Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy birthday Israel!!

From Isi Leibler, 9 May 2011:

... Israel represents the greatest national success story of the past century; there is no remotely comparable example of a people renewing its nationhood after 2,000 years.

Yes, we are saddened that peace with our neighbors remains a distant dream, and that much of the world has turned against us. We also realize that far from advancing democracy or human rights, the turmoil in the Arab world will almost certainly strengthen Islamic fundamentalism and intensify hatred against us and the West.

And as many of us predicted, our “peace partner” has united with Hamas, and in September will endeavor to obtain global endorsement for a Palestinian state dominated by genocidal terrorists.

But we must retain a sense of perspective and reprimand those exaggerating our shortcomings and promoting doom and gloom scenarios. We have overcome far greater threats in the past.

...In 1948, 600,000 Jews created a people’s army which successfully repulsed repeated unprovoked onslaughts by its Arab neighbors. And to this day it remains on the front lines of the global battle against Islamic terror.

...One of our major achievements was the in-gathering of Jewish exiles from all over the world: Holocaust survivors from Europe, refugees from Arab persecution, Ethiopian Jews, and the miraculous absorption of over a million Jews from the former Soviet Union.

These Jews from different cultures and societies were integrated, and emerged as a resilient nation - the largest Jewish community in the world.

We are entitled to be proud of our vibrant social, cultural and religious creativity, which flourishes despite the ongoing wars and terror. We are the only country in the region guaranteeing genuine freedom of religion. We remain a democratic oasis in a region of autocracies, dictatorships and Islamic fundamentalist regimes. We provide the vote to all citizens, regardless of race, religion or gender - including 1.4 million Arabs, who elect their own representatives, many of whom openly promote subversive behavior.

Our social welfare system, in particular our medical system, provides services for all 7.7 million Israeli citizens without discrimination, even providing amenities for Palestinians.

Economically, despite pockets of poverty, we are a veritable powerhouse. We were one of the countries least affected by the global economic meltdown. Our economy grew 7.8% in the last quarter of 2010; hi-tech and startup facilities make this tiny country second in the world, surpassed only by the United States; we are at the forefront of alternative energy development.

And despite all the media complaints, in a recent poll, 63% of Israelis described themselves as “thriving,” resulting in Israel being ranked seventh out of 124 countries.

...Regrettably, the conflict with our neighbors is intensifying.

Yet the PA-Hamas merger is not necessarily a negative development. Many of us were always convinced that the corrupt PA - which murdered more Israeli civilians than Hamas - would never become a genuine partner for peace because its primary objective has also always been the elimination of Jewish sovereignty. The difference is that while Hamas speaks the truth, and its charter unashamedly promotes genocide, the PA expresses sentiments of peace and moderation to the West, but internally incites the vilest forms of anti-Semitism.

The merger will clarify to our friends why we could never sanction a state pledged to our destruction. Should the Palestinians abort the Oslo Accords and gain recognition in lieu of negotiating with us, it would provide grounds for us to annex at least the major settlement blocs.

We harbor no illusions about achieving peace in our time, but must remain strong and resilient until our neighbors accept us as a sovereign Jewish state. We should exult that having overcome greater challenges in 1967 and 1973, when we genuinely faced annihilation, today we are better able to defend ourselves.

We are therefore entitled to take pride in our achievements.

... We must explain how the Holocaust may have been averted had a Jewish state existed then. We must convey how their ancestors in the Nazi death camps never dreamt their people would rise like a phoenix from the ashes and create such an extraordinary nation...

...On Independence Day, we will continue yearning for the peace that has eluded us. But we should also be profoundly grateful for what we have achieved, and pray that with the help of the Almighty we will continue to overcome the challenges facing us and maintain a thriving and creative Jewish commonwealth.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Surge in foreign investment in Israel

From "Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom" #152, May 06, 2011, by Yoram Ettinger
(here's what's happening in Israel while Hamas and Fatah kiss and make up, to work on the two pillars of their economy: international aid and terrorism):

1.  Israel's unemployment has declined to 6% in February, 2011, compared with 6.2% in December 2010 and 7.7% in December 2009 (April 29, 2011). The Houston-based ATP Oil & Gas, which specializes in deep off-shore drilling, received a license to drill in Israel (Globes, April 15).

2.   The NY-based OrbiMed, the largest healthcare investment firm, established a $200MN Israel-dedicated fund, in order to leverage cutting-edge Israeli innovations (Globes, April 7).  The NY-based Yorkville Capital intends to invest $100MN in Israeli companies during 2011. Last week Yorkville invested $50MN in Israel's Elbit Imaging (Globes, April 5).

3.  The Irvine-based Broadcom acquired Israel's Provigent for $340MN, Broadcom's 8th Israeli acquisition since November 2000 – VisionTech for $250MN, Dune Networks - $178MN, Pecello - $86MN, Siliquent - $84MN, Octalica - $31MN, SighticVista - $15MN and MStream - $10MN (Globes March 22). The San Jose-based Align Technology acquired Israel's Cadent for $190MN (Globes, March 31). Santa Clara-based Internet security giant, Mcafee, acquired Israel's Sentrigo for $35MN (Globes March 24).  Boston Scientific acquired Israel's S.I. Therapies for $20MN - $5MN in cash and the balance according to milestones (Globes, April 5). The Seattle-based Getty Images acquired Israel's PicScout for $20MN (Globes, April 28).  India's Ybrant acquired Israel's PicApp for $10MN, its 2nd Israeli acquisition – Oridian for $15MN in 2007 (Globes, April 8).

4.   A 39% increase in high-tech investments during the 1st quarter of 2011 - $479MN invested in 140 companies – the best quarter in two years, compared with $234MN in 91 companies during the 1st quarter of 2010. 28% invested by Israeli investors (Globes, April 14).

5.  The London-based Sam Capital and the Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray participated in a $60MN investment in Israel CleanTech Ventures (Globes, April 13).  The Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners, the Menlo Park-based Benchmark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, the Palo Alto-based DAG Ventures and the NY-based Insight Venture Partners participated in a $40MN round by Israel's Weeks (Globes, March 30). The Hong Kong-based Pacific Technology Fund and the Menlo Park-based Bessemer participated in a $26MN 4th round by Israel's Altair (Globes, April 11). The Boston-based Spark Capital and the Menlo Park Bessemer and Redpoint Ventures participated in a $20MN round by Israel's AdaptTV (Globes, March 30).  The Menlo Park-based Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson and the Menlo Park-based Kleiner Perkins co-led an $18MN round by Israel's agro-tech Kiima (Globes, April 6).  The UK-based Lewis Trust Group participated in an $18MN round of private placement by Israel's OrSense (Globes, May 3). The Boston-based Globespan and the Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital participated in a $15MN 3rd round by Israel's Kaminario (Globes, May 3).  Motorola Ventures, the Needham-based Stata Ventures, the Tulsa-based Argonaut Private Equity, the San Jose-based Stryker Endoscopy and the Japan-based NTT invested $15MN in Israel's Amimon (Globes, March 25).  Germany's medical giant, Merck committed 10MN Euro to Israel's biomed incubator in Yavneh (Globes, March 31). The Menlo Park-based Benchmark, the Palo Alto-based DAG Ventures and the Menlo Park-based Opus Ventures participated in a $12MN 4th round by Israel's Clarizen (Globes, May 2). The S.F.-based Saints Capital led a $12MN 5th round by Israel's AngioScore, which is located in California (Globes, April 28).  The NY-based OrbiMed invested $10.5MN in Israel's SMT (Globes, April 4).  The London, NY and Sidney-based Generation CleanTech Investment Management invested $10MN in a 3rd round by Israel's Tigo Energy, its second Israeli investment - $10MN in GreenRoad in 2010 (Globes, April 14). The Waltham-based Northbridge Venture Partners, the Boston-based Egan Venture Capital and the Deerfield-based Vernon & Park Capital invested $4MN in a 3rd round by Israel's CurrenSee (April 21).  The Boston-based Schooner Capital participated in a $4MN 1st round by Israel's Zixi (Globes, April 13).  The Menlo-Park Benchmark and the Bellevue-based Trilogy Partners and Ignition Partners invested $4MN in a 4th round by Israel's Xeround (Globes, April 6).  Eric Schmidt, Google's outgoing CEO invested $1MN in Israel's EyeView (Globes, May 2).