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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘million’

Agreement Reached on PA $530 Million Electricity Debt

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Following a year-long negotiation, Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday signed an outline for the resolution of the latter’s debt to the Israel Electric Company as well as the reorganization of the PA energy market. As part of the outline, the PA will transfer to the IEC about $150 million, out of an overall accumulated debt of $530 million, in return for an Israeli agreement to forgive about $132 million in accumulated interest. The rest will be paid by the PA in 48 payments over the next four years.

The agreement was signed at the Government Compound in Tel Aviv, by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and the PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh.

The agreement places full responsibility for electric bills collection on the PA, which in the past rejected its responsibility for the debt, claiming it fell under the jurisdiction of local electricity distribution companies. This will enable the IEC to deal with just one PA customer, instead of the long list of power companies and individual clients it had been serving in the PA — and had difficulties collecting from. The mounting debt curbed the IEC’s capacity to develop and increase the power it was offering the PA economy. In fact, in an attempt to collect the debt, the IEC would initiate blackouts in various municipalities across the PA, and collected a portion of the taxes Israel collects for the PA on goods and income, which made things even worse for local economies and was fiercely criticized abroad.

Now Israel will pay the PA the more than $260 million it withheld on behalf of the IEC.

The Israeli Finance Ministry was delighted with the new agreement, stating that it will “establish a stable and fair commercial relationship between the IEC and the PA, introduce steps to guarantee full payment for future PA consumption, as well as facilitate new energy projects” for the economic development of the PA.

Minister Kahlon said at the signing that the new deal “will spare us many future disagreements and conflicts,” adding that “this is a first step on a long road and both sides are required to show dedication and decisiveness to complete the application of the outline.”

Minister Al-Sheikh said he hoped this negotiation would be one of many peace agreements between the PA and Israel.

JNi.Media

Israel Expected to Supply Additional 30 Million Cubic Meters of Water to PA

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

At the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, Israel’s representative, Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, reported the anticipated signing of an agreement by Israel to supply the Palestinian Authority with an additional 30 Million cubic meters of water (6,599,077,500 gallons) as part of the planned Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal.

All of which did not stop the PA representative from launching a sharp attack on Israel’s water policy.

David Israel

Israeli Satellite Company Sold to Chinese for $285 Million

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Beijing Xinwei Technology Group is buying Israeli Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd for $285 million, both companies announced last week. Spacecom operates the Amos-2, Amos-3 and Amos-4 communications satellites and is owned by Eurocom Group, which is controlled, in turn, by Shaul Elovitch, controlling shareholder of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication.

According to a press release statement, Beijing Xinwei Technology Group is buying Spacecom and will integrate it into an existing Luxembourg company called Luxembourg Space Telecommunication S.A., which will be the legal purchaser of Spacecom. After the acquisition is complete, Spacecom will become a private company, but its debentures will continue to be traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The merger requires shareholder and regulatory approval before it can be finalized. According to Space News, the transaction’s terms are pending the successful entry into service of Spacecom’s Amos-6 telecommunications satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and scheduled for launch Sept. 3 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The price being paid is a 30% premium on the share’s market price, according to Globes. The deal reflects a premium of 41 percent to Spacecom’s average stock price in the past month, according to Reuters.

Spacecom Chief Executive David Pollack said in a statement that the “global market of communication satellites is undergoing a consolidation process, enabling the merging companies to improve their competitiveness,” and so “further to contacts with various entities, the negotiations with the Beijing Xinwei Group matured into this transaction, reflecting a substantial premium on the market price.”

Pollack noted that “Beijing Xinwei is a strategic partner, expert in the field of telecommunication, planning to expand its business in the communication satellites field. The merger will provide the Company with financial strength, and will enable further development and growth. The transaction is performed in accordance with Space Communication’s license terms, stipulating, inter alia, that the satellites will be operated from Israel, and that the Company shall remain an Israeli company, regardless of the identity of the shareholders of the Company.”

JNi.Media

Knesset Committee Approves $80 Million to Support New Immigrants

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), on Monday approved the transfer of an additional $80 million to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, mainly for the purpose of finding housing solutions for elderly immigrants.

Some of the funds are designated for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.

Of the amount allotted, about $68 million are designated for housing solutions for elderly immigrants; $4 million for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants, including employment fairs and seminars for new immigrants, coupons for Hebrew lessons, absorption-related activities in local authorities, encouraging Aliyah abroad by strengthening the professional capabilities of potential olim, and adding more operators to the information call center for those interested in making Aliyah; $2 million for the implementation of the government’s decision to allow members of the Bnei Menashe community entry into Israel, and $1.3 million are designated for increasing the assistance provided to immigrant soldiers who are recognized by the IDF as lone soldiers or as soldiers who are eligible for family stipends.

JNi.Media

Lakewood Man Loses Bid to Change Guilty Plea in $200 Million Ponzi Scheme

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Eliyahu Weinstein, 41, a Lakewood man sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2014 for a Ponzi scheme that defrauded members of the Jewish Orthodox community of an estimated $200 million, on Friday lost his appeal to withdraw his guilty plea.

The new Weinstein plea argued that the federal judge who presided over his case, in which Weinstein admitted defrauding fellow Jewish investors on a Facebook initial public offering, was biased against the defendant because he was also involved in a case in which Weinstein pleaded guilty to a real estate scheme. Weinstein also accused his own lawyer in the 2014 Facebook IPO case of a conflict of interest because he had advised some of Weinstein’s investors, and feared his own prosecution. Weinstein’s new plea also argued that the Facebook case constituted double jeopardy.

On Friday, a three-judge panel with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Weinstein’s plea, finding that judge’s participation in the real estate scheme was too limited to suggest a bias and that Weinstein’s plea was based on “unsubstantiated hearsay.” The panel also absolved Weinstein’s original attorney of the accusation of conflict of interest, because when that lawyer was counseling clients on the IPO investment his assumption was that their money would be invested, not end up in Weinstein’s pocket. Which meant that the attorney had nothing to worry about and could represent Weinstein without fear for his own prosecution.

According to court documents, in February 2012 Weinstein and two co-conspirators offered two investors a chance to purchase large blocks of Facebook shares before the initial IPO in May 2012. Between February and March of 2012 the two “Facebook victims” wired millions of dollars to an account set up by Weinstein and a co-conspirator. That’s the last time they saw their money. Around the same time, Weinstein and his two co-conspirators talked the same investors into buying the Belle Glade Gardens apartment complex in Florida. The investors wired $2.83 million, of which Weinstein sent $1.8 million back to his victims as “return” on their Facebook investment. In July 2012, Weinstein scammed a different group of investors over purchasing seven condominiums in Florida at a discounted price of $3 million, and pocketed the money.

JNi.Media

MK Yogev: Out of Judea and Samaria Daily 1.98 Million Gallon Shortage, 1.1 Million Due to Arab Theft

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Affairs and Security in Judea and Samaria, headed by MK Mordhay Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi), on Monday discussed the problems of water supplies to Judea and Samaria.

“The authorities have ‘dried up’ the residents of Judea and Samaria – Jews and Arabs alike,” Yogev said at the opening of the meeting. “This committee deals with various infrastructure-related issues, but water is the most basic and important of them all, particularly when we’ve reached a point where there is a shortage of drinking water. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Water Authority have known for many years what needs to be done, but it has yet to be done. We must assume all the powers, initiate a ‘defensive shield’ of infrastructures and urgently implement a master plan to supply water to the population.”

According to data presented to the committee by Mekorot, the national water company of Israel is capable of supplying some 11.22 million gallons of water to the region daily, but the demand is for 12.76 to 13.2 million gallons daily; meaning, there is a daily water shortage of 1.5 to 1.98 million gallons. As a result, Mekorot has been forced to adjust its supply of water to the region and reduce the supply to each community, be it Jewish or Arab, by 15%.

The committee was also informed that some 1.1 Million gallons of water are stolen each day in Judea and Samaria through illegal connections to the area’s water infrastructure.

Yigal Lahav, head of Karnei Shomron Local Council, said, “For the past two years we have been receiving messages from Mekorot each morning telling us that there is no water in the pipes, and we have turned to all the relevant authorities. ‘Surprisingly,’ summer has arrived, the population is growing, and it is only getting warmer. This matter must be dealt with urgently and seriously.”

Water Authority Director Alex Kushnir said, “We must fight the thefts aggressively, as they are a major cause of the current crisis. To date, no indictments have been filed against water thieves. Force majeure is also at play in this crisis, because two projects which could potentially add more than 2.2 million gallons of water a day have been delayed. These projects would have resolved the current situation.”

“We took it upon ourselves to try and promote a master plan, though there is no statutory element which can currently provide a real forecast for population growth,” Kushnir noted. “The Water Authority does not have the power to give instructions beyond the Green Line, and I cannot force the Palestinians to convene the joint committee [on water], but I did meet with the Palestinian water minister, and he gave me information regarding their needs.”

MK Avi Dichter (Likud), chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, asked the government representatives who are responsible for the current situation and who is authorized to make decisions on the matter, and when he did not receive an answer, MK Yogev said that “the responsibility lies with the Minister of National Infrastructures and the Defense Minister, and from them down to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.”

Brigadier General Guy Goldstein, deputy Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said, “We operate only in accordance with the government’s instructions. There needs to be a diplomatic decision for the entire region that will make it clear to the Water Authority how to plan and provide solutions.”

Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, said, “My residents should not care that the State of Israel does not have the guts to stand up to the Palestinian Authority, which is not convening the joint water committee. The state must provide a solution for all our residents, in any way possible.”

JNi.Media

Government Approves $18.6 Million Transfer to Settlements

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

The government on Sunday approved a budget increase of $18.62 million to the settlements in Judea and Samaria in response to the new security situation. This amount will be added to the initial budget for the settlements of $88 million established in the coalition agreement between Habayit Hayehudi and Likud last year.

As the new decision puts it, “Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria have been experiencing unique security realities on a daily basis because of their geographic location and the quality of life in the area. Since the beginning of October 2015 there has been an escalation in the security situation in Judea and Samaria following the wave of terror attacks and additional terrorist activities. The security escalation influences a variety of areas of life, including psychological and sociological, and economic damage to businesses which require unique responses and services.”

The money will be transferred to the settlements from a variety of current budgets. The transfer will include a one-time award by the Interior Ministry to local municipal councils to the amount of $3.88 million, according to criteria that has been used in the past for security-related awards. Another $2.59 million will be paid out by the Ministry of Agriculture to a project converting structures into permanent housing units and renovating public structures in rural communities. And a total of $3.1 million will be used for the construction and operation of resilience centers, for enhanced welfare and social services, treatment of youth at risk, and support for businesses that were hurt by the security situation. The money for those programs will be taken out of the budgets of the ministries of education, finance, welfare, and health.

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) called the decision “enraging,” blaming the government for channeling money to the settlements at the expense of development towns on Israel’s geographic and social periphery. Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) argued that the budgetary boost was essential to the communities in need and would contribute greatly to the resilience of these communities. He said, “It is our duty to care for the communities that are on the frontline of the war against terror and are courageously facing complex security and social challenges.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/government-approves-18-6-million-transfer-to-settlements/2016/06/19/

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