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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Government to Vote Wednesday on Billion Shekel Plan to Help Arab Sector

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Arab officials have expressed outrage at the government’s decision to delay by three days a vote on a major five-year plan involving funding in huge segments of Arab municipalities.

The government postponed the vote until Wednesday on a NIS 15b funding plan for education, transportation, housing and employment because the targeted cities did not include mixed Arab-Jewish populations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Social Services Minister Gila Gamliel created the plan allegedly hoping to change the way government allocates its funding for such purposes.

The ministers were reportedly hoping to give a swift economic push for development of Arab society in Israel, thereby narrowing the gaps between the Jewish and Arab populations.

But Likud Science Minister Ofir Akunis and Culture Minister Miri Regev both objected to the plan due to its lack of balance.

“It’s very important to include the mixed cities,” said Regev. “We’re allowed to represent them and we should not apologize because they [the mayors] are from Likud … not all of them are. We’re talking about Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo (Jaffa), Ramle, Lod and Akko – these billions of shekels need to serve the Arab public in mixed cities as well,” she said.

If passed, NIS 1.2 billion will be allocated to promote construction in Arab municipalities and NIS 1.4 billion will be used to improve public transportation in local authorities. For example, information about public schedules will be translated to Arabic for the first time and there will be an increase for subsidies to public transportation in Arab communities.

A full 40 percent of the State of Israel public transportation budget will be used in the Arab sector. In addition, 32.5 percent of funding in the economic development and employment sector will be allocated in 2016 to the development of industrial zones in Arab municipalities. Plus, 17.5 percent of the Small and Medium Business Agency budget will be allocated to Arab sector businesses.

The plan also includes significant investment in Arab sector education, particularly in the field of training educators in both elementary and higher education.

But nothing ever seems to be enough: Arab officials were outraged by the decision to postpone the vote three days, till Wednesday.

Hana Levi Julian

20 Multinational Corporations to Converge on Israel’s Top Startups

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israel is well known as the startup nation with a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, groundbreaking technologies, exceptional workforce, resilient economy, and high investment returns. These are just a few reasons why the world’s leading multinational corporations—more than 200—have set up shop in Israel and are looking to invest and do business with startups. Those companies’ corporate venture arms are becoming increasingly active investors in local startups.

Which is why senior representatives from leading multinational companies including AVG, Ford, GE, Tyco, GM, ProSieben, Mail.ru, Bloomberg, Yahoo, Visa (yes, them too) and many more—see the complete list here—will converge on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange December 16 for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate Edition 2015, an event aimed at connecting international companies actively looking to invest in Israel with the country’s top startups.

The Corporate Edition’s participating startups will be from a variety of tech sectors including big data, cloud, cyber security, mobile and e-commerce. This is the only event in Israel connecting global entities and Israeli startups, assisting them to break into the local ecosystem and generating optimal platforms for networking and deals.

The one-day event will be broken down into 4 sessions of corporate venture categories (ICT & Big Data/ Fintech & Cybersecurity / Mobile & E-Commerce / IOT). Each session will include pitches from each Corporate panelist, followed by startup pitches and feedback from the panel. In addition there will be a roundtable discussion on corporate investing, keynote speakers, focused networking sessions, and an exclusive lunch for startups, investors, and corporate executives.

Axis Innovation is a boutique advisory firm connecting investors and corporations with the best technology startups globally. Its core services include capital raising and coaching for startups, filtered deal-flow for investors and innovation scouting for corporations, global conferences, and corporate consulting.

JNi.Media

Gasoline Prices to Drop by Nearly 5 Percent

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The government once again is preventing Israeli motorists from enjoying the full effect of the plunging price of oil and will limit the drop in the price at the pump to 25 agorot midnight Monday.

A hike in the excise tax will rake in another 5 agorot a liter for the Finance Ministry.

The new price of 95 octane will be 6.05 shekels at self-service stations, but discounts often are available at several stations run by smaller companies.

The price of oil has dropped by nearly 20 percent since last month, but the shekel-dollar rate has risen by 2 percent.

The government adjusts the price of gasoline at the pump at the of every month, ostensibly to prevent gasoline companies from charging too much money

In effect, the price control actually guarantees the companies a fat profit, which explains why discount stations cut the rate even further and still make lots of money.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

2 Israelis Nabbed in US-Israel-Russia Securities Fraud Sting

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

The FBI linked with Israel Police organized crime unit 433 to uncover a securities fraud scheme that has spanned the globe via the Internet from the U.S. to Israel and all the way to Russia.

Authorities also discovered that the “pump and dump” scheme had a connection with last October’s massive cyber breach of JP Morgan Chase and other financial institutions.

“Pump and dump” is a stock fraud scheme in which promotional spam emails are sent to victims encouraging them to buy “hot” stocks. Perpetrators sell their own stocks and make millions on the deal.

Two Israelis — Gery Shalon, 31, and Ziv Orenstein, 40 — were charged in connection with the scheme. Joshua Samuel Aaron, 31, a U.S. national residing in Moscow and Tel Aviv, has not yet been arrested but is accused; he remains at large, officials said.

U.S. officials have requested extradition of the two Israelis and also permission to interrogate the pair following their arrest Tuesday at home. But the Israel state prosecutor planned to request permission to extend their remand in Israel at a hearing in Jerusalem District Court today (Wednesday, July 22) in order to allow time for Israel Police to question them as well.

According to the indictment, Shalon and Orenstein were also charged with running an unlicensed BitCoin exchange, Coin.Mx.

U.S. nationals Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev were taken into custody in Florida, according to U.S. District Attorney for Southern New York Diego Rodriguez. Murgio and Lebedev were charged with “knowingly [exchanging] cash for people whom they believed may be engaging in criminal activity.”

At least some of the men met more than a decade ago while attending Florida State University, Bloomberg News reported.

There was no mention in the indictment of any connection with last October’s massive cyber theft of data from JP Morgan Chase, Fidelity Investments Ltd. and E*Trade Financial Corp. Some 83 million accounts were compromised in that breach, which affected accounts in 76 million households and seven million small businesses.

However, a source close to the case told Bloomberg News the FBI believes data stolen in the JP Morgan Chase hack may have been sought for promoting stocks through a massive spam campaign in the “pump and dump” scheme.

Murgio and Lebedev were also charged with using the bitcoins to purchase ransomware – a type of malware – and of using a fictitious organization (Collectible Club) to gain “beneficial control” over a small New Jersey-based credit union. The suspects allegedly used Collectible Club to “trick the major financial institutions through which they operated into believing their unlawful BitCoin exchange business was simply a members-only association of individuals who discussed, bought, and sold collectible items such as sports memorabilia.”

According to an affidavit submitted by FBI Special Agent Joey DeCapu, “the credit union normally handled the modest banking needs of a small group of primarily low-income residents and had little or no experience with the business of ACH processing.” Red flags were raised when the National Credit Union Association noticed the bank was processing more than $30 million a month in ACH transactions through the Credit Union account. NCUA put a stop to the processing and forced the removal of the new board members.

Hana Levi Julian

F.A.O. Schwarz Closing Flagship July 15 on NYC’s Fifth Avenue

Monday, July 6th, 2015

It’s the end of an era.

F.A.O. Schwarz on New York City’s Fifth Avenue is closing its doors because rising rent prices have finally exceeded even the fiscal ability of this iconic tribute to childish fantasies.

The brand itself will not die, according to Toys R Us, which bought out F.A.O. Schwarz in 2009.

However, the corporation has yet to find a new location for the toy store, hopefully a process that won’t take too long.

“In working with the property owner, the company was able to agree on an early exit in advance of the 2017 lease expiration, providing the opportunity to realize meaningful rent savings,” the company explained in a statement on its website. “As a result, we plan to formally close the Fifth Avenue location on Wednesday, July 15.

“The decision to vacate this space is due to the continuing rising costs of operating a retail location on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The company is committed to the FAO Schwarz brand and growing its legacy. In fact, it is actively searching for another location in midtown Manhattan where FAO Schwarz can welcome shoppers from around the world.”

It seems, however, that wherever that may be, it will be a somewhat smaller operation, according to the company’s statement.

“The company is working diligently to place as many full- and part-time team members as possible at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us locations in the greater New York/New Jersey area.”

The New York City flagship store on Fifth Avenue has for decades been a “must-see” stop on the tourist route in the Big Apple for visitors from around the world.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Follows US Lead on Hunting Citizens’ Foreign Assets

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Israelis who have not filled out forms for declaring their assets to the Israel Tax Authority and have unreported overseas bank accounts are being targeted, Globes reports, in ways mirroring the methods of the IRS and U.S. Treasury.

In an agreement reached between Israel’s Finance Ministry and the United States more than a year ago, the Israel Tax Authority agreed to report the accounts of U.S. citizens in Israel to the IRS. In exchange, the IRS agreed it “may” report on income in the accounts of Israelis in the United States.

The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) for “improving global tax enforcement” requires banks in dozens of foreign countries to collect and share private financial information about millions of Americans living and working outside the U.S.

Tens of thousands of Americans who came on aliyah fall into this category, and have since been warned by their banks they must fill out an annual IRS W-9 and “FBAR” (Foreign Bank Account Report.)

“The U.S. sent a delegation here, which examined our systems and information security and was very impressed,” said Israel Tax Authority head Moshe Asher in a speech this week to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP.)

Asher told participants at a business conference this week to expect more arrests of Israelis with unreported overseas assets.

According to the Tax Authority, there are Israelis who are holding an estimated NIS 50 billion in concealed capital in unreported accounts around the world. And after starting a war on illegal capital, Asher commented that the Tax Authority has already raised income tax revenue by NIS 3.5 billion over projected forecasts since the beginning of the year.

“Switzerland was once the world’s safe deposit box from which no information could be extracted,” Asher said.

But, “they have been forthcoming recently, even if in contravention of Swiss law… Inroads have been made in Swiss banking confidentiality – it’s like any other country now, subject to conventions and obligated to provide information.

“Secrecy is over: the world has become more transparent and much smaller… This is the time to come and make an arrangement for unreported capital, because the tax authorities will find it.”

Hana Levi Julian

Barak Invests $1 Million in Firm Linked to Military-Industrial Complex [video]

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Published on Jewish Business News
by Ilan Shavit

The start-up Reporty Homeland Security Ltd has taken a $1 million investment from Israeli former prime minister, former defense minister, and former IDF chief of staff Ehud Barak.

Reporty is developing a platform to transmit real-time emergency reports. The company says the investment is designed to accelerate the development, recruitment and continued distribution in 911-type agencies worldwide.

Founded in 2014, the company is well-connected within Israel’s military industrial complex and the politicians that receive their flowers via FTD: there’s CEO Amir Elihai, a former special forces officer, as was Barak. He has worked 10 years in security organizations and has extensive experience in venture capital in Israel; and Pinchas Bukhris, former defense ministry director general and former commander of the IDF cyber unit 8200, now a director at Reporty. Ehud Barak said in a Reporty press release statement: “Reporty provides an answer to the essential need of every citizen – a sense of security, based on immediate and easy access to emergency services, including municipalities, hospitals, airports, Police, Fire and Rescue, etc. “Reporty will provide a platform for control and reporting, including large masses while protecting the privacy of each citizen.” Each year emergency services in Israel and around the world receive hundreds of millions of calls, goes Reporty’s raison d’etre. The average conversation time is from two and three and a half minutes, during which the operator must quickly assess credibility of the report, the event’s location, and what resources are available for use. Despite the long time spent delineating the relevant information for decision-making, various organizations still report that between 20 and 30 percent of their calls turn out to be false alarms. Another critical aspect is the speed of detecting the location of the caller. In the US alone, about 10,000 people die annually due to authorities’ failure to identify the locations of reported emergencies.

Report aims to change the scene when it comes to communication between the reporting caller and the various authorities, by streamlining the process of reporting and receiving, saving on expenses, and, more importantly, saving lives. The new application works through a broadcast video in real time, which, with the click of a button, transmits two-way video and audio to the appropriate emergency center, including accurate data about the location and the report’s degree of credibility.

This article was written by Ilan Shavit

JBN / Jewish Business News

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/barak-invests-1-million-in-firm-linked-to-military-industrial-complex-video/2015/04/14/

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