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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘sector’

First Crisis for Yachimovich: Kibbutzim Threatening to Leave Labor

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

The kibbutz movement is threatening to sever its historical ties with the Labor Party before the upcoming elections. The reason: the recommendation of party Chair Sheli Yachimovich that in the primaries their sector will be unified with the moshavim sector.

The kibbutz and moshav movements have historically marked two distinct philosophies within the labor movement, and nowadays, despite privatization and many other changes both movements have undergone, they still view themselves as historically distinct and as such each deserving its own dedicated representation.

Should the Yacimovich proposal be accepted in a procedural vote at the party conference by the end of the month, it will guarantee both sectors only one Knesset seat, in place of the two seats which traditionally have gone to them. According to the kibbutz movement leadership, such a move may result in their abandoning the party with which they have been strongly identified over the years.

Hanik Marshak, secretary of the kibbutzim sector, was furious at the Yachimovich decision “We oppose such a move,” she told Maariv. “Consolidating seats might hurt the party in terms of its size and representation. The Labor Party should continue its tradition of many years and not change the procedure.”

Marshak also promised that if the issue is not resolved, the kibbutzim will consider the possibility of leaving the party. “We will assemble our sector’s institutions and come to a decision,” she said.

A source inside the Labor party estimated that if it loses the kibbutzim votes, this will mark the first crisis under the leadership of Yachimovich.

Today, according to estimates, the kibbutzim sector within the Labor party holds about 7,000 registered voters. In past years, the same sector boasted as many as 15 thousand voters.

Last election the Labor Party lost its traditional control over the kibbutzim to Kadima. Labor, then still under the leadership of Ehud Barak, received the support of 30.6 percent of the kibbutzim voters, compared with 31.1 percent that went to Tzipi Livni’s party.

An old joke best explains the distinction between a kibbutz and a moshav: if a kibbutznik had enough, he’ll probably move to a moshav (easier communal rules); but if a moshavnik had enough – he sure as heck is not moving to a kibbutz (even more stringent communal rules).

Now it appears the entire kibbutz movement might be moving – but probably not to a moshav…

Which Mutual Fund Should You Buy?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Unsurprisingly, as a financial adviser, one of the questions that I hear the most frequently with regard to mutual funds is, “Which one?” This is because there are so many mutual funds, from foreign funds to socially responsible funds. Therefore, any investor who wants to buy a mutual fund may be paralyzed by the variety of choices available.

Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. Growth funds – These tend to focus on stocks that may not pay a regular dividend but have the potential to generate large capital gains.

2. Income funds – As their name may suggest, these funds hold stocks that pay out a regular dividend.

3. Index funds – These follow the progress of a particular market index, such as Dow Jones or the S&P 500, and are invested in all or some of the companies that are on that particular index.

4. Sector funds – These specialize in a certain segment of an industry, and therefore these funds are invested in companies belonging to that specific sector.

So which of these is the best for you? Obviously, that is a very individual question as every investor is different. Before you make your decision, you need to take a look at your current circumstances as well as your life goals. What is your level of risk tolerance? How close are you to retirement? How much money do you have to invest? Also, be wary if you own more than one mutual fund that the contents of your mutual funds don’t overlap. If they do, owning the same stock(s) in several funds may negate your aim of diversification.

The best funds for you are the ones that are the most appropriate to your personal needs and conditions. To learn more about how to effectively use mutual funds in your portfolio, go to www.learnaboutinvestments.com.

New Israeli Haredi Consumer Is Savvy, Wielding Purchasing Power of $2.6 Billion

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Haredi consumers are not, by and large, part of Israel’s social protest movement, but their shopping savvy, it turns out, according to Globes, is evolving constantly.

“The Haredi consumer pays less for the same product” as his or her non-Haredi counterpart, says Ronen Gross, host of a daily show on finance titled “Mamonot” on the Radio Kol Chai station. This is because commercial vendors speak to Haredi consumers “at pocket level.”

Gross says that the Haredi consumer “examines with a microscope the price of each item, and has no problem skipping from one supermarket to another if they knows the same product is cheaper there. Every shekel is calculated.”

Gross argues that the fact that the Haredi consumer prefers to sign checks using the Hebrew date, in the end the Jewish holidays guide their decision on when to buy a new product and when it is discouraged by Jewish tradition to do so.

During periods in which tradition demands a particularly sober and restrained behavior, in memory of past troubles, Haredi consumers purchase mostly just basic goods.

“The Jewish calendar leads the Haredi pocket,” says Gross, commenting that “In general, the first priority is not money, but values and faith.”

But other elements in the Haredi sector insist that the consumption habits of the ultra-Orthodox society are starting to resemble those of secular society. Haredim take a vacation once a year, buy brand names and drink quality wine.

Yaakov Stern, CEO of Haredi ad agency “Meimad,” told Globes: “There is something new under the Shtreimel. The Haredi sector is dynamic, it isn’t not stagnant and it isn’t shut off in the past, as is commonly believed. Global trends do not skip it. The Haredi world is changing and its consumer behavior evolves constantly.”

Stern added that despite the stigmas attached to them, “the average Haredi is not just looking for cheap prices. They are aware of and consume brand name products, and will not compromise on quality.”

According to accounting firm BDO Ziv-Haft, the purchasing power of the ultra-Orthodox sector, which constitutes 11.3% of Israel’s population, is estimated at 10.5 billion shekel, or $2.6 billion per annum. With such buying power, it’s no wonder that commercial companies have been investing considerable resources and strategic efforts in the Haredi consumer in recent years.

Stern told Globes that Haredi consumers trust their newspapers, and so print ads yield good results. But some argue that the best Haredi promotion is still “AAA”—acronym for Isha Achat Amrah—This woman told me, meaning word of mouth.

But according to Stern, despite those quaint assertions, the Haredi advertising market rolls $184 million annually, reflecting an increase of 12.5% compared with 2010.

No one beats the Haredi consumer for brand loyalty, even if said brand is more expensive that newer alternatives. In 2010, the newspaper Ha’Mevaser published a survey showing that 38% of Haredi consumers said they prefer Coca Cola as their soft drink. Only 8% said they prefer a cheaper brand.

And 68% preferred the well established brand Osem for their snacks, compared with 18% that went with a cheaper brand.

Retailers agree the Haredi consumer is evolving. Avishai Fadlon, owner of apparel store “El Nino” in prestigious Herzliya, told Globes that “Haredim still buy white shirts, but the symbol on the shirt, the brand, has become important. If three years ago they would have bought three shirts for 100 shekels, today many are willing to pay 300 shekels for one name brand shirt.”

Doreen Trotzmn – Baruch, owner of the wig brand “Doreen wigs,” asserts that “in the past two years, awareness of quality wig which are more expensive has increased. Today, Women are willing to spend on a wig from 6,000 ($1,500) to 12,000 shekel ($3,000), and replace it every year or two, based on fashion, which was not the case five years ago.”

Haredi consumer savvy is reflected in the search for different ways to reduce the cost of goods, by joining clubs and organizing on a community basis.

“Every Haredi community Tzedaka Gabais, social activists, if you will, who obtain consumer goods, especially food, at good prices, by buying directly from the manufacturer,” Chaim Kliger, chief marketing officer for the newspaper Hamevaser and presenter of the “Friday Night” program on Radio Kol Chai, told Globes.

Kliger says you can always find classified ads that read: “Next week there will be a sale of meat,” and then “a truck will arrive at a particular location, where the driver will sell the reduced price products. Many come by and save as much as 30%,” Kliger says, adding, “this selling method is in high gear before the holidays.”

Another way to buy cheaply is offered by the “TaTim,” the Tomchay Torah – supporters of Torah organizations. According to Kliger, “these are organizations of yeshiva students who manage to obtain clothing and footwear for their fellow yeshiva students, especially young men who are about to get married, at cheap rates of as much as 40% below store prices. Before the holidays it becomes a whole industry.”

The “Chinese auctions,” so popular in Orthodox communities in the U.S., have found their way to Israel, too. These are sales fairs, organized by various charity organizations, which raffle off electric appliances, furniture and baby products.

According to Globes, Israeli Haredim remain frugal in one notable area: vacation. Only 10.9% of the Haredi population have opted to travel abroad for their vacations in 2010, compared with 47% who vacationed in Israel. At the same period, 43.6% of secular Israelis vacationed abroad, and 59.8% vacationed in Israel.

Postcards from Hell – The Face of Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

“Gaza is the largest Palestinian city, roughly 500,000 in the metro area, out of 850.000 altogether in the province of Gaza. In 2009 the total population of the Gaza Strip was estimated in 2009 at 1,600,000.”

We Google-translated the above from رحلة سياحية لغزة (Tourist Trip to Gaza), which is part of the Tourism section of a website belonging to a radio station named “Sun.” The section on Gaza encourages tourism to the city which has been associated in popular public opinion with images of starving refugees huddled in shacks under daily Zionist air raids.

Sun is a regular radio broadcast of the Arab minority in Israel since 2003. Its slogan is: “Free Radio, modern Radio.” It says it represents the generation that no longer accepts being second class citizens in Israel. It is open to liberals who dare to break all political or social taboos. It also works to challenge the institution of the state and at the same time to build bridges of understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs.

The “Visit Gaza” section is current, and offers stunning images of Gaza City, a beautiful and vivacious place that could easily compete with many Israeli beach towns, including my own gorgeous city of Netanya.

So, all we have left to do is to take you on a tour of Gaza, and for the fun of it, we’ll add to these fabulous images quotes from two sources about conditions in this lovely city by the sea, UNRWA and the PA. In the end there’s a video you don’t want to miss. Enjoy!


As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


The report concludes that 90% of Gaza water is unfit to drink. The reasons behind this deteriorating situation, the writer of the report believes, are the racist policies of occupation, the latest war on Gaza , the siege, and the division and its impact on society and education, which resulted in 45% of unemployed graduates. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)


The Refugees’ Affairs Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) published a report detailing the conditions of Palestinian refugees, living in the Gaza Strip. The report compares the conditions of refugees in 2012 and 2006. The report writer, Ala’a Abu-Diaa, states that refugees’ conditions are deteriorating, in relation to housing and lands’ price, which doubled in the last five years. The rate of exports decreased 80% compared to the pre-siege period. Gazans found refuge, the report continues, in tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt. (Gaza Under Attack, Refugees Deteriorating Conditions)


The UNRWA report finds that the private sector was particularly badly hit compared to the government sector.
In the second half of 2010 businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, a decline in employment of nearly 8 per cent relative to the first half of the year. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent during the same period. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


Human rights activists have criticized the international community for its silence on the flagging Gaza economy that has been shattered by the siege and the 22-day Israeli assault on the Gazans at the turn of 2009. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


“Over a million refugees in Gaza live in hard conditions in several camps across the strip and are dependent on assistance provided by the UNRWA,” the report said. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


The UN agency needs to build 100 schools and 10,000 housing units in addition to a number of health centers but these have been severely hampered by Israeli siege of the strip. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)


Successive UN human rights chiefs have slammed Israel’s illegal settlement plans, its Gaza blockade and the building of an apartheid wall across Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank among other things. (UNRWA)

Refugees are still going through endless crisis, beginning with electricity and including fuel, which affect all walks of life in the besieged coastal enclave. The newly published report states that over 70% of refugees depend mainly on aid delivered by UNRWA.

And Now, for a Video We Like to Call:

Gazans who have been under Israeli blockade for several years have been largely dependent on food supplies, goods and fuel brought in via the tunnel. (UNRWA: Gaza blockade anniversary report)

Will Obama Destroy Socialism?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/will-obama-destroy-socialism.html

You can make corncob pipes, eighteen wheel trucks or microprocessors– but you can’t make jobs. Jobs are not a commodity or a service. They cannot be created independently through a job creating program. Rather they are the side-effect of a working economy. Trying to short circuit the economy with job creation programs is like trying to run a fruit orchard by neglecting the trees and instead buying fruit at inflated prices to resell to your customers at a lower price. It’s feasible, but not sustainable.

The government can promote job creation through subsidized education and training, but there is a ceiling on such efforts, since government programs still have to be paid for through taxation. It can encourage companies to do business locally through tax breaks, though this is an admission that the tax rates are an obstacle to job growth. But what it cannot do is create jobs out of whole cloth. Except for government jobs.

Just about anyone in the White House this term would have launched job creation programs. And like most such efforts they would have been a wash. But Barack Hussein Obama’s approach was different in that he did not even pretend to make the effort. His economic programs went by business friendly names, but invariably turned out to be concerned with only one kind of job creation. The creation of public sector jobs.

The spoils system has a long history in American politics, but it was never as spoiled as all this. There is no parallel in American history for the spoils system being used not just to rotate out supporters of the old administration and replace them with your lackeys, but to hijack the economy as your own spoils system to the tune of trillions of dollars.

Obama responded to an economic crisis by working to create two kinds of jobs. Government and union jobs. This was not about anything as simple as rewarding his supporters. The Black community got very little in exchange for supporting him. The Hispanic community similarly ended up with some token appointments, but not much to show for it. This was about shifting jobs from the private sector into the public sector and its feeders. To manufacture the types of jobs that feed money back into the Democratic party and expand the scope of the government bureaucracy.

No previous administration has as thoroughly disdained and tried to crush the private sector. But then none of them were nearly as clueless or irresponsible when it come to basic economics. The Democrats who had spent eight years mocking Reaganomics, practiced a Krugmanonics that treated money like an imaginary number. In Krugmanomics wealth is created through spending, and poverty is created by practicing wise fiscal management. The whole premise of Krugmanomics makes no sense, unless you have already decided that the private sector is a mythical beast with no room in the socialist bestiary.

This wasn’t even Keynesian, it most closely resembled the Bolshevik radicalism that destroyed the Russian economy, right down to the belated realization that only by assigning some limited role to the private sector could the situation be salvaged. Obama’s pre-election turn echoes Lenin’s New Economic Program. But like Lenin, Obama hasn’t embraced the free market. All he has done is tried to retreat to it after the spend and burn economics of his brightest radicals had ignited too much public fury.

Obama has only one idea. The same one idea that the left has beaten into the ground repeatedly. The monopolization of power. This monopolization is disguised behind organizations claiming to represent the people, community activists, unions and public interest lobbies, whose only message is the vital necessity of a government monopoly in every economic area of life.

It’s the old Soviet strategy writ large. Every red error brought back to life and pushed forward with cunning and brute force, but no understanding of why it failed last time around. The slower transition of Wells’ “Open Conspiracy” does not make them any better at running a country, than the radical armed revolts of the Bolsheviks did. Repeating the same mistakes at 1/20th the speed does not lead to a better outcome. Only to more chances to see that they are going the wrong way.

Government Job Cuts to Pay for Gas Tax Reduction

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced before pesach that he would lower the gas taxes by 15 agurot. However, he waited until no one was paying attention – due to the media focus on the Machpela House incident with Defense Minister Barak – to announce that 2% of government jobs would be cut in order to fund the tax reduction. Netanyahu explained that lowering taxes means shrinking the government, and, this time, cutting taxes means cutting public sector jobs. He emphasized that no one needs to be fired if enough workers embrace early retirement or quit, but conceded that this means the ministries will not be hiring for a long time.

Among those affected are the Justice Ministry, which will lose 134 jobs, Homeland Security Ministry (77), Health Ministry (48), Defense Ministry (45), Education Ministry (43), Industry and Trade Ministry (37), Prime Minister’s Office (35), Welfare Ministry (19), State Comptroller (12), and the President’s Office, which will need to lay off one worker.

There will be many exemptions. Minority workers will keep their jobs, since the government must reach its target of a 10% employment rate of affirmative action groups in the public sector by the end of 2012. In addition, pressure from various groups has succeeded in exempting soldiers, policemen, doctors and nurses in hospitals, and teachers from the cuts.

Netanyahu is known to be a master spin-doctor, and the way he managed to cut public sector jobs by 2% under everyone’s noses will surely be added to his list of spin-doctor achievements.

General Strike in Israel Still Planned for Wednesday

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz met on Tuesday and scheduled another meeting later in the day in attempts to avert a general strike that is threatening to shut down the economy, the government, and transportation hubs.

The Histadrut – the labor federation representing public sector workers in Israel – is demanding that the government hire contracted workers so that their conditions are on par with government employees. The strike will commence at 6:00 am.

“The only weapon workers have is the weapon of a strike,” said Eini.

“The strike is unnecessary and would have enormous consequences on the economy,” a finance ministry spokeswoman said. Estimates are that the strike will cause economic damage of around $500 million a day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/general-strike-in-israel-still-planned-for-wednesday/2012/02/07/

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