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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘report’

Global Competitiveness Report Gives Israel High Marks for Innovation [video]

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Each year, the World Economic Forum releases its Global Competitiveness Report, examining data on the soundness, resilience, sophistication and innovation of businesses in each country to compile evaluations of the economy of 138 countries, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

The 2016-2017 edition highlights that declining openness is threatening growth and prosperity. It also highlights that monetary stimulus measures such as quantitative easing are not enough to sustain growth and must be accompanied by competitiveness reforms. Final key finding points to the fact that updated business practices and investment in innovation are now as important as infrastructure, skills and efficient markets.

“Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

On the Global Competitiveness Index for 2016–2017, Israel is ranked in 24th place, behind Switzerland, Singapore, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong and Japan, and directly behind Ireland in 23rd place. In last year’s report, Israel was ranked 27th. UAE in 16th place and Qatar in 18th are the other two Middle Eastern countries in the top 25, but for Qatar the ranking represents a 4-point drop from last year’s report.

Among other areas, the World Economic Forum looks at innovation, taking into account the quality of scientific research, company spending on Research and Development, ties between academia and industry, the number of patents, and the number of engineers and scientists in each country. In the index for innovation and sophistication factors, Israel is ranked in 2nd place (the US is 4th), with Switzerland in first place.

In innovation capacity, Israel is 9th, Switzerland 1st, the US 6th.

In business dynamism, Israel is ranked 19th, right behind Canada (the US is in first place, Germany 10th).

The most problematic factors for doing business in Israel, according to the report (in descending order): inefficient government bureaucracy, high tax rates, policy instability, an inadequately educated workforce, problems in access to financing, excessive tax regulations, and restrictive labor regulations.

Israel’s least problematic issues: little corruption (who would have thunk, right?), capacity to innovate (there’s plenty), work ethic in national labor force (Israelis work like horses), crime and theft (very low), inflation (non-existent), and public health (Israel has one of the best public health programs in the West).

According to the International Monetary Fund, Israel’s GDP is $296.1 billion, GDP per capita $35,343.3

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to experience significant instability in geopolitical and economic terms as spillover effects from the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen are undermining economic progress in the entire region.

Instability is also being created by the uncertain future of energy prices after recent falls, which affect the region’s countries in different ways. Oil-exporting countries—which include Algeria (87th), Bahrain (48th), the Islamic Republic of Iran (76th), Kuwait (38th), Oman (66th), Qatar (18th), Saudi Arabia (29th), the United Arab Emirates (16th), and Yemen (138th)—are experiencing lower growth, higher fiscal deficits, and rising concerns about unemployment. Growth in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies averaged 5.2 percent between 2000 and 2012, but fell to 2.5 percent in 2015. The forecast for 2016 is also 2.5 percent, and rising oil supplies are  expected to keep prices low and limit growth expectations for the coming years.

JNi.Media

Report: US, Egypt, Asking PA Not to Approach UN Security Council before US Elections

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The US and Egypt, which is a temporary member of the UN Security Council, have recently passed on messages to the Palestinian Authority leadership asking them not to promote any move against Israel until after the Nov. 8 elections in the US, Ha’aretz reported, citing a senior PA source. The source claimed there have been several messages, direct and indirect—through Arab and Western go-betweens, warning that the US would veto any anti-Israel move initiated prior to the elections, including condemnation of the settlement enterprise.

The source noted that, despite their “dissatisfaction” with these requests, the PA leadership will restrain itself and avoid any UNSC move until after the elections. However, as soon as voting in the US is over, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is determined to accelerate his plan to promote an anti-settlements vote at the council, the source said. The same PA official admitted, however that “so far there has been no agreement on the final draft and we are not clear what the American position would be.”

Sources inside Abbas’s office have told Ha’aretz that the chairman’s recent contacts with US officials, including a meeting with Sec. John Kerry, have not created the impression that the Administration is planning to initiate a UNSC move, or even support another member country’s initiative. “We have no illusions or expectations that the Americans would not veto or torpedo a proposal submitted to the UNSC,” a senior Palestinian official said. “We also haven’t heard of an outline being worked on or any proposal to be put forth in the future. All we hear are ideas.”

A month ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “hoped” President Obama would not seek to establish a Palestinian state at the UN. Asked if Obama had promised him that he would not seek to establish a state of Palestine without Israel’s cooperation before the end of his term in January, Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post: “If you’re asking if he spoke to me about this, the answer is no. If you’re asking me if I am hoping that he won’t do this, the answer is yes.”

JNi.Media

Report: ISIS Launching Suicide Attacks on Allied Forces Fighting to Retake Mosul

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

In a statement released online after the beginning of the Kurdish and Iraqi assault on Mosul in northern Iraq, ISIS has claimed that it is launching deadly suicide car bomb attacks against the invaders.

More than two years after ISIS forces had entered the city of Mosul, Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have begun their attack to recapture the city. Fears of an impending humanitarian crisis have already created more refugees, with only about one million civilians estimated to remain in the city, out of a population of two and a half million.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the assault in a televised address on Monday, announcing, “Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh (ISIS).”

With US air power, Iraqi forces are still keeping their distance from Mosul itself and are expected to lay siege before directly engaging the jihadists. The terrorist forces are vastly outnumbered, with only an estimated 8,000 warriors in the city and surrounding area.

David Israel

Report: Israel to Purchase New German Submarines Targeting Iran, Syria

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Israel and Germany have begun top echelon political and security negotiations of the purchase of new Dolphin class submarines, Israel Defense reported Friday. The IDF’s five-submarine fleet, its most expensive weapons system, is its longest arm in a potential war with a nuclear Iran. The purchase of the sixth submarine was an option that was part of the 2012 deal signed between the two countries, with Germany paying for about a third of the cost of each sub — $180 million out of half a billion dollars.

In the past the IDF’s strategic thinking regarding the submarine fleet was in dispute between former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert accused Barak of planning to buy a sixth submarine not because this was what the IDF needed (then Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was vehemently against such a purchase) but because the Germans bribed him. Eventually, it was Olmert who ended up being sentenced to prison over  taking a bribe. Takes one to know one?

The reason Lieut. Gen. Ashkenazi was against the deal was that it was being paid for out of the shekel part of the IDF budget, rather than the US aid dollars.

As the new Dolphin class submarine arrives, in 2018, one of its older sisters will be decommissioned. Despite past IDF reluctance, the Israeli Navy has now developed a five-submarine strategy, and will buy two more new Dolphins to replace older ones, all with German subsidies.

The diesel-electric Dolphin 2-class submarines, developed and constructed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG for the Israeli Navy, are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II. Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes, as well as cruise missiles with a range of 930 miles. This means the Israeli subs can hit anywhere in Iran should the need arise, including with nuclear warheads.

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Dolphin class submarines are nuclear armed, offering Israel a sea based second strike capability, in case its own territory had been struck by nuclear weapons and its land bases had been destroyed. It could still wipe out Iran, for instance.

Most of Israel’s Dolphins are normally based in the Mediterranean, but at least one was sent through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea for exercises in June 2009, and docked in the naval base in Eilat, probably as a warning to Iran. According to Haaretz, the Eilat naval base is strategically unsuited for Dolphin class boats, and getting them out of the Red Sea at a time of war would necessarily involve the consent of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who both control the Straits of Tiran.

According to The London Sunday Times, the Israeli Navy keeps at least one submarine equipped with nuclear missiles permanently of the Lebanese and Syrian coast.

David Israel

New Report Claims Missing IDF Officer Ron Arad Died Shortly After Being Captured

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

IDF Intelligence and the Mossad have submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two separate reports regarding the fate of the missing Air Force navigator Ron Arad, Channel 2 News reported Monday night. According to the reports, based on an extensive examination of the entire body of information regarding the missing airman, including new information that appeared over the past two years, Arad died after his first few years in captivity.

Lieutenant Colonel Ron Arad, born in 1958, has been officially classified as missing in action since October 16, 1986, when he and pilot Yishai Aviram were on a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon, Lebanon. A bomb dropped by their F-4 plane exploded prematurely, causing damage to the aircraft and forcing both crewmen to eject. Aviram was located by an Israeli Cobra and escaped by clinging to one of its landing skids as it flew away under heavy enemy fire. Arad was captured by the Lebanese movement Amal.

Arad was brought to Beirut where he was held by then-head of security of Amal, Mustafa Dirani. Amal chief Nabih Berri announced that he was holding Arad, and proposed an exchange for Shiite and Lebanese prisoners held in Israel.

In 1987, three letters in Arad’s handwriting and two photos of a bearded Arad were received, proving he was still alive. The Israeli government negotiated for his release, but talks failed in 1988. From that point on no credible information about Arad has been received, while many unsubstantiated claims of his whereabouts are still being made.

Israeli commandos captured Hezbollah member Abdel Karim Obeid in 1989, and Mustafa Dirani in 1994,  and interrogated both of them about Arad’s fate. Dirani reportedly disclosed that in May 1988 Arad was turned over first to a Hezbollah unit and then to Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who may have taken him to Iran. Obeid and Dirani were released in 2004 as part of a prisoner exchange.

The IDF wanted to declare Arad as a fallen soldier whose burial-place is unknown, based on information funneled from Iran through a German source. But the navigator’s family rejected the idea, refusing to accept anything other than hard evidence. Several committees that examined the information regarding Arad have concluded the chances that he is alive are miniscule, but were not able to offer a conclusive statement.

The Israeli government has spent millions on the search for Arad, and offered a $10 million reward to anyone who could provide reliable new information. The family is no longer pressuring the military to keep up the search for their loved one, and the Born Free association that had been set up to look for Arad was dissolved back in 2012.

JNi.Media

Bank of Israel: New Year’s Financial Report Card Has Good Grades, No Change in Interest Rate

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Israel’s financial report card as the country enters the new Jewish year, 5777, featured a lot of very good grades.

The Bank of Israel announced it will keep the interest rate unchanged at 0.1 percent for the month of October.

The inflation rate as measured by the change in the Consumer Price Index over the past 12 months was -0.7 percent, compared with -0.6 percent in the 12 months ending in July.

According to the second estimate of National Accounts data for the second quarter, the GDP grew by 4.0 percent (compared with 3.7 percent in the first estimate) (seasonally adjusted annual data), and exports (excluding diamonds and startups) grew by 10.9 percent (compared with 5.7 percent in the first estimate.)

The Labor Force Survey data for August indicate that the unemployment rate among Israelis ages 25 to 64 remained at 4.0 percent. The job vacancy rate increased to a record high of 4.0 percent (seasonally adjusted) in August.

However, the price of homes increased by 0.1 percent in June-July. Over the 12 months ending in June-July, home prices increased by 6 percent, as compared to the increase of 7 percent in the 12 months ending in May-June.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: US Jewish Donors Mostly Avoid Trump, Favor Clinton

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The website FiveThirtyEight, whose Editor in Chief Nate Silver is possibly the most trusted odds maker in North America, published a report Wednesday suggesting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is being abandoned by Jewish donors. To measure the relationship between Republicans and Jewish supporters, FiveThirtyEight took in data about campaign contributors, because there’s no other reliable way to measure Jewish voting, seeing as Jews make less than 2% of the US population, so that in a representative sample of 1,000 Americans, which is the accepted norm, you get about 20 people who say they are Jewish, and so pollster don’t really have enough to work with on Jewish voters, except for their donations. The AJC poll released last week claimed to offer reliable information on Jewish voter behavior, but one poll does not a reliable behavior reflect.

The FiveThirtyEight authors were hoping that Studying Jewish political contributors would offer a “useful signal,” because, while they may be an insignificant percentage of the population, Jews make up a much larger share of campaign contributors. So that if one discerned a significant swing in their donation behavior, one might assume the entire tribe is reacting in a similar fashion.

So they looked at every contribution of more than $200 to a federal candidate, in data provided by Catalist, a political data vendor which offers reasonably reliable estimates on whether a US voter is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist or other. Jews are easier to verify this way, because they often have recognizable names and live in geographic clusters. Yes, Upper West Siders, we mean you, but we don’t mean you, former Senator William Cohen of Maine.

Now the results: in 2012, about 70% of Jewish money and Jewish votes (the total given was $160 million) went to President Obama. But in 2016, out of the $95 million given to presidential campaigns so far by Jewish donors, according to FiveThirtyEight, 84% went to Democrats, only 16% to Republicans, including all 16 losers in the primaries. Meanwhile, discounting the Jewish money donated to primary losers, 95% of all Jewish contributions went to Clinton.

But here is the result that’s the most devastating in terms of Jewish support for Trump: as a percentage of all contributors, Jews made up 18% of Obama’s donors and 7% of Romney’s donors in 2012. In 2016, 20% of Clinton’s donors are probably Jewish, only 3% of Trump’s donors have stood at Mount Sinai.

With such a dramatic shift in numbers, assuming they are reliable (having been following Nate Silver for a while, we believe they are), we can’t discount as “leftists” all the Jews who are sending their $200 donations to Clinton, because they probably aren’t. It’s safer to say that Donald Trump has yet to convince Jewish voters that they can trust him as leader of the free world. They barely trust Hillary, for that matter.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-us-jewish-donors-mostly-avoid-trump-favor-clinton/2016/09/22/

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