JERUSALEM, June 1 (Reuters) - Israel's EarlySense, a maker of medical monitoring systems, said on Tuesday it raised $25 million in a funding round led by Bank Hapoalim, with participation from Pitango Venture Capital, JK&B and other previous investors.
THE situation of Nochi Dankner, one of Israel’s most prominent businessmen, went from bad to worse this week. In December he lost his grip on his heavily indebted business empire, IDB Holding Corporation, when a court approved a rescue plan supported by the group’s creditors that handed control to two rival entrepreneurs. On June 30th prosecutors indicted Mr Dankner for securities fraud, accusing him of manipulating the stockmarket to ensure the success of a sale of shares in the group in 2012. He denies wrongdoing.In May Dan Dankner, a cousin of Nochi, got a three-year jail sentence for bribery and money laundering. That Mr Dankner is a former chairman of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s biggest bank, and a director of his family’s salt-mining company. He was convicted for his part in a scheme in which Holyland Development Company, a property firm, paid bribes to politicians, including a former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who was sentenced on the same day. Two Holyland executives, as well as other politicians and officials, also got jail terms. More bad news for Nochi Dankner These legal moves should help to assuage the anger of those...
PM says founders of international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement want to see end of Jewish stateBinyamin Netanyahu has launched a swingeing attack on supporters of a boycott of Israel, accusing them of practising "antisemitism in a new garb", and urged the country's friends to "expose and outflank" them by emphasising its high-tech achievements and global economic appeal.Addressing a conference of US Jewish organisations in Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister said the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was intended to lead to "the end of the Jewish state"."Some supporters of the movement see it as a way to put pressure on Israel to end illegal settlements in the territories occupied in the 1967 war; others favour the creation of a single state that would dismantle Israel."I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews," Netanyahu said. "In the past, antisemites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state. And by the way, only the Jewish state."The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They're quite explicit about it. And I think it's important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They're classical antisemites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them. It's time to delegitimise the delegitimisers."Netanyahu's remarks reflect anger and anxiety in Jerusalem about BDS, which claims to have made a significant advance during the recent row involving Scarlett Johansson's sponsorship of a factory in a West Bank settlement and her leaving her role as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam.Pressure on Israel is mounting, especially from Europe, where NGOs, trade unions, churches and others are forcing their governments to take action. Last year the EU blocked grants and funding for any Israeli entity operating beyond the pre-1967 borders, building on earlier decisions to require the labelling of goods produced in settlements. Two weeks ago the US secretary of state, John Kerry, warned that Israel would face more calls for boycotts if the current peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed.But Israel was far from being shunned, Netanyahu insisted: "Israel is being sought after.. Founders and leaders of big companies and some small companies and medium-sized companies … are all coming to Israel. They all want the same three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology. They know that Israel is the repository of great genius, great creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific capability, out-of-the-box thinking." But Rafeef Ziadah, from the Palestinian BDS national committee, said: "More international corporations are ending their business and shying away from bids in Israel This trend is due to continue until Israel abides by international law and ends its system of colonialism, apartheid and occupation. The BDS movement is steadily making 'Brand Israel' a toxic one."IsraelBinyamin NetanyahuMiddle East and North AfricaIan Black theguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
State department says it expects all parties in Middle East peace talks to portray accurately secretary of state's commentsThe US hit back at Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday after the Israeli prime minister warned that calls for boycotts of Israel to pressure it over settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are "immoral and unjustified" and would not achieve their goal.In a public spat that reflected tensions over slow-moving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the state department rebuked Netanyahu for apparently misrepresenting the words of the US secretary of state, John Kerry. Another senior rightwing minister accused Kerry of serving as a "mouthpiece" for antisemitic views.Speaking on the record at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, the Israeli prime minister said that the growing international boycott movement would only "push peace further away" by encouraging Palestinian intransigence."No pressure will force me to give up the vital interests of the state of Israel, above all the security of the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu stated.The remarks followed Kerry's warning on Saturday that failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians would damage Israel's capacity to be a democratic state and could lead to more boycotts."The risks are very high for Israel," he said at an international security conference in Munich. "People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure. We all have a strong interest in this conflict resolution. Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100%, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary. There's a momentary prosperity, there's a momentary peace."The US statement department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, noted that Kerry had been referring to the actions of others and resolutely opposed boycotts. "Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements," she added pointedly.Two weeks ago Israel's defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, raised the political temperature by describing Kerry as "obsessive and messianic" in his pursuit of an agreement.Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator, said Kerry was merely "expressing concern" for Israel's future.Netanyahu's coalition government has registered alarm at growing talk of boycotts. In the past week, a Danish bank announced it would sever ties with Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank, over the financing of settlements built across the old 1967 border in breach of international law. Danske Bank cited "ethical and legal conflicts." The Israeli bank said Danske Bank had no investments with it.Pressure has been building up in the European Union for tougher measures to punish Israel for its settlement activity.Netanyahu's remarks were mild compared to those of cabinet colleagues. Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence minister and a member of the prime minister's Likud party, called Kerry's comments "offensive, unfair and insufferable", complaining that Israel could not negotiate "with a gun pointed to its head".Further to the right the economics minister, Naftali Bennett, from the religious and pro-settler Jewish Home party, said bluntly: "We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against antisemitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier."With the US pushing hard, Israel and the Palestinians relaunched peace talks in July after a long gap but these have so far shown little sign of progress. With an April deadline looming, Kerry is expected to present ideas for a "framework" agreement sometime in the next few weeks.The boycott issue has been dramatically highlighted in recent days by the resignation of film star Scarlett Johansson as an Oxfam goodwill ambassador because of her appearance in an advert for SodaStream, an Israeli company based in the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, which is built on expropriated Arab land. The actress said she had "a fundamental difference of opinion" with the humanitarian group because it opposes all trade with Israeli settlements. Oxfam came under pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.Up to 100 Palestinian activists have established a new protest against settlements by occupying an abandoned village in the Jordan valley. Called Melh al-Ard – "salt of the earth" in Arabic – the campaign rejects the status quo "especially given futile negotiations destroying the rights of our people for liberation and claim to their land". It has called on international supporters "to stand with the demands of the Palestinian people and boycott all Israeli companies including Israeli factories and companies that work in the Jordan Valley and profit from Palestinian natural resources".IsraelUnited StatesMiddle East and North AfricaJohn KerryBinyamin NetanyahuPalestinian territoriesTzipi LivniScarlett JohanssonUS foreign policyIan Black theguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's warning against a growing boycott movement against the Jewish state should peace talks with the Palestinians fail, while some of his Cabinet ministers lashed out angrily, saying the stance undermined Israel's legitimacy and the chances of reaching a peace agreement. The brush-up comes as Israel is negotiating with the Palestinians against a backdrop of increasing international pressure to reach a deal, coupled with a growing call for boycotting Israel over its settlements in areas it captured in the 1967 Middle East war. A small but growing number of European businesses and pension funds have begun to drop investments or limit trade with Israeli firms involved in the West Bank settlements. At a security conference in Germany this weekend, Kerry warned that a breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian talks would accelerate this trend and could threaten Israel's economic prosperity and its safety. "You see for Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things," Kerry said. "Today's status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It's not sustainable. It's illusionary. There's a momentary prosperity, there's a momentary peace." At the opening of his weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said international pressure on Israel would backfire and only cause the Palestinians to harden their positions. "Attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust. Moreover, they will not achieve their goal," he said. While Netanyahu refrained from taking aim at Kerry, some of his ministers were more direct. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, called Kerry's comments "offensive, unfair and insufferable." "You can't expect the state of Israel to conduct negotiations with a gun pointed to its head," he said. Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, from the religious, pro-settler Jewish Home party, said all "the advice givers" should know that Israel will not abandon its land because of economic threats. "We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not for them to be their amplifier," said Bennett, a fierce critic of the Kerry-led talks. "Only security will bring economic stability, he said. Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator, came to Kerry's defense, saying he was merely expressing concern for Israel's future. Aiming to clarify, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry's only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed. "Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel's security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts," she said in a statement. "Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements." Over the past six months, Kerry has held endless back-and-forth talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in hopes of reaching a framework for a peace agreement. He is expected to present his ideas in the coming weeks and both sides have balked at some of his expected proposals. Israeli nationalist leaders like Bennett, for instance, oppose a Palestinian state that is based on the pre-1967 borders. More than 500,000 settlers live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 war and which the Palestinians now hope will be part of their future state. Known to religious Jews as Judea and Samaria, they are parts of the biblical land of Israel and hard-liners object to ceding either area on both spiritual and security grounds. Any expected peace accord would put the fate of dozens of settlements at risk. But European officials have warned that Israel could face deepening economic isolation if it presses forward with the construction of more settlements. In the latest example, Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank, blacklisted Israel's Bank Hapoalim because of its links to settlement construction. Once dismissed as a fringe issue, the boycott threat is now increasingly taking center stage in Israeli public debate. Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid recently said that even in the case of a limited boycott that reduces Israeli exports to the European Union by 20 percent, the damage would amount to about 20 billion shekels ($5.7 billion) in exports annually. In a related development, Lapid also ordered that all payments to settlements be stopped until their use is clarified. The move followed a TV report that said funds were allegedly being illegally transferred to the Yesha Council — an umbrella groups of settlers — that was illicitly using the money for political purposes. ____ Associated Press Writer David Rising contributed to this report from Munich, Germany.
Israel Central Bank Follows Fed With First Woman Chairman Appointment After Larry Summers' Rejection
Ten days ago, when we reported on the latest rumors surrounding the fiasco that the Israeli central bank governor selection process has become (nearly as farcical as the bungled choice of Yellen in the US), we joking wondered: LAPID SAYS BANK OF ISRAEL GOVERNOR ANNOUNCEMENT SEEN NEXT WEEK. Summers? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 10, 2013 Overnight, we once again learned that in the New Normal the thin line between reality and rhetorical absurdity is perhaps too thin, following a report in The Hill that, as we joking suggested, it was indeed Larry Summers who the Bank of Israel had turned to in its quest for governor. From The Hill: Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who was in the running to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, reportedly turned down an offer to lead the Bank of Israel. Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Friday that the former Harvard president was one of multiple non-Israelis approached by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to succeed Stanley Fischer, who left the post in June after a term that began in 2005. As a reminder, the Bank of Israel governor selection process has become an even greater fiasco than the choice of Mr. Mrs. Yellen as head of the Fed, after it was none other than JPMorgan Chase International Chairman Jacob Frenkel who was slated to become the new governor when his candidacy went up in a puff of kosher smoke following the release of details involving Frenkel and a shoplifting scandal at a Hong Kong airport duty free store. Guess JPM doesn't pay that well after all. But back to Larry Summers and the Bank of Israel, which moments ago announced that it has concluded its 112-day process in which it had gone without a central bank chief, and had appointed Karnit Flug as its new governor. In taking a page from the Fed's own selection process, Flug is also the first woman to be appointed as head of the Bank of Israel. From Reuters: Israel on Sunday named Karnit Flug as the new governor of its central bank, the first woman to be appointed to the office, after a rocky selection process that dragged on for months. Flug, 58, served as deputy to previous governor Stanley Fischer, who stepped down in June after eight years on the job, and has been the Bank of Israel's acting chief since he left. Accepting the post, Flug said in a statement the central bank and Israel's economy faced significant challenges. Announcement of Flug's appointment followed a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who had been unable since Fischer resigned to fill the post. Ironically, just as Yellen was nowhere near Obama's top choice for the new Fed chairman, Flug was not Prime Minister's Netanyahu primary choice. Fischer had recommended Flug to replace him, but Netanyahu, officials said, had preferred candidates with a stronger international standing. Netanyahu and Lapid initially chose Jacob Frenkel, central bank governor in the 1990s and currently chairman of JPMorgan Chase International, to succeed Fischer, but he pulled out following reports he had been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at Hong Kong's airport in 2006. Frenkel denied any wrongdoing, and authorities in Hong Kong decided not to pursue the case. A second candidate, Bank Hapoalim Chief Economist Leo Leiderman, also dropped his bid two days after his nomination, citing personal reasons. Netanyahu and Lapid said in a statement: "We were impressed by Dr. Flug's performance over the past months as head of the Bank of Israel and we are confident she will continue to help us lead Israel's economy to further achievements in the face of the world economic upheaval." Below is Flug's full background from the BOI website: Dr. Karnit Flug has been the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel since July 2011. She was appointed as Deputy Governor by the Israeli Government, in accordance with the Bank of Israel Law, 5770-2010 and with the recommendation of the Governor of the Bank of Israel. Dr. Flug completed her M.A (cum laude) at the Hebrew University in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Economics at Columbia University in 1985. In 1984, Dr. Flug joined the IMF as an economist. In 1988, she returned to Israel and joined the Research Department of the Bank of Israel, where she worked and published papers on topics related to the labor market, balance of payments and macroeconomic policies. In 1994-1996, while on leave from the BOI, Dr. Flug worked at the Inter-American Development Bank as a senior research economist. In 1997, upon return to the BOI she was appointed Assistant Director of the Research Department and in June 2001 she was appointed Director of the Research Department and a member of the BOI's senior management. Dr. Flug has served on a number of public committees, including the committee on a multi-year defense budget (the "Brodet" committee); the committee aimed at ensuring the long term financial stability of the National Insurance Institute; the committee aimed at enhancing competition within the Israeli markets; the committee for social and economic change (the "Trajtenberg" committee), and several others. Her response to learning that, just like Yellen, not quite top choice is still "good enough": Dr. Karnit Flug thanks the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance on her expected appointment as Governor of the Bank of Israel. Dr. Flug adds that the Bank of Israel and the Israeli economy face significant challenges, and that she looks forward to working in full cooperation with the professional and dedicated staff of the Bank of Israel, as well as with government officials, in order to meet these challenges. We too were shocked to find no mention of the phrase "Goldman Sachs" in the bio above. As for Larry Summers, we can only imagine to what depths of misogynistic hell his ego must have tumbled after women ended up overtaking him as heads of not one but the two central banks he was slated to head within a month.
Federal Reserve Board announces termination of enforcement action with Bank Hapoalim, B.M.
Израильские экономисты опасаются, что отсутствие руководства в Центральном банке может негативно повлиять на способность регулятора бороться со спекулятивной торговлей валютой, которая продолжает повышать курс шекеля и ставит под угрозу конкурентоспособность экспорта. На прошлой неделе два номинанта на пост главы Банка Израиля не были утверждены. До сих пор нет ясности в том, кто же заменит Стенли Фишера, который покинул пост в июне. В пятницу израильский экономист Лев Лейдерман снял свою кандидатуру, заявив, что для его семьи будет лучше, если он останется в частном секторе, где он в настоящее время является главный экономистом Bank Hapoalim, крупнейшим банком страны. Примечательно, что его кандидатура была выдвинута только в среду, после отказа председателя совета директоров JP Morgan Chase International Джейкоба Френкеля. Кандидаты сняли свои кандидатуры на фоне спорных обвинений со стороны общественности, хотя оба они их отрицают и заявили, что готовы сотрудничать с комитетом, которому поручено утверждение кандидатур. Главный экономист D.S. Investment and Securities Алекс Забежинский отметил, что шекель отреагировал укреплением на эти события, несмотря на неопределенность. Экономисты говорят, что это обусловлено спекулятивной торговлей, с которой банк не может справиться без четкого лидера. "Они должны положить конец этому фарсу как можно скорее, потому что когда вы смотрите на Центральный банк, самое главное - это чувствовать к нему доверие", - сказал руководитель департамента макроэкономических исследований Psagot Investment House Ltd. Ори Гринфельд. Источник: VestiFinance
Израильские экономисты опасаются, что отсутствие руководства в Центральном банке может негативно повлиять на способность регулятора бороться со спекулятивной торговлей валютой, которая продолжает повышать курс шекеля и ставит под угрозу конкурентоспособность экспорта. Как напоминают «Вести Экономика», на прошлой неделе два кандидата на пост главы Банка Израиля не были утверждены. До сих пор нет ясности в том, кто же заменит Стенли Фишера, который покинул пост в июне. В пятницу главный экономист Bank Hapoalim Лев Лейдерман снял свою кандидатуру, заявив, что для его семьи будет лучше, если он останется в частном секторе. Он был выдвинут на этот пост только в среду, после отказа председателя совета директоров JP Morgan Chase International Джейкоба Френкеля. Главный экономист D. S. Investment and Securities Алекс Забежинский отметил, что шекель отреагировал укреплением на эти события, несмотря на неопределенность. Экономисты говорят, что это обусловлено спекулятивной торговлей, с которой регулятор не может справиться без лидера. «Они должны положить конец этому фарсу как можно скорее, потому что когда вы смотрите на Центральный банк, самое главное - это чувствовать к нему доверие», - сказал руководитель департамента макроэкономических исследований Psagot Investment House Ltd. Ори Гринфельд.
Израильские экономисты опасаются, что отсутствие руководства в Центральном банке может негативно повлиять на способность регулятора бороться со спекулятивной торговлей валютой, которая продолжает повышать курс шекеля и ставит под угрозу конкурентоспособность экспорта.Банк Израиля не справляется с ростом шекеля На прошлой неделе два номинанта на пост главы Банка Израиля не были утверждены. До сих пор нет ясности в том, кто же заменит Стенли Фишера, который покинул пост в июне.В пятницу израильский экономист Лев Лейдерман снял свою кандидатуру, заявив, что для его семьи будет лучше, если он останется в частном секторе, где он в настоящее время является главный экономистом Bank Hapoalim, крупнейшим банком страны. Примечательно, что его кандидатура была выдвинута только в среду, после отказа председателя совета директоров JP Morgan Chase International Джейкоба Френкеля.Кандидаты сняли свои кандидатуры на фоне спорных обвинений со стороны общественности, хотя оба они их отрицают и заявили, что готовы сотрудничать с комитетом, которому поручено утверждение кандидатур.Главный экономист D.S. Investment and Securities Алекс Забежинский отметил, что шекель отреагировал укреплением на эти события, несмотря на неопределенность. Экономисты говорят, что это обусловлено спекулятивной торговлей, с которой банк не может справиться без четкого лидера."Они должны положить конец этому фарсу как можно скорее, потому что когда вы смотрите на Центральный банк, самое главное - это чувствовать к нему доверие", - сказал руководитель департамента макроэкономических исследований Psagot Investment House Ltd. Ори Гринфельд.
Central Banking Bank Hapoalim chief economist picked to replace the departed Stanley Fischer; deputy governor Karnit Flug will step down after missing out on top job for second time
JERUSALEM, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Bank Hapoalim unit Isracard, Israel's largest credit card company, reported a 24 percent rise in quarterly profit but cautioned that a slowing economy could hit revenues in the second half of the year.