Tel Aviv, March 14 2017 – Today, Tuesday March 14, the first pop-up hotel of its kind in the world opened in a lifeguard tower on Tel Aviv beach. The hotel opening is part of an international campaign by the Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality #TAKEME2TELAVIV, which invites tourists to enjoy a unique experience in the city. The lifeguard tower, which is located on Frishman Beach, was inaugurated by the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai and the Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi.


Over the past month, under the direction of “Brown Hotels” Urban Collection lead designer Aline Langlieb and graffiti artist Edgar Rafael, the lifeguard tower was transformed into a one-one-of-its-kind oceanfront hotel suite, complete with luxurious space and amenities, including a pampering shower, personal butler, breakfast, and room service


Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai: “As with other areas, so it is with tourism in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo – it was and always will be creative and ground-breaking. This lifeguard tower is an amazing opportunity to come and enjoy the city and our wonderful beach. I am sure that the guests in the lifeguard tower will share their impressions of the city with their friends all over the world”.


Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi: “In recent years, the Tourism Ministry has gone through a transformation in marketing and today we are working in new niche markets and using very creative ideas, out of an understanding that the creativity is the name of the game in the world of marketing. Thanks to Tourism Ministry investment and the optimum weather that Israel has to offer throughout the year, there is significant interest in the lifeguard tower campaign that has received more than 300 million views and more than a million clicks since the campaign began. This is part of the Two Cities One Break campaign that encourages tourism to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and we will continue the marketing momentum in accordance with the policies and increased budgets that Tourism Minister Levin has secured.”


From March 14 – April 4, the lifeguard tower hotel suite will host influencers and winners in the international competition that was run in cooperation with Competition participants were asked to upload a photo of themselves, wearing the beach gear that they would bring with them, and taken against the background of their home town, carrying a sign that reads #TAKEME2TELAVIV. The first Lifeguard Tower guests (seen in the photos) are Sandra Lechner and Izabella Meczykowska from the website


The winners will be flown to Israel for a four-day vacation, staying in the lifeguard tower for the first night and in a Brown Collection Hotel for the remaining two nights.



Photo  Guy Yehieli









Jerusalem. February 26th, 2017 – The new R&D agreement signed during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia between the Israeli government and the federal administration in Australia is expected to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and enable companies from Israel and Australia to receive funding for joint projects in research and development. This agreement comes in addition to existing cooperation agreements with Australian states – one with Victoria and another with New South Wales.


The entities in charge of the agreement are the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist) and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in Australia.


“The agreement constitutes a landmark in deepening ties between Israel and Australia,” said Avi Luvton, director of the Asia Pacific Department at the Israel Innovation Authority. “Programs like this, enabling the private sector to receive financial support for joint projects, are significant for promoting cooperation on innovation. Until today, we have operated cooperation programs with the State of Victoria and New South Wales, but we are proud to expand our plans to the federal level via this agreement enabling support for joint projects between Israeli companies and companies from all across Australia.”


The Israel Trade Commissioner to Australia, Ethy Levy, who has worked tirelessly to promote the agreement, said she was certain the federal industrial R&D agreement will contribute significantly to the quality of cooperation between the two countries.


Trade between Israel and Australia stands at $1.1 billion annually. In 2016, Israel exported goods and services to Australia worth $700 million.


Over the past two years, there has been significant development in trade ties between Israel and Australia as part of the recognition that Israeli innovation has much to contribute to Australian industry. As part of its innovation program, Australia has opened five international centers to bolster its innovation ecosystem. The first one announced by the Australian Prime Minister is the “Landing Pad” in Tel Aviv.

More than 30 Australian business delegations visited Israel in 2016, including delegations from leading Australian companies that have recognized that Israeli innovation and technological development can constitute engines of growth for them.


An interesting phenomenon that may significantly strengthen economic ties between the countries is the listing of Israeli technology companies on the Australian stock exchange.


Over the past year, nine Israeli companies held public offerings on the Australian stock market (ASX) and today 12 Israeli companies or companies with R&D activity in Israel are traded there, putting Israel in sixth place among foreign countries with companies traded there. Most of these Israeli companies have raised far more capital than they expected and these results may encourage additional Israeli companies to consider this route. There are currently 15 companies considering issuing on the ASX and the assessment is that at least three of them will offer in the coming months. In light of this development, a visit by the directors of the ASX to Israel is expected to take place in Q2 of 2017.


Over the past two years there has been a significant rise in economic activity between the two countries and more than 20 Israeli companies now have representation in Australia or have expanded their personnel stationed in the country.


Bilateral trade between Israel and Australia, as expressed in import and export, comes to $1.1 billion annually (2016). However, this data does not reflect the real scope of trade. Most Israeli companies active in Australia supply IT services, among them many companies active in cyber-security. Since service exports are not expressed in customs reports and in import/export reports, and since a significant amount of Israeli exports to Australia are carried out through third parties like the U.S., Singapore or European countries, we estimate that the scope of trade is closer to $2 billion.


Over the past year, several Israeli companies have won significant tenders in Australia and we expect these to be expressed in the trade data in the coming years.








A joyous evening of commerce, cooperation and diplomacy


The President of the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel meets with the new Turkish Ambassador to Israel to strengthen commercial ties between the two nations


The President of the Manufacturers Association, and Honorary Consul of Turkey, Shraga Barosh, held a reception on Wednesday evening, February 22, for the incoming Turkish Ambassador, Mustafa Kemal Okem, in the Association’s elegant lounge, in the company of senior business figures and leading manufacturers.


The goal of the meeting was to recalibrate and strengthen economic and business ties between Israel and Turkey, in light of their fully restored diplomacy relations, highlighted by the recent exchange of ambassadors.


The President of the Association, Mr. Shraga Barosh, gave his greetings and blessings to the Turkish Ambassadors, and expressed his hope that economic cooperation between the two countries, which has flourished through both difficult and prosperous periods, will continue to grow.


Mr. Barosh said: “The commercial relations with Turkey are very important to us. The trade potential and economic cooperation with Turkey has yet to reach its full potential, and there is no doubt that we can look forward to a strengthening, diversification and deepening of economic ties.”


Despite political difficulties between Israel and Turkey in recent years, the economic ties continued unabated. Israel and Turkey enjoy a free trade agreement, and over the last year, Israeli-Turkish trade exceeded 4 billion dollars.


In 2016, Israeli exports reached 1.26 billion dollars, a 25% drop from 2015 figures. Israeli exports primarily consisted of chemical products (75%), plastic and rubber (8%), and machines and electronics (6%).


Turkish exports to Israel reached 2.6 billion dollars, a rise of 6.5% from 2015. The Turkish products included primarily cars and transportation equipment (18.5%), metals (16%), and machines and electronics (13%).


Photo credit: Asaf Shiloh—Israel Sun


Steven Aiello is the founder and Director of the Debate for Peace MUN program











The Tourism Ministry and the Municipality of Tel Aviv to inaugurate a luxury Pop Up hotel in a lifeguard tower on Tel Aviv Beach

Renovations on the lifeguard tower will begin in the coming days

International competition to be launched in partnership with

The competition winners will be flown to Israel in March and will stay in the luxury ocean-front hotel suite, complete with the services of a private butlerby the "Brown Hotels" Urban Collection


Tel Aviv, February 21, 2017 - The City of Tel Aviv-Yafo, the Israel Tourism Ministry and the "Brown Hotels" Urban Collection, are launching the first project of its kind in the world. A lifeguard tower on Tel Aviv Beach ("Frishman”) will be transformed into a luxurious hotel suite, in which the guests will be winners of an international competition to be launched in partnership with


This unique accommodation will be provided to the competition winners (one couple from each country) who will be flown to Israel for a four-day vacation in Tel Aviv, during the period March 15-25. Their first night will be spent inside the lifeguard tower at Frishman Beach, which will be renovated to meet the criteria of a five-star hotel. Guests will enjoy all the usual amenities, including a personal butler, pampering shower, breakfast, and even room service. 

This joint initiative of the Israel Tourism Ministry, the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo and Global Tel Aviv will showcase Israel as a leading tourist destination in the winter and shoulder seasons.


The marketing campaign will be implemented by the Tourism Ministry as part of the ongoing Two Cities One Break campaign, promoting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in countries that have been defined as potential targets for increasing tourism.





How to take part in the competition?


Participants in the international competition in partnership with are invited to upload a photo of themselves to Instagram, against the background of their city, wearing the beach gear (bathing suits, flip flops, etc.) that they would take with them to Tel Aviv. In addition, they must be photographed with a sign bearing the hash tag "#TAKEME2TELAVIV"and an explanation why they deserve to win this unique hosting. The participants must register on the competition website The most creative and viral submissions will be selected by the project committee.


Minister of Tourism, Yariv Levin: “Over the last two years, the Ministry of Tourism has revolutionized its marketing approach and now we are breaking into new niche markets and developing fresh, creative marketing campaigns, especially in social media. As part of our Two Cities One Break campaign, this project aims to encourage incoming tourism to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Each city has its own unique attributes, and in Tel Aviv, we are focusing on the nonstop nightlife, the growing culinary scene, and its famous beaches. We are in the midst of an increase in

incoming tourism, and we closed out 2016 with a 4% rise in tourism" 


Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai: “The transformation of a lifeguard tower into a luxury hotel for tourists is a perfect example of the innovation that drives Tel Aviv-Yafo’s success - in tech, in tourism, and in lifestyle. This unique project takes advantage of Tel Aviv-Yafo’s world-renowned beaches in an exciting and creative way, giving us an additional tool in our daily efforts to promote the city as a top international tourist destination".


The Lifeguard Tower’s Design:

Exterior: Edgar Rafael  Interior: Aline Langlieb











The IDE held a festive opening ceremony for the Sixth International Diamond Week in the trading hall which had been redesigned for the buyers.


IDE President Yoram Dvash: "The present is the only time to create our reality and that's what we are doing today."


The ceremony was attended by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin , IDE President Yoram Dvash, President of ALROSA, Andrei Zharkov, Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association President Kobi Korn, IDI Chairman Shmuel Schnitzer, DDCNY President Reuven Kaufman, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri, senior members of the Israeli and foreign diamond trade.


In addition, there were 220 representatives from Israel and 388 buyers from 30 countries, including the US, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Turkey, Belgium.


Yariv Levin praised the organizers of the event as well as the buyers who had arrived from abroad. "The presence of so many foreign buyers is testament to the importance of the Israeli diamond trade despite the difficulties it is facing at the moment. Israel has a long tradition as a pioneer both in diamonds and in tourism."


He said that the Israeli diamantaires were ambassadors for Israel. He also told the foreign buyers to find the time to travel around Israel and take in its sights.

Yoram Dvash said: "I am delighted to see the trading hall today and all our friends from Israel and abroad and to open the Diamond Week. We are here to do the thing we do best: buying and selling diamonds. It's in our DNA. We hope that we will go from strength to strength."


Dvash also spoke of the improving business atmosphere following the signing of the tax agreement in December with the Tax Authority, the strong marketing initiatives that the bourse is carrying out and the Internet trading platform, James Allen and Get Diamonds.

In addition, he mentioned the factory for the cutting of large diamonds that the bourse created, the recently opened Sinova laser cutting center, and the International Tender Center that will be opened on Wednesday.


"The state of the international markets doesn't depend on us, but we are here to provide you with the biggest, most professional and best platforms in marketing, rough, trade shows, tenders and technology.


He also thanked all the guests from abroad, heads of delegations, senior partners in the Israeli diamond sector, Kobi Korn and Shmuel Schnitzer, the Chairman of the IDWI Organizing Committee, Chaim Volner, and Miki Kattan. "Colleagues, we can't change the past and can't forecast the future.


"The present is the time to create reality, and that is exactly what we are doing every day and today as well with the taking place of this Diamond Week. I would like to wish us all well."


ALROSA President Andrei Zharkov said: "I thank you all for the warm reception. I am very happy to be here with you. It's a great pleasure and responsibility to be here as CEO of ALROSA which will be holding tenders of rough and polished goods this week. We are looking forward to fruitful cooperation with our friends here. We feel at home here in Israel. I wish you all a successful week on behalf of ALROSA and myself."


Shmuel Schnitzer said: "The bourse is full of action today. I really hope that this Diamond Week and others like it will lead to increased activity in the trading hall and the new International Tenders Center. This is undoubtedly a welcome initiative and I wish all strength to the bourse president, Yoram Dvash, and the management team. This year looks promising and I wish us all great success."

Kobi Korn wished the participants success as did DDCNY Reuven Kaufman who said Israel was like home for him.





Heavy Traffic on Trading Floor on Day 2 at IDWI


Tender Center Opens, IDE Signs MOU with HKJMA, DPA CEO Presents Strategic Direction


Ramat Gan, Israel, February 14, 2017: The trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) continued to see heavy traffic on the second day of the 6th International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI). The mood was upbeat, reflecting a lively trading atmosphere.


Beyond the trading floor several events took place during the day. The IDE inaugurated its new state-of-the-art International Tender Center with a small ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by Alrosa President Andrey Zharkov and local diamond leaders. IDE President Yoram Dvash said that the new tender center is intended to bring many additional rough and polished diamond tenders to Israel, avoiding the necessity of Israeli companies having to travel to participate in these sales.


Later in the day a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the young generation forums of the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (HKJMA) and the IDE for cooperation and business promotion. IDE President Yoram Dvash cited the longstanding business cooperation between the diamond industries of Israel and Hong Kong. “We feel very close to you based on shared values. The young generation of both our countries have a great future. We can grow together,” he said. The MOU was signed by Dvash and by Kevin Ng, head of the Young Generation Forum of HKJMA.


Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the Diamond Producers’ Association (DPA) gave a presentation outlining the strategic direction of their generic diamond marketing program targeting Millennials and discussed plans for 2017. He invited members of the Israeli diamond industry to make use of the marketing materials produced by the DPA and to interact with him with suggestions and concerns. He also invited diamond industry organizations to partner with the DPA on joint programs.




The second day of IDWI concluded with a festive cocktail reception at the Leonardo City Tower Hotel for all participants.




In a festive ceremony  (February 14), the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) officially opened the new International Tender Center. The new facility is to consolidate under one roof as many polished and rough tenders as possible


 Facebook   Israel Diamond Exchange


Photos  by Silvia Golan 

 Photo 1 : Opening to Sixth International Diamond Week, IDE President Yoram Dvash


Photo 2 : The Russian crown in Israel , Price estimated  $20.000.000. Is a replica of the Great Imperial Crown of the Russian Empire, created by Russia’s leading diamond manufacturer Kristall in honor of its 250th anniversary,  exhibited at the sixth International Diamond Week in Israel
The crown, contains 11,352 polished diamonds, with a total weight of 1,180 carats. All of the polished diamonds are made from Alrosa rough.   


Photo 3 : IDE President Yoram Dvash , Shlomo Eshed ,President, Israel Precious Stones and Diamonds Exchange  & Eli Izhakoff one of the international diamond and jewelry industry’s most prominent leaders


More PIcs at  Diplomacy Israel Facebook  













  • ·For the first time in Israel, TEDxTel Aviv Salon
  • ·Competition to develop tourism apps (hackathon)
  • ·Professional conference to mark 7 years of activities in the Druze and Circassian villages
  • ·Panel with Tourism Ministry Regional Directors

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, on opening the tourism conference: “I am pleased to open IMTM, the largest ever tourism fair to be held in Israel.  The size and scope of the fair is testament to the fact that Israel is becoming an attractive destination for tourism and those in the tourism business from around the world.  2016 was a ground-breaking year for tourism to Israel.  The increase in incoming tourism is because of the wide-ranging marketing activities of the Tourism Ministry, which include breaking into new markets and the adoption of innovative marketing strategies, whether in digital marketing or in emerging markets such as China and India. We are in the midst of a transformation in the aviation field, where, as a result of the support offered by the Tourism Ministry to airline companies who open new routes into Israel, Hainan Airlines and Ryanair began flying into Israel for the first time. IMTM will give additional momentum to this trend and will have a positive influence on increasing incoming tourism to Israel in 2017.”


 Jerusalem, February 5, 2016 - Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will open Tuesday  the Tourism Ministry stand at IMTM, the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, which will take place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, Pavilion 2,  from 7-8 February.


Ten tourism ministers from around the world will participate in this year’s IMTM – a record number for IMTM -  including after several years’ absence, H.E. Tourism Minister from Turkey, Mr. Nabi Avci, who will meet with Tourism Minister Levin. Other tourism ministers and senior tourism officials attending IMTM come from Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Norway, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zanzibar,  Ethiopia,  Lithuania, Philippines and Kazakhstan, among others.


The Tourism Ministry is hosting about 200 tour operators and conference organizers from overseas with a view to exposing them to the Israeli tourism product at IMTM, as well as offering them tours of the country. The Tourism Ministry stand will feature various attractions, including a large screen that will list the hotels awarded stars under the Tourism Ministry hotel rating scheme. Tablets will be available for the public to try out the new Tourism Ministry app. The stand will also screen Tourism Ministry videos and TV commercials with the new branding that the ministry is promoting in marketing campaigns overseas. Subsidiaries of the Tourism Ministry will also be exhibiting at the stand: The Dead Sea Preservation Government Company that will present for the first time the branding of the lowest place on earth for investors, as well as the Old Acre Development Company that will present the range of sites and attractions for tourists in the city, including the new Haifa-Acre pleasure cruise line.


Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi: “The marketing structure of the Tourism Ministry is currently undergoing great change, both in its organizational structure and in terms of the branding and campaign activities, for example the Two Cities One Break campaign that is targeted at tourism into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, alongside the development of new tourism products such as the “the Land of the Desert” targeted to Europeans in winter. The ministry will continue its’ cooperation with online travel agents, as well as hosting opinion formers – an important additional aspect of marketing Israel as a tourism destination.”


For the first time, IMTM will host the TEDxTelAvivSalon about tourism issues. Four lecturers will address the event in English, which will open a door to the world of tourism. Omer Boger will speak about his personal story – how, with the minimum of resources, it is possible to take an abandoned place and transform it into a meeting place for people from around the world. Noam Klinger, CEO of Eatwith, will speak about the new world of tourism, in which visitors seek out authentic experiences and not just attractions. Tzippora Nussbaum will offer a glimpse into the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) world and Dr. Eran Ketter will present how it is possible to overturn a countrywide trend with marketing.


For the second time, IMTM will host a Tourism Ministry hackathon, a competition to develop tourism apps. Competition finalists will present their apps before a panel of judges and an audience. The finalists developed tourism apps that are designed to enhance the experience of the visitor and tourist in Israel. Every app makes use of the extensive database provided by the Tourism Ministry for public use. The database currently includes about 25,000 pieces of information. This is the largest database of its type among all the government ministries. The competition winners will receive cash prizes, with the first prize being NIS 10,000.


There will also be a panel via Skype with the directors of the Israel Government Tourist Offices in Germany, India and China covering the marketing activities in those destinations.


The Tourism Ministry will also hold a conference to mark seven years of activity developing rural tourism in the Druze and Circassian communities. In recent years, the ministry has invested tens of millions of shekel in improving tourism infrastructure and establishing tourism incubators to help small tourism-related businesses in these villages. The conference will include encounters with some of the people behind the success stories in the Druze and Circassian tourism enterprise, as well as tastes of ethnic cuisine and folklore.



For a full program, see here

IMTM   Pavilion 2, Tel Aviv Convention Center, 101 Rokach Boulevard.







An additional stage to reduce the high cost of living in the city:

A program for sharing vehicles in the city is underway.An additional stage to reduce the high cost of living in the city:


260 cars will start operating during the second half of 2017 in order to reduce the number of private vehicles in the road.

The budget of this sharing program is about 100 million NIS.



The program for sharing vehicles in the city is intended to make it easier for the city residents that hold private vehicles at a cost of thousands of NIS per year, and allow them to switch to economical and effective public transportation. During the last quarter of 2017, 260 mini cars will start operating, having 520 parking lots assigned to these cars, and, additionally, allowance sections of (painted with blue and white) also assigned for parking. The vehicles could be rented in one site and returned in another site within the city, while travelling could take place also outside the city borders.


As part of the preparations for the first stage of this test, Tel-Aviv Municipality workers will start painting about 80 assigned parking lots throughout the city. This first stage test-run will start at the beginning of March, in which 500 users with about 40 unmarked vehicles will be tested without pay. The first stage run will start in July, in which 1500 users with not more than 170 marked vehicles and 340 assigned parking lots. Then, a special sticker of "Oto- Tel" ("אוטותל") will be placed on the signs "preferred parking place" allowed to the city residents, but now allowed only to the vehicles involved in the test program.


The program cost, about 100 million NIS, is financed from the municipal budget. It includes the acquisition of the vehicles, their operation and maintenance. The service fees for the users will be determined near the launching date. The personnel involved in similar programs in the world report that every vehicle included in the program results in the reduction of 4-14 private vehicles in the road. Additionally, since the project has a significant advantage in the metropolitan distribution besides the urban distribution, personnel of other municipalities was addressed in order to take part of this program in the future. The program will be carried out by the CAR2GO Company from the Shagrir (שגריר) Group.


This program is another step of in a series of solutions advanced by the municipality in alternative shared transportation that provides a solution to the residents and visitors, for leaving their private vehicles and get mobilized in the city using public transportation only, such as the use of bicycles, and shared vehicles in the future. In this way, the overload in the roads and the air pollution will be reduced, as well as the cost of living.


Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv: "the shared vehicle program that we initiated is the first initiative of this type in the country, which demonstrates that we can do it differently. "Oto- Tel" ("אוטותל") is a project that should become national, and that the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Finance should be partners in it. The effectiveness of this program will be much more significant if it could be used throughout the country, or at least in the metropolitan Dan area. I hope that the local authorities around us will join this process, and we are conducting meetings with them on this subject."


Meital Lehavi, Deputy to the Mayor on Transportation, Construction and Infrastructures: "Tel Aviv – Jaffa is a pioneer in the development and implementation of the holistic policy that promotes a series options for alternative mobilization, and Tel Aviv residents are the natural and main partners in our voyage to adopt innovative transportation solutions. Such as "Tel Ofan" (bicycle transportation), "Oto- Tel" (vehicle transportation) is intended to provide cooperative economy in the city area and eliminate the dependence between private vehicles and the possibility of moving from place to place. Since there is no 24/7 public transportation, this service will be provided during 364 days per year (excepting Yom Kippur). We will work to widen this program in the metropolitan Dan area as we did with the "Tel Ofan", and, in the future, we will include in this program electrical vehicles".





Gil Leizer, CAR2GO CEO: "We are in the midst of a transportation revolution expected to reduce significantly the problems of parking, air pollution and the use of private vehicles in Tel Aviv – Jaffa".


Photos Silvia Golan












Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: “The increase in tourist entries to Israel is the result of significant budgets that were allocated for marketing and attractive campaigns, investment in new markets and the development of relevant sub-brands for different target markets.”


Jerusalem, January 9, 2017 – Against the security background in the Middle East and despite the drop in incoming tourism in many countries in the region, Israel registered a 3.6% increase in incoming tourism for 2016, with 2.9 million tourist entries. The Tourism Ministry is not surprised by these statistics and attributes the increase to a strategic shift in marketing and an increase in the marketing budget.


The marketing program adopted by the Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and implemented under the direction of Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi focused on creating demand in Israel tourism by building sub-brands suited to different target markets, supported by wide-ranging campaigns and including new markets such as India and China which have each registered increases of tens of percent in incoming tourism. The Tourism Ministry also promoted collaborations with the largest international online travel agents such as Expedia and TripAdvisor. In addition, the ministry worked with international airlines to expose them to the economic potential of opening routes to Israel and, among others, by giving incentives for every passenger flying into Ovda and for opening new routes into Ben Gurion airport.


Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: “The increase does not come from thin air. The increase in tourist entries to Israel is the result of significant budgets that were allocated for marketing and attractive campaigns, investment in new markets and the development of relevant sub-brands for different target markets. The strategic plans are adapted to fluctuations and changes in the tourism industry worldwide. I will continue to advance the activities of the ministry with strategic international partners so that the tourism market in Israel will continue to develop and flourish.”


With a budget of nearly half a billion shekels - the highest ever for tourism marketing – the focus was placed on campaigns in key markets with the highest numbers of incoming tourism and the largest potential for additional growth, such as USA, Russia, Germany, France, England and others. This, alongside investment in new and significant markets with high potential for increased tourism, particularly India and China.


In addition to the marketing campaigns, Hainan Airlines, the largest private airline in China, opened a new route into Israel and one can see an increase of tens of percent in tourism traffic. The expenditure of the Chinese tourist in Israel is the largest of all countries, injecting revenue into the local economy. For the first time this year, a tourism campaign ran in India, gaining millions of views. According to Google, the exposure to the campaign promoting tourism to Israel came close to the exposure of the campaign for the Pepsi drinks brand.


Increase in tourism from countries with new air routes and advertising campaigns:

The period September through December 2016 saw a record in the number of incoming tourists. The countries which registered the most significant increase in the number of tourist entries as opposed to the previous year were: China (+69%); Croatia (+62%); Belarus, Latvia and Georgia (+41%), Malaysia (+35%) and the Philippines (+ 27%). The USA and Russia continue to lead in the numbers of incoming tourists, followed by France, UK, Germany and Ukraine .


Tourism to Eilat doubles:

  • Flights to Eilat from 9 European cities – because of the ministry directive that offers a 45 Euro subsidy to every passenger flying into Ovda in the current winter season, with a total budget of NIS 18 million.
  • Anticipated doubling of tourist entries arriving on direct flights into Ovda this winter season, as opposed to 42,000 in the winter season 2015/2016.
  • NIS 10 million advertising campaigns promoting the new Eilat brand in UK, Finland, Russia, France and Poland, with a dedicated website in English, Russian, Finnish and French :
  • Because of the ministry’s activities, Eilat was ranked seventh by TripAdvisor in a list of destinations on the rise.

New Markets


  • For the first time, an advertising campaign in India to encourage tourism to Israel – the video had tens of millions of hits for minimal promotional cost. The YouTube video has over 11.7 million views
  • The marketing budget stood at NIS15m in 2016
  • Israel won a prize from the Indian Travel + Leisure Magazine as the best destination for history and heritage
  • According to Google and YouTube, as a result of the campaign, the brand Israel competes with other leading brands in India such as Pepsi


  • Israel won the 2016 Best Destination in Chinese media awards.
  • Hainan Airlines, the largest private airline in China, opened its route from Beijing-Tel Aviv in April 2016
  • Hainan recently added another weekly flight and is planning to open a route from Shanghai
  • The marketing budget rose dramatically in 2016 to about NIS 20m.
  • The increased tourism traffic from China and India injected tems of millions of shekel into the Israeli economy in 2016 and this is expected to significantly increase in the future.

Renewing Existing Markets

Campaigns in Europe

  • After many years of hiatus, advertising campaigns ran in Holland, Scandinavia and Spain.
  • Two Cities One Break – a new and comprehensive campaign with a budget of NIS 80 million that ran simultaneously in 8 European countries, promoting the city break concept in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The campaign, which starred Israeli model Shir Elmaliach, ran on TV, billboards and in print, with a focus on digital media. The concept offers Europeans two destinations on one ticket, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. From data based on the first round of the campaign, there were 1.9 million unique visitors and 4.5 million clicks from 9 countries. More than 24.5 million views were recorded for the campaign video. Example:

Campaigns in USA

  • The NIS 50 million USA campaign targets Evangelical, Catholic and Jewish audiences in New York, LA, Atlanta and Florida, with a particularly high budget for online promotion.


  • New Hainan Airlines route from Beijing
  • New Wizzair route from Warsaw
  • New Ryanair route from Bratislava
  • New EasyJet route from Amsterdam
  • New United Airlines route from San Francisco
  • New Ryanair route from Paphos
  • Declaration by Cathay Pacific to open new route from Hong Kong in two more months

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin defined the increase of seat capacity on flights into Israel as a significant target for the ministry. In 2017, significant budgets will be allocated to promoting new routes from Europe into Ovda and Ben Gurion airports.


Collaboration with online travel agents

  • TripAdvisor, Expedia, Odigeo
  • Payment to agents based on sales results
  • Adjusting to the market reversal – 60% of tourists arrive independently and not in organized groups

There have been marked changes in incoming tourism in recent years, with most tourists today arriving independently (FITs), about 60%, as opposed to arriving as part of a group. In addition, they purchase their own land and air arrangements through online travel agencies. The ministry adapted itself to this trend, with a NIS 18.5 million investment in collaboration with the largest companies such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, Edreams and Odigeo. Payment is based on results and not on advertising.


Promoting sports events as a tourism engine

  • Campaigns on Eurosport during the Tour de France
  • About 3,000 tourists participated in the Jerusalem Marathon
  • Hosting journalists from around the world to cover sporting events
  • Hosting journalists who cycle to cover new cycling routes

Hostings in 2016

The Ministry hosted more than 2000 opinion-formers, decision-makers, celebrities and travel agents, of whom 70% were journalists.

  • Among the most well-known: Bollywood producers, Roseanne Barr, Bollywood star Sunam Kapoor, stars of the youth series The Green House, American Jazz ensembles for Winter Jam, 2016 Eurovision participants and more
  • Hosting of production of popular reality shows from Europe and USA
  • Hosting cyclists to ride the new cycling routes in the desert
  • Hosting chefs and journalists for the Round Tables event
  • Hosting the conference for Indian travel agents (TAFI)
  • Hosting the Romanian travel agents conference
  • Hosting journalists for a variety of events, such as Tel Aviv Pride Parade, the Opera Festival in Jerusalem and Acre, Midburn Festival, Bird Festival in Eilat, Israel Trail, Open Houses in Jerusalem, Yoga in the Arava and more
  • Hosting large conferences of travel agents and tour operators from India, China, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, Japan and more

Tourism by Source Country

As in previous years, tourism from the USA continued to represent the largest country of origin for incoming tourism to Israel, with 648,310 tourist entries in 2016, 5% more than 2015 and 8% more than in 2014. In second place is tourism from Russiawith 440,358 visitors, a decrease of 1% on 2015 and 21% on 2014. Tourism from France takes third place, with 287,450 tourist entries, 2% less than last year and 1% down on 2014, followed by the United Kingdom with 181,346 (4% up on 2015 and 10% up on 2014) and Germany with 164,076 tourist entries, 3% more than 2015 and 1% more than 2014.










The Tourism Ministry to provide free shuttle transport between Jerusalem and Bethlehem for Christmas Mass celebrations 

Tourism Minister today hosted a pre-Christmas reception for Church leaders in Jerusalem



Jerusalem, December 13, 2016 - Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and representatives from the Tourism Ministry today hosted the traditional pre-Christmas reception for leaders of the Christian communities and churches in Israel at the Shimshon Center,  Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem.  The minister sent season’s greetings for Christmas to the Christian communities and invited the faithful around the world to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.



Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: "I welcome you and the believers from your communities who are expected to arrive in Israel for the Christmas holiday and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are doing our utmost to ensure that their stay in Israel will be successful and enjoyable. The ministry invests significantly throughout the year in the conservation and upgrading of Christian sites in order to ensure that every Christian can visit the sites that are sacred for him and find them in good order, as befits their status. I invite you to visit the holy sites and enjoy the uniquely powerful religious and spiritual experience of the Holy Land."



Also participating in the reception were the Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi, His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III, the Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Nourhan Manoogian, the Custodian of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, His Eminence Vatican Ambassador Giuseppe Lazzarotto , representative of the Latin Patriarchate Bishop William Shumali – Latin Patriarchate, Executive Director of the Christian Embassy Dr. Jurgen Buhler and representatives from many other Christian communities in Israel. Also in attendance were Ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community and representatives of

government and private bodies involved in promoting Christian tourism to the Holy Land.


The Tourism Ministry is working to welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to arrive in Israel for the Christmas period. According to Tourism Ministry statistics, over half of all incoming tourists to Israel were Christian. The ministry estimates that approximately 120,000 tourists will visit Israel in December, of whom half are Christian.



From 15:00 on Christmas Eve (December 24) through to 03:00 on Christmas Day, the Ministry of Tourism will offer free shuttle transportation, helping pilgrims travelling between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Buses will leave every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from the bus stop near the Carta Parking lot (opposite Jaffa Gate and near to the Mamilla Boulevard). The bus will also stop near the entrance to the Mar Elias Monastery, and at the Rosmarin junction, before continuing via Rachel's Crossing to Bethlehem - and then back again.  There may be changes to the schedule due to demand. Representatives from the Ministry of Tourism will welcome tourists and pilgrims at Rachel’s Crossing with a small gift in the spirit of the holiday. The ministry will also provide a firework display during the traditional Christmas parade in Nazareth.


Photo credit: Jorge Novominsky














The promotional event for the COSMOPROF exhibition, which took place on December 5th, brought together the top producers and local importers in the cosmetic and beauty product industries with senior representatives of the international exhibition and representatives of the Union of Italian Cosmetic Manufacturers, Cosmetica Italia. The goal of this first meeting was to lay the groundwork for an international cosmetics exhibition to take place in March 2017.


Representatives of the Italian Trade Agency, in cooperation with the organizers of COSMOPROF Bologna and with the assistance of the Israel Export Institute, held the first event of its kind in Israel on December 5th in Tel Aviv.  Among the guests were Gigi Cosmetic Laboratories Deputy General Manager Haim Zer, Orly Sagi, Christina Israel Cosmetics Manager, Dr. Dov Klein and Cinzia Klein from Clinica Dr Klein, Sharon Baruch Manager Dr Klein Cosmetics , business development executive Israel Chamber Na’ama Myers, and John L. Pezzino from Sanwa Packaging. 


The goals of the event were to advance commercial partnerships between Israel and Italy, and the event included tens of leading producers and local importers in the cosmetics and beauty products industry, senior representatives of the international exhibition and representatives of the Union of Italian Cosmetic Manufacturers, Cosmetica Italia, the Italian Ambassador to Israel, and the head of the Italian Trade Agency in Israel.




During the event, the representative of the COSMOPROF exhibition, Antonia Benvegnu, presented the innovations anticipated in the 50th version of the exhibition. Manzetti Gianni, the representative of the Union of Italian Cosmetics Producers, offered information on cosmetics in Italy and on the strengths of the Italian cosmetics industry. Mr. Gianni is also the owner of the large hair product company Farmen ICD. Franceso Maria Talo, spoke about the commercial ties between Israel and Italy in the cosmetics and beauty products industries. In addition, Michele M. Superchi, from the trend finding company BeautyStreams, presented a forecast on what to expect in beauty product innovations at the next exhibition.


The event was intended to strengthen ties and networking between local producers and importers and Italian representatives. Of the participants, a select group was chosen to fly to Bologna as guests of the Italian Trade Agency to participate in the largest beauty exhibition in the world, COSMOPROF Worldwide Bologna.


Participation in the exhibition provides Israeli producers an opportunity to present the most cutting edge cosmetic and beauty products to the Italian market and to sign strategic business partnerships.


The COSMOPROF exhibition is the most important cosmetics expo in the world, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Every year thousands of producers from all over the globe attend the conference in order to develop commercial ties with Italian suppliers in the cosmetics and beauty industries. For example, at the most recent exhibition  over 2,500 companies from 150 countries presented their products in front of 250,000 visitors.


 Massimiliano Guido, the head of the Italian Trade Agency in Israel, said that “the large number of Israeli delegates who attended the last COSMOPROF exhibition only strengthened the decision of the Italian Commerce Ministry, the exhibition organizers, and the Union of Italian Cosmetics Producers, to choose Israel as one of the select few locations to host an event of this kind. The Israeli market is intelligent and mature, with a variety of local brands and a large selection of leading international brands, which offer business opportunities for Italian cosmetics companies who wish to enter the Israeli market, as well as Israeli producers interested in entering the global market, and in particular, the Italian market. With such strong mutual interest, consumers, manufacturers and importers all stand to benefit from the increasing Israeli-Italian cooperation. 


Photo Silvia Golan









Tourism Ministry to host about 130 tour operators from around the world - most of them on their first visit to Israel - 1-7 December, 2016. The Where Else 2016 convention, taking place for sixth consecutive year, will expose Israel as a leading tourism destination.


Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: "I welcome the convention participants and attach great importance to exposing Israel as an attractive tourism destination and showing the many advantages that Israel has to offer - an excellent climate, varied entertainment and leisure options and fascinating tourist sites throughout the country. I am sure that the participants will be

impressed by all that Israel has to offer and will bring many more tourists to visit Israel in their footsteps." 


The annualWhere Else convention hosted by the Tourism Ministry will open this year with a gala evening on Thursday, December 1 in Tel Aviv, with the participation of the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai and the Tourism Minister Director-General Amir Halevi. About 130 leading international tour operators will take part in various tours around the country, visiting the main tourist sites.


The week-long convention is held in cooperation with El Al, regional tourism associations, the Hotels Association and the Incoming Tour Operators Association. Most of the participants have never visited Israel before, and the objective is to  expose them to Israel's varied tourism options and its leisure, culture and entertainment possibilities, alongside the many niche package options. 


The participants come from a variety of different countries, including USA, Brazil, Canada, France, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, China, India,  Japan, Korea, Argentina, Mexico and Romania. Most of them represent companies who have yet to sell Israel as a tourism package.  


The participants can choose between various tour options around the country, in accordance with their interests and preferences. Professional workshops are also on offer with local tour operators and hoteliers. 

  Phot Credit: Shahar Sasson



Earlier this week, during the dates of November 27-29th, the 7th Eilat-Eilot Renewable and Clean Energy -Conference took place in the Dan Eilat hotel. Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) representatives participated in the conference in their capacity as leaders and innovators in the field of green energy and conservation of natural resources.


During the last couple of years, KKL-JNF has entered the field of renewable energy in order to conserve the environment and develop green and efficient power sources. At the Eilat-Eilot Renewable and Clean Energy Conference, KKL-JNF representatives participated in the opening session with the Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of the IEC (Israel Electric Company) Board of Directors, Mr. Yiftah Ron Tal and other officials from the energy sector and governmental offices.


Land Assembly Director, Alex Hefetz stated: "During the past years KKL-JNF has entered the field of renewable energy and has invested a significant amount in the field of solar farms, the big and the small. KKL-JNF sees renewable energy as a vision of modern Zionism and we wish luck to all companies attending which support and promote the use of green energy".


Photo Land Assembly Director Alex Hefetz  

Credit Dina Yitzhak  /  KKL










AgriVest 2016, an initiative of Trendlines Agtech, GreenSoil Investments and Israel’s Ministry of Economy, to be held at Weizmann Institute of Science on 27th September 2016



Misgav, Israel – 6 September 2016 – The fourth international AgriVest Conference will take place on 27 September at the Wix Auditorium at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Conference organizers are Trendlines Agtech, an incubator of The Trendlines GroupInvest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, and GreenSoil Investments, an Israeli VC focused on agro & food tech investments. 


More than 450 attendees are expected to attend this year’s conference. AgriVest serves to showcase the Israeli agtech ecosystem and provides a forum for international investors, leading global industry executives, and government officials to discuss issues pertinent to the sector: The entire food chain – from field to plate - requires disruption to meet food security challenges and provide enough food to feed the world’s future population while maintaining sustainable and ecologically responsible methods. In recent years, innovations and technological solutions in agtech have captured the attention of investors.

“In 2012, Trendlines Agtech together with Israel’s Economy Ministry, launched AgriVest, the first and only Israeli conference in the agtech industry. From its modest beginning, the conference resonated with the global community to become one of the leading conferences in the sector. This year’s AgriVest promises to be the biggest event yet for two reasons: the enormous ‘growth’ of interest in the sector and the recognition of the investment opportunity it presents,” remarks CEO Trendlines Agtech, Nitza Kardish, Ph.D.


"We are thrilled to co-host this event and welcome hundreds of entrepreneurs and co-investors. Agtech is gathering more and more interest worldwide and Israel is one of the most exciting ecosystems within the sector", says Gideon Soesman,Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GreenSoil Investments, Israel's largest agro & food tech VC.


The conference includes an array of distinguished speakers and guests: Adrian Percy, Head of CropScience R&D at Bayer, will make the keynote address. Two professional panels will feature international and local agtech opinion leaders.


An AgriVest highlight is the start-up competition. Twelve selected Israeli companies (of over 40 that applied) pitch their technology to the audience and a panel of judges. The winning companies will receive a prize.


Oded Distel, Director of Israel NewTech at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, comments, “The growing needs in our global food supply to guarantee food security, along with the great challenges of creating sustainable agriculture which does not harm the environment, are fertile ground for development and innovation in the fields of agro-technology. At this conference, we bring together leading Israeli hi-tech with agricultural leaders to create a winning combination of innovative developments and agricultural technologies, becoming more and more relevant to developed and developing countries alike.”

The presenting companies at this year's conference: AseptoRay, ATPLabs, Enzootic Holdings, Farm Dog, FFMH Tech, FieldIn, InPlant Technologies, NeoTop Water Systems, NRGene, Tevatronic, UniVerve, ViAqua Therapeutics.


The start-ups were selected by an independent committee headed by Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Professor Avi Perl.

Previous AgriVest conferences have been a stellar platform to highlight Israeli agtech companies to businesspeople, scientists, and key ag investors from Israel and abroad. Eran Baniel, CEO of DouxMatok, the winning company of the AgriVest 2015, remarked: “DouxMatok has recently made a real breakthrough to a large extent thanks to the extraordinary impetus received from the 2015 AgriVest conference. Although I have been invited to present at many conferences since, AgriVest was and remains the most significant for my Company.”



About AgriVest 2016

AgriVest is organized by Trendlines Agtech, an incubator of The Trendlines Group; Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy; and GreenSoil Investments, an Israeli VC focused on agro & food tech investments. 

Organizing partners for AgriVest 2016 are IATI, The Israel Export Institute, Israel NewTech, Start-Up Nation Central, and The Israel Innovation Authority.


Sponsors of AgriVest 2016 are Greenberg Traurig LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Bayer, Evogene, Shibolet &Co., Ernst & Young Israel, Tong Fang Smart City, Stockton Group, Impact Investing Israel, SOSA, Finistere Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital Gmbh, BASF, Linn Grove Growth Funds, Rootility, Gefen Capital, BioSTL, Technion Technology Transfer.


 Media partners are AgFunder and GoforIsrael.














The Train in the Colony Ltd. wins the second tender issued by the Israel Lands Administration and the Tourism Ministry to develop hotels in the Jerusalem Ridge compound.


A seven-storey, 150 room hotel with retail space will be built. Two proposals were submitted and the Tenders Committee of the Israel Lands Administration selected the Train in the Colony Ltd. bid of NIS 7.2 million


Hundreds of hotel rooms are expected to be added to the hotel supply in Jerusalem - a process that should reduce the cost of overnight accommodation in the capital. The additional rooms will be built in the Jerusalem Ridge compound opposite the Sherover Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The Tourism Ministry financed the marketing costs of the tender and will handle the development, in cooperation with the Israel Lands Administration.


The compound that will be built is among the last significant areas of land in Jerusalem dedicated to the immediate construction of hotels. The site is zoned for six hotels (with four lots being marketed first and the other two at a later stage). The hotel compound also includes land with a listed building, commercial property and an area, common to all the hotels, that will be designated for bus parking. The commercial area will attract visitors from the adjacent promenade, and will serve as an entertainment attraction for tourists and locals alike.


Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: "This tender is another important step in increasing the hotel room supply in Jerusalem. This tender will add to the hundreds of hotel rooms that have been approved in the last year in the Jerusalem Ridge compound, which will become a tourism complex located in one of the most attractive places, overlooking the Old City basin. I see great importance in strengthening the city of Jerusalem and its position as a magnet for tourists from Israel and around the world."
Acting Director, Israel Lands Administration (ILA) Adiel Shomron: "The Israel Lands Administration considers the strengthening of Jerusalem as a primary goal both in terms of increasing residential housing and in terms of strengthening commerce and tourism in Israel's capital."


Two companies won the first tender to build 580 hotel rooms hotels will be built on the site: Hasid Brothers Contractors and Construction Ltd. and Klir Chemicals. The winners will pay the ILA NIS 7.6 million not including development costs and will build two hotels and commercial space. The second tender, which was published by the ILA in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, was won by The Train in the Colony Ltd - a plot of 2,563 square meters with building rights of 14,080 square meters of which 400 square meters are for commercial/retail space, at a cost of NIS 7.2 million.


 Image of the Jerusalem Ridge compound, courtesy of the Israel Tourism Ministry














"Dan" hotel chain were selected in the star classification list of the Ministry of Tourism.



In a moving event, the management of the "Dan" hotel chain and the managers of the hotels received special diplomas following the election of hotels within this chain to be included in the star classification list!



Rafi Sadeh, CEO of the "Dan" hotel chain organized a ceremony to grant special diplomas to the hotels within this chain that were selected to be included in the star classification list of the Ministry of Tourism.






The ceremony was carried out with the participation of the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Yariv Levin, the CEO of the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Amir Halevy, and the President of the Association of Hotels in Israel, Mr. Eli Gonen.


In the ceremony participated the management of the "Dan" hotel chain and the managers of the hotels that were included in the star classification list of the Ministry of Tourism.


The "Dan" hotels that were graded with the highest level in the "5 Star Plus" classification are: King David in Jerusalem, Dan Tel Aviv, Dan Eilat and Dan Carmel in Haifa.


In addition, the hotel Dan Boutique in Jerusalem was graded within the "4 Star Plus" classification.


The ceremony took place on Monday, 15.8.2016, in the "Kria" ("קריאה") hall within the lobby of the King David hotel in Jerusalem.


Photos Silvia Golan 











Tourism Minister Yariv Levin: "As part of the changes that we are spearheading in the Tourism Ministry and the move to more digital and interactive marketing, we initiated the Hackathon to develop tourism apps based on databases developed in the ministry. I call on entrepreneurs with the start-up spirit to participate in this competition and, beyond the personal experience, to contribute to the important goal of promoting incoming tourism to Israel. I am sure that, thanks to the participants' creativity and innovation, we will achieve amazing results and useful apps that will improve the tourist experience in Israel."



Jerusalem, August 15, 2016- Following the success of the first Hackathon that took place during IMTM last February, the Tourism Ministry will hold a second competition to develop tourism apps (Hackathon), based on Tourism Ministry databases open to the public. The climax of the Hackathon will take place within the framework of the Innovation Conference at the International Mediterranean Tourist Market (IMTM ) that will take place February 7-8, 2017 in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, when the 10 leading groups will present their apps, with prizes being awarded to the three finalists. Cnature , an app to identify flora and fauna, won the 2016 Hackathon,.


Within the framework of the initiative, the Tourism Ministry is publishing a wide-ranging database that includes all the information that a tourist needs in order to plan a visit to Israel, including hotels, B&Bs, trails, tour guides etc. The database, first launched in Hebrew and English, will be translated into other languages.


The Tourism Ministry is of the opinion that,  in order to create varied tourism apps that will allow a strong digital presence for the State of Israel in this area, there is a need for a wide-ranging, quality, updated and multi-lingual database. As these activities are challenging and complex to implement for small companies or app developers, it was decided that the ministry would make these tools available for the public.  


The databases will be published at interested parties who would like to develop apps can focus on their relative advantage in developing digital innovation in tourism.


Leading people in the tourism industry in Israel and worldwide will serve as judges in the competition, alongside Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin will present the prize to the winning team.


Head of the Information Systems, Digital and New Media Division, Dr. Noam Kuriat: "The 2017 Hackathon gets under way. This year, apart from the fact that we are launching a rich database with over 20,000 items of information all open to the public, the competition format has changed to allow app developers to bring innovative ideas and products that will transform the Israeli tourism world. We call upon everyone who is passionate about technology and innovation to register for the competition and create a new reality for tourism in Israel."


Registration is open through to September 17, 2016


More information (in Hebrew)







Young Jewish Business Leaders from America Complete Two Month Internship in Israel


Birthright Israel's young business leadership program completes its sixth cycle:


60 students from the U.S., Mexico and Canada concluded a two-month internship at leading companies in Israel through the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program


Last Night, Wednesday, 03/08/16, an event held at the Peres Peace Center marked the end of the sixth year of the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program. "The Jewish world's business leadership community built in recent years by Birthright Israel is a project of significant importance, bearing many fruits to be harvested in years to come. Through the program, Jewish students receive an unparalleled opportunity to get to know the country and intern in its leading companies. We have already witnessed the cultivation of strong ties between future business leaders of the American Jewish community and Israel's business sector. These bonds result in far reaching and extensive international collaborations" said Gidi Mark International CEO of Birthright Israel. The event, was attended by prominent individuals such as Eli Groner, Prime Minister Netanyahu's Director-General, Mr. Yoram Tietz, Chairman of Birthright Israel Excel Program and Managing Partner of EY Israeland Israeli business leaders.



This year, Excel welcomed 60 students from 29 top universities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada carefully chosen by Birthright Israel out of thousands of candidates. During their stay, students of Excel, benefited from meetings with Israeli leaders in various fields, went on tours and attended workshops as well as professional seminars with customized business mentoring that helped establish a deep understanding of Israel's business world. The Students interned with 42 leading Israeli business companies primarily in the fields of finance, consulting and technology. Executives of leading Israeli companies who participated in the program in 2016 include: Yoram Tietz- EY Israel, Roi Ben-Yamini – LR group, Adi Sofer Teeni- General Manager Facebook, Jonny Saacks- Genesis Partners, Mody Rosen- Magma and others. Three companies of particular interest this year belong to Excel Israeli alumni: Aviel Siman- Tov from Fairfly, Erez Naaman from Scopio and Dean Sysman from Cymettria.  Upon return to the United States Mexico and Canada, the students will join the Birthright Israel Excel alumni community, where they will continue developing their networks.






This year, the Birthright Israel Excel program expanded its activity and launched "Excel Ventures", an innovative, first of its kind, global Initiative, in which 10 American entrepreneur students from leading universities in the US and 8 Israelis, who are graduates of elite technology units of the IDF took part in a technology start-up training boot camp. During the 10-week intensive program, participants spent their time in the startup scene of Tel Aviv, and became partners in the initial development stages of their very own Start-Up. Ventures, served as an accelerator for the young ambitious entrepreneurs: they went through all the critical stages of bringing an idea to life, putting a team together, finding investors and carrying out a reality-changing new concept.


Birthright co-founders and philanthropists Michael and Judy Steinhardt and Lynn Schusterman, created Birthright Israel Excel six years ago with the aim of developing a cadre of future Jewish leaders, and empower them in the world of business, technology, and social entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the Excel Fellows’ connection and commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and to foster the development of a collaboration between international and Israeli companies. The program is supported by the Steinhardt Family Foundation, The Lynn and Charles Schusterman family foundation, and the Paul E. Singer Foundation.


About Birthright Israel


Birthright Israel connects young Jews to the State of Israel as well as to their Jewish identity through a free ten-day educational tour of the country. Over the past 16 years, Birthright Israel has opened the eyes of hundreds of thousands of trip participants to the people and the land of Israel. The trip aims to build an understanding, friendship, and lasting bond with the land and people of Israel and to reinforce the solidarity of the Jewish people worldwide. This allows for the creation of new friendships between participants and Israelis as well as deepens their understanding of the country and the Jewish religion and connects participants to their Jewish heritage. Birthright Israel is considered the most successful and largest Zionist project in the Jewish world.



Birthright Israel has a unique, historical and innovative partnership between the Government of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world through the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency for Israel.



The gift of a trip to Israel started with philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt. Each year, individuals from across the world donate to Birthright Israel with the shared belief that it is the birthright of all young Jews to be able to visit their ancestral homeland.



Since its inception in 1999, over 500,000 Jews from over 66 countries have participated in the free 10-day educational tour of Israel. Of these over 80,000 young Israeli soldiers (from prestigious units of the IDF) and students have joined various groups on their tours.



Over the years, several studies have been conducted at Brandies University, located in the USA, demonstrating the lasting effect on Diaspora Jews when focusing on their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel and their ability to promote the country.






 1. Guests: Mr. Yoram Tietz, Chairman of Birthright Israel Excel Program and Managing Partner of EY Israel,Ifat Bechor, Executive Director, Birthright Israel Excel Eli Groner, Prime Minister Netanyahu's Director-General and Inbal Arieli VP Strategic Partnerships, Start-Up Nation Central.

2. The participants

Photos by  Avishai Finkelstein














One of the most interesting stops for visitors to Jerusalem gliding through centuries of history on the city’s sleek and modern light rail system is the Mahaneh Yehudah open-air market, bustling with vendors during the day and packed with restaurant and bar patrons at night. Now towering over this lively scene is one of the city’s newest and most impressive buildings, home to the Windows of Jerusalem luxury apartment hotel/vacation rental complex.


Windows of Jerusalem is the brainchild of American-born businessman Andy Altschuler, who launched the ambitious project in 2011 with five apartments,  It has since grown to  encompass 25  fully furnished short-term rental apartments, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, with the larger units sleeping up to 10  guests, plus an option to accommodate up to 13.


The striking edifice that houses Windows of Jerusalem — already a landmark, thanks to the distinctive square “window” that demarcates its two wings — is only eight years old, so all the apartments are new and modern. They are also equipped with just about every convenience one can want. Kitchens come with wide-body refrigerators, built-in stoves and ovens, dishwashers, microwaves, electric kettles, toasters and espresso machines. The kitchen cupboards and drawers are stocked with dishes, pots and pans, cutlery, utensils, cups and glasses. There are even Britta water filter pitchers inside the refrigerators.




Living rooms contain entertainment systems featuring 40-55″ flat screen plasma TVs, DVD players, and individual routers providing free wi-fi. Windows of Jerusalem has its own satellite array streaming more than 100 channels, although the only ones broadcasting in English are international news channels. There are no television sets in any bedrooms.


One amenity in particular that most travelers appreciate — especially those staying a week, which is the average Windows of Jerusalem stay — are the washers and dryers in every apartment, complete with detergent. Not to mention bathtubs in which weary tourists may soak. When exiting the shower or bath, a pleasant surprise awaits: guests are allotted no fewer than three different-sized towels apiece, including a bath towel as large as a sheet!

Still, the biggest draw here continues to be the spectacular views: of the new city, the Old City, the Mount of Olives and Mt. Scopus, and extending across the international border to take in the hills of Moab in present-day Jordan. Many apartments boast floor-to-ceiling windows, while the remaining ones have windows that extend from the ceiling halfway to the floor. Seven apartments feature balconies, one even a huge wraparound veranda.

The downtown location is also hard to beat, in walking distance to most sightseeing attractions and adjacent to a hub of public transportation. Therefore, and because parking is a bit inconvenient and expensive, it is not recommended to check in with a car. Windows of Jerusalem management can help book tours within and even outside the city.

According to Altschuler, Windows of Jerusalem has more top-rated reviews on social media than any other Jerusalem vacation rental property, at prices that are lower than any hotel in the city. Rates vary not only by size of apartment but also in accordance with four different periods of the year: off-season, shoulder season, high season and Jewish/Christian holidays.

Windows of Jerusalem

Published rates: $79 (1-bedroom, low season) to $1500 per night (4-bedroom, holiday) per apartment. A one-time cleaning and set-up fee of $99-179 is assessed regardless of length of stay. A security deposit of $1,000.00 is required. 










first International Business Opportunities Gateway Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania & Israel - Baltic countries


The Society of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in Israel (SEEEI) hold these days its first International Business Opportunities Gateway Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Over 85 entrepreneurs and business leaders, decision makers and senior officials from Israel and the Baltic countries met in the relaxed atmosphere of the Grand Vilnius Resort. 


The meeting focused on electrical power and energy, and entrepreneurship.   Participants discussed a variety of topics: energy management, cyber protection of critical infrastructure, entrepreneurship and start-ups, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart energy systems. The forum provides a platform for entrepreneurs and business professionals from industry and governmental agencies to collaborate and promote common business, and partnership in future projects and tenders.


Among the Lithuanian participants and keynote speakers, are: Mr. Evaladas Gustas – the Lithonia Minister of Economy; Mr. Rokas Baliukovas –  Lithuanian deputy Minister of Energy; Dr. Remigijus Simasius – the mayor of Vilnius; Dr. Aleksandras Abisala – former Prime Minister of Lithuania; Dr. Dalius Minisunas – chair of the Lithuanian Electrical Company. Israeli speakers include: Mr. Emil Koifman – chairman of SEEEI; Prof. Izzy Borovich – the forum chair; Mr. Elisha Yanay – chair of the Industrials Association of Electronics and Software Industries; Mr. Emanuel Marynko – Chair of Yanai Electrical Engineering.


Baltic States and Lithuania are considered innovative countries with an impressive economic growth rate and massive utilities and energy development programs. Many of the programs are funded by the World Bank and the European Union. Israel is considered a technological superpower with entrepreneurship, and technology competitive presence. Therefore, the Society of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in Israel, considers Vilnius to be an attractive hub for international opportunities.


SEEEI represents the Israeli community of electrical and electronics engineers, academics and decision makers engaged in electronics, electrical engineering, energy, and smart systems. SEEEI holds a major international annual conference in Eilat (Electricity 2016).


Emil Koifman, SEEEI chairman, said that "the Business Gateway Forum in Vilnius is a platform for initiating business contacts to establish joint ventures and joint international projects. In an era of intelligent energy, Internet of Things (IOT), new technologies and developments, the market depends very much on partnerships. International commercial success is dependent business partnership ".



From left to right: Lieutenant Colonel Luca Dottarelli; Mr. Emil Koifman – chairman of SEEEI; Prof. Izzy Borovich – the forum chair and Mr. Elisha Yanay – chair of the Industrials Association of Electronics and Software Industries.




















GoforIsrael 2016 Conference – First Time in China

Shanghai will host the Israeli International GoforIsrael Conference

with the participation of 1,000 Investors and Entrepreneurs from China and Israel




The 16th GoforIsrael annual conference will be held for the first time outside of Israel, on September 20th, at the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai. Organized by Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. and Catalyst Funds, GoforIsrael is one of the most influential business conferences in Israel, having won worldwide recognition for shaping the future of Israeli and related global investments and policies. Having focused for years on raising funds and establishing strategic alliances between Israeli companies, investors and corporates from around the world, this year the main focus is on the opportunities between Israel and China as well as Chinese investment appetite across key industries, such as Life Sciences, Clean-Energy, TMT and many others. The event this year is jointly organized with Yafo Capital, an investment House in Shanghai, China.





Edouard Cukierman, Chairman of Cukierman Investment House and Managing Partner of Catalyst CEL, Israeli-Chinese Fund: "The goal of this conference is to leverage the opportunity of a unique encounter with hundreds of Chinese investors, in a very focused and direct way. Israeli technology companies will benefit from pre-organized meetings with potential investors, and from the opportunity to present their technologies on stage. We expect to have continuous 1:1 meetings between investors and entrepreneurs during the conference”.



One of the key speakers will be the Israeli Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, Mr. Yisrael Katz. His participation at the event reflects current trends which have gone far and beyond just hi tech, namely the cementing of the China-Israel relations across sectors including Infrastructure. A special panel will be dedicated to the cooperation with Israel in this area. The 'One Belt One Road' Chinese Government Project to rebuild the 'Silk Road' in order to strengthen the economic ties between China and Europe, Asia and Africa, paves the way for Israel to play an important role.


One of the events honored partners is the China-Israel Changzhou Innovation Park (CIP), which has become a home for large Israeli Hi-tech companies including Lycored, Growponics and Tuttnauer. CIP provides a unique platform for Israeli Technology companies that are seeking to make their first step into the Chinese market. Their goal is to provide Israeli companies with a headquarter in the Wujin Economic   Zone (WEZ), the leading Science Innovation Center of Jiangsu Province


GoforIsrael 2016 will host key decision makers, business representatives and parliamentarians from China and Israel. The conference expects to welcome 100 Chinese VCs and PE Funds as well as hundreds other Chinese investors. The long list of senior speakers includes:



Mr. Ysrael Katz - Minister of Transportation and Intelligence, Ambassador Mattan Vilnai Amikam Levy - Consul General of Israel in Shanghai, Yair Shamir - Former Minister of Agriculture of Israel, Managing Partner, Catalyst Fund, Ronnie Chan - Chairman of Hang Lung Properties, Antony Leung - CEO of Nanfung Group, Igal Landau - CEO of Ratio, Chen Shuang -CEO of China Everbright Limited, Shengyan Fan - Managing Director – Catalyst CEL Fund,senior executives from Chinese companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, Lenovo, Sinochem, NetEase, Tencent, ChemChina, Luc Muller - Chairman of Lamina & Catalyst Fund Partner, Roger Cukierman - Board Member, Cukierman & Co, VP World Jewish Congress, Rurik Hallaby -  Chairman and Founder of AgriCapital Corporation and many other leading business leaders and decision makers.



For the Conference Agenda: GoforIsrael



This year's conference panels will address issues such as: Israel-China M&A; Technology, media and telecom; Market strategies for Israeli companies in China; Israel as a Gateway to the US market; Chinese investments in Israeli MedTech and BioTech companies; and a panel discussion about Israel-China partnership: One belt one road.



Elevator pitches by selected innovative Israeli companies will be held along the course of the conference. These companies will be given the opportunity to briefly introduce their products and solutions to potential investors, in the fields of technology, media, telecom and life sciences.



The GoforIsrael Achievement Prize will go to a senior personality, to honor his/her contribution to strengthening the hi-tech business between Israel and China.



Cukierman & Co.Investment House is the leading Israeli Cross-Border focused investment house, with a strong global network including many leading corporations, investors and financial institutions in key markets such as China, Europe, and beyond. Headquartered in Israel, the company provides a full array of investment banking services including M&A, Private Placements, Public Offerings, Consulting and Family Office Services to Israeli and European companies. With over 5.5 billion US $ in transactions, Cukierman & Co. has the largest Corporate Finance team in Israel with dedicated experts in the Life Sciences, Technologies, Media & Telecom (TMT), Green Technologies and Real Estate industries.



Catalyst is a top performing Israeli based private equity multi-fund firm founded in 1999. With over US$250 million under management, Catalyst funds support capital and long-term growth of innovative Israeli middle-market companies in global markets. Catalyst assists portfolio companies in reaching their targets by leveraging on the partners’ vast Israeli and Global network. Catalyst has invested in innovative companies and has a diversified portfolio, including companies from the Industrials, Telecommunications, Information Technologies, Enterprise Software, Medical Devices and Bio/Pharma industries.



For further information visit:  GoforIsrael




U.S. Chamber Commits to Enhancing Commercial and Economic Relationship with Israel



 MOU between the world's largest business organization and Israel's leading Business Organization in Israel Seeks to Expand Cooperation with Israel Private Sector



TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took steps to enhance business and investment opportunities between the United States and Israel. At a ceremony held Sunday in Tel Aviv.
U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant and Chair of the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations Shraga Brosh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), increasing the groups’ ability to advance and strengthen important commercial ties.
“The U.S. Chamber is deeply committed to Israel and the region,” said Myron Brilliant. “Formalizing a partnership between the largest business organization in the United States with the largest business organization in Israel will enable us to work together on programs and initiatives across important sectors such as energy, cybersecurity, and health. There is so much we can do together to advance trade, investment, and encourage continued innovation.”
Chair of the Presidium of Israel Business Organizations Shraga Brosh: "we see great importance in strengthening the commercial and business ties between the two countries, hopefully the MOU signed today will best serve the interest of the business sector in Israel and in the United States". 
The MOU outlines specific areas that the U.S. Chamber and PIBO will cooperate, including advocating for reduced barriers to trade; deepening business relationships; hosting a joint annual event bringing together private and public sector leaders; and producing a U.S.-Israel Trade and Investment Study on bilateral commerce.
“With nearly $40 billion in two-way trade between the U.S. and Israel, the private sector must find ways to work together, regardless of the political and security landscape,” Brilliant added. “The Chamber looks forward to working with the Presidium, Chairman Brosh and his team to deepen this relationship to the benefit of our members and American consumers.”
The U.S. Chamber and the Manufacturers Association of Israel recently released a report titled, “Re-energizing the U.S.-Israel Economic and Commercial Relationship,” laying out a policy framework for trade, investment, and innovation. You can read the report here.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad. Starting 2015 .  The U.S. - Israel Business Initiative is headed by Josh Kram in Washington DC; starting 2015 its activity in Israel is run by the chamber's representative Adv. Hagit Genish-Gill









The Manager Association of Consumer Products' Manufacturers' Association expressed; "We must aspire to improve the competition capability in the cosmetic's export by cancelling the distortion of the licensing for export in the conditions for the product marketing license also in Israel".



The Manufacturer's Association in Israel organized a tour of three of Israeli cosmetics companies for journalists on August 7th.


The visit to a few of the production plants by the journalists was extremely interesting and inspiring for us. It was truly a pleasure to witness the enormous production of the Israeli cosmetics products sent all over the world to various department stores and business networks. We are proud to be Israelis and admire the Managerial and working staff at these cosmetic plants.  The production plants we visited operate in an organized manner under the cleanest  conditions.  


This visit allowed us to appreciate the high technology, professionalism and hygienic conditions of these cosmetic's production companies in Israel.


The data from the Manufacturer's Association in Israel indicates that, due to regulatory difficulties, there has been a withdrawal of 10% in the Israeli Cosmetics Industry exports in 2015. In 2014, the Israeli Cosmetics exports amounted to 609 million dollars, while in 2015 the exports amounted to 546 million dollars only – a decline of 63 million dollars.


The main export decline occurred In relation to Eastern Europe and Russia, amounting to about 40%, from 73 million dollars in the year 2014, to 44 million dollars in 2015. Also, there was a decline of about 31% in cosmetic's export to the European Union countries, from 250 million dollars in 2014, down to 218 million dollars in 2015.

On the other hand, there was an increase of 14% in 2015 in the Export to countries in the Asian Continent, from 67 million dollars in 2014, to 76 million dollars in 2015.


Likewise, according to the Manufacturers Association data, most of the Israeli Cosmetics Export in 2015 was directed mainly to the European Union States (40%), North America (31%), Asia (14%), and the remaining export to the developing countries in Central and South America, Africa and the rest of the world (7%).

The Cosmetics Industry in Israel in 2015 includes up to 80 production plants, most of which are small and medium size, employing some 10 thousands workers directly and indirectly. The annual activity cycle is estimated at about 4 milliard NIS, where about  50% of the production is intended for export. The net profit of the Industry-wide is estimated at about 2 – 5% from the cycle.


The Manager of the Association of Consumer Products and Construction, who manages the Cosmetic Branch in the Manufacturer's Association, Adi Shauli, states that: "The Cosmetics Industry Manufacturers Association is promoting nowadays,  in collaboration with Knesset Member Merav Ben Ari, (in the Kulanu party) the legislation of Pharmacists' regulations, after many years of working together with the Ministry of Health, with the aim of bringing these legislation regulations for a speedy approval by the Knesset. The matter of exemption from licensing for a cosmetic  product  intended for export, which is not sold in the domestic market, will be resolved by regulatory approval that adopts the Cosmetics European Regulation aimed for alignment with the European regulation dealing with cosmetics. The industrialists see in this legislation an opportunity to work in coordination with advanced countries in the world. Even today, many of the industrialists meet the standards of new regulation requirements, in order to export abroad. They do this with much success, bringing about pride for the Israeli Industry in general, and especially for the Cosmetics Industry".



The "Peer-Pharm" owner, Haviv Peer, says: "Israel is considered today one of the leading countries in the world in the Cosmetics Field, among others, thanks to the Dead Sea, which is a wonderful and natural resource for beauty products. Also, Israelis have courage, which is expressed in innovation and new developments. Israelis are always open to adopt new standards and they do not adopt fixed stands, like European companies, most of which manufacture, until today, cosmetic products in the same formats used back in the 70's."



The "SPA Cosmetics" owner, Jacky Shklarsh , states:  'The Israeli cosmetic branch is developing, but there are great governmental barriers that prevent the export growth, and regulations that cause enormous workload. For example, when in Europe it's enough to fit and register, in Israel, one must pay a fee for each and every product. We would like to adopt  the European standard also in Israel."



The "A. Meshi" owner, Irmiyahu Mizrahi, conveys : 'The cosmetics industry in Israel is innovative and very developed. Israeli cosmetics are greatly appraised in the whole world, especially in the field of hair care, in which we are making a major breakthrough.  Nonetheless, the government regulations make it very difficult for the industry to progress. I wish that the government starts offering more support and assistance measures to the Cosmetic's Industry, so that we can export more abroad. We will appreciate assistance in grants and exhibitions abroad, and in reducing the regulation required to export abroad.'



Background material on the exhibited plants:

  • "Peer-Pharm" - This plant was established in 1991, and today manufactures a number of brand-name products such as: "Andrea Milano", "Frulatte", 'Spa-Pharm' and "Organi-Care". The companys' products include more than 7.000 items, exported to 20 countries, such as; United States, Korea, China, Sweden, Poland, France, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, Romania, and others.

  • "SPA Cosmetics" - This brand was founded in 1988, and today its products comprise 80 different brand-name products, including different 700 various, which are exported mainly to North America and other national networks, such as England, Germany, Hong-Kong, China, etc.

  • "A. Meshi" - This plant, which manufactures the product 'Mon Platin'' was established in 1994,and today in its products,  include more than 600 items, exported to 50 countries; among these: United States, Italy, Spain, Belarus, Russia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Check Republic, and others.







Philippine Pavilion Wows Crowd at Israel's International Tourism Fair

11 February 2016, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – The Philippine pavilion at the annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) instantly stood out as a crowd winner during the fair's 22nd edition, which was recently held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center.


The panoramic views of destinations adorning the pavilion, beautiful and upbeat videos, rich taste of Filipino delicacies, and the variety of song and dance performances, including flair bartending, attracted hundreds of visitors and showed them that, truly, "It's More Fun in the Philippines."



The Philippine pavilion was formally opened by Department of Tourism Undersecretary for Tourism Development Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., who led the first DOT delegation to the IMTM, and Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial.  Joining them were other DOT officials and partner travel agencies from the Philippines such as Annset Holidays, Inc., Flyeast Philippines, Intas Destination Management, Inc., Maman Aviation, Ltd., and Travel Experts, Inc.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Gideon Levin also visited the Philippine pavilion during the first day of the travel fair and was delighted to watch the "Tinikling" performed by members of the Filipino community in Israel.



DOT officials also held a Country Presentation on the second day of the fair.  Around 50 travel and tour agencies, including business organizations, attended the event.  Through videos, photos, and cultural performances, DOT officials showed why the Philippines is the next best destination for Israelis in Asia.



 This is the fourth time that the Philippines has participated in the IMTM.  Previous participations were done through partnership between the Philippine Embassy and the Israel-Philippines Tourism Chamber.  However, this is the first time that a Philippine pavilion was organized and led by DOT which has made Israel as one of its priority markets.


In an interview with the Israeli media, Undersecretary Bengzon said: "We are trying to position the Philippines as one of the newest, most exciting, and most fun destination in Asia.  Last year we had about 12,000 tourists from Israel and we grew by about 34 or 35 percent.  So for us, this is a very good sign.  It's an indication that the Israeli outbound travelers who, by the way, are very very sophisticated are starting to see the potential of the Philippines as an exciting destination in Asia." --













The Africa You Didn’t Know.


Africa is a giant continent with no less than 54 independent nations, yet many people consider “Africa” as a single unit. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Dr. Ayo Salami explained to his audience on Sunday, at a private meeting held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange for investors, accountants and lawyers. Dr. Salami, a distinguished graduate of the London School of Economics represents the Duet Group which controls assets to the tune of about $5 billion. He came to Tel Aviv for one day, specifically to deliver his lecture.


The event was hosted by the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The President of the Chamber, Mr. Eli Avidar introduced the speaker and welcomed the guests.


Dr. Salami gave a broad overview of the “dark Continent”, surprising the guests with many startling statistics, including the fact that the world’s fastest growing and most consistently successful economy over the past years is not China, not India, but Botswana.



Over 1 billion people live in Africa, speaking over 500 languages in the 54 countries. There are many anomalies, such as that the most successful country – Botswana – borders one of the worst failed states – Zimbabwe.


In his fascinating presentation, Dr. Salami focused on Nigeria, a powerhouse by any standards. He touched briefly on what he termed “lies by omission” by the media: leaving out facts that should be part of all responsible reporting, thus misleading the public who might otherwise have a much better-informed view of Africa. No one left without new insights into Africa, its economy and the startling investment opportunities in so many countries there.


Africa – it’s not what you thought.


Photo  Kobi Fuks








The second annual Foreign Trade Conference hosted by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry was held today in Tel Aviv, with the theme: "Business Opportunities in Emerging Markets.”


“Exports are the engine driving the economy,” said Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, who opened the event. “In addition to exports, we are focusing on emerging markets. The leading economies of Europe and the U.S. are still very significant, but there are also new awakening lions, such as Indonesia.”


Cohen also commented on the recent slowdown in export activities. “The reason for the slowdown in exports is, first and foremost, that there are not enough new exporters entering the market and we are trying to fix this in three ways: by expanding exports by 50% to $135 billion, by widening the variety of exports, and by helping Israeli companies penetrate new markets.”



“We are not only troubled by the growth rate in exports, but also by the fact that over the past decade, there has been a worrying concentration, both in target markets and in the number of exporters themselves,” Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, told conference participants during his opening remarks. “To counter this phenomenon, we are expanding our geographical presence in Asia -- so for example, we’ve increased the number of economic attaches there, which we’re doing in Latin America as well, and we want to increase our support for exports in these areas. In addition, we want to enlarge our funds for providing aid to exporters. Our 2016 budget for this is larger than our 2014/2015 budget.”


Alzbeta Klein, Global Co-Head, IFC Investment Fund of the World Bank Group, also participated in the conference, signing an agreement between the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank and the State of Israel: “I’m delighted to be here today to sign the agreement between Israel and the International Finance Corporation for a very exciting program called TechEmerge,” said Klein. “We are looking at companies from Israel and elsewhere to be able to bring their technology to where it is needed most – emerging markets where there is an opportunity, where there is a scale and where there is a chance to do something which hasn’t been done before.”


The keynote speaker at the conference was Abby Joseph Cohen, President of the Global Markets Institute and Senior Investment Strategist at Goldman Sachs. Joseph Cohen presented an overview of global economic trends and their influence on the economies of the U.S., Israel and the world in general.


Joseph Cohen praised Israel’s position regarding R&D funding: “Which countries are at the top in terms of spending on R&D as a percentage of GDP? Israel is number one. One of the things that is so clear is that in countries where there is an economic policy to grow by being well educated and have sophisticated technology, these countries are doing well in the global community. One other area in which Israel excels is the following: researchers. People in science and technology as a percentage of population - Israel is number one. There is an enormous investment not just in equipment, not just in so-called basic research, but also an investment in people.”


Economic attachés from the Foreign Trade Administration posted in markets such as China, India, Brazil and others also presented Israeli exporters and investors with opportunities to increase their activities and penetrate new markets. These economic emissaries, situated in key trade centers around the world, help exporters and Israeli business entities break into new markets and locate international investments. At the conference, the attachés met with businesspeople, entrepreneurs and exporters interested in penetrating foreign markets or identifying new avenues of export.


Other participants at the conference included Ms. Yuan Zhou, Senior Vice President of the Credit Management Corporation Creditease, China; Mr. Andile Khumalo, Chief Investment Officer at MSG Afrika Investment Holdings; Mr. Marcos Holanda, President of the Bank for the Development of Northeast Brazil and Tzahi Malah, CEO of Ashra, Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation Ltd., as well as other senior executives from leading companies.


 Photo: Shmulik Solomon












In 2016, Panama Will Join the List Of Countries with which Israel Enjoys Free Trade Agreements, Including the US, the EU, AFTA Countries, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay



JERUSALEM –November 26th, 2015 – Israel concluded negotiations with Panama on a free trade agreement: an Israeli delegation headed by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy which included seven representatives from relevant government ministries held the fourth round of talks in Panama City between November16th -19th, 2015 and succeeded in bridging the remaining gaps between the sides and completing the talks.


Panama enjoys free trade agreements with several countries, including the US, the EU, Canada, AFTA countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. The free trade agreement with Panama will put Israel in a similar position regarding trade benefits.


The agreement, which will include a clause on the services sector, represents another springboard for Israeli companies in the service industry (a field comprising 30% of all Israeli exports). Israeli companies will now be able to participate in this sector in Panama -- with an emphasis on software, communications, information security, engineering and research and development – and thus enjoy the potential of this and related markets. Negotiations took place within the framework of the Israeli Ministry of Economy's policy of expanding exports from Israel to new markets and the policy established in May, 2013 of tightening relations with Latin American countries.


In this latest round of talks, several work groups convened to discuss the following subjects: access to markets, customs and rules of origin, services, investments, protection of vegetation and livestock, trade obstacles and institutional issues. The agreement includes total reduction of customs on all industrial products (some will be reduced gradually over several years), partial lifting of tariffs on agricultural products and benefits for the export of services in various fields. The agreement is expected to take effect at the end of 2016.


With talks successfully concluded, Panama will join the list of countries with which Israel has signed trade agreements: the EU – since 1975, US – 1985, AFTA (Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland) – 1992, Canada – 1997, Turkey – 1997, Mexico – 1999, MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) – 2007, Colombia – (signed in 2013 but yet to be ratified by the Colombian government).


Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: "The Ministry of Economy continues to strengthen Israel's economic ties with countries around the world, with an emphasis on developing economies with high growth potential. This will strengthen Israel's foothold in Latin America, in line with our policy of expanding export channels for Israeli industry and various services sectors. The agreement will open new possibilities for Israeli industry while giving a competitive edge to Israeli manufacturers. Panama is a candidate to become member of the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of Latin American countries comprising Mexico, Colombia (both countries with which Israel has free trade agreements), Chile and Peru. The bloc includes some 200 million people and a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion; it covers 35% of the GDP of all Latin American countries and more than 50% of Latin American trade."


Mrs. Yifat Alon Perel, Director of Bilateral Trade and Economic Agreements at the Foreign Trade Administration and head of the Israeli negotiating team, said: "Free trade agreements constitute a significant infrastructural framework for Israeli exports. Today, some 65% of Israeli exports are directed to countries with which Israel has free trade agreements and this gives exporters customs benefits and a competitive edge, among other advantages. The Foreign Trade Administration continues to act for the benefit of exporters by ensuring their products remain competitive and by creating better access to new markets. This is done by striving to remove trade obstacles exporters may encounter when trying to enter new markets. As of today, Israeli industry enjoys a competitive advantage in Latin America in exports to the Mercosur bloc which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Israel is the only non-Latin American country with an active free trade agreement with this important bloc. In addition, Israel has an active trade agreement with Mexico and two years ago signed a free trade agreement with Colombia which is expected to take effect in the coming year. Our goal is to expand the benefits Israeli industry enjoys to additional countries. The agreement with Panama will be the fourth one Israel has signed in Latin America. Strengthening economic relations with Panama is doubly important, both in opening new markets for Israeli industry but also in strengthening Israel's position among Latin American countries.”


According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the economy of Panama is based mainly on a highly developed services sector, which represents more than three-quarters of the country's GDP, and includes management of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the Colon Free Trade Zone, insurance, operation of the ports, shipping registration and tourism. The rate of economic growth in Panama reached 8.4% in 2013 and 6.2% in 2014, significantly higher than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean Islands (1.7% in 2014, according to World Bank data). Panama's growth is attributed among other things to the widening of the Panama Canal, begun in 2007 at a cost of $5.3 billion. Additional infrastructure development projects expected to take place may also draw Israeli companies with relevant experience.


The country's modest exports reach only $25 million, but may grow in light of the agreement and in light of Panama’s role as a bridge to other countries in the region.


 Photos : Andrés Lacko








Aeroflot doubles Tel-Aviv-Moscow route to four daily flights: Will operate 37 flights a week from Russia to Israel


The company, now celebrating its fifth year in Israel, will operate 37 flights a week from Tel Aviv to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov during the 2015-2016 winter season

Tel Aviv, 11.11.2015 - Aeroflot, Russia's national airline, represented in Israel by Open Sky, is increasing its activity in Israel to 37 flights a week. During the 2015-2016 winter season the company, marking its fifth year of successful presence in Israel, will be operating four daily flights on the Tel Aviv-Moscow route, flying Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A320/321/330 jets. Aeroflot will also be operating a daily flight to St. Petersburg and two weekly flights to Rostov.

The four daily flights that Aeroflot is offering between Tel-Aviv and Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow provide convenient service to 250 daily flights to 300 destinations in 60 countries around the world, with prices that bring better value than ever. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world: the average aircraft-age is just 4.2 years, and will grow younger as new jets are added. The company's Boeing 777-300, which will fly the Tel Aviv route twice a day, is among the most advanced, innovative aircraft in the world. The aircraft provides a lavish service experience, featuring a personal entertainment system and ample legroom in all classes.

Aeroflot's global reach brings Israeli passengers convenient connectivity with short transit times, especially in Moscow, en route to their final destination. According to the company's figures, many of the Aeroflot passengers from Israel continue onto other destinations in Russia, Europe, North America or the Far East. Aeroflot has achieved impressive growth figures on its Israel route, which are likely to grow even more as the frequency of service doubles: In 2014, Aeroflot flew 370,614 passengers between Russia and Israel, compared with 272,513 in 2013. The fact that Aeroflot is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance broadens the horizons it can offer even more, through its colleagues in the alliance, which serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide.



From the end of October, when the Russian aviation authorities suspended the license of Russian airline Transaero, Aeroflot began flying the stranded Transaero passengers, a successful mission coordinated fully by Open Sky, Aeroflot's representative in Israel, working with the Israel Travel Agent Association and Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Aeroflot's cargo activity in Israel, which is exclusively represented by Open Sky Cargo, also grew by more than 20% in the last year, making it one of the five leading cargo transporters in Israel. The growth rate of Aeroflot's cargo division is among the fastest in the industry worldwide, and it offers rapid cargo shipment between Israel and the world through Aeroflot's comprehensive network of routes around the world.

Speaking at the reception for Aeroflot executives at Ben Gurion International Airport, Mr. Ephraim Fortis, Founder, President and CEO of Open Sky, commented: "Open Sky and Aeroflot are marking a double celebration in Israel: five years of successful operation for Aeroflot in Israel, and doubling the frequency of flights on the Moscow-Tel Aviv line. During its five years of operation in Israel, the airline's activity grew from five flights a week to five flights a day on routes between Russia and Israel. The seating capacity the company can offer on the line and high occupancy rates on flights already position Aeroflot as one of the biggest airlines operating at Ben-Gurion Airport. Four daily flights to Moscow give the Israeli passenger flexibility in timing departure and return, and enable convenient rests between connecting flights in both directions. The Boeing 777-300 airliners offer the Israeli passenger the perfect flight experience on our flights. For Aeroflot executives to come to Israel for this special ceremony demonstrates the airline's commitment to developing the route to Israel, which continues to grow and expand."


About Aeroflot
Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship carrier and one of the largest airline groups in Europe. In 2014, Aeroflot carried 23.6 million passengers (34.7 million passengers as Aeroflot Group including subsidiaries), a record for any Russian airline. A proud member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, Aeroflot and its partners serve 1,057 destinations in 179 countries worldwide. Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world, numbering 164 Airbus, Boeing and Sukhoi airliners. Aeroflot is among the global leaders in aviation safety. The company’s European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Index, which is the main globally recognized safety parameter, is comparable to global peers. The first Russian carrier to enter the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) register, renewing its registration for the sixth time in 2015, Aeroflot has successfully passed the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and is fully ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 compliant. In 2015 Aeroflot was named by SKYTRAX as the Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the fourth time. Find more at


Photos : Hen Galily









US - Israel Smart Mobility Event - Fuel Choices Summit 2015

Hosted by the Israeli Prime Minister, we will meet on November 10th and 11th in Tel Aviv, Israel, to create a dialogue about the world’s most forward-thinking approaches to transportation technologies and future business models, and to promote Israel’s ambitious goal of reducing 60% of the country’s oil consumption by 2025.
The two-day event will feature:


A gathering of the world’s most distinguished decision makers and business leaders in the field of alternative fuels for a series of on-stage interviews, panel discussions, case studies, and brainstorming sessions.


A cutting-edge exhibition of new and upcoming start-ups, as well as car manufacturers and alternative fuels companies at the forefront of implementing innovation in transportation.


An invitation-only Gala dinner hosted by the Prime Minister in which he will award the 2015 Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for a major breakthrough in the field of alternative fuels for transportation.



Israel is expanding its efforts to dramatically decrease the world’s dependence on oil in transportation. For the third year, the Fuel Choices Summit will bring together policy makers, business leaders, financiers, researchers and entrepreneurs in the fields of alternative fuels and smart transportation.


Hosted by Israel's Prime Minister, we will meet on November 10th and 11th, in 'Habima' National Theater in Tel Aviv, Israel, for a dialogue about the world’s most forward-thinking approaches to transportation technologies and future business models, and to promote Israel’s ambitious goal of reducing 60% of the country’s oil consumption by 2025.



For more information on the Fuel Choices Initiative:










The 13th Go4Israel Conference: Cross Border Investments and Strategic Alliances The conference hosts over 1,000 participants including Israeli and Global leaders, entrepreneurs and investors October 26th, in Tel Aviv


Edouard Cukierman: "With an increasing presence of Chinese investors at the GO4Israel conference, which are now the world leaders in investments in Israel, we can help open new global opportunities and create new relationships between entrepreneurs and international investors"


The Go4Israel annual conference will be held on October 26th at the Hilton Tel Aviv. Organized by Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. and Catalyst Funds, Go4Israel, formerly Go4Europe, is one of the most influential business conferences in Israel, having won worldwide recognition for shaping the future of Israeli and related Global investments and policies. This Conference addresses central topics including the raising funds and establishing strategic alliances between corporate, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. It focuses on global markets across key industries: Hi-Tech, Life Sciences, renewable Energy, Real estate etc. The conference acts as a valuable conduit for stimulating inbound and outbound investment to and from Israel, to both Western and Emerging Markets.



Go4Israel 2015 will host key decision makers, business representatives and parliamentarians from Israel, Europe and China. The long list of senior speakers includes: Naftali Benett – Israeli Minister of Education; Lt. Gen. (res.) Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, 20th Chief of staff of the IDF; Yair Shamir – Former Minister of Agriculture of Israel, Managing Partner, Catalyst Fund; Jerry Arenson - Business Development Healthcare Technologies Manager, GE Global Research; Axel Kalinoswki – Manager, Continental Europe, London Stock Exchange; Dr. Dore Gold, Director General, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Yossi Vardi – Chairman, International Technologies; Shengyan Fan – Head of Strategic Investment and Development, China Everbright Ltd. (CEL) and Managing Partner, Catalyst CEL; Luc Muller – General Manager, OTTO Group; Dr. Florent Gros – Managing Director, Novartis Venture Funds; Roger Cukierman - Former CEO, Ed. de Rothschild & President of CRIF; Ziv Tirosh – CEO, Stockton Group; Gilad Glick – CEO Itamar Medical, Dr. Manfred Horst – Director Licensing & and External Research: MSD; Elizabeth Kogan, SVP Global Generic R&D, Teva Pharmaceuticals; and many other leading business leaders and decision makers.


This year’s conference panels will address issues such as: Cross border M&A; Technology, Media & Telecom; MedTech; Go4China Israel-China Business; Real Estate – New global trends; Pharma-Biotech; Green Technologies; Social Impact Investments; Go4Europe – The Place of Europe in Israel Business Agenda; and The Image of Israel Abroad.


A special panel of Elevator Pitches will include selected innovative technology companies, which will be given the opportunity to briefly introduce their products and solutions to potential investors.


The Go4Israel achievement Prize will go to Yossi Vardi, recognized technology leader, to honor his contribution to strengthening the relationship between Israeli hi-tech and the world.


Edouard Cukierman, Chairman of Cukierman & Co. Investment House and Managing Partner of Catalyst Funds: "With an increasing presence of Chinese investors at the GO4Israel conference, which are now the world leaders in investments in Israel, we can help open new global opportunities and create new relationships between entrepreneurs and international investors. Israel as a country and Israelis as business partners have a lot to offer worldwide. This year's conference's sessions, which combine different central interest subjects with Israeli, European and Chinese major personas, is bound to create a lot of interest".


Cukierman & Co. Investment House is the leading Israeli Cross-Border focused investment house, with a strong global network including many leading corporations, investors and financial institutions in key markets such as Europe, China, and beyond. Headquartered in Israel, the company provides a full array of investment banking services including M&A, Private Placements, Public Offerings, Consulting and Family Office Services to Israeli and European companies. With over 5.5 billion US $ in transactions, Cukierman & Co. has the largest Corporate Finance team in Israel with dedicated experts in the Life Sciences, Technologies, Media & Telecom (TMT), Green Technologies and Real Estate industries.


Catalyst is a top performing Israeli based private equity multi-fund firm founded in 1999. With over US$200 million under management, Catalyst’s funds support capital and long-term growth of innovative Israeli middle-market companies in global markets. Catalyst assists portfolio companies in reaching their targets by leveraging on the partners’ vast Israeli and Global network. Catalyst has invested in innovative companies and has a diversified portfolio, including companies from the Industrials, Telecommunications, Information Technologies, Enterprise Software, Medical Devices and Bio/Pharma industries.


The conference is produced, for the 5th year continuously, by "Kesher Faktor".


For further information visit:

For the GO4Israel 2015 Conference Agenda:


Photo provided by GO4Israel PR










Ministry of Economy: Israeli Fashion Designers in NYC


The Israeli Ministry of Economy's Trade Mission in New York, in Cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Tourism Ministry, Bring Israeli Bridal Fashion to New York City and Organize a Fashion Show for 7 Young Designers at New York Bridal Next Week


October 7, 2015. New York, NY – Fourteen Israeli fashion designers will exhibit dresses at New York Bridal, which will take place in New York City next week. Among the leading Israeli names who will be exhibiting their designs on Manhattan catwalks will be Pnina Tornai, Alon Livne, Berta, Yaki Ravid and Galia Lahav, who will exhibit their dresses in private fashion shows.


In addition, seven up and coming designers will be showing dresses at a unique event organized by the Israeli Ministry of Economy's Trade Mission in New York, in cooperation with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Tourism Ministry. Designers include Tal Kahlon, Merav Solo, Limor Rosen, Orabella, Lee Grebenau, Shlomit Azrad, and Yoav Rish.


New York Bridal is the leading commercial event in the American wedding market, estimated at over $54 billion per year, of which 7% is spent on bridal gowns, amounting to c. $3.2 billion per year. Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mishka, Marchesa, Dennis Basso are among the leading dress designers taking part in this year’s event.


"Of the 40 exhibitions expected during New York Bridal, about one quarter are from Israeli designers,” said Israeli Economic Minister to North America Nili Shalev. “This testifies to the exceptional talent in Israel. Israeli designers have become popular among American clients due to their innovative thinking and daring designs. Israel has long been 'on the map' internationally thanks to its technological innovation. In recent years the country has been making great headway in fields like television formats, wine, new media and fashion. This fashion event initiated by the Israeli Ministry of Economy's New York Trade Mission will let Israeli designers show buyers and potential business partners in the American fashion industry the great potential of the Israeli fashion industry, remarkable for its originality and creativity, traits influenced by the uniquely diverse and vibrant makeup of Israeli society."


"The Israeli Consulate in New York is proud to take part in this important event,” said Israel's Consul General to New York, Ido Aharoni. “It is in days like these that we need to celebrate Israeli creativity in all fields, including fashion."


"In order to continue efforts to highlight Israeli fashion in the US media, the Tourism Ministry's North America mission will host seven leading fashion journalists at the Holon Fashion Week that will take place in November,” said The Israeli Tourism Ministry's representative in North America, Uri Steinberg. “Among them are journalists from Elle, Glamour, Latina Magazine and leading fashion bloggers."








Carpets, Jewelry, Hats, Toys, Fashion Accessories, Lamps, Gifts and More


 Twenty-four Israeli designers, amongst eighty who submitted applications, were selected to represent Israel in a pop-up store that will be launched by the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the Israel Export Institute in Hong Kong in October. The opening is expected to be attended by many from the Hong Kong design community and is expected to brand Israel as a leading country in a number of areas of design.


Following the call for submissions by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the Israel Export Institute several weeks ago, no less than 80 Israeli designers submitted applications for a place in the first Israeli design store in Hong Kong. A design company from Hong Kong together with the Israeli commercial attaché there, Elad Goz, and representatives of the Israel Export Institute, selected the twenty-four leading Israeli designers whose work will be displayed in the store.


Earlier this week, the selected designers presented their wares to the staff at Israel’s Hong Kong trade mission, who were on a visit to Israel. The visit was part of preparations for the opening of the store -- which will take place in a festive ceremony that is already creating great interest in Hong Kong. The opening will take place on October 22nd.


The Head of the Israeli Economic & Trade Mission in Hong Kong, Elad Goz, said: "We have chosen not to limit the type of designs and as a result are featuring a wide variety of Israeli designers from a number of areas, including jewelry, home furnishings and more. The store will present the best and the widest variety of products and help bolster the Israeli design brand in the Far East, branding Israel not just as the 'Startup Nation' but also as a leading country in various design fields."


Director of the Home and Family Department at the Israel Export Institute, Eyal Levi, said: "Israeli design is recognized abroad as innovative and yet many designers find it hard to export their products abroad. Establishing this store, with its wide range of areas of design –from home furnishings to fashion and jewelry – will help designers maximize their exposure in markets in the Far East that have significant potential. We hope that they can increase their sales in traditional avenues as well as online."


The designers selected to represent Israel:

1. Adi Bakshi (fashion accessories)

2. Adi Buvarovsky (Pop Art)

3. Adi Lev (jewelry)

4. Aviv Kinel

5. Bangi Shoes (shoes)

6. Briday (gifts)

7. Bumpers Comfort

8. Dori Csengeri (jewelry)

9. Ester Shahaf (jewelry and Judaica)

10. Gallabia (fashion)

11. Ifat Shterenberg (furniture)

12. Justine Hats (Yael Cohen) (hats)

13. Kay Brock (textiles for the home)

14. Maya Negri (fashion)

15. PaperCat (toys)

16. Studio Shulab (home furnishings)

17. Sink Skin (home furnishings)

18. Gal Stern (fashion accessories)

19. Studio Cheha (lamps)

20. Studio Vayehi (Katerina Brand and Tsuriel Gottlieb) (lamps)

21. Sturlesi Design (home furnishings)

22. Una Una Shoes (shoes)

23. Anat Dahari (shoes)

24. Yesh Meayin (carpets)








Talks between Economy Ministries of Both Countries to Take Place in Tokyo this Week to Strengthen Trade Ties and Foster Export Activity


[Tokyo. Jerusalem. July 28th, 2015] – The first economic talks of their kind will take place between the Ministries of Economy of Israel and Japan (METI) in Tokyo this week. Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) in the Israeli Ministry of Economy will lead the talks along with his Japanese counterpart, Mr. Hideo Suzuki. The talks are part of Israeli government efforts to strengthen economic ties with Japan.


During the talks, topics related to Japanese imports and exports will be discussed, as will cooperation between the two ministries towards promoting exports and foreign investment. The FTA aims at holding such talks annually to help find specific solutions to obstacles facing Israeli and Japanese businesspeople and to work together with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to strengthen commercial ties.


Israeli Minister of Economy Aryeh Machluf Deri: “We see great importance in the Japanese market, one of the world’s largest economies, and we believe that this meeting will help Israeli exporters operate in this large, important market. The Ministry of Economy is working towards strengthening cooperation with Japan and increasing our exports to the country, and accordingly we will launch a targeted aid program in this area.”


Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israeli Ministry of Economy: “The Japanese economy and society have been undergoing a unique process of change and openness, which presents a golden opportunity for Israel – as a source of knowledge and global exporter of advanced technology – to increase cooperation and tighten economic relations with this country.”


Noa Asher, Head of Israeli Economic and Trade Mission to Japan: “Following years of efforts on the Israeli side to promote these talks, one of the reasons for the dialogue at this time is the tightening relations between Israel and Japan. This is due, amongst other things, to the mutual visits of the Prime Ministers of Israel and Japan in May, 2014 and January, 2015, together with high-ranking business delegations. This dialogue and the expected results will strengthen economic cooperation between Israel and Japan in the future.”


According to the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israeli Ministry of Economy, total trade between Israel and Japan stood at $2.3 billion in 2014, with exports to Japan reaching $800 million and imports $1.5 billion.






New NIS 5 Million Program to Aid Development of Social Enterprises Employing Target Populations

Program will be operated by the Small and Medium Business Agency in the Ministry of Economy

Will aid the development of social enterprises that employ people with disabilities, youth-at-risk and others, by contributing to their salaries up to NIS 200,000 per company


Minimum pre-condition for aid:  At least 20% of employees belong to prioritized   population sectors, or 30% for smaller businesses


Jerusalem, July 9, 2015 – The Small and Medium Business Agency at the Ministry of Economy is launching a pilot program to help social enterprises cope with the high costs involved in employing prioritized populations. The program aid will be given as participation in the costs borne by the company to employ workers from prioritized populations, for employment advancement. For 2015, the program budget is NIS 5 million.


The employees at the social enterprise will be directly employed by the company. The aid will be given to social enterprises as participation in the salaries of the qualifying employees, up to a fixed ceiling of NIS 200,000 per business per year, in accordance with the following participation rates: during the first year, 50% of salaries for qualifying employees; during the second year of participation in the program, a sum equal to 40% of the actual salaries of qualifying employees.


Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri: “Disadvantaged populations must be integrated into the economy and society. Today, the most disadvantaged people must struggle twice – first with their problematic point of departure, and then with being stigmatized by society. I have made the commitment to concern myself with them, and that means not only cutting prices or increasing benefits, but also properly integrating them into the labor market. I have good news for social enterprises that are not only looking at company profits but also at their contribution to the community and Israeli society as a whole. As part of the program, social enterprises that employ at least 5 employees from the prioritized population may submit a request and possibly receive government participation in funding the salaries of employees from prioritized populations, up to a ceiling of NIS 200,000 per business per year.”


Director of the Small and Medium Business Agency Ran Kiviti: A ‘social enterprise’ is any business with activity focusing on commercial activity, whether in an NPO or a company for public benefit working to advance and realize social goals, and commercial companies with activity directed at realizing social goals with activity to realize social goals or employ prioritized populations, such as people with disabilities and youth-at-risk.


The program is based on decisions made by the economic round table, headed by the prime minister, and withthe participation of the business and third sectors.


So which businesses fit the program?

1. A company that has been employing 5 workers from prioritized populations for at least a year, with a minimal number of weekly hours.

2. A company with up to 51 employees – with at least 30% of its workers meeting the definition of “prioritized populations”.

3. A company employing from 51-100 employees – with at least 25% of its workers from prioritized populations.

4. A company employing over 100 employees – with at least 20% of its workers from prioritized populations (if its annual business cycle is up to NIS 100 million).











[JERUSALEM – 7th July 2015] Economy Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Aryeh Machluf Deri met yesterday (Monday, 6 July 2015), for the first time, in his Jerusalem office, with Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin. The two discussed - inter alia - the establishment of a free trade zone between Israel and China.


Minister Deri stressed Israel's desire to establish such a zone. The Chinese Ambassador reiterated China's commitment to begin negotiations for an agreement, as first announced by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in March in his report to the National People's Congress.


Both sides stressed their mutual desire to strengthen ties and expand Chinese investments in Israel, which have thus far reached $6 billion. They also agreed that a free trade zone agreement would raise bilateral ties to a new level and bring real economic benefit to both sides.


Minister Deri said, "The Israeli Ministry of Economy concentrates efforts to promote and expand the trade ties between the two countries and to this end operates various tools to support Israeli companies doing business in China, such as dedicated funds for projects in the People's Republic of China, supporting incoming and outgoing delegations and of course, our trade attachés posted across China."


The Economy Ministry Foreign Trade Administration, which is expected to lead the negotiations for a free trade zone agreement with China, is making preparations for the talks and is consulting trade and industry officials regarding Israel's specific interests in the negotiations.


The Foreign Trade Administration operates five trade attachés across China - two in Beijing - including one who focuses on policy and regulation, one in Guangzhou, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. This number is identical to the number of attachés in the United States and the goal is to continue expanding the distribution of trade missions in China.


 Photo  : Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhan Yongxin  . Photo provided by Ministry of Economy
















Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Avi Hasson, signed a cooperation agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - the largest investment authority in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands * The bank funds projects in Latin American and Caribbean countries at an annual rate of $12 billion * The agreement will open new business opportunities for Israeli companies in Latin America


Israeli Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri: "Diversifying destination markets is a national endeavor for the State of Israel. In the world of new developing markets it is crucial for Israel to succeed. The agreement is an important step for promoting economic relations, for opening new business opportunities and for increasing Israeli exports. The State of Israel must diversify its export destinations and economic activity all around the world."


Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy: "The Chief Scientist's activity in the area focuses on creating opportunities to effectively commercialize innovative solutions adapted to Latin American markets. Implementing the agreement will give Israeli companies access to partners in R&D and trade in the region."



JERUSALEM – 29th June 2015. Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson signed a cooperation agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently. The agreement will open new business opportunities for Israeli companies in Latin America.


The Inter-American Development Bank is the largest investment authority in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands. There are 48 member states in the bank, including Israel. The bank funds projects in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands to the tune of $12 billion annually.


The agreement was signed in line with the government's policy to strengthen trade relations with Latin American countries. The government authorized the Chief Scientist to sign the agreement with IDB, realizing that this institution will open opportunities for Israeli companies on the continent.


Several weeks ago the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, MATIMOP (the international branch of the Office of the Chief Scientist on R&D) and the Foreign Trade Administration hosted a delegation of senior officials from the bank, who made a first visit to Israel to discuss with the chief scientist opportunities for involving Israeli companies in projects funded by the bank.


Among the concepts discussed: Establishing a joint $5 million fund for subsidizing innovative projects involving Israeli companies in Latin America, assistance from the bank in making Israeli technologies accessible to organizations in Latin American countries, helping Israeli companies get involved in development programs that are funded by the bank and funding industrial R&D cooperation with a joint budget from the bank and the Latin American countries with which the Chief Scientist has signed bilateral agreements.


The new agreement constitutes a significant step toward upgrading the Chief Scientist at MATIMOP's activity in the Americas, a process which started two years ago. Cooperation programs with the Americas are run with the assistance and coordination of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the trade attachés in Latin American countries, the Foreign Ministry and embassies, and of course, local partners in the various countries in which activities take place.


The Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy has recently announced that a program for subsidizing the adaptation of products to all Latin American countries will be expanded; the program gives Israeli companies the possibility to receive grants from the Chief Scientist for the purpose of adapting existing products to the demands of the Latin American market (including establishing pilot programs, adaptation to local regulations, reducing manufacturing costs etc.)


Israeli Ministry of Economy data shows that Israeli exports to Latin America in 2014 stood at $2.53 billion (excluding diamonds). The field of machines and mechanical devices was leading the export branch with 39.7% of all exports, followed by chemicals (20.1%), then plastics and rubber (6.3%). Brazil is Israel's main export destination in Latin America: In 2014 exports reached $915 million, totaling 36.1% of all Israeli exports to this region. Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Chile are the next most significant export destinations after Brazil.


Israel's network of trade agreements with Latin America


Israel's trade agreement with countries which are members of the South American joint market (Mercosur) went into effect on June 1 2010 (Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay), and on September 9 2011 with Argentina. Israel is the only country outside Latin America that enjoys a free trade agreement with Mercosur states. Since the agreement became effective, two conferences took place where senior officials from both sides participated and discussed increasing trade. Another conference is expected this year.


On July 1 2000 a free trade agreement between Israel and Mexico entered into effect. The agreement promises fair competition for Israeli exporters, mainly against competing exporters from the US, who enjoy free access to the Mexican market due to the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement, involving the US, Canada and Mexico).


Inter alia, the agreement between Israel and Mexico regulates competition and the rules for resolving disputes. A joint commission was established to oversee the implementation and promotion of the agreement and joint committees of experts were established on source regulations, customs procedures and other issues pertaining to bilateral trade. A joint conference is expected to take place this year.


Negotiations between Israel and Colombia on free bilateral trade were concluded in September 2013 and confirmed shortly thereafter by the Israeli government. An agreement is now pending approval by the Colombian government and will then enter into effect.


A negotiation on free trade between the two countries is currently underway. In July, the third round of talks is expected to take place in Israel. Another fourth round will take place before the agreement is finalized.






Israel and Germany signed an agreement this week for the purchase of four corvettes for the Israeli Navy * German Delegation to Israel – including naval officers, senior Defense Ministry officials and representatives of ship manufacturer TKMS – ThyssenKrupp – arrived in Israel for signing ceremony * As part of deal, TKMS made commitment with Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation at The Israeli Ministry of Economy for reciprocal purchasing, including direct investment in Israeli industry of NIS 700 million


JERUSALEM – 12th May 2015 – ThyssenKrupp is a multi-disciplinary concern in the metal production sector. The group produces metal (40%), parts for the auto industry, establishes chemical plants, manages the TKMS shipyard and is involved in other activities. The company employs 160,000 people around the world, 60% of them outside Germany. The company's revenue for 2014 stood at €40 billion. The company invests about €1 billion annually in R&D, half in projects outside Germany.


In 2006, the Israeli government signed a deal with the German manufacturer to purchase dolphin-type submarines. Following the transaction, TKMS committed to a reciprocal purchasing agreement worth 40% of the Israeli financing in the deal, totaling NIS 1.8 billion (reciprocal purchasing worth NIS 740 million). An examination by the Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation at The Israeli Ministry Of Economy showed that until now, the company has not fully realized this commitment.


In light of this, the division demanded - even at early stages of the negotiations - to discuss widening the company’s reciprocal purchasing agreements and its future commitments in the framework of the new deal.


Director of the Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation at The Israeli Ministry Of Economy, Ms. Ziva Eger, was determined to fully realize the existing commitment, to create a larger commitment from the company for reciprocal purchasing in Israel and to redirect some of the commitment expressly toward direct investment in Israeli industry. This, to maximize the gain for the Israeli economy and the local labor market.


As part of the outline agreement with the company, the following was achieved:


* TKMS committed to a reciprocal purchasing agreement worth 50% of the new deal - c. NIS 700 million; this in comparison to the previous commitment in which reciprocal purchasing agreement stood at 40%.


* The Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperationand TKMS will jointly examine the viability of jointly investing in research and development, establishing a manufacturing facility and converting some of the reciprocal purchasing commitment to capital investment; this in comparison to the previous deal in which TKMS committed to a reciprocal purchasing agreement only.


Director of the Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation at The Israeli Ministry Of Economy, Ms. Ziva Eger said: "The Israeli Ministry of Economy, with the backing and cooperation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Israeli Navy, managed to bring to the negotiating table a draft that turns defense acquisitions into cooperative ventures and economic development. Expanding the economic activity of TKMS in Israel is a breakthrough in trade, economic and research cooperation between the countries. We operate according to the policy set by the ministry to encourage small and medium-sized factories and to strengthen Israel’s peripheral communities. The cooperation with TKMS is an example of the importance of reciprocal purchasing agreements for the Israeli economy."


Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Mr. Amit Lang said: "The Israeli expenditure on national security injects money into Israeli industry. We have begun a move that turns a standing commitment into direct investment in Israeli industry, based on a detailed plan with a set timetable. This is excellent news for Israeli industry and for the Israeli job market. It also shines a positive light on Israel's economic and security cooperation with Germany, countries marking 50 years of diplomatic relations this year."













AgriVest, a partnership between Israel’s Ministry of Economy, Trendlines Agtech and GreenSoil Investments to be held at Weizmann Institute of Science on 27th April 2015


[JERUSALEM – 30th March 2015] The third international AgriVest conference, an initiative of Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the Trendlines Group and Trendlines Agtech and GreenSoil Investments, will take place at the Weizmann Institute of Science on April 27 2015.




During the conference, which serves as a unique platform for meetings between potential investors and key executives in the global agricultural industry, Israeli startups will present their finest in agritech innovation to hundreds of professionals, government officials, businesspeople, scientists and leading investors from Israel and abroad.

The growing need and demand for food security, together with the challenges of creating a sustainable, eco-friendly agriculture, constitutes fertile ground for development and innovation in agritech. The growing awareness around the world is that the only way to overcome the gap between supply and demand is by using new and advanced technologies which can offer solutions to improving the chain of agricultural production and food supply.

During the conference, two panels will feature senior agritech officials from Israel and the world: The industry panel moderated by Eyal Lipetz-Eliassi, DuPont, includes Sam Fiorello, Danforth Plant Science Center, Ofer Haviv, Evogene, Pam Marrone, Marrone Bio Innovations, Barry J. Schindler, Greenberg Traurig, and Alexander Wigelmann, KWS SAAT. Adam Anders, Anterra Capital, Dror Berman, Innovation Endeavors, Dan Hodgson, Linn Grove Growth Fund, Arama Kukutai, Finistere Ventures fund, Michael Lee, Syngenta Ventures, and Jinesh Shah, Omnivore Partners will participate in the investment panel moderated by Gideon Soesman, GreenSoil Investments.




The focus of the event will be a presentation by 12 selected Israeli startups*, who will show their finest in the Israeli agricultural industry to investors from Israel and the world. The companies were selected by a professional, independent commission headed by Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Agriculture Avi Perl, from more than 40 companies that competed for the privilege of presenting at the conference. They will be graded by the participants and at the end of the day the leading company will be awarded a prize presented by Oded Distel, Director of Invest in Israel at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines AgTech.



Oded Distal, Director of Invest in Israel at the Israeli Ministry of Economy added: “The Ministry of Economy is delighted to once again be showcasing some of the most exciting and innovative Israeli agtech companies at AgriVest. We have seen the value that this event has had for Israeli companies in the past and hope that this year will result in positive relationships being developed between companies, investors and government officials both in Israel and around the world”.


Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines Agtech, said: "In recent years the global challenges of supplying food for a growing population are getting worse, and demand is on the rise. Agricultural technology presents the infrastructure for resolving the very serious issue of world hunger. Israel can and needs to present the world with solutions, including innovative developments which fulfill the future needs of global agricultural markets. We have the tools, the knowledge and the ability to lead development of technological research in agriculture, and to realize the possibilities of this field as a successful export industry. The AgriVest conference is a window of opportunity and a platform for meetings between investors and entrepreneurs. There is huge interest around the world in Israeli developments and they carry significant economic potential, as well as benefits for Israel's global image."


Gideon Soesman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, GreenSoil Investments remarked: “AgriVest showcases technologies that will enable us to produce unique foodstuffs, additives, seeds and agricultural products to combat the stress on our dwindling natural resources. Investing in new crops, treatment methods, waste reduction and yield enhancement will provide solutions to the world’s food crisis and can deliver sizable returns to investors.”


Raphael Meisner, CEO of Rootility, winner of AgriVest 2013: "AgriVest was a perfect platform for us - we presented our company, met with investors and created strategic ties."


AgriVest takes place the day before Agritech - the International Agriculture Exhibition and Conference - scheduled for April 28 to 30, 2015, in Tel Aviv. Agritech is one of the world’s leading conferences in the field of agricultural technologies. Agritech features hundreds of Israeli agritech developments, from greenhouses and irrigation to water management and dairy farming. In 2012, 8,100 foreign visitors attended Agritech.


* The companies featured in this year's conference are: BioFishency, CropX, DouxMatok, Ecofer Fertigation, EQUInom, FuturaGraft, Groundwork BioAg, Hinoman, Phenome Networks, Saturas, Valentis Nanotech and VIBE Technologies.






Israel-Trade.Net is Virtual Information Sharing Center And Knowledgebase, Allowing Industrialists To Network With Foreign Trade Administration Decision Makers Regarding International Trade And Investments

JERUSALEM – March 11h, 2015 – Israel's economy is one of the most open to international trade in the world. Exports and imports constitute two-thirds of the gross domestic product. Therefore, decisions on foreign trade policy can have a tremendous impact on the economy and even on day-to-day life. In light of the importance of international trade and a policy to increase transparency in the Ministry of Economy's decision-making process, the Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) at Israel’s Ministry of Economy has launched a website where industrialists can engage in dialogue with ministry officials on issues of foreign trade.

Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration, noted that the administration is in constant contact and consultation with economic organizations such as the Israel Manufacturers Association, The Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Israel Export Institute. “Nevertheless, it is important to create additional mechanisms that will allow as many relevant parties in industry to be directly exposed to the issues in which the ministry is involved. The new platform allows decision makers to be in direct dialogue with all parties in the country involved in industry and to remain attentive to their needs as they navigate the complex issues influencing the ongoing agenda of Israeli foreign trade. The ability to reach industrialists, hear new ideas and be directly exposed to their daily activities will help us deal with the complex challenges of the international trade network, where one must regularly exchange information to keep abreast of new developments."

Through this new platform, FTA officials seek to hear out industrialists and examine the needs of the business community involved in international trade (importers, exporters, industrialists, service companies, etc.), as well as to examine the possible influence of different policy initiatives related to international trade on the local market.

The website will be dynamic and the issues discussed will change according to the activity of the FTA.

The website became operational during the past month. The first issues open for discussion include:

* The free trade agreement between Israel and Panama

* A new trade agreement canceling customs on products which contribute to the environment

* Appropriate business conduct throughout the supply network in the field of agriculture (in cooperation with the OECD)

To the website

The Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) at the Israel Ministry of Economy is the government authority entrusted with formulating and leading Israel's foreign trade policy. The administration aims at increasing the competitiveness of Israeli industry while reinforcing Israel's industry and economy as an international brand, highlighting innovation, creativity and originality as hallmarks of the Israeli economy. The FTA is responsible for Israel's trade policy vis-a-vis other global economies and is in charge of formulating cooperation and free trade agreements. The FTA operates a network of 41 trade attachés in financial capitals around the world to help Israeli companies interested in penetrating these foreign markets. In addition, the FTA assists exporters with various types of funding and subsidies.











Negotiations Get into High Gear as Israeli Delegation Arrives in Panama


JERUSALEM – March 3rd, 2015 -- A 12-strong Israeli delegation headed by Ministry of Economy officials and comprised of professional staff from relevant government ministries are in Panama City to participate in a second round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Israel and the Republic of Panama. The negotiations are part of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy's policy of expanding Israeli exports to new markets, and the Israeli government's policy of strengthening relations with Latin American countries.


The agreement is expected to serve as another springboard for Israeli service providers - especially in software, communication, information security, engineering and R&D - thus expanding the potential of this and related markets.


The second round of talks began Monday in Panama City and will last four days. Twelve working groups are expected to discuss the following subjects: access to markets, customs, services and investments, intellectual property, protection of flora and fauna and veterinary aspects, trade obstacles, institutional issues and conflict resolution. Two more rounds of talks are expected before the negotiations are completed.


Head of the Foreign Trade Administration in the Israel Ministry of Economy Ohad Cohen said: "The Israeli Ministry of Economy continues to strengthen Israel's economic ties with countries around the world with an emphasis on developing economies with great potential for growth. In this case, we are expanding Israel's economic footprint in Latin America, in accordance with our policy of expanding export horizons for Israeli industry and service sectors. The agreement will forge new opportunities for Israeli companies and give them a competitive edge against foreign companies. Panama is a signatory to free trade agreements with many countries including the US, the EU, Canada, EFTA countries, Singapore, Taiwan, Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. A free trade agreement with Panama will level Israel's position regarding trade benefits with those countries."


Mrs. Yifat Alon-Perel, Director, Bilateral Trade and Economic Agreements at the Ministry of Economy and head of the Israeli delegation to the talks said: "Free trade agreements constitute a significant framework for Israeli exports. Today, about 65% of Israeli exports go to countries with which Israel shares free trade agreements, giving exporters benefits regarding customs and a competitive edge. The Foreign Trade Administration continues to work for the benefit of Israeli exporters by guaranteeing their products remain competitive and by ensuring easier access to new markets while striving to remove trade obstacles exporters typically face in these markets. Israeli exporters enjoy a competitive advantage in Mexico thanks to the longstanding free trade agreement our countries have enjoyed since 2000, as well as to the Mercosur states, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In addition, one year ago a free trade agreement was signed with Colombia which is expected to go into effect in about a year. Our goal is to increase Israeli industry's competitive advantage by signing agreements with more countries, including Panama. Tightening economic ties with Panama is doubly important both for opening new markets for Israeli industry and for strengthening Israel's standing among Latin American countries."


According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the economy of Panama is based primarily on a developed service sector which constitutes more than three quarters of its GDP and includes the operation of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, the free trade zone in Colón, insurance, ports, shipping registration and tourism. Economic growth in Panama in 2013 exceeded 8% and is attributed - among other factors - to the widening of the Panama Canal which began in 2007 at a cost of $5.3 billion. Additional infrastructure development projects expected to take place in the country may very well draw Israeli firms with relevant expertise.


Panama is a candidate to join the Pacific Alliance, a bloc of Latin American nations including Mexico, Colombia (both of which enjoy free trade agreements with Israel), Chile and Peru. The bloc includes 200 million consumers and a joint GDP of over $3 trillion. This constitutes 35% of the total GDP of Latin American countries and over 50% of Latin American trade. Israeli exports to Panama in 2014 stood at $25 million and imports from Panama at $3 million.





Unilever Corp. Joins Multinational Cooperation Program at the Office of the Chiief Scientist


Multinational food and consumer products corporation Unilever joins program of R&D cooperation with other multinational corporations at the Office of the Chief Scientist, part of the Israeli Ministry of Economy * Entry into program follows signing of agreement between Chief Scientist Avi Hasson and David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer at Unilever


[JERUSALEM – 24th February 2015] Unilever has become the 41st corporation, the 2nd British corporation (British-Dutch) and the 3rd food and consumer products corporation entering the Multinational Program for R&D Collaboration ("the MNC Program") at the Office of the Chief Scientist, part of the Israeli Ministry of Economy. According to Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, "the MNC Program has become the preferred option for many corporations seeking to join forces with innovative Israeli companies".


Hasson also said that "The international Unilever Corporation can create opportunities for many trailblazing Israeli producers of consumer products, thus creating solutions for the global challenges this field is facing. This can be achieved by commercial and technological cooperation that will bring Israeli innovation to the fore. The entry of Unilever, a world leader in the manufacture of food and care products to the program, emphasizes the attraction Israeli industrial innovation holds for multinationals outside the realm of Information Technology and Communications."


David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer at Unilever, said that "Unilever is known for its investment in innovation. Cooperating with the Chief Scientist in the MNC Program is an excellent way for us to discover and examine innovative technologies that can help us meet the company's growth aspirations."


An example of one such type of cooperation is the joint initiative established by Unilever in 2013 with Israeli company Syneron Medical Ltd., a world leader in aesthetic medicine products. The two companies joined forces on the design and development of a line of innovative high-performance cosmetic products for home use, called 'Illuminage Beauty'.


The Multinational Program at the Office of the Chief Scientist: The program offers a unique framework for technological cooperation between Israeli companies and multinational concerns. According to the agreement, the Chief Scientist helps a multinational company find Israeli technologies answering the company's needs and gives subsidies for funding R&D necessary to complete development. The multinational company supports the product by matching the grant from the Chief Scientist either financially or by lending equipment, technological and regulatory counseling, marketing direction etc. Thus, the multinational corporation helps the Israeli company grow and opens marketing opportunities abroad.


About Unilever: Unilever is one of the world's leading and largest producers of food, healthcare and homecare products. The company is a world leader in research and development through innovation and through constant improvements to existing products. Unilever is active in 190 countries and its products are used by 2 billion people every day. 174,000 people work in the company and it manufactures and distributes its products under 400 brand names.


Unilever is always practicing new ways of doing business, as part of its vision and sustainability program and in an effort to grow whole at the same time, reducing its negative impact on the environment and creating a positive environmental footprint. Unilever's sustainability program focuses on three main goals for the year 2020 - improving health and quality of living, reducing the environmental footprint by half and improving sources of income in the company's supply chain. In 2014, the corporation's production around the world closed at 48.4 billion euro.


In Israel, Unilever is represented by Unilever-Israel, employing 2,500 people in the company's headquarters and four production facilities. Some of Unilever's leading brands: Telma, Knorr, Lipton, Hellmann's, Mazola, Blue Band, Klik, Bagel & Bagel, Strauss Ice Creams, Dove, Rexxona, Axe, Clear, Badin, Pinuk and others.


Another facility established in Israel is the international Unilever Innovation Center, entrusted with locating, testing and implementing innovative solutions across the company's brands. The innovation center is run and operated by the Earthbound Company.




Strengthening farming in the Gaza periphery

The tenth Negev Conference on Agricultural Research and Development, which was held in the Eshkol Regional Council, focused on developing agriculture in Israel's Gaza Border communities. Director of KKL-JNF's Southern Region Ami Uliel reviewed KKL-JNF's extensive activities to promote Negev development - which are carried out with the help of its Friends worldwide – in areas such as agriculture, land, water, afforestation, settlement and tourism.


More info :



Prof. Sheenan Harpaz. Photo: Yoav Devir








Ambassador Shapiro to Lead Israeli Investment Delegation to the United States  Invites more Israeli companies to join his delegation to SelectUSA Summit 2015


U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro invites Israeli companies to join him and other Israeli investors already signed up to participate in the SelectUSA Summit 2015. Ambassador Shapiro will lead a delegation of up to 20 Israeli companies from a variety of business sectors to the Summit, aimed at opening the U.S. market to foreign investment by showcasing the United States as the world's premier business location and providing easy access to federal programs and services related to business investment. The summit will take place outside Washington, DC, March 23-24.


At the Summit, the Israeli delegation members, along with investors from 72 countries, will hold one-on-one meetings with State Economic Development Organizations to talk about each State's commercial environment, developing markets and State incentives. The summit will hold moderated panels presenting the latest information on all aspects of investment in the U.S.


Ambassador Shapiro praised this unique opportunity, and urged more Israeli companies to sign up: "This summit is a chance for some great Israeli companies to find their market in the United States, grow their business, and expand trade between the U.S. and Israel. I strongly encourage more Israeli companies to join me on this delegation and take advantage of this unique opportunity. Israeli investors have contributed significantly to the American economy, helping make the U.S. the most attractive destination for investment."


Maria Andrews, the U.S. Embassy's Commercial Counselor in Israel, said: "We are very excited about the Israeli delegation attending the summit and know how beneficial it can be for the companies to explore a number of potential U.S. locations in the space of two days, all in one place. We will continue to work with the companies after the Summit to help them reach their goals, connecting them with economic development officials in the different States."


About SelectUSA:


SelectUSA is a federal program aimed at assisting businesses from around the world who are interested in expanding their business into the U.S. The program was launched in 2011 by executive order and is managed as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is the first such program to be managed on a federal level. Its purpose is to directly connect the different U.S. States with international companies wishing to invest in the U.S.


To learn more about SelectUSA, and to register for the summit, please visit or contact Sigal Mendelovich at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.






On the eve of the elections, the conference will present housing solutions offered by the parties running for the Knesset and will present the economic efforts for housing and infrastructures in Israel.

On the eve of the elections in which Israel's citizens will again go to the polling booths, Israel's top real estate industry personalities will attend the "Globes" 2015 Real Estate and Infrastructures Conference in cooperation with Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.

Israel's largest real estate conference - a key meeting place for decision-makers, businesspeople, government officials, and economic leaders – will be held on February 23, 2015. Ahead of the elections, the conference will present housing solutions offered by the parties running for the Knesset and will present the economic efforts for housing and infrastructures in Israel.

This year, six top officials from parties running in the Knesset general election will participate in the conference. Labor Party Chairman MK Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid Chairman and former Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, Kulanu Chairman and former Minister of Communications and Minister of Social Services Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Construction and Housing Uri Ariel, Minister of the Interior Gilad Erdan, and Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz will present their proposals for housing and infrastructures on the basis of their economic doctrines.

The Israel Real Estate and Infrastructures Conference will examine the balance of forces in national and local government. The new challenges facing the industry and a wide range of issues, including construction, financing (mortgages and credit for contractors), planning, urban renewal, public housing, transportation and infrastructures will be presented at the conference.


Program   in hebreu   :

For details and registration:

Or call: *5988







Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal met with the Israeli delegation to Vibrant Gujarat 2015 Summit and discussed possible ways to extend the fruitful cooperation between Israel and India in the area of food security.


During a special meeting which took place at the Summit in Gandhinagar, Israeli Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir and Minister of Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, expressed their intention to establish a joint working group on agriculture and food processing to examine new crop diversification techniques which could be effectively used in India.


After the meeting, Minister Badal and Minister Shamir, accompanied by Head of MASHAV, Ambassador Gil Haskel, and by Israel's Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, visited the Israeli Pavilion where they witnessed several advanced Israeli agro-technologies being implemented within the framework of the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Cooperation Program, including drip irrigation, water conservation and post-harvest management. They also sampled fresh produce grown on one of the Indo-Israeli Centers of Excellence in Agriculture.


From right to left: The Head of MASHAV; Israel's Minister of Agriculture; India's Minister of Food Processing Industries; and Israel's Ambassador to India; holding fresh produce grown on one of the Indo-Israel MASHAV Centers of Excellence

Copyright: MASHAV






The Israeli national pavilion at Vibrant Gujarat 2015 entitled "Israel Innovation in India" exhibits ongoing Indo-Israeli cooperation and showcases advanced Israeli technologies in the fields of agriculture and homeland security.


The Israeli national pavilion entitled "Israel Innovation in India" exhibits ongoing Indo-Israeli cooperation and showcases advanced Israeli technologies in the fields of agriculture and homeland security. Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir heads the Israeli delegation to the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, accompanied by Gil Haskel, Head of MASHAV, Israel's Agency of International Development Cooperation, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and representatives from various Israeli companies.


In addition, two professional events organized by the Embassy of Israel in India will take place during the Summit: the first, a seminar on "Water Recycling, Irrigation Panel, Post-Harvest Management and Dairy," and the second a seminar on "Innovation and Technology in Food Processing for Sustaining Food Security" where Minister Shamir will be the keynote speaker.


Advanced Israeli technologies already being implemented in India include drip irrigation, polyhouses, sophisticated water management and control systems. In the field of dairy, Israel will showcase advanced methods to increase milk productivity of cows. In HLS, Israel will present some of the most cutting edge technologies aimed at making India's cities safer.


During Vibrant Gujarat 2015, Israel and India signed a Joint Declaration on the commencement of the third phase of the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project, further strengthening and widening the bilateral agricultural development cooperation between the two countries. In the current three-year work plan, Israel and India are in the process of establishing 29 centers of excellence for agriculture in 10 Indian states, including Gujarat.




The agreement was signed in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, by Head of MASHAV Ambassador Gil Haskel and Mr. Sanjeev Chopra, Joint Secretary, India's Mission for Integrated Development in Horticulture (MIDH), in the presence of Israel's Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir and the Minister of State of Agriculture of India Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya (January 11). The Ministers praised the Indo-Israel cooperation in Agriculture (IIAP), which has become a strong platform for achieving national goals such as diversification of crops, increasing productivity and optimizing the use of resources through the introduction of relevant, innovative Israeli technologies.





Mexico to Join Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy in Funding Research and Development Projects * Goal: To Advance Research and Industrial Development In Both Countries * Israeli and Mexican Companies to Receive Funding for Joint R&D Projects * Leading Fields for Joint Research: Water Management, Desert Agriculture, Pharma and Medical Devices, Electronics and Communication


JERUSALEM. December 8th, 2014 – Israel and Mexico signed a cooperation agreement for industrial R&D over the weekend. As part of the agreement, Mexico will join the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Israeli Ministry of Economy in a framework of international cooperation to fund joint projects in research and development intended to advance industrial development between both countries.


The agreement – signed last week by Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Rodica Radian Gordon –was led by CONACYT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) and its Israeli counterpart, the Office of the Chief Scientist (through the office's executive arm MATIMOP), the Israeli ambassador to Mexico and the Israeli Ministry of Economy's trade attaché to Mexico, Rona Kotler Ben Aroya.


Under the agreement, Israeli and Mexican companies will receive assistance in funding joint projects in vast areas of research and development. The leading fields for cooperation with Mexico will include water management, desert agriculture, pharma and medical devices, electronics and communication. However, the agreement will serve as a framework for all types of technology cooperation.


Apart from the potential in implementing the agreement with the business community in Mexico, the move can also advance other agreements in Latin America and strengthen business relations with countries such as Brazil, Chile or Colombia.


Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson said: "We are delighted with Mexico's vote of confidence in Israel's economy, industry and innovation, which have long been global brands. Cooperation agreements such as the one signed with Mexico contribute to the Israeli market by creating new jobs, advancing R&D, technological enterprise and more."


Rona Kotler Ben Aroya, Trade Attaché to Mexico from the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: "Mexico is one of the world's largest manufacturers in a variety of fields, comprising an essential part of the country's economy. Many of its products are intended for the North American market. In an effort to preserve its global competitiveness, the Mexican government has set a goal of advancing research and development in order to streamline and upgrade the manufacturing processes of local companies by implementing advanced technologies in the manufacturing process. The signing of the industrial R&D agreement between Israel and Mexico will help Israeli companies integrate products and advanced technologies with local manufacturers and realize the potential of this market."


Immediately following the agreement's signing and confirmation, a call will be issued in early 2015 to Israeli and Mexican companies to present joint proposals for parallel funding for R&D projects.





President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Sunday, 7 December 2014), participated in the Globes 'Israel Business Conference' in Tel Aviv. The President spoke 'in conversation' with Globes Editor-in-Chief Guy Rolnik about the proposed upcoming elections. He said, "I hope that what happened before won't happen this time, with regard to the voter turnout. I am afraid the public will not get out to vote, because they have lost faith. I hope everyone will vote."


The President continued, "Even the political leaders need to understand that a return to the central voter blocs is important for governance and the ability to make difficult decisions. The elections always raise the same questions: security or society, but today, we have to find a solution to both, it is no longer 'either or'. The social protests brought about the unprecedented replacement of 57 members of Knesset, and that was a clear message."


In relation to the situation in Israel's society, the President said, "We find ourselves with two economies – the Start Up nation, and another Israel. The gaps are growing and widening even within the second group, and amongst the middle classes. All this demands the involvement of society; by voting and understanding that elected representatives are elected to deal with these issues too."



 The President continued to address the issue of violence in Israel over the past months. "The cure for violence, is hope. As Jewish leaders, we must deal with the issue of Jewish fundamentalism, and Arab leaders need to deal with the issue of Arab fundamentalism. Where there is no hope, violence breeds."


To the question of how the President regards the suggestion he had changed his opinions since entering office, he said, "I was and remain a student of Jabotinsky, the education system within which I was educated and raised was that of the Herut and the Likud. I have said in the past, and I say again and again. Jews and Arabs were not doomed to live together, but destined to live together. As a Jew and a Zionist, I believe fully in the Jewish State, which must be democratic, and governed according to the will of the majority. That which I say today, I have been saying for years, and all who know me are aware of this."


To the question of whether the President was a 'digital president', the President responded, "I write with a fountain pen, and sometimes with a pencil. My grandchildren have shown me the marvels of the internet. I understood early on, the magnitude of the revolution that the internet has brought and the significance it holds for our lives. Personally however, I can't really send a text message without the help of my aides. That said, I understand what I am talking about, and I can happily live with it with my grandchildren by my side."


Photos  Silvia G Golan













 JERUSALEM, November 24, 2014 – Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett launched the flagship "Water City" project in China today, announcing that the city of Shougang in the Shandong province would be the focus of Israel's water-related activities in the country. The announcement was made in the presence of Chinese municipal officials during Minister Bennett's current visit to China. The minister landed in China on Sunday to head a business delegation with representatives of 15 Israeli companies seeking opportunities for Israeli water technologies.


The minister's visit is the high point of an ongoing process led by the Israeli Ministry of Economy through its trade attachés in China. The attachés are working with Chinese authorities to advance Israeli companies and incorporate Israeli technology in the country's massive water system. The Chinese water system faces many challenges including rapid population growth and widespread contamination of the country's water resources. Beijing is therefore "thirsty" for Israeli solutions.


Israeli water technologies will be implemented in the "Water City" project in Shougang for commercial use, which will showcase solutions offered by Israeli companies in real-world conditions in an effort to persuade Chinese authorities to adopt these solutions in other Chinese cities. The city of Shougang was chosen following a stringent selection process by representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and their Chinese counterparts. As part of the project, the city will enjoy technologies offered by Israeli firms in the fields of desalination, sewage management, irrigation, reuse of water for agricultural, water supply and more. This is a first-of-its-kind enterprise supported by the joint Israel-China Mission entrusted with advancing bilateral economic ties.


"Israel and China are natural partners for technological and business cooperation," said Minister Bennett during the inauguration of Shougang as 'Water City.' "We have extensive experience in management of water resources and the 'Water City' project will help open the Chinese market to Israeli water companies, as well as advancing bilateral relations."


The minister's tour will continue until Thursday, during which the delegation will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. In Nanjing, seminars and business meetings will take place between representatives of the Israeli companies and a wide range of government and non-government representatives in the country's water-management sector.


Minister Bennett will hold further meetings with senior Chinese government officials from the Ministry of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM), as well as senior executives from the Chinese business sector, including Robin Li, CEO of Internet trade giant Baidu, and with the Chairman of trade giant Suning, with an eye towards helping Israeli companies forge partnerships with these companies and towards bringing the Chinese concerns to Israel to open investment arms and R&D centers. The minister is also expected to launch the China-Israel Business Center in Shanghai and, at the end of his visit, to inaugurate the Israeli exhibition farm in the south China province of Fujian. This agricultural demonstration center is a commercial farm established and supported by the Israeli Ministry of Economy, housing several Israeli companies which showcase their expertise and knowhow in the hopes of drawing clients from China and across Asia.


According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Israel's trade with China stood at $10.8 billion in 2013. Trade with China is expected to rise by 15% in 2014.





 The "Globes" Israel Business Conference 2014, Israel's largest
annual business conference, will be held on December 7-8

The "Globes" Israel Business Conference 2014, Israel's largest annual business conference, will be held on December 7-8 in Tel Aviv. It will be opened in the presence of His Honor, the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.

The conference's opening session will be entitled, 2015 - Where is it headed? The participants will discuss what can be expected in the coming year. The topics will include the economic outlook for 2015, whether Israel's credit rating will be upgraded or downgraded, whether membership in the OECD will strengthen Israel and open it to new markets, and expected trends during the year and how they will affect the country's citizens.

The session participants will be Dr. Jason Furman, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House and Senior Economic Advisor to President Barack Obama; David Rothkopf, the CEO and Editor, Foreign Policy Magazine, one of the most important periodicals about politics and international relations in the world, and a columnist at CNN and at The New York Times; and Zion Keinan, Bank Hapoalim CEO and President.

The Israel Business Conference is the country's premier and most prestigious economic conference, where decision-makers, businesspeople, government officials, academics, top economic officials, researchers, spokespersons, and local and foreign delegations meet and network. At the conference, leading Israeli and foreign economic officials, academics, businesspeople, and policy-makers will offer their analyses and knowledge.




The "Seeking Energy for Growth" session will discuss oil prices and Israeli gas at the 2014 "Globes" Israel Business Conference


For the full conference schedule and to register, please click on Israel Business Conference or telephone *5988


What will the price of oil be in 2015, who will gain and who will lose from the collapse of oil prices, will the US break the OPEC cartel, can Israel close natural gas export deals, and should price controls be placed on natural gas in Israel. These and other questions will be discussed during the "Seeking energy for growth" session at the 2014 "Globes" Israel Business Conference.

The session participants will be International Energy Agency (IEA) chief economist and director of its Global Energy Economics Directorate Dr. Fatih Birol, who is rated by Forbes as one of the most influential people in the world in energy and who is responsible for World Energy Outlook, the IEA's flagship publication, a source of strategic analysis of the world's energy markets; and King's College Dean of the Policy Institute Dr. Nick Butler, an energy blogger at the Financial Times. The moderator will be "Globes" macroeconomics correspondent Amiram Barkat.


The Israel Business Conference is the country's premier and most prestigious economic conference, where decision-makers, businesspeople, government officials, academics, top economic officials, researchers, spokespersons, and local and foreign delegations meet and network. At the conference, leading Israeli and foreign economic officials, academics, businesspeople, and policy-makers will offer their analyses and knowledge.
The conference, a major influential event on the public economic agenda, will be held at the Tel Aviv David Intercontinental Hotel on December 7-8.




Waking up from the American Dream

The Waking up from the American Dream panel will discuss changes in US policy at the 2014 Globes Israel Business Conference


Changes in US-Israeli, US-Russian relations, and, of course, US-Chinese relations are the subject of the Waking up from the American Dream panel at the 2014 Globes Israel Business Conference.

The panelists will be Westwood Capital co-founder and managing partner Daniel Alpert, a member of US the financial elite, and a Research Fellow at The Century Foundation, who jointly published with Prof. Nuriel Roubini and Prof. Robert Hockett, The Way Forward, a program for emerging from the economic crisis; Pew Research Center Research Fellow Paul Taylor, a former political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Next America; and Institute for Policy Planning CEO Dr. Igor Bonin, an expert in Russia-US relations. Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, The Wall Street Journal will moderate the panel.

The Globes Israel Business Conference is the country's premier and most prestigious economic conference, where decision-makers, businesspeople, government officials, academics, top economic officials, researchers, spokespersons, and local and foreign delegations meet and network. At the conference, leading Israeli and foreign economic officials, academics, businesspeople, and policy-makers will offer their analyses and knowledge.




The challenges facing Israel's defense industries after Operation Protective Edge will be discussed

The 2014 "Globes" Israel Business Conference will hold a session on economic security, which will discuss the economic consequences of Operation Protective Edge on Israel and the R&D challenges facing the country's defense industries. The session's topics will include, following the invention of Iron Dome, can defense companies invent a system to tackle the threat of tunnels; how are defense industries handling growing competition in global markets; how will defense budget constraints affect procurements from Israeli companies; how the privatization of Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) is progressing; and how the lessons of Operation Protective Edge will affect the development programs of defense companies.

The sessions participants are Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. CEO Joseph Weiss, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. CEO Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yedidia Yaari, Magal Security Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: MAGS; TASE: MAGS) CEO Eitan Livne, Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) president and CEO Betzalel Machlis, Magna BSP Ltd. CEO Amos Matan, and IMI CEO Avi Felder. "Globes" defense industries correspondent Yuval Azulai will be the session moderator.

The Israel Business Conference is the country's premier and most prestigious economic conference, where decision-makers, businesspeople, government officials, academics, top economic officials, researchers, spokespersons, and local and foreign delegations meet and network. At the conference, leading Israeli and foreign economic officials, academics, businesspeople, and policy-makers will offer their analyses and knowledge.

The conference, a major influential event on the public economic agenda, will be held at the Tel Aviv David Intercontinental Hotel on December 7-8.

Israel Business Conference 2014 – Registration and details:





Twenty years ago, a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan was signed, which settled the relationship, boundaries and division of resources between Israel and Jordan. Following the peace agreement, the borders between the countries were opened, and factories under Israeli ownership were transferred to Jordan, where labor is cheaper.
In 1997, the QIZ Agreement was signed by Israel, Jordan and the US, in order to encourage business collaborations and thus promote the peace process. The agreement contributed to strengthening the political relationship and the trade relations between Israel and Jordan such that in 1998, Israeli exports to Jordan amounted to about USD 25 million, compared to USD 133 million in 2004, an aggregate increase exceeding 400%.

In 2005, free trade agreements were signed between Jordan and the United States. The Jordanian exporters moved from the QIZ framework to the framework of this agreement, while the Israeli exporters were required to face the Jordanian market with equal terms with local and foreign suppliers, without the advantage of the QIZ Agreement. As a result, exports from Israel to Jordan decreased by about 13% from USD 133 million in 2004 to about USD 116 million in 2005.

Based on the data of the Export Institute, the scope of trade (import and export) of Israel with Jordan in 2013 amounted to about USD 366 million, an increase of about 2% compared to the same period the previous year. That year, Jordan was ranked as Israel's 39th trade partner.

The export of goods from Israel to Jordan amounted in 2013 to about USD 99 million, a decrease of about 36% compared to the same period the previous year. The main decrease occurred in jewelry industry exports. In the first half of 2014, there was an increase of about 16% in the scope of exports, amounting to about USD 56 million. In 2013, Jordan was ranked as the 51st destination for the export of Israeli goods.

Changes in the export in prominent industries during the first half of 2014:
In the vehicle industry, aircraft and boating vessels experienced an increase of about 29%, and amounts to about USD 15 million, constituting about 27% of the export.
In the agricultural industry, a decrease of about 53% to about USD 6.5 million, constituting about 12% of the export.
In the machines and equipment industry, a decrease of about 4% to about USD 4.5 million, constituting about 8% of the export;
In the chemicals and refined petroleum industry, an increase of about 13% to about USD 4 million, constituting about 7% of the export.


Main Export Industries of Israel – Jordan ($M)

Description of Industry ($M)
Change rate 14/13
Weight in export 14

Transport tools
Agricultural export
Machines and equipment
Chemicals and refined petroleum
Non-imbedded source industry
Food, drink and tobacco products
Basic metal and metal products
Source: Export Institute


The import of goods from Israel to Jordan increased in 2013 by about 30% and amounted to about USD 267 million. Jordan constitutes the 30th overall source for the import of goods of Israel. In the first half of the year, the import amounted to about USD 200.3 million, an increase of about 53%.


Changes in the import in prominent industries during the first half of 2014:
In the plastic and rubber industry, an increase of about 243% to about USD 77 million and constituting about 38% of the import.
In the machines and mechanical devices industry, an increase of about 46% to about USD 47.5 million and constituting about 24% of the import.
In the animal and animal products industry, an increase of 430% to about USD 47 million and constituting about 24% of the import;

Main Import Industries of Israel – Jordan ($M)

Description of Industry ($M)
Change rate 14/13
Weight in import 14

Plastic and rubber
Machines and mechanical devices
Animal products
Chemical products
Textile products
Herbal products
Paper products
Source: Export Institute


Export from Israel to Jordan in 1988 – 2013, in USD millions



 *First visit by high-ranking Vietnamese official since relations established between the 2 countries * Minister to participate in joint session of the economy committees of both governments and visit technological incubators * Minister to meet with Israeli counterpart, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett

JERUSALEM – 23rd September 2014. The Vietnamese Minister of Science and Technology, Nguyen Quan, will head a large delegation of high-ranking Vietnamese government officials slated to visit Israel at the end of the month (28.9-2.10) and will hold, for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations 20 years ago, a session of the joint economic committee with officials from both governments. The Minister will lead the committee discussion on the Vietnamese side while Israeli Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennett, will lead discussion on the Israeli side.

The session comes as part of a full state visit by the Vietnamese Minister, including a tour of the New Generation Technology project in Nazareth, the Bio-Jerusalem project, visits to Israeli technology companies and a gala dinner with representatives of Israeli companies active in Vietnam.

The visit marks a high point in the strengthening of economic relations between Israel and Vietnam. Bilateral trade has reached approximately USD $1 billion per annum in recent years, and consequently the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and the parallel authority in Vietnam have begun discussions to advance a free trade agreement. The recently-published Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum ranked Vietnam 68th of 144 countries. The report states Vietnam is a developing market with a highly-educated population (over 90 million people) and high rate of participation in the workforce by women - factors that combine to define Vietnam as the "Asian Tiger" of growth (growth projected in 2014 was 5.5%). Nevertheless, on innovation, Vietnam was not marked for distinction.

Ministry of Economy Trade Attaché to Vietnam, Tzafrir Assaf: "Vietnam has become highly attractive for small and medium-sized technology companies. The Vietnamese avoid purchasing cheaply-made technology products and are willing to pay for reliable and innovative solutions made in Israel. Small and medium exporters, offering niche solutions tailored to the needs of the customer, succeed in penetrating the Vietnamese market, with the help of local distributors we locate for them. The Vietnamese economy provides Israeli companies with significant opportunities and the visit by the technology minister is aimed at leveraging these opportunities. Thus, for example, we try to connect Israeli and Vietnamese technology companies, with the help of funding by the World Bank. In addition, the Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for granting a company recognition as being 'Hi-Tech' and this holds financial significance for Israeli companies choosing to invest in Vietnam and increase their presence in the country."

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett: "Part of the Ministry of Economy's responsibility is strengthening Israel's economic relations with developing countries and new markets around the world and Vietnam holds many opportunities for Israeli exporters. This summit of economic officials from both countries will pave the road for additional Israeli exporters and leverage our economic ties with this country, gaining a stronger footing in Asia and in the whole world."

The Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy said that exports to Vietnam during 2013 amounted to USD $702 million compared to USD $745 million in 2012. The data marks a drop of 6%, which can be attributed to the strengthening shekel and weakening dong which occurred in tandem with the effects of the global financial crisis which hit Vietnam relatively late and hurt market demand. The leading fields of export were electronics and mineral components (mainly by Intel), chemical products, fertilizer, paints and telecommunications products. Imports from Vietnam reached USD $413.2 million in 2013 and $318 million in 2012. The data reflects a 30% rise in imports, mainly comprised of telecommunications products, animals, agriculture, food, textile products and footwear. The most significant rise was in imports of textile products and footwear.

 The visit marks a high point in the strengthening of economic relations between Israel and Vietnam



 Vietnam, Israel reach high-tech deal


Written by  

 Vietnam and Israel signed an agreement to boost economic cooperation, particularly on science and technology.

The deal was reached during Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan's visit to Israel from September 28 – October 2 to attend the first meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic and Technological Cooperation .

Quan, addressing the signing ceremony, said both sides would not only facilitate the exchange of scientists but also expand into human resources training and research.

Vietnam hoped to develop technology in the fields of agriculture and cyber security and safety with Israel, he said, and pledged maximum support to Israeli investors.

The country looked forward to launching talks on a free trade agreement with Israel as soon as possible, Quan added.

Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett, for his part, expressed his hope for the value of bilateral trade to cross the threshold of 1 billion USD this year.

Agreeing with Bennett, the Ministry of the Economy's Trade Attaché Tzafrir Assaf said Vietnam was becoming increasingly attractive for small and medium-sized Israeli high-tech companies.

Last year, Israel exported goods worth 702 million USD to Vietnam and spent 413.2 million USD on imports, mostly garments and footwear.

Its major earners are electronics, chemicals, fertilisers, paint and telecommunication products.-VNA



 Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan (R) at the signing ceremony (Photo: VNA)





JERUSALEM – On June 18, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew and Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid attended the closing session of the U.S. - Israel Joint Economic Development Group - the annual senior-level economic policy dialogue between the two countries. In his remarks, Secretary Lew acknowledged the importance of the meeting to strengthening bilateral economic policy coordination and deepening our cooperation across a broad range of sectors. In his remarks, Secretary Lew said, "Often lost in the headlines of our important security cooperation and close political ties are other aspects of our relations with Israel that are equally important, including the extraordinary economic and commercial ties that create jobs and contribute to prosperity in both Israel and the United States." Minister Lapid said, "One of Israel's greatest assets is America's friendship. It is one of the main keys to our success, one of the main keys to our security."


This year's economic policy dialogue, which took place June 17 - 18 in Jerusalem, included the participation of 80 senior U.S. and Israeli economic policy officials who exchanged views on a wide range of topics including fiscal and monetary policy and macroeconomic outlooks, as well as innovation, research and development, trade and regional energy issues. U.S. and Israeli officials agreed to accelerate negotiation of a new agreement on trade in agricultural products, expand exchanges to build Israeli regulatory capacity in the natural gas sector, and increase coordination on regulatory standards to ensure that the highest quality products from each side have fair access to the other's market.


The two sides also agreed to begin discussions on an umbrella Science and Technology Agreement that will create new opportunities aimed at strengthening research and development collaboration. Discussions between the U.S. and Israeli officials also included ways to reduce the cost of living by making markets in both countries more open.


As a continuation of our ongoing coordination on cybersecurity issues, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology will participate in a workshop on June 19 with the Israel National Cyber Bureau on development of standards to reduce cybersecurity risks to critical infrastructure.


In addition to Secretary Lew and Minister Lapid, participation in this year's economic policy summit included Finance Ministry Director General Yael Andorn (Israel Chair), Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel, Professor Eugene Kandel, Director of the National Economic Council and Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy. Professor David Gilo, Director of the Israel Anti-Trust Authority, Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Administration, and Yitzhak Ben-David, Deputy Director General from the Ministry of Agriculture also participated in addition to officials from the Israel Tax Authority, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.


The U.S. delegation included Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Ambassador Charles Rivkin (US Co-Chair), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Middle East and Africa Andrew Baukol (US Co-Chair), and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro as well as other officials from the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.


The U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group, which has met since 1985, is the premier U.S.-Israel bilateral economic dialogue.






On the 22nd of May 2014, Eleven US franchise brands will be featured at the first International franchise conference and catalogue show of its kind in Israel.

The event takes place at the Sheraton Hotel, Tel Aviv and is organized by the US Commercial Services together with Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC), Franchise Business Brokers (FBB), and The Israel Franchise Institute (IFI).

Such brands as Johnny Rockets (300 stores) ; Papa Johns (4,200 stores); Dairy Queen (6,000 stores) ; Famous Familiga (114 stores); Cold Stone Creamery (1,400 stores); Hardees (1,900 stores) and more will be represented by the conference organizers via a catalogue show of which will be able to provide requirement and  investment details on each company presented and even put you in contact with the companies directly.

 Besides learning about the opportunities available from these international brands, the event will be packed with crucial information about international franchising with a full schedule of high level

speakers from the franchise industry in Israel and Abroad.

Discussions and topics during the event include: "Adapting to the Market" by CEO of Toys R Us Adi Regev; "10 steps for a successful purchase of an international franchise" by Gideon Fisher; "Cooperation Between Franchisor and Franchisee" by Bernard Raskin - CEO of Remax; "Pros and Cons of International Franchising" by Steven Wolfson - Israel Franchise Institute; "International Franchise Operation Overview" by Amir Kremer - Vice president of Dairy Queen International; and much more...  

U.S. Commercial Service

U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv

Read more.....





The Economy Ministry, via its Investment Center, will invest NIS 33 million in subsidies of higher salaries for employees working for factories and companies located in national priority areas. An extra NIS 27 million will be invested in promoting high salary employment within the cyber industry. Total Economy Ministry in these two tracks: NIS 60 million.

Conditions for the financial assistance: at least 60% of new employees must reside in the national priority areas. The Economy Ministry expects that this financial aid will provide employment to graduates of academic institutions located throughout the priority areas (most of which are in the periphery), particularly in the fields of high tech, engineering, programming and other well-paid professions.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: " National priority areas in Israel represent one of the largest business opportunities in the Middle East today. There is great importance in government intervention, in order to create an appropriate ecosystem to attract leading international and Israeli companies that will set up the base of their operations in these areas."

Economy Ministry Director-General Amit Lang recently signed a directive that defines two additional tracks for assistance in employment in the national priority areas. The Director-General's directive, which aims to promote and develop the national priority areas and help recruit more employees into Israeli businesses (in accordance with government decisions 1272 and 546), will be published in the coming days as part of the Director-General's directive 4.18. The financial assistance will be distributed via the Ministry's Investment Center.

The track is aimed at companies and factories with an annual turnover higher than NIS 100 million (in the year prior to application), that are committed to establishing an initiative or business, expanding an existing factory in the national priority areas or relocating a factory to the national priority areas.

Within the cyber track, the company is also required to meet the definition "Cyber Company" and to establish or expand its activities in one or more "designated settlement" as described in the directive.

The conditions of this financial assistance: at least 60% of the new employees must reside in the national priority areas. Employers, who request salary subsidies within the tracks, are required to pay newly hired employees salaries that are 2.5 times higher than the average salary in Israel. Salary subsidies will decrease on a sliding scale each year - in the first year, up to 40% salary subsidy will be given within the cyber industry and up to 35% in the general track, whereas in the fourth year, salary subsidies will be reach 25% in the cyber program and 10% in the general track.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett: "National priority areas across Israel – and particularly the Negev - represent one of the largest business opportunities in the Middle East today. I am not a big believer in government intervention although, in this regard, it is very important for the government to intervene so that an appropriate ecosystem can be created within these areas to attract leading international and Israeli companies. I believe that the factories and companies who will be attracted into these areas following government intervention will discover its huge potential."

Investment Center Director Nahum Itzkowitz: "The new tracks were created to assist in the recruitment of highly-paid employees while emphasizing on increasing the rate of growth and encouraging the creation of highly-paid positions within the national priority areas. We assist investors who are interested in establishing or expanding initiatives with highly paid employees in the national priority areas or in relocating a company or factory to these priority areas. The assistance is given via partial salary subsidies of highly-paid employees".




The opening day ceremony of the Stock Exchange took place on Wednesday, March 26, in Aviv University, in occasion of the National Science Day, with the presence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, the Stock Exchange General Manager, Mr. Yossi Beinart, the Stock Exchange Chairman Substitute, Dr. Ron Malka, General Manager of the Science and Technology Ministry, lawyer Bina Bar-On, and Tel Aviv University President, Prof Joseph Klafter

The opening day ceremony of the Stock Exchange took place on Wednesday, March 26, in Aviv University, in occasion of the National Science Day, with the initiative of the Science and Technology Ministry

The event was opened by the Stock Exchange General Manager, Mr. Yossi Beinart, who said: "There is great importance in strengthening the connection between science, technology, industry and financial market. This connection contributes to the to the innovation processes that serve as important sources to advancement and economic growth. The encouragement of the connection between science, technology and industry enables developments that can serve as basis for implementable ideas in industry, for production that will improve the living conditions and to economic growth for the benefit of all. The financial and stock markets are significant factors in these processes".

The Tel Aviv University President, Prof Joseph Klafter, said: "The rising of awareness to science in this day can encourage youngsters to study different science disciplines. This science day will enable a glance to break-thru researches conducted in universities. The university is a huge start-up of creativity and innovative ideas". Prof Joseph Klafter also indicated that "science shapes all aspects of our lives, from security to medicine. We live in a fascinating period of accelerated scientific development, where technologies and scientific developments reach massive use with unprecedented speed".

The Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, surveyed the payment means in the market. She enumerated the layers that compose this "tubing" in the financial system, and explained the roles of the Central Bank in the regularization and protection of the payment and clearing systems. Then, she enumerated the different means of payment - the traditional ones, based on paper, and the new ones, based on technology - and described the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dr. Flug then noted: "The Central Bank of Israel promoted reforms and steps intended to make the new means of payments easier and safer. Among these: development of a payment system for immediate clearing called Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), joining to the CLS international system, payment system law and improvement of the different clearing systems. In addition, the Locker committee, which is expected to publish her conclusions soon, will encourage the increase of the use of electronic payment means".


Photo: Open University of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Left to right: Exchange CEO, Mr. Yossi Beinart, CEO of the Ministry of Science Bina Bar - On, Governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, president of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Joseph Klafter and Deputy Chairman Exchange Dr. Ron Malka 
Photo: Kobi Kantor

Cyber Together


You are cordially invited to join us at our special event

The Cyber World after RSA Conference 2014

March 20th 2014, 16:30, Bank Leumi Auditorium, 35 Yehuda Halevi st. Tel-Aviv-Yaffo


16:30 – 17:00

Gathering and Networking

17:00 – 17:10

Greetings and opening Remarks

Yoav Finkelstein – Commercial Accounts Manager, Ayalon Business Branch, Leumi

Issar Zak - Cyber Together

17:10 – 17:30

Daniel Cohen - Business Development Manager, RSA Israel

Cyber Strategy in a Perimeterless Environment

17:30 – 17:50

Hadar Stone - partner at GKH

US new cyber regulations after Snowden

17:50 – 18:10

Awi Lifshitz - Novigo GmbH, Ex-Gartner

European Security Market and trends

18:10 – 18:40

Eli Irim - Manager of Investigations and Control, Bank Leumi

Cyber Warfare at the Bank Arena

18:40 – 19:00

Ran Pedhazur  - Technology Business Development Leader at Deloitte

Enterprise Vulnerabilities and Cyber Risks

19:20 – 19:40

Kobi Samboursky -  Founder, Managing Partner, Glilot Capital Partners

Cyber threats from the VC Perspective


Participants of this event will be leaders of cyber related companies and startups and investors

Please register in the FORM and we will send you confirmation to attend the event.

We encourage you to forward this mail to your colleagues who match the profile of this event audience.

Hope to see you

Cyber Together Team

The Event is hosted in partnership with




This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Globes Real Estate Summit, in cooperation with Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, will set the agenda for a national housing policy for Israel. A long-term national housing policy, which will remain even during changes in government, characterizes every Western country.

  1. Israel must have a clear and unequivocal national housing policy. Such policy must include the establishment of a national authority for urban renewal and affordable housing, which creates a differential policy for the provision of new housing for an extended period. This policy should adjust the housing supply to the needs andof the country's diverse population.
  2. Israel also needs a structural reform in planning which can implemented by planning at national level, which maintains strategic interests alongside with specific planning at local level for municipalities and neighborhoods.

The Globes Real Estate Summit will present the challenges related to the real estate in Israel. It will count with the participation of experts in the field, including entrepreneurs, contractor companies, engineers, architects, appraisers, mediators, lawyers, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), investors, etc.

Main issues to be discussed:

  • Discussion on the reform of taxes in the real estate market.
  • Is urban renewal the solution of the housing crisis?
  • The role of the real estate appraiser in the market.
  • The real estate bubble: Is it recommendable to by agricultural land?

Discussion on the reform of taxes in the real estate market

Is it possible to understand the reform, or this is a non-understandable assortment of legislations? Is the reform money sucking pump or policy ruling tool? Will the reform changes affect the real estate bubble? and other issues.

This session will deal with the issues listed above and the question whether the legislation will help the tax authority and the country in their fight against capital evasion and undeclared capital invested in real estate.

The speakers participating in this discussion will include: lawyer & CPA Moshe Asher, Israel Tax Authority Manager, Shlomo Ben Eliahu, General Manager of the Ministry of Construction & Housing, lawyer Shahar Ben Ami, Associate Founder of Charcon, Ben Ami, Asher & Co., Aliza Cohen, General Manager of Reshef Properties, lawyer Doron Levy, Senior Associate and Head of Tax Department, APM & Co., and lawyer Meir Mizrahi, Meir Mizrahi & Co. The panel will be moderated by lawyer Ella Levi-Vinriv, Globes' reporter and commentator on law and taxes.

Is urban renewal the solution of the housing crisis?

Panel on this issue will take place in this Real Estate Summit

Urban renewal, either by means of tearing down old buildings and building new larger ones (פינוי-בינוי), or by strengthening old buildings and adding top floors with new apartments (תמ"א38) can produce hundreds of thousands new apartments throughout the countries, within the areas of the existing cities, without the need of allocating new areas for construction. Despite the significant potential, this item is not receiving satisfactory consideration from the central government and even faces obstacles raised by the problems by the local authorities. This convention will stress this issue.

This panel will include the following participants: Einat Ganon, manager of the leading department of planning and construction of cities in the Ministry of Construction & Housing, lawyer Micha Gidron, head of the district appeal committee for planning and construction in Tel Aviv, lawyer Avraham Lalum, partner in the APM & Co., and author of the book ""מורה דרך בעסקאות פינוי-בינוי ותמ"א 38, Sami Maslavi, chairman and owner of Maslavi Construction Company Ltd., and lawyer Eliav Ben Shimon, general manager of the Country Building Association. The panel moderator will be Uri Hudi, Globes' reporter on real estate.

The role of the real estate appraiser in the market

Session on this issue will take place in this Real Estate Summit

This session will deal, among other issues, on the role of the real estate appraiser in the market of unceasing raise of apartment prices - is the appraiser simply an observing factor, or does he influence the land and apartment prices, and the evaluation of the apartment values for getting mortgages.

This session will also deal on the deciding appraisal institution and its influence on the disagreements regarding the improvement taxes (היטלי השבחה), and on his role in urban renewal and the reconstruction projects (פינוי-בינוי and תמ"א 38).

This session will include the following participants: Tal Aldorati, Chief of Governmental Land Appraisals in the Ministry of Justice, Noam Benyamini, CEO of Africa 38, Ohad Danos, chairman of the Real Estate Appraisals Bureau in Israel, lawyer, in Ofer Toister law firm, and Niki Primo, senior appraiser in Niki Primo Ltd. The session moderator will be Moshe Lichtman, Globes' senior commentator.

The real estate bubble: Is it recommendable to by agricultural land?

The session "Building Seeds (זרעים של בנייה"") that will take place in this summit will deal with the new stress on the program of Yair Lapid, Minister of Finance.

The real estate bubble caused the price increase and top demand for apartments for rentals and investment. Besides those that achieved a home for living in, there are many still looking for the right opportunity, which suits their budget. Many look at agricultural land as non-return opportunity and long-term investment, where the common trend is to acquire land at low price, wait for the reception of building certificates of approval, and then build your dream home, thus implementing your right to live in your own apartment, or sell the land after getting the required certificates of approval and achieve appreciable financial gains.

The session "Building Seeds (זרעים של בנייה""), which will take place in cooperation with Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, will deal with the new stress given to agricultural land, in view of the program of Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, to implement projects of construction of apartments for rentals, mainly on agricultural land, considering the acquisition of agricultural land, and capability of expropriating it from the farmers. This session will also deal with the confrontation between Kibbutz members and the Israel Land Authority, on the terms for renewing construction in the Kibbutzim, and on the agreements to grant land ownership in the Kibbutzim and Moshavim, as well as forbidden funds.

This session will include the following participants: Eitan Broshi, Secretary of the Kibbutz Movement, Meir Zur, General Secretary of the Moshav Movement, lawyer Yacov (Yanki) Kuint, legal adviser of the Israel Land Authority, lawyer Moshe Krif, one of the founders of the Mizrahi Demographic Rainbow (הקשת הדמוקרטית המזרחית), and lawyer Hagai Shabtai, from the Hagai Shabtai & Shapira law firm. The session moderator will be Moshe Lichtman, Globes' senior commentator.

Save the date: Globes' Israel Real Estate Conference will take place on Tuesday, March 12.

The conference will count with the participation of Uri Ariel, Minister of Construction & Housing, and many senior specialists in the real estate field.

 Photo  Globes




A new pipe bridge and lookout point over the Besor River, and an observation deck offering a panoramic view of the breathtaking Besor Region, up to Beersheva, Ashkelon, and beyond.
Just in time for the Scarlet South Festival, KKL-JNF inaugurated a new tourism complex in the Negev. The complex includes a lookout over the Besor River, a new pipe bridge and an observation point overlooking the water reservoirs and the agricultural region.  The three reservoirs of the Besor were built with the support of Friends of KKL-JNF in the U.S., Australia, England and South Africa.  The observation point is an additional tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors to the region.

L-R: Ron Huldai, Chaim Yellin and Efi Stenzler with Scarlet South balloons. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

In attendance at the inauguration of the tourism complex were KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler; Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Chaim Yellinand Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.  The city of Tel Aviv and the Eshkol Regional Council have signed a twin city treaty. 

The new pipe bridge which will be completed in the coming weeks is comprised of water pipes that belong to the Besor reservoirsystem. It offers visitors an additional convenient and safe observation point during the flood periods.  At the center of the bridge, directly above the Besor River channel, an observation terrace was built that can accommodate dozens of visitors. 

The pipe bridge is situated near Israel’s famous suspension bridge, the longest in the country, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, during all seasons, and especially during the floods, when the enormous waves of water flow into the river and offer an amazing display. 

The new pipe bridge. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Between the two bridges, there is a circular hiking route along the Besor River channel, for visitors, on foot orbicycle.  The distance between the bridges is 4 kilometers and the circular route is 7 kilometers. 

The reservoirs’ observation point is an additional tourist attraction for the thousands of visitors to the region.  The observation point overlooks the group of Besor reservoirs, whose water is used to irrigate the agricultural fields of the western Negev.  The observation point overlooks the Yatir region and Beer Sheva to the north, and as far as the city of Ashkelon to the south.  In the evening, one can witness an amazing spectacle of twinkling lights from the nearby localities. 

The Besor Reservoir lookout. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The development of this complex was the initiative of the Eshkol Regional Council and the Besor River Administration.  The reservoirs’ observation point was built by KKL-JNF in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Besor Shikma Drainage Authority. 

KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzlernoted that “KKL-JNF has added an extensive array of services and infrastructure to the wonderful spaces of Ramat Hanegev, the Arava and Eilat, which will turn this region into Israel’s new growth engine.  The Beeri Forest and our grazing lands have created amazing carpets of anemones, which are the highlight of the Scarlet South Festival.  The three water reservoirs, seen from the observation point, have revolutionized not only the region’s agriculture, which relies on the reservoirs for their existence, but also the tourism and economic fields, which constitute the basis for the development of the entire region.” 

The Besor Reservoir lookout from below. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The Besor River is Israel’s largest river, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea.  The river’s drainage basin spans an area of 3,600 square kilometers.  The river’s tributaries originate from Ramat Avdat, Arad, the Lahav Mountains and Western Hebron Mountain.  The shoulders of the river, stretching 44 kilometers in length from the Beer Sheva River estuary, to the Besor River, up to the Gaza Strip, are part of the Besor Nature Reserve.  In the area of the nature reserve, there are springs that flow all year long and are enjoyed by wild animals such as gazelle, jackals, foxes, wildcats and coyotes.  The river and its surrounding fields serve as rest stops and ‘refueling stations’ for migratory birds, such as cranes, storks and a multitude of birds of prey.  The nature reserve features the archeological sites of Tel Sharuhen (Tel Fara) and Tel Gama. 

The Besor Reservoirs:  In the 1990s, JNF built a series of 3 water reservoirs and dams in the Besor region, which led to unprecedented agricultural and economic change in the region.  This system eliminates the dependence on the region’s scarce rainfall, reduces agricultural irrigation using freshwater and allows for a system that regulates the Besor River’s flood water and utilizes the reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation. 

Beeri Lookout. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The Besor reservoirs are a sophisticated system of 3 reservoirs, which together are capable of storing over 7 million cubic meters of water.  The source of the water is from floods that flow into the river.  In dry years, in which there is no possibility of filling the reservoirs with water from the Besor, there is an option of filling them with Gush Dan wastewater (SHAFDAN).  The establishment of these reservoirs has doubled the yield of local crops of orange, lemon and tangerine groves and potato, peanut, sunflower and jojoba fields. 

Along the Besor River, as part of the the region’s tourism development, KKL-JNF has built a scenic route spanning 18 kilometers, from Tseelim to the Eshkol Park.  A hike along this scenic route offers visitors an experience that features amazing river and desert views.  This route has become famous thanks to the suspension bridge built by KKL-JNF above the river, the flood water reservoirs and dams. 

The tourism complex is located near another KKL-JNF project - the ANZAC Trail, which was restored and developed with the assistance of JNF Australia.  The road originates in the Kibbutz Beeri- Besor Region and ends in Beer Sheba.




In total, the ministry will allocate NIS 8 million in 2014 to residents in the periphery for tourist business development and the establishment of tourist accommodation.
The grant for establishing tourist accommodation: up to 24%
The grant for small tourist businesses: up to 30%

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "Tourist accommodation and small businesses are the core of tourism in the periphery. The Tourism Ministry which I lead will continue to encourage an increase in supply and competition and will make investments that will strengthen tourism in the periphery, create new jobs and turn the Gaza periphery into an attractive tourism destination for domestic and international tourists."

Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy: " In recent years, the Tourism Ministry has invested hundreds of millions of shekel in creating a larger and more varied tourism product in the periphery for the benefit of the wider public and in order to create new jobs - investments that have brought billions of shekels into the economy."

The Tourism Ministry has published directives concerning grant allocations for the establishment of tourism accommodation and for small tourist businesses in the Gaza periphery, Negev, Nazareth, Acre, Druze and Circassian villages and in the villages that are located along the Gospel Trail.

In keeping with the directive, the ministry will give grants of up to 24% of the total investment for the establishment of accommodation units and grants of up to 30% for the establishment of small tourist businesses. The grants will be allocated according to the following procedures:

1. Assistance in the Gaza periphery and Negev areas in keeping with the policy of the Tourism Ministry and the government to promote development of the tourism product as a means of assisting and strengthening the economic infrastructure of the communities that are under security and economic threat.

2. Assistance for communities living alongside the Gospel Trail, Nazareth, Acre and the Druze and Circassian villages of Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya in keeping with the government decisions as related to the multi-year program for economic development of communities in the minorities sector and advancing them in terms of employment and social issues in the field of tourism.

Grants for establishing tourist accommodation:

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Nazareth

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Negev and Gaza periphery

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Druze and Circassian villages

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in Acre

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living near the Gospel Trail

Grants for developing small tourist businesses:

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Daliat al Carmel and Ussfiya

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living in Nazareth

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Negev and Gaza periphery

NIS 1 million for entrepreneurs living in the Druze and Circassian villages

NIS 500,000 for entrepreneurs living near the Gospel Trail

Requests for assistance to be filed by 1 March 2014 to the RuralTourism Division at the Tourism Ministry

Israel – Russia:  11th Mixed Economic Committee to be convened in Moscow

Tomorrow, Monday 9 December 2013, the Israel-Russia Mixed Economic Committee will convene in Moscow. This will be the Committee’s 11th meeting. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann will head the Israeli delegation, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin. The Russian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

The Mixed Committee, headed by the Foreign Minister, constitutes the highest level inter-ministerial forum for relations between Russia and Israel. The Committee discusses a number of diplomatic and economic issues of great interest and importance for both sides.

In the past four years, the Economic Committees met annually, alternating between Jerusalem and Moscow.

In the coming meeting discussions will address trade issues including a free trade agreement  with the trilateral customs union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus), customs issues regarding exports of fresh agricultural produce from Israel to Russia, cooperation in technologies and management of water resources, cooperation in the field of oil substitutes for transportation,  renewable energies,   relations between Russian and Israeli companies in the area of investments in natural gas, scientific cooperation, space, foreign trade insurance, and cooperation in tourism. The issue of signing a pensions agreement will also be addressed.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in trade between Israel and Russian, reaching a current  $3 billion a year. A number of agreements will be signed at the end of the talks.






The event, part of the concluding events of the Year of Faith declared last year by Pope Benedict XVI, was led by His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Tual and in the presence of the Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau. Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "We welcome you on this important day. Collaboration between the Catholic church and the Tourism Ministry is important for us."

Latin Patriarch: "Thank you for your presence and your efforts".


This morning, Sunday 17 November 2013, the International Day of Faith celebrations opened on Mount Precipice in Nazareth. The festive mass, attended by thousands of Catholic faithful from Israel, the region and around the world, was led by His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Tual in the presence of the Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau. Also in attendance were His Beatiitude Archbishop Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem for Latins and His Excellency, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel.


The celebrations in Nazareth, which will be followed next week (24 November 2013) by the closing event of the Year of Faith in the Vatican, were led by the Catholic Church with the assistance of the Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry for the Development of the Gailee, Israel Police, the Nazareth Municipality, KKL-JNF and the Nazareth Association for Tourism and Culture. 

During the Mass, a letter from His Excellency Pope Francis was read: "The history of our faith finds its origins in the very land where you celebrate. Before we can understand our own personal history of faith nd our need for God's mercy, we must all turn to that place and time when Jesus himself walked among us"


Pope Benedict XVI opened the Year of Faith, as an opportunity for all Catholics to rediscover a journey of faith, with a declaration in Rome in October 2012. The event at Mount Precipice included an artistic program that featured choirs from Catholic communities around the world, followed by celebration of the Eucharist. Food and souvenir stalls were set up near the site and in the center of Nazareth.

Within the framework of the event, an icon that depicts St. Peter and Jesus in the Galilee was consecrated by a Fransiscan monk from the Holy Land. The icon will be sent to the Vatican where it will be displayed as part of the concluding celenrations for the Year of Faith that will take place next week.


In his address during the Mass, the Latin Patriarch thanked "all those who came from the region and around the world to participate in these cherished moments in the Holy Land." The Patriarch thanked the Tourism Ministry and the Nazareth Municipality and all those who helped in the event production for their collaboration.


According to estimates by the Tourism Ministry and the Israel Police, about 7,000 Catholic faithful attended the event, including pilgrims from Italy, Brazil, Spain, UK , Japan Poland, the Palestinian Authority and neighboring countries. The event attracted significant international media coverage, with representatives from many foreign media outlets coming to Nazareth to cover the festivities.


In 2012, over two million Christian tourists and pilgrims arrived in Israel, representing about 60% of all incoming tourism. According to estimates, the event is expected to contribute to the marketing of Israel around the world as a preferred Christian tourism destination. The Tourism Ministry's dedicated website for the Catholic world:


Photo Credit: Nitzan Schorer










Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "The Tourism Ministry is very active in promoting the Open Skies agreement which is expected to reduce the cost of flights into Israel and increase incoming tourism. We are committed to reducing vacation costs for Israeli and foreign tourists and within this framework we are working to encourage the operation of low-cost airlines from Europe into Israel" The Minister told exhibitors at the Israel booth: "We must work hard to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination from Europe and beyond".  


The four dayWorld Travel Market (WTM), the second largest tourism fair in the world, opened yesterday in London (10.11.13), with about 5,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and is expected to attract over 50,000 people.


During his visit to WTM, Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau met with the General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) Dr. Taleb D. Rifai and with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Mr. Alexander Radkov. The Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi met with representatives of Ryanair to discuss their request to lower the landing fees in order to open up new low-cost routes into Israel.


Halevi also met with Hugh Aitken, the UK Commercial Manager of low-cost airline easyJet, to discuss increasing their flights into Israel from additional destinations in Europe. Halevi congratulated Aitken for being among the first in the low-cost sector to realize the significant potential of operating cheaper flights into Israel and added that the ministry will continue to work to strengthen this cooperation. The ministry estimates that, thanks to the recent implementation of the Open Skies agreement, the number of new destinations for low-cost flights will gradually increase, leading to a breakthrough in increased tourist traffic to the benefit of the economy.


The Israeli booth - which is smaller this year due to increased efficiency, spreads over 420 square meters and hosts activities related to the Open Skies agreement, including highlighting the openings of new hotels belonging to international hotel chains such as the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem and locating new tourism wholesalers interested in marketing Israel as a tourism product.


In addition to Tourism Ministry representatives, about 40 commercial tourism enterprises are taking part in the fair, including hotel chains, airline companies, incoming tour operators, commercial entrepreneurs, local authority representatives etc


More than 130,000 tourists have visited Israel from England since the beginning of the year through September, an increase of 3% over the same period last year.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 8 am – 2 pm  Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem

The conference will be conducted in English

The Taub Center is hosting a unique symposium with two of the leading researchers worldwide in the area of income inequality. The speakers will present cutting edge research – in a non-academic language – on the reasons for the recent surge in income inequality in most advanced economies, and on its economic and social consequences. The findings will be presented to senior Israeli policymakers and to the general public, followed by a high-level discussion pertaining directly to Israel.

8:00 am     Registration and refreshments

8:30 am     Introduction

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

Dr. Shula Recanati, Chairperson, Educating for Excellence, Taub Center Board Member

9:00 am     First Session

Causes and Consequences of Inequality among Industrial Economies

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Increasing Income Inequality and its Impacts: Evidence from 30 Countries over 30 Years

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College, Dublin

10:30 am   Break

11:00 am   Second Session

Israeli Poverty and Inequality Trends in an International Perspective

Prof. Dan Ben-David, Taub Center Executive Director and Tel-Aviv University

Trends of Labor Income Inequality in Israel

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

12:00 pm   Roundtable: Implications for Israel

Chair: Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel


MK Isaac Herzog, Chairman, Labor Party Parliamentary Group

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College Dublin

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

Prof. Haya Stier, Chair, Taub Center Social Welfare Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Eran Yashiv, Chair, Taub Center Economic Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

1:50 pm     Honoring Ralph I. Goldman  

                  Founding Board Member, Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel

                  Honorary Executive Vice President, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

To register by phone 02-567-1818

The official inauguration of Israel and Vietnam’s Joint Dairy-Farm Demonstration Project took place at the farm premises near Ho Chi Minh City in the presence of distinguished representatives from Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee, as well as from the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (August 27, 2013).
Inauguration Ceremony of the Joint Israel-Vietnam Dairy Demonstration Project
Inauguration Ceremony of the Joint Israel-Vietnam Dairy Demonstration Project
Copyright: MASHAV
The State of Israel was represented by Ambassador Daniel Carmon, Head of MASHAV; Israel’s Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Meirav Eilon Shahar; Daniel Werner, the project’s manager at MASHAV-CINADCO; and Gonen Harel, MASHAV’s long-term dairy expert residing in Vietnam.
In his address, Ambassador Carmon stated that “Our fruitful partnership is based on mutual understanding. This unique enterprise, which combines demonstration of advanced technologies and human capacity building, will benefit not only the people of Ho Chi Minh, but also people from the whole region, creating yet another base for technical cooperation between our two countries jointly cooperating for the attainment of sustainable development in Vietnam and further strengthening the long-standing close cooperation and most friendly relations between the governments and peoples of Vietnam and Israel.”
From right to left: Ambassador Eilon Shahar; Ambassador Carmon; Daniel Werner and Gonen Harel
During the ceremony, celebrating twenty years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Vietnam, Ambassador Carmon signed a Memorandum of Understanding for extended cooperation in the field of dairy farming between the two countries.
Signing the MOU between Israel and Vietnam
The project includes the construction of a state-of-the-art milking parlor with a herd of 100 milking cows (pure Holstein Frisian cows) and 80 replacement heifers, as well as computerized recording systems; modern and intensive cooling systems; and veterinary care, including preventative treatments. All the machinery and equipment, as well as computerized software, is Israeli made.




The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company  hosted these days a special cultural tourism event, hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and encourage tourism traffic from Israel to Panama 8th, 2013 in Tel Aviv

 At the event, Panama City and Tel Aviv pronounced Sister Cities, and a special dress (Pollera) embroidered with pearls and diamonds was presented. One of the most expensive dresses in the world, the Pollera is Panama’s traditional garb, presented mostly at special celebrations




The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company host these daysa special cultural tourism event in Tel Aviv hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and reveal Panama’s wonderful tourist attractions. Among the participants in the colorful upbeat traditional Panama cocktail party were Panama’s ambassador in Israel, Hector Aparicio, head of the marketing administration at the Panama Tourism Authority and senior officials in both countries’ tourism industries.



As part of the event, Tel Aviv and Panama were pronounced Sister Cities. Additionally, a special dress (a Pollera - Panama’s traditional garb) embroidered with diamonds and pearls and valued at tens of thousands of dollars, making it one of the world’s most expensive dresses, was presented at the event. The Pollera dress takes roughly one year to make. Its glorious history dating all the way back to the 16th century, today, the Pollera is only used on special celebratory occasions.

Located in Central America, The Republic of Panama borders on the Caribbean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, Colombia to the east and Costa Rica to the west. Its territory is approximately 78,000 square kilometers and it is home to approximately 3.6 million residents. The name Panama  means "abundance of fish and butterflies". Ethnically, most of the country’s citizens are of mixed origins: the most predominant group is “Mestizos” – people whose ancestors were both European and Amerindian, counting 69% of the population. Most of the population is catholic (roughly 80%). The climate in Panama is tropical and hospitable all year round. There are 7 autonomous communities of indigenous Amerindian peoples in Panama, all living an authentic lifestyle.


Panama offers a huge variety of scenery: sandy, white Caribbean beaches dotted with palm trees; tropical rain forests, cold, high mountaintops; enormous swamps and dormant volcanoes. Over 25% of Panama’s territory is dedicated to national parks and nature reserves, home to over 1,000 species of birds, 220 species of mammals and over 10,000 different species of vegetation. Panama offers about 2,000 islands and beautiful, exotic beaches. A visit to the beaches to the west and east of Panama would provide an opportunity to see sea turtles in large numbers. Considered one of the world’s richest places in birds, Panama is blessed with hundreds of species of colorful, beautiful avian creatures. Adjacent to Panama’s beaches are hundreds of islands. The main two groups of islands are San Blas and Bocas del Toro, a stunningly beautiful archipelago in the Caribbean with amazing coral reefs, home to a large variety of fish. Additionally, visitors can observe dolphins on the open ocean and tour the Beach of Red Frogs. An autonomous district run by the Kuna tribe, San Blas is a cluster of 400 tiny, picturesque islands that look as if they were taken straight out of a postcard. Living mostly on fishing, the members of the Kuna tribe travel between the islands in narrow canoes. Surprisingly, the locals have successfully preserved their economy, language, customs and culture. It is an ideal place for swimming in the midst of shawls of tiny silver fish, with dozens of brown albatrosses soaring above and diving into the water.


Other good diving, snorkeling and deep water fishing options are available at the beaches of the Pacific, near the islands of Coiba and Pearl. Here, one can go kayaking in stormy waters, visit national parks teeming with wildlife, go snorkeling in the Caribbean and swimming in the Pacific.

The capital of Panama, Panama City, is a cosmopolitan city filled with skyscrapers that resembles New York from afar. The city boasts a large variety of national museums and a rich history. The 5.25 billion dollar Panama Canal expansion project is due to be completed next year – 100 years after the opening of the first canal. 33.5 meters wide, the canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is one of the largest and most difficult engineering challenges in world history. The canal’s construction has had a great effect on travel between the two oceans. 4% of all the world’s goods pass through the canal, making it Panama’s main source of income. Over 14,000 ships sail through the canal each year.


Another exotic tourist attraction is Golfo de Chiriqui: a bay enclosing beautiful islands, surrounded by beaches, hot springs and fertile valleys. Most of the area has been pronounced a nature reserve and it offers plenty of options for diving, surfing, bird watching and fishing. Most of Panama’s eastern region is taken up by the Darien district; its virginal rainforests pronounced a biosphere reserve and a world asset by UNESCO.


Photo Silvia Golan






 Photo Silvia Golan

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: “I attach great importance to the hotel grading system as a step that will promote transparency and create a unified standard; we must aspire to a situation in which every hotel tariff reflects the standard of operation. We are at the starting line, in the future the statndard of service will also be investigated for the benefit of the guest and the industry itself.”

The Tourism Ministry announces the publication today (Thursday) of a new tender for selecting the service provider for rating hotels in Israel according to the Hotelstars system. This is in accordance with the commitment taken by the ministry at the Finance Committee meeting in the Knesset three weeks ago, following the cancelation of the earlier tender because no single proposal met the threshold criteria.  The tender, which was published in the media, is also available on the ministry website.


The difference in the threshold criteria between this tender and the last is in the removal of the requirement for experience in managing a hotel rating project of at least 100 hotels according to the Hotelstars system, and instead the tender requires the company and project manager to have experience in hotel rating and experience in at least one project using the Hotelstars system.

Three weeks ago, the Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi said in a discussion on hotel ranking in the Knesset Finance Committee that the ministry was determined to implement the hotel rankings scheme in Israel and that the ministry would complete its investigations and discussions related to updating the tender and changing the threshold conditions and would publish a new tender. Within a few months, a company would be chosen to start the hotel ranking at the beginning of 2014.

The ranking of hotels is included in the tourism services regulations that were approved by the Knesset Finance Committee and published on 3.1.2013. The regulations will come into effect on 3.9.2013 and rankings issued to hotels under the old regulations will expire in September 2014.

According to the regulations, the body that will implement the rankings and will be appointed by the minister, will have experience with ranking hotels according to the defined method, ie  the European Hotelstars system. The Tourism Ministry published a public tender to select the relevant body and four bids were submitted. Following discussions and investigations, a sub-committee of the Tenders Committee and thereafter the Tenders Committee itself ruled that none of the bids met with the threshold requirements and therefore the tender was canceled.

Further to the arrival in their new positions of the tourism minister, Dr. Uzi Landau and the D-G Amir Halevi, further internal discussions and investigations took place. The minister even held a round-table discussion led by and with the participation of the D-G and senior tourism ministry representatives. Also present were leading figures in the tourism industry as well as representatives from other consumer bodies, in order to listen to their opinion related to hotel ranking in general and the Hotelstars system in particular.

After the meeting, the Tourism Ministry representatives held an internal meeting in which the Tourism Minister decided to move forward with the tender using the Hotelstars system, which is accepted throughout Europe and familiar to European tourists who visit Israel.


Between October 31 and November 1, 2013, thousands of international investors, domestic businesses, government officials, and trade organizations will descend upon Washington DC for the first-everSelectUSA Investment Summit. This summit is a first-of-its-kind, national-level engagement intended to connect businesses and investors from around the world with U.S. economic development organizations at the state, regional, and local levels. The SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of a U.S. government-wide initiative to promote direct investment in the United States. Participants will benefit from unique networking opportunities; one-on-one meetings; moderated panels; discussions on the latest information on all aspects of investment; and, available resources in the U.S.



U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro praised this unique opportunity, saying that “Israeli investors have contributed significantly to the American economy, contributing to make the U.S. the most attractive destination for investment… I strongly encourage all potential Israeli investors to consider attending this prestigious event.”


“The SelectUSA initiative is an integral part of the Obama administration’s efforts to increase direct investment in the United States, which leads to economic growth and job creation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “The SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit is the first of its kind, helping to match potential investors with economic development organizations…”


Maria Andrews, Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, said: “The United States not only offers a huge and very accessible market, but it makes a terrific platform for young Israeli companies to expand to other international markets, often acquiring valuable American strategic partners along the way.”


Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a critical role in the U.S. economy, which is why President Obama launched SelectUSA, the first-ever U.S. government-wide initiative to promote and facilitate investment in the United States.  In 2012, nearly $168 billion in FDI flowed into the United States. In 2011, employment by U.S. affiliates of foreign firms rose to 5.6 million U.S. workers, up from more than 5.3 million the previous year.


To learn more about SelectUSA, and to register for the summit, please visit







 TOURISM MINISTER DR.UZI LANDAU: "For the last few months, there has been an increase in incoming tourism in comparison to figures from last year. The Tourism Ministry views tourism as an essential engine for economic growth that creates new jobs in the periphery. We will continue our work in growing the number of visitors to Israel and realizing the tourism potemtial.”


 TOURISM MINISTER DR. UZI LANDAU: “The Tourism Ministry has identified the tourism potential in China, defining it as one of the leading destinations in its campaign for emerging markets. As a result, we will work to increase the number of incoming tourists from China to Israel over the next few years. The two countries are rich in ancient history and heritage and I am sure that Chinese tourists will find Israel a source of inspiration.”


 The Israel Government Tourist Office in China is organizing a Road Show in three cities this week (8-12 July): Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 500 leading Chinese travel agents are invited to attend the Road Show, some of them being specialists in the Middle East market. Following the seminars, which will expose the participants to the Israeli tourism product, there will be a series of round-table meetings between Israeli and Chinese tour operators to encourage cooperation. The ministry has also produced a booklet in Chinese, featuring business profiles of the Israeli companies participating in the Road Show.

 The Road Show, which is accompanied by extensive advertising in the trade and mainstream media, will also feature attractions such as Israeli food, Dead Sea mud treatments etc.

 The Israel Embassy in Beijing recently announced the implementation of reforms for Chinese visitors receiving entry visas to Israel, in order to encourage tourism. These include, among others, an option for a visa for independent travelers without the need for assistance from a local tour operator; a simpler procedure for issuing business visas to Israel and for bank guarantees for residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (where Israel has consular offices. It should be noted that, presently, Israeli consular services are not available worldwide due to a work dispute by Foreign Ministry employees). These easier procedures are part of a program to make Israel more accessible to the Chinese tourist and to encourage airlines to operate flights to Israel in the near future.

 In recent years, Israel has become an attractive tourism destination for the Chinese visitor, with an increase of 27% in incoming tourism from China during the first five months of 2013 versus the same period last year (and a 45% increase on 2011). China is the most important source country worldwide for tourism, with an increase of 20% in the numbers of visitors from China to international destinations during 2010-2011. In 2012, more than 20,000 visitors from China arrived in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last night (Sunday, 23 June 2013), met with a delegation of approximately 25 senior Chinese businessmen led by Hang Lung Properties Chairman Ronnie Chan. National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel also attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed with the delegation members, who represent a broad range of economic and commercial sectors, ways to increase the Israeli business world's exposure to China in order to increase cooperation between Israeli and Chinese companies and develop joint initiatives that will contribute to both countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, today (Sunday, 23 June 2013), decided to appoint Prof. Jacob Frenkel as Governor of the Bank of Israel. The appointment will be submitted to the committee headed by Judge Turkel for approval and then to the Cabinet.

The Cabinet, today (Sunday, 23 June 2013), approved the decision to increase the quantity of gas for the Israeli economy to 540 billion cubic meters (BCM). From data submitted at the meeting, in 2012, the Israeli economy consumed seven billion cubic meters of gas; thus, even in keeping with forecasts of a significant increase in gas consumption, the quantity will suffice for at least 25 years.

The tourism program in which the Prime Minister will participate, in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, is a major television production directed by travel journalist and producer Peter Greenberg, who is known from his international travel shows on PBS and the Travel Channel. The program covers heads of state who serve as tour guides in their countries and has approximately 300 million viewers around the world.

At the evening plenary session of the 2013 Israeli Presidential Conference on Wednesday, a group of the world’s leading economists forecast a bright future for the U.S. and Chinese economies, while expressing caution about the European economy.

Larry Summers, Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of the Blackstone Group, Mr. Stephen Schwartzman headlined the session, presenting their vision for Tomorrow’s Global Economy.



The Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevy said today (18 June) in a discussion on hotel ranking
in the Knesset Finance Committee that “the ministry is determined to implement the hotel rankings scheme in Israel.
The ministry will complete its investigations and discussions related to updating the tender and improving
the threshold conditions by the end of the month, and will publish a new tender. Within a few months, a company
will be chosen to start the hotel ranking at the beginning of 2014.”

In the margins of the EU Transport Council in Luxembourg, the European Union and Israel have today signed a comprehensive air transport agreement which will gradually open up and integrate the respective markets, develop an aviation area with common rules, offer economic benefits for consumers and new opportunities for the industry.


 TOURISM MINISTER DR. UZI LANDAU: “For years, the United States has been the largest source country for incoming tourists. We attach great importance to the role of tourism in maintaining close bi-lateral relations and we will continue to work towards increasing the numbers of American tourists to Israel. Israel is a cradle of culture, history and religion and I am sure that every American tourist will find in Israel a source of inspiration.”

During the days 20, 21 and May 23 the Panama Embassy participated in Tourism seminars held in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv organized by Polaris Group. The seminars main objective was to present travel agents 3 destinations in America: Ecuador, Peru and Panama. Ambassador Hector Aparicio opened the presentation with a speech and the rest of the presentation was translated in Hebrew.

There was an approximate participation of 212 travel agents being Tel Aviv the city with major participation.

It was observed that Ecuador is a known destination and Peru is realizing the same path. Panama is considered an exotic destination and there are  possibilities of multi destinations with Colombia.

Background conditions

Inflation data: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March increased by 0.2 percent, and for April it increased by 0.4 percent—both months in line with forecasts. Over the past 12 months, the CPI increased by 0.8 percent, below the lower bound of the inflation target range. The main factors contributing toward a decline in the CPI in the past year were the appreciation of the shekel, declines in energy and cellular communications prices, and expansion of the Free Education Law to children from the age of three. In contrast, the main contributions to an increase in the CPI over the past year were prices of food and housing, and increased taxation and electricity prices.

The New Era of Tourism

Leading speakers will include: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Dr. Uzi Landau- Minister of Tourism, Naftali Bennett- Minister of Economy and

Commerce,  Mr. Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Dr. Richard Florida, Professor at the University of Toronto

and NYU and the Senior Editor for The Atlantic, Michael Arad, Partner at Handel Architects and designer of the National September 11 Memorial at the

World Trade Center site, Alison Copus, Vice President, marketing at TripAdvisor for Business, Hugh Aitken, UK Commercial Manager at easyJet, Mr. Uri

Levine, Co-Founder and President of Waze, etc.

The Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit will take place on May 28-29 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

Four GALAXY S4 smartphones sold every second

 SEOUL, Korea – May 23, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced that global channel sales of its GALAXY S4, a life companion for a richer, fuller, simpler life, has surpassed 10 million units sold in less than one month after its commercial debut. Launched globally on April 27, the phone is estimated to be selling at a rate of four units per second.

 The GALAXY S4 sets a new record for Samsung, generating sales quicker than any of its predecessors. Sales of the GALAXY S III reached the 10-million mark 50 days after its launch in 2012, while the GALAXY S II took five months and the GALAXY S seven months to reach the same milestone.

TOURISM MINISTER DR. UZI LANDAU: “Once again, the numbers prove the great value of the tourism industry; this is a direct and positive relationship: about NIS 15 of income for every shekel spent on marketing. A significant amount goes directly to the periphery and helps provide and maintain employment. The marketing activities of the ministry should be increased with the different target markets”.

Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi: “Israel is very well suited to the conference and incentive market – it is a modern, vibrant country with Jerusalem at its center and its advantages include a good year-round climate for events, its relatively small size that allows for easy, fast access from everywhere and its varied geography.”

The Ministry of Tourism promotes international conventions in Israel and is working to establish Israel as a major player in the incentive market. To this end, the ministry has recently launched a dedicated website promoting Israel as a unique destination for international conferences and incentive travel, under the slogan  “Israel. One place. Endless Possibilities”.

At the working meeting today (Wednesday, 8 May 2013), between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang , Finance Ministry Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu signed an agreement with the Chinese Finance Ministry on expanding the amount provided for in the bilateral financial protocol by $400 million.

The protocol is a bilateral financial agreement that allows for the growth of Israeli exports to China by means of state guarantees in support of long-term export deals. In this framework, exporters' financing costs go down, which makes Israeli deals more attractive and allows Israel to stay relevant and interesting in the sphere of international exports.

The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting today (Sunday, 21 April 2013), approved the European-Mediterranean Sea ("Open Skies") aviation agreement between the State of Israel and the EU and its member states. Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz will respond to the questions that were raised in the Cabinet discussion within 45 days.


Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: “ The cabinet made the right decision for the citizens of Israel, for the Israeli economy and the tourism industry in Israel. I wish to congratulate and strengthen the people in the Tourism Ministry, headed by the Director-General Noaz Bar-Nir for their bold lead in this process. Within a short space of time, we will begin to see a strong flow of incoming tourism, an increase of revenue for the state coffers and the tourism industry will create many new jobs in cities and the periphery.”

Israel's population crossed the 8 million mark, as revealed by Central Bureau of Statistics data, released on the eve of the country's

 65th Independence Day.

The number of Jews among Israel's population has reached the symbolic figure of 6 million – the same figure of Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

The Jewish population composes 75.3% of the general population; Israeli Arabs compose 20.7% of the population and number 1.66 million.

A fascinating attraction for the Israeli tourist, perfect for both summer and winter vacations for the whole family: 

Andorra – the Magical Principality of the Pyrenees.

 Senior officials in the Andorran tourism industry are to arrive in Israel on April 24th, 2013, to promote the tourism ties between the two countries and their respective tourism industries, and to reveal Andorra as an attractive destination for the Israeli tourist, in summer as well as winter.

 The media is invited to a special meeting, to be held at the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, on April 24th at 12:30 PM.




The Globes 2013 Israel Real Estate Conference


The Globes Real Estate Summit will set the agenda for a national housing policy for Israel. A long-term national housing policy,
 which will stay in place even during changes in government, characterizes every Western country.
The time has come for Israel to have a clear and unequivocal national housing policy. Such a policy will include
 the establishment of a national authority for urban renewal and affordable housing, which will create a differential policy
 for a supply of new housing for an extended period, and will adjust the housing supply to the needs and demands
of the country's diverse population.
Israel also needs a structural reform in planning which can implemented beyond the slogan of the "balcony reform,
 with planning at the national level which will maintain strategic interests alongside specific planning
at the local level for municipalities and neighborhoods.
The Globes Real Estate Summit will present ways to solve Israel's housin shortage, such as granting property rights
on a national scale and a real options for affordable housing and urban renewal in poor neighborhoods.

Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer, today (Tuesday, 2 April 2013), submitted the Bank of Israel 2012 Annual Report
 to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bank of Israel Governor Fischer said: "I would like to present you with the Bank of Israel 2012 Annual Report,
 the last report that I will present to you. I did not manage to present you with one when you were Finance Minister
but since you became Prime Minister, this is the fifth report that I have presented to you.
 The report describes the not bad situation of the Israeli economy.
 There are things to fix but we still grew faster than almost all OECD countries."

President Peres to Stanley Fischer:

"These were impressive years for Israel's economy and I'm grateful for the opportunity to thank Stanley Fischer on behalf of the State of Israel"

 Stanley Fisher to President Peres:

"There is much talk today about the middle class but it is no less important to talk about the poor in society"

"The belief you find in others, I find in you"






The Bank of Israel Publishes its Financial Statements for 2012

The Bank of Israel's balance sheet at the end of 2012 was about NIS 303 billion

The Supervisory Council of the Bank of Israel approved the Bank's financial statements for 2011, in accordance with Section 75 of the Bank of Israel Law, 5770-2010. Prior to approval, the Supervisory Council appointed from among its members a financial statements committee, which examined the Bank's financial statements and recommended their approval. The financial statements committee was headed by Ytzhak Edelman, an accountant. The other members of the committee were Dr. Karnit Flug and Uri Galili.



Tourism Ministry Director-General Noaz Bar Nir: “An increase in the supply of hotel rooms will directly contribute to reducing the cost of vacationing in Israel, in line with the reforms spearheaded by the Tourism Ministry in order to increase incoming tourism. The Tourism Ministry is making significant efforts to encourage the construction of new hotels within the framework of the Law to Encourage Capital Investment and investors are expressing their confidence in the expected growth in this industry. Nonetheless, Israel’s unique position, including the geopolitical environs and the low return on hotel investment in Israel, obligates us to offer grants for assistance in hotel construction.”






March 11, 2013 will mark the two-year commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Japan’s top priority is accelerating the “revitalization process”. The government will focus on policies that benefit economic revival, reconstruction and crisis management - the three main ‘pillars’ for enacting meaningful change.

The AICC's  Young Business Forum invites you to join us for

" What Makes a Successful  Young Entrepreneur"

Tuesday 5 March 2013

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