a globalized economy – notwithstanding language and local predilections.

Prof. Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, Dean of the Radzyner School of Law at IDC Herzliya has studied law on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. “In business, local expertise is insufficient; there is a growing need for international business law expertise and the ability to cope with the challenges of globalization. That’s why we’ve established an innovative new program that provides students with significant added value in law and business.”

IDC’s combined degree in Law & Business Administration program focuses on global legal principles. Taught in English, students acquire an in-depth knowledge of international business law and the tools required to integrate into the international legal world and the global business sphere.

US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis once observed that a lawyer who is not proficient in economic theory poses a danger to the public. Today, that assertion would state that one cannot function in a global sphere without an interdisciplinary understanding of geopolitical processes and the realities of any region in which we desire to act.

In law, as in commerce one must draw upon experience and extensive knowledge to solve any problem at hand. One must interpret and utilize social norms and translate these into legal and commercial dispositions. The Radzyner School of Law provides students with that knowledge base and the ability to analyze problems and place them into an appropriate context – an impressive challenge, given the intricate nature of language and human disposition.

Students develop their analytical skills, a creative imagination, a sensitivity for others, and the ability to express themselves in any situation. They also engage in diverse practical experiences, acquire 21st century skills and directly interact with leading figures in the legal practice and academic world from both Israel and abroad. The nine semester curriculum (four years and an additional summer semester) includes law, business and specialized courses integrating the two.

The program is offered by the IDC’s Raphael Recanati International School.

Jonathan Davis who is both Vice-President for External Relations and head of the RRIS is a firm believer in the IDC’s mission of statement: “We are Zionists – here to contribute to Israel and to the Jewish People,” he stresses.” We strive to build bridges between the elites and the underprivileged, between Israelis and the Diaspora, between Israel and its neighbors.”

And, indeed, one of the main goals of the combined degree in International Business Law and Business Administration is to create a truly international learning experience. Students from 86 different countries make up more than a quarter of the student body; and the IDC’s internationally renowned faculty roster reflects both scholarly excellence and practical experience.

“We are constantly expanding the school’s international focus and developing new and exciting opportunities for our students to explore on a global level,” Davis adds.

The Radzyner School of Law is also one of the founding members of the Law Schools Global League – an international alliance between more than twenty law schools, which fosters collaborative relations and offers students the opportunity to study abroad for one semester as part of an extensive student exchange program.

IDC is located in Herzliya, a city six miles north of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean’s white sandy beach. Besides a host of recreational facilities, the area has been nicknamed Silicon Wadi – attracting the world’s leading venture-capital firms alongside Israeli software and biotech companies, many of them traded on international stock exchanges. When established in 1994, IDC was the first major private educational institution in Israel. Today, with 25 research centers and more than 60 exchange programs with leading universities around the world, IDC employs a truly international and distinctly interdisciplinary approach, allowing students to obtain an education that is comprehensive on so many levels and practical.

False Advertising, Jewish Morality and the Tobacco Industry

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Advertising and marketing are everywhere we look: on billboards and blimps, on television and film, in our newspapers and magazines, on the food boxes we eat from, even on the clothes we wear. This is a far cry from our society 50 years ago – have you ever seen an old film or television show with product placement? These advertisements often increase and shift our desire and even tell us how we might feel and act. Consumer behavior shifts based not on personal needs, economic considerations, or ethical concerns, but on the power of gimmicks and social branding.

For better or worse, the United States has become the advertising capital of the world. Total U.S. advertising expenditures reached nearly $140 billion in 2012, more than a quarter of world advertising expenditures. These can range from the sponsorship of valuable cultural activities or messages urging a more healthful living style to deceptive ads from businesses that endlessly claim to be going out of business and holding one final sale.

One example of an industry full of deceptive advertising is big tobacco, which promotes one of the most addictive and life-threatening substances known to humanity. From top to bottom, it issues false propaganda. For example, in 1994, executives of seven tobacco companies testified before Congress and lied by saying that smoking tobacco was not addictive. Significantly, however, when pressed, the executives added that they hoped that their children would not become smokers.

Tobacco advertisers have proven extraordinarily resilient and successful in promoting their products. While tobacco ads have been banned from radio and television for more than a generation, they have discovered other ways to advertise. They have learned to increase their messaging through sponsoring sports and social events where people cannot avoid exposure to their logos. In addition, cigarette companies target specific populations using various tactics:

Fortunately, society can take steps against such harmful advertisements and promotions, and we can resist false messages. We no longer have to contend with smoke-filled restaurants and theaters, or feel obligated to have ashtrays in our home ready for anyone who chooses to come in and smoke at will. Also, the percentage of American smokers has declined from about 42 percent in 1965 to 19 percent in 2011. In addition, the federal government passed legislation in 2009 that empowered the FDA to regulate tobacco products and gave states the right to restrict cigarette advertising and promotion through means such as restricting the time and place where these activities could occur. Thus far, 20 states now restrict or prohibit places where free tobacco samples can be distributed. Still, today nearly 44 million Americans smoke tobacco, and in 2011 cigarette companies spent $8.37 billion on advertising and promotional activities in the United States. Advertising has the power to persuade, and to deceive.

As religious Jews, one pertinent question about advertising and its relationship to deception and promoting harmful decisions and habits is, what is halacha’s view of this?

In “The Impact of Jewish Values on Marketing and Business Practices,” Hershey Friedman, a professor at Brooklyn College, argues that while Jewish law may not explicitly forbid the influencing of consumers, it clearly violates the spirit of the law. (Specifically, it is geneivat data, deception, which is a Biblical prohibition).

The Talmud (Chullin 94a) gives an example of how business must not include any deception, towards Jews or non-Jews: “A person should not sell shoes made of the leather of an animal that died of natural causes (which is inherently weaker) under the pretense that it was made from the leather of an animal that was slaughtered.” The Shulchan Aruch bring this as halachah (CM 228:6).

Businesses need to compete, and advertising is the norm in commercial life. It is not an option to stop advertising. Further, Jewish law does embrace the notion that a reasonable person’s expectation can be assumed. One Talmudic passage gives an example:

Mar Zutra was once going from Sikara to Mahoza, while Rava and R. Safra were going to Sikara; and they met on the way. Believing that they had come to meet him, he said, “Why did you take the trouble to come so far to meet me?” R. Safra replied, “We did not know that you were coming; had we known, we would have done more than this.” Rava said to him, “Why did you say that to him? Now you have upset him.” He replied, “But we would be deceiving him otherwise.” “No, he would be deceiving himself” (Chullin 94b).

Rav Safra argues that one may not gain from the false perception of another. Rather one must proactively correct that misunderstanding to ensure an unfair moral debt is not created. Rava, on the other hand, believes there is responsibility from the other not to be self-deceived. Aaron Levine, author of “Case Studies in Jewish Business Ethics,” explains that one must not only avoid wrong but proactively assure consumers of the truth. “The seller’s disclosure obligation consists not only of a duty not to mislead in an affirmative manner but also of a requirement to disabuse the customer of his reasonable misperception about the product.”

We see from these sources that Jewish law demands that we be extremely cautious in protecting and promoting the truth. We should take note of and observe these principles in our daily interactions with our fellows on the street, in the beit midrash, in workplace, and in the voting booth and when we talk about creating regulations for advertising.

Google Analytics, Strategy, and You

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

How can you make your online business a success in today’s world of SEO and social media? In the first part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast, listen to Doug’s interview with Daniel Waisberg, an Analytics advocate at Google, to find out the tactics of building a business on line and how to make the Google search engine process work for you.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/google-analytics-strategy-and-you/2013/08/11/

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