October 4, 2007
Briefs: Yavneh wants city to investigate Kol Nidrei incident; Congressmembers slam Moran for 'Jewish influence' comment
(Page 2 - Previous Page)In an opinion piece submitted to Jewish newspapers, Lerner accused Moran's critics of conducting "a witch hunt" and misrepresenting his views.
Israel Finance Minister: 'Economy Booming'
How do you make a small fortune in Israel? You start with a large fortune.
That ancient joke is as outdated as tent cities for new immigrants and food rationing, a top Israeli official and a key Los Angeles investor assured local business executives last week (Sept. 19).
Despite the country's political instability and tense security situation, the Israeli economy has a life of its own and is booming, Yarom Ariav, director general of the Finance Ministry, reported during an evening presentation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Even allowing for patriotic enthusiasm, the statistics cited by Ariav were impressive.
For the fifth year in a row, Israel's economy grew by more than 5 percent and is on track to repeat this performance in 2007.
Foreign investors poured $24 billion into the Israeli economy last year, double the figure for 2005.
By the end of May of this year, the government budget scored a surplus of 8.3 billion shekels ($2.1 billion), contrasted to the original forecast of a 18.7 billion shekels ($4.7 billion) deficit (Washington, please note).
The high-tech industry accounts for 70 percent of Israel's growing exports, inflation and unemployment are down and personal income levels are on par with those of France and Germany.
Israel's major weakness lies in poor managerial and marketing skills and the country could benefit from American expertise, Ariav, a veteran economist, told The Journal.
He attributed his country's economic success to the creativity and flexibility of the work force and tight budget discipline by the government.
"If peace ever comes, Israel will develop one of the leading economies in the world," Ariav predicted.
Complementing Ariav's ebullience from the investor's side was Stanley P. Gold, president of Shamrock Holdings, owned by the Roy E. Disney family.
Since its founding in 1978, Shamrock has invested some $1 billion in Israel's traditional industries, hi-tech companies and kibbutz factories and has reaped steady and sizeable profits, Gold said.
"The greatest contribution to Israel we can make is to help build a sound economy," he said. "We can all do good by doing well."
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