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Israel Business Update
Volume Il Issue IV – February 14, 2007

Prepared by Dr. Mike Cohen of the Galilee Institute (http://www.gogalil.com)

Exclusively for Team M-EDG (http://www.m-edg.com) and its Israel Biomedical Initiative

 

Standard & Poor's upgrades Israel's rating outlook

 (Israel Business Arena Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) International rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has upgraded its outlook for Israel's credit rating from "Stable" to "Positive". The upgrade is in the light of the Israeli economy's resilience in the face of external shocks. S&P confirmed its long-term foreign currency and local currency ratings for the State of Israel at A- and A+. The short-term rating for both foreign currency and local currency is A-1.

 

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Israel indexes close at an all-time high

The Tel Aviv 100 index, which tracks the largest companies on Israel's exchange, crossed the much-anticipated 1000 level for the first time Wednesday, February 14, 2007 completing a 5.5% climb since the beginning of the year. Share increases across the board were fueled by a host of bullish corporate and economic news. Earlier this week, Standard and Poor's raised its outlook on Israel's debt from negative to stable based on "improved economic and fiscal resilience to external shocks." That followed similar upbeat outlooks and credit upgrades by both Fitch and Moody's. Also adding to a red-hot trading environment was a note by Morgan Stanley, which said it expects 5% GDP growth in Israel in 2007 and an even higher growth rate in 2008. The estimates top the Bank of Israel's previous estimate of a 4.5% expansion this year. "There's a lot of liquidity around; that's the main thing," said Avi Weinreb, trader at Clal Finance Batucha. "People are working, and they're putting their savings into the market. Interest rates are low and maybe going a notch lower, and [investors] are inclined to put more in." S&P said the change reflects the "improved resilience of Israel's public finances and economy to geopolitical shocks, after a three-year period of fiscal consolidation and strong economic growth."

 

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Export companies don't know their competitors
The majority of exporting companies in Israel are not equipped with the proper service systems necessary to collect competitive business market information, which is crucial for the identification of new business opportunities. "The lack in the ability of 60 percent of exporting companies to 'read the map' is badly damaging dozens of companies," said Yehiel Asia, director of the Israel Export Institute ahead of the Institute's annual conference on business intelligence this week. "The threat hanging over exporting companies as a result of the rapid changes in the world of marketing technology is necessitating companies to adopt a strategy and policy for the structured collection of business intelligence for "continued long-term growth


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Rcadia Cardiac COR Analyzer Receives FDA Clearance
Israel's Rcadia Medical Imaging, Ltd., developer of novel computer-aided diagnostic software, has received U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance to market its COR Analyzer I, which assists screening of triage patients for coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is a major underlying cause for acute chest pain in emergency room (ER) patients. Rcadia's COR Analyzer I and COR Analyzer II computer-aided diagnostic software packages use proprietary image processing algorithms to analyze CT Angiography, CTA, studies to provide extremely fast and accurate identification of coronary artery disease.

Regulatory notice: The COR Analyzer II is an investigational device and is not yet available for sales in the U.S.


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Barnev Inc. Announces FDA Approval of the Computerized Labor Monitoring System (CLM)
Israel's Barnev Inc. has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company's new computerized labor monitoring system, the CLM, for use in the active stage of labor. The device continuously measures cervical dilation and fetal head station. These measurements are displayed real time both numerically and graphically, enabling the medical team to act based on timely information. The CLM is an innovative labor progression monitoring system based on proprietary ultrasound technology. Signals from disposable, delicate sensors, positioned at the maternal cervix and fetal head, continuously track cervix dilatation and fetal head descent. The CLM automatically transfers and processes the data, and instantly delivers the results on a user friendly monitor. The CLM's continuous data provides the delivery team with the necessary information to determine labor progression, thus facilitating a safer delivery. The system also increases patient convenience by limiting the number of intrusive and unpleasant vaginal examinations throughout the labor process.


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FDA Clears BioView Duet(TM) System for Automated FISH Scanning of Breast Cancer Tissue Specimens
BioView Ltd, from Rehovot, Israel, has announced that the FDA cleared for marketing in the United States its automated scanning microscope and image analysis system, the DuetTM System, to detect and quantify chromosome 17 and the HER-2/neu gene via fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in interphase nuclei from formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded human breast cancer tissue specimens, probed by the Vysis PathVysion(TM) Her-2 DNA Probe Kit. The Duet(TM) is to be used as an adjunctive automated enumeration tool, in conjunction with manual visualization, to assist in determining HER-2/neu gene to chromosome 17 signal ratio.


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BioLineRx Successfully Completes Phase 1 Clinical Trials of BL-1020,
First in Class GABA-Enhanced Antipsychotic for the Treatment of Schizophrenia
Speaking today at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference 2007 in Jerusalem, Morris C. Laster, MD, CEO of BioLineRx Ltd. (TASE: BLRX), Israel’s leading drug development company, announced the successful completion of Phase 1 clinical trials of its most advanced drug, BL-1020, the first GABA enhanced antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia. The study results showed that BL-1020 was well tolerated and showed an improved safety profile reducing extrapyramidal symptoms that are experienced with currently available therapies.


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Oracle Opens New R&D Center in Israel - Collaborates with the Office of the Chief Scientist
Oracle, which has already invested in four Israeli companies, has opened its first R&D Center in Israel, to be based on the technology and personnel of start-up Demantra, which Oracle acquired in May 2006 for US$41 million. Oracle Israel Managing Director Moshe Horev said that the company would invest $2 million to $3 million in at least eight other Israeli companies this year. The investments are made through Oracle Israel's center for excellence, where the company collaborates with the Office of the Chief Scientist, matching the latter's investments in start-ups.

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Conference sets goal of luring Israeli tech firms to Northeast Ohio
Yossi Mazel hadn’t been considering Greater Cleveland as a second home for his Israeli company, but he is now.  The vice president of sales and marketing for medical software firm CogniFit is visiting Northeast Ohio this week as part of the Ohio-Israel Medical IT Mission, in which nearly 20 Israeli firms are learning about medical opportunities in Cleveland, Akron and the rest of the state. The four-day mission was organized by the Israeli government and SGI Global Business Advisors LLC, a Beachwood international economic development consulting firm. The idea is to connect Israeli life sciences companies looking to enter the American market with local health care providers and firms, said Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who gave the opening speech for the conference. “We want to send a message to Israeli companies that Ohio is open for business,” he said. “We want them to do much more than just trade with Ohio. We want them to invest in Ohio.” Lt. Gov. Fisher said he hopes the conference will encourage Israeli firms to either move their businesses to Northeast Ohio or to open a satellite office here. He said the conference is a good way to leverage Ohio’s assets in the health care field as well as pairing them with talent from Israel.

 

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GOVERNOR CORZINE EXTENDS NEW JERSEY-ISRAEL COMMISSION THROUGH 2012
Governor Jon S. Corzine has signed Executive Order 49 extending the New Jersey-Israel Commission through January 1, 2012. “I’m proud that New Jersey will continue this long-standing tradition of encouraging international commerce with Israel,” said Governor Corzine who will travel to Israel on an economic development mission at the end of January. “Israel represents an important partner in the further development of New Jersey’s technology, life sciences and stem cell research industries.”

 

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Israel-China Mutual Trade Experiences Rapid Growth - encompasses the fields of life sciences, hi-tech, venture capital, agriculture, chemicals and water
A reception marking the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel was held in Herzliya, an Israeli coastal city. "I think that China has made such an impressive progress in the economic domain," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres told Xinhua, adding that he also appreciated China's effort to try to combine such advancement with its traditional values. According to Israeli official statistics, the level of Israel- China mutual trade grew rapidly, from 54 million U.S. dollars in 1992 to 3.39 billion dollars in 2006. At the beginning of the relationship, trade was primarily focused on the fields of agriculture, chemicals and water. Today Israel-China commerce also encompasses the fields of life sciences, hi-tech and venture capital.


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Israeli Life Sciences Delegation Visits Indiana
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) hosted a delegation of leading Israeli life sciences companies last month in an effort to facilitate networking and explore partnership opportunities with Indiana universities, companies and state and local economic development officials. The trade mission focused on promoting Indiana’s life sciences-related assets and university research partnerships to a contingent of major Israeli companies in the biotech sector. “Reaching out beyond our borders and building relationships is a crucial step in bringing job creating investments to Indiana. Hosting a delegation from Israel helps us focus on increasing opportunities in the life sciences sector and is a part of our effort to grow this industry,” said Nathan J. Feltman, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and IEDC chief executive.

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Gilat Reports Fifth Consecutive Quarter of Improved Financial Results in Q4 2006
PETAH TIKVA, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: GILT), a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, today reported its results for the quarter ending December 31, 2006. Highlights for the Quarter: Revenues increased to $65.4 million, representing a 17% year-over-year growth; Net income increased to $4.5 million, from $1.0 million in 4Q 2005; Shareholders' equity increased by $45.3 million to $212.1 million


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Israeli Hospital Treats Wounded Palestinians
Ashkelon, Israel (CNSNews.com) - Despite the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel continues to treat Palestinians in its medical system, including an Israeli hospital in this southern coastal city that is helping those wounded in recent internecine fighting in the Gaza Strip. Barzilai Medical Center has treated sick and wounded Palestinians for more than a decade but over recent weeks many more "severely injured" Palestinians than usual have been hospitalized there, said Dr. Ron Lobel, the hospital's medical director. This week 11 Palestinians were in Barzilai's wards, among them Tawfik, a 23-year-old from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip who was shot in the leg by a Hamas gunman.


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Dried fruits sales bring in NIS 200 million ahead of Tu B'Shvat

Ahead of the tree planting holiday of Tu B'Shvat, the sales of dried fruits in Israel has skyrocketed to nearly 200 million shekels ($47 million) according to the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. During the Jewish holiday, marks the planting of new trees and will take place on Feb. 3, there is a 300 percent rise in dried fruit consumption compared to any average month, and nearly 34 percent of the annual sale of dried fruits takes place during the holiday.


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A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute… A Tribute…

Passing of a Modern Day Jewish Hero - MK Yuri Shtern<
Chairman - Knesset Christian Allies Caucus
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In May 2006. MK Yuri Shtern had just been diagnosed with cancer, but had not yet gone public with the news. While chairing the monthly meeting of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus - which he had founded in 2004 - Shtern suddenly passed a note across the table to the prominent American Evangelical leader who was being hosted at the event. "Pray for me... It is my secret," the scrap of paper revealing his illness read. "It melted my heart," said Kay Arthur, whose husband is the CEO of the Tennessee-based Precept Ministries International. "This unnoticed moment embodied Yuri's wisdom and foresight. He realized the nation of Israel has no greater or more loyal friend than Christians who understand God's irrevocable covenant with Israel and their land - and he had the courage to forge that alliance."

The widely-acclaimed Israeli parliamentarian, Soviet aliya activist and ardent Zionist - who spearheaded Israel's burgeoning relations with evangelical Christian supporters around the world - died Tuesday, after a debilitating, six-month battle with his disease. He was 58. Shtern was an unusual player on the bitterly divisive stage of Israeli politics: a hawkish lawmaker, respected by friends and foes alike. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert paid tribute to Shtern as a "man of culture and letters," with a deep awareness of Israel's heritage and of Jewish tradition [whose] uncompromising political views were alongside his extraordinary cultural and social sensitivity." Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, whose political views are 180 degrees to his left, called Shtern a "paragon" for Israeli parliamentarians, an epitome of the Zionist immigrant


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