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February 8, 2016 / 29 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Finance Minister Raises Number of Customs-Free Items

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has signed an order to exempt more food products and production items from customs fees upon their arrival in Israel.

In addition, existing exemptions have been extended, new exemptions have been added, and the “customs-free” imports quota has been expanded.

The moves are designed to ease future costs for Israeli business owners and increase their ability to compete in the international marketplace.

The Finance Ministry is beefing up efforts to maintain a healthy economy despite Israel’s somewhat sluggish growth rate earlier in the year.

Litzman Pressures Reluctant Hospitals to Shorten Wait for MRI Scans

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

At least two medical centers in Israel are locked in a power struggle with the Health Ministry over funding support for MRI procedures.

The number of MRI exams carried out in the afternoon and evening hours was seriously reduced beginning December 1 by the Clalit HMO at Beilinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah and Be’er Sheva’s Sorokah Medical Center, Galei Tzahal Army Radio reported Tuesday.

This, despite a reform announced by Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman that was supposed to sharply cut the long wait for such procedures.

Because the MRI machine-hours have been slashed in the afternoon and evening hours at the two hospitals, many clinics have been unable to schedule patients for MRI exams as well.

Officials blamed a lack of state funding was responsible for the cut in services.

“Unfortunately we ran out of funds to operate the second shift, so we were forced to reduce our services by 30 percent,” said a spokesperson for Beilinson Medical Center.

“Operating the MRI in afternoon and evening hours is only possible with funding from the state,” said Soroka Medical Center. “The budget just could not stretch far enough, and therefore our services were reduced.”

The Ministry of Health has responded that the “availability and quality of services in the health basket are dependent upon the financial situation of the specific health fund; the ministry will review the matter with the director-general.”

However, Litzman added bluntly that if the hospitals did not cooperate and shorten the wait for MRI exams, he would “not hesitate to cancel their arrangements of choice.”

Such arrangements refer to agreements between the HMOs and hospitals to determine which medical center receives patients for which particular treatment.

Such a decision can exert major influence on an institution’s economic development.

Bottom line: if the hospitals don’t step up and cooperate, the health ministry is not likely to provide them with the support they need for further growth — at least, as long as Ya’acov Litzman remains health minister.

Israel’s Balance of Payments Q3 / 2015: $3.8 Billion Surplus

Monday, December 14th, 2015

(JNi.media) According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s balance of payments for the third quarter of 2015 (July – September) looked positive, considering the current economic environment.

The data on the current account of Israel are a summary of the country’s balance of payments conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics at the end of the third quarter of 2015. The summary includes transactions of Israeli residents with foreign entities in four different accounts: the account of goods (exports imports), the services account (Exports Imports), the account of primary income (income from financial investments and wages per employee), and secondary income (current transfers of funds).

The current account surplus totaled $3.8 billion, following a surplus of $3.4 billion in the previous quarter.

The balance of goods and services amounted to a surplus of $2.5 billion, following a surplus of $1.8 billion in the previous quarter.

The Imports of goods and services decreased by 3.5% from the previous quarter to $20 billion.

The Exports of goods and services remained at a level similar to that of the previous quarter, totaling $22.5 billion.

Israeli residents’ investments in foreign tradable securities decreased by $100 million following continued increases since 2012.

Investments by foreign residents in negotiable Israeli securities decreased by $2.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2015, after rising by $6.7 billion in the three preceding quarters.

In the net external debt, the excess of assets over liabilities amounted to about $108 billion, compared with $92 billion in the same quarter the year before.

Current-account-by-components

1.7M Israeli Families Living Below Poverty Line

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Israeli children and families are paying the price — literally — of defense from Arab terrorism, as reflected in 2014 data released Wednesday.

According to the figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), 1.7 million Israelis are living in poverty — about 22 percent of the population — including 776,500 Israeli children.

The data appeared in the annual poverty report released Wednesday by National Insurance Institute head Professor Shlomo Mor Yosef and Social Services Minister Haim Katz.

The report, which quoted CBS data collected in 2014, showed that 1,709,300 people — including 444,900 families — are living below the poverty line.

A single individual is considered to be living below the poverty line with a monthly income of NIS 3,077 or $200 per week, give or take a few shekels. A family of five is classified “below the poverty line” at a monthly salary level of NIS 9,230 and under; a couple who earns less than NIS 4,923 per month is also living below the poverty line.

Approximately 17.5 percent of Israel’s poverty-stricken families are hareidi-religious Jews, according to the report, and the poverty rate in that sector of the population is a stunning 54.3 percent.

Despite the dark numbers, the growth in poverty appears to have slowed at least somewhat. The poverty line reported rose by 2.4 percent in 2014, as did the disposable median income per capita.

Nevertheless, the poverty severity index increased by 10 percent in 2014. It is worth pointing out that Israel was forced once again last year to arm and defend itself against thousands of rocket, missile and mortar attacks during the summer war with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group and its terrorist allies.

That nightmare not only cost the Jewish State billions of desperately-needed dollars; it also cost the country in terms of injured and severely, permanently traumatized children, their parents and other Israeli adults.

Economy Ministry Figures Show Rise in Hareidi Male Employment

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

In a new report, Israel’s Economy Ministry has released statistics showing that 49 percent of hareidi-religious men are now bona fide members of the working world, according to the Hebrew-language Kikar Shabbat website.

The finding is a quantum leap up from statistics of ten years ago, when only a third of the same population (33 percent of hareidi-religious males) had regular jobs.

At present, 74 percent of hareidi-religious women are employed as well.

In 2013, 43 percent of hareidi-religious men worked; the Economy Ministry hopes to see 63 percent of the population working by 2020.

It is important to note, however, there is great variance in the definition of who meets criteria for “hareidi-religious” in the Jewish world.

SanDisk to Open R & D Center in Israeli Arab City

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

The giant SanDisk flash-storage company has announced it will build a new research and development center in a northern Arab city, where dozens of Arabs will work.

The announcement comes at an opportune time. While Israeli Arab misfits riot and try to kill Jews, the majority are interested in a better social and financial life.

The new center will be located in Yafia, near the Lower Galilee city of Nazareth whose mayor earlier this week said he was fed up with loud-mouth Arab Knesset Members whose incendiary speeches incite others to terror.

He said they are ruining the city by scaring away thousands of Israeli Jewish shoppers.

SanDisk already employs approximately 650 people in Israel at its facilities in Kfar Saba, north of Tel Aviv, Omer, located north of Be’er Sheva, and Tefen in the northern Galilee.

The new center will attract Arabs from Haifa and Nazareth.

SanDisk Israel CEO Shahar Bar-or told Globes:

When we decided to establish the center six months ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the opening ceremony would take place at a time of tension and the recent events.

The integration of Arab engineers in the high-tech industry is now more important than ever. The main and most important reason is that the high-tech industry needs the capabilities and qualifications of the entire population in Israel, and we’re losing out on thousands of excellent Arab engineers.

The second reason is that only employment at high wages can bring about real integration of the Arab population in Israeli society.”

Another high-tech company located n the area is Galil Software, which has a stated goal of hiring Arab engineers.

Israeli Cabinet Approves Gas Deal With Noble Energy, Delek Ltd.

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Government ministers passed the long-awaited, controversial gas deal on Sunday afternoon, giving the Noble Energy and Delek Ltd. consortium the rights to the large gas fields they had discovered and begun to develop beneath the waters of the Mediterranean – while giving Israeli citizens a future income of hundreds of billions of shekels in the process.

“This money will benefit education, health, social welfare and other national needs,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“I would like to commend the work done by Minister Steinitz’s team which has led to a very significant reduction in the price the state will pay for gas and to other changes that will greatly improve the outline.

“I am not impressed by populism – to me it is only populism, even though people could possibly believe in what they are saying, but the country needs gas. Gas resources in our region will be developed, unfortunately, either way, and we need to see to it that our resources work at full capacity.

“We need to extract the gas from the sea,” Netanyahu went on.

“This decision is an important milestone. We are overcoming the obstacles step by step. This process will not be stopped,” he said, making an oblique reference to the myriad attempts by various groups to stymie the agreement that was finally approved.

“The gas will be extracted from the bottom of the sea and will reach Israeli citizens, Israeli industry and the Israeli economy – for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.

“Every objective test proves this outline is a significant improvement over the existing situation. But one more thing must be understood – it cannot be stopped.

“When the right thing needs to be done, and it is so crucial to Israel’s economy and strategic situation, that thing will not be stopped. They will look for another way to delay, another excuse, another reason – and that will not work.

This outline will pass one way or another, and it is about time that it does. The true interests of the State of Israel require the passage of this outline as quickly as possible.”

Negotiations between the government and the consortium comprised of Texas-based Noble Energy and the Israeli company Dekel Group Ltd. have been dragging on for months.

Israel’s Antitrust Authority last year decided the consortium could not continue operations as the sole owners and operators of the massive Leviathan gas field, and the somewhat smaller but also large Tamar gas field – both of which were discovered and have been developed at considerable expense by the group.

Gas has already been produced from the Tamar field since 2013. Leviathan is considered the largest discovery in the world in the past decade – and certainly the largest field in the Mediterranean.

Negotiations over how pricing will be set for gas in the domestic market and the prices and percentage of reserves to be exported had taken place for months between the government and the group – which has pointed out that without being able to recoup its investment and also to be able to make a profit, there is little point to continuing its operations in the area.

Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo threatened to resign in May over his opposition to what he insisted was the group’s monopoly over the Tamar and Leviathan fields.

The gas deal negotiated with the government this past week allows Delek Group – owned by Yitzchak Tshuva – to sell its holdings in the Tamar field, and also two smaller fields, Karish and Tanin, within six years. Noble Energy will gradually reduce its own holdings in Tamar to a maximum of 25 percent within six years as well. Prices for natural gas will be regulated by the government within that same six-year period as well.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-cabinet-discusses-hoped-for-gas-deal/2015/08/16/

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