Israel Bonds News
Israel Bonds News
S&P revises Israel debt outlook to positive, keeps A+ rating Rating firm hails the country's improved economic growth and efforts to rein in spending BY AFP
The Azrieli Towers, Tel Aviv, a center of commerce in Israel. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash9
WASHINGTON - Israel's improved economic growth and efforts to rein in spending prompted Standard & Poor's to raise the outlook on the country's debt profile, the credit rating firm announced Friday.
While S&P held Israel's debt rating stable at A+, it improved the outlook to "positive" from "stable," which means it could raise the grade a notch in the next two years, the company said in a statement.
The agency praised the government for "measures that restrain future expenditure growth" which in turn "could enable the government to resist ongoing spending pressures," even amid recent tax cuts.
"The rating action reflects our opinion that Israel's improved fiscal framework and strong economic growth could enable further progress on fiscal consolidation over the next few years," the agency said.
That progress would be even more likely if Israel sees stronger economic growth, S&P said, noting the country's "remarkable" economic performance since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The economy grew four percent last year and is expected to expand by 3.1 percent this year.
"We could raise our ratings in the next 24 months if the government makes further progress in lowering the public debt burden as a percentage of GDP" from the current 62.1 percent, the agency said.
Warren Buffett: Israel Bonds Are “A Deserved Endorsement of a Remarkable Country”
In an article highlightiing Warren Buffett's participation in his second Israel Bonds event in less than a year, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article headlined, "Buffett Sings the Praises of Israel Bonds."
The article said Buffett "likes to invest in Israel because it is a success story similar to the U.S." In speaking of investing in Israel bonds, the Journal quoted Buffett as saying, "From the standpoint of accomplishments beyond financial returns . . . I think it's an excellent choice." To access the Wall Street Journal article, click here.
Sharing a moment are, from left: Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon;
developer Larry Silverstein; Warren Buffett; and Bonds Vice President
for Sales Stuart Garawitz
The famed ‘Oracle of Omaha’ came to New York June 15 and addressed Israel bond investors from the United States, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, each of whom agreed to make a new minimum Israel bond investment of between $1 million and $5 million to participate. Buffett spoke at an intimate luncheon at the World Trade Center and a dinner at a private club in Manhattan. Developer Larry SIlverstein welcomed luncheon guests, and David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, greeted attendees at the evening event.
Enjoying lunch with the 'Oracle of Omaha' at the World Trade Center
Accolades for Buffett came from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The prime minister who, in addition to recording a tribute video, wrote, “As one of the world’s most successful leaders in business, your words and actions are closely followed and emulated. Your personal investment in Israel bonds is a powerful endorsement.”
Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon presents Warren Buffett with a framed letter of appreciation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Finance Minister Kahlon praised Buffett’s “unwavering confidence in Israel – its creative spirit, forward-looking attitude and, of course, its strong, resilient economy. We take pride in calling you a friend.” The Finance Ministry was represented by Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu.
Finance Ministry Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu with Warren Buffett at the World Trade Center luncheon
Israel Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon told Buffett, “Your personal investment in Israel bonds underscores your belief in the Jewish state and the resilience of its economy.”
Buffett’s presence in New York was a follow-up to a dinner held in Omaha last November. Events in the two locales resulted in a combined total of over $210 million in Israel bond investments and indications to invest.
Additionally, participants were given a private tour of the World Trade Center complex, hosted by Larry Silverstein, founder and chairman of Silverstein Properties and developer of One World Trade Center. Tour participants included Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon.
UN Ambassador Danny Danon speaks during a visit to the World Trade Center, hosted by Larry Silverstein
Buffett’s New York appearance on behalf of Israel Bonds generated global media coverage and trended extensively on Twitter and other social media.
Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon and Warren Buffett engage in
a friendly tussle over the famed investor's wallet
Photos: Shahar Azran/Mark Von Holden
The Israel Bonds Maimonides Delegation
(The 5th Maimonides Medical Delegation to Israel took place March 5-9. Following are the impressions and insights of delegation co-chair and national board member Dr. Andrew Hutter)
From March 5-9, 24 physicians, many accompanied by spouses, spent an exciting four and a half days touring Israel from north to south as members of the 5th Israel Bonds Maimonides Delegation. I was proud to co-chair the delegation with Dr. Burton Herbstman.
We began at the Elma Art and Music Resort near Zichron Yaakov, where we were welcomed by Bonds President and CEO Israel Maimon. The next day, we explored the north, beginning at Kfar Tikva, a kibbutz for mentally challenged adults, meeting with many residents and the management team.The entire community embraces the residents, many of whom work at local businesses.
Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman speaks to the delegation at Hala: the Rachel Nash
Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic
We then proceeded to the Tulip Winery, after which we traveled to the Poriya Medical Center, viewing its state-of-the-art emergency room and underground hospital for use in case of missile attacks..The doctors then broke into groups to meet with their peers, based on specialty.
Visiting Poryia, a state-of-the-art emergency room and underground hospital
The chairman of orthopedics was an Israeli Arab, who introduced the orthopedic surgeons in our group to a patient from Syria suffering shrapnel injuries to one leg and a below-the-knee amputation on the other. He was awaiting fitting for his prosthesis and seemed very appreciative of the care he received. We completed our tour of the north by meeting with IDF Colonel (Res.) Kobi Maron of the Golani Brigade in the Golan Heights.
Observing training for IDF combat medics
Tuesday was spent in Tel Aviv, viewing the medical simulator at Tel Hashomer Sheba Medical Center and attending the MEDinISRAELl convention to see new medical hi-tech innovations.
The delegation's clear highlight came at Halutza, a true pioneer community just 450 yards from the Egyptian border and only a few miles from Gaza. We saw the brand-new medical center that will provide basic medical services for the community, thus avoiding traveling over an hour to Beersheba for treatment. We also saw the community’s hi-tech farming, which is not only turning the desert green, but also creating a successful agricultural hub growing many different fruits and vegetables. Additionally, there was a yeshiva in Halutza for children with ADHD who work the fields in the morning and attend classes in the afternoon.
Delegates gather for a group photo at the southern border community of Halutza
The trip ended in Jerusalem, where we packed Shaloch Manot baskets at Ohr Meir and Bracha, an organization supporting over 400 families who were victims of terror. We then proceeded to Hala: the Rachel Nash Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic, to view state-of-the-art breast cancer detection and screening, where women can get testing, and, if necessary, a biopsy done in a single day. While at Hala, we had the honor of meeting with Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litman.
Preparing to wrap gift baskets at Ohr Meir and Bracha, an organization supporting
victims of terror attacks
Following the closing dinner, the group dispersed, some to return home and others to enjoy a few extra days in Israel. Great bonding experiences were had among the participants, all of whom pledged to share the story of this great country.
International Prime Minister's Club Weekend 2017
Israel Bonds officially launched its 2017 sales effort at the gala International Prime Minister’s Club Weekend, held February 9-12 in Miami Beach, Florida. The weekend had numerous highlights, including:
- 'Latin Night' under the stars featuring the Miami Symphony Orchestra
- An exciting New Leadership ‘Blue and White Party’ at Villa Casa Casuarina, the former Versace Mansion
- A fond farewell to outgoing Finance Ministry Accountant General Michal Abadi and former President & CEO Izzy Tapoohi
The weekend culminated with a gala dinner paying tribute to 13 honorees from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which was emceed by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and attended by over 600 people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered video greetings, observing, “Israel bonds are both a financial instrument and a fraternal instrument, a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood with the Jewish state, for Jews and non-Jews alike.” He added that investors in Israel bonds are “(Israel’s) ambassadors.”
Israel Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon shared a statement from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon which read, “Since its founding, Israel Bonds has been a cornerstone of Israel’s economy. Crossing the $40 billion mark (in worldwide sales) exemplifies the organization’s dedication to Israel, and the way in which its message of economic support has resonated on a global scale.”
Emcee Jason Alexander shares his experiences growing up Jewish and his feelings for Israel (Photo: Shahar Azran)
Israeli dignitaries participating in the International Prime Minister’s Club Weekend included UN Ambassador Danny Danon; Consul General of Israel in New York Ambassador Dani Dayan; Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg; and Consul General of Israel in Florida Lior Haiat. The Finance Ministry was represented by Director General Shai Babad; Deputy Accountant General Yali Rothenberg; and former accountant general Michal Abadi.
Symphony under the stars at 'Latin Night' (Photo: Shahar Azran)
Honorees recognized at the dinner were:
- Sharon Azrieli, Montreal
- Jeffrey Beck and Jarrod Beck, Dallas
- Bonnie and Chuck Berk, Atlanta
- Israel Feldman, Mexico City
- Monique and Alex Halberstein, Miami
- Sharon and David Halpern, Livingston, NJ
- Sarah and Elie Hirschfeld, New York
- Suellen and Larry Kadis, Cleveland
- Melanie and Rene Moreno, Washington, DC and Curaçao
- Barry Shrage, Boston
- Dr. Tobi Richman Steinhardt and Rabbi David Steinhardt, Boca Raton
- Diana Sager and Dr. Steven Warren, Tampa Bay
- Enid and Kalman Wenig, Chicago
Two additional honorees, Alan Kantrowitz and Richard Ziman, both of Los Angeles, were unable to attend.
The scene at the New Leadership 'Blue and White Party, held at Villa Casa
Casuarina, the former Versace Mansion (Photo: David Heischrek/DHPA.com)
Sales announced that evening – encompassing individuals who had invested in Israel bonds, invested that night or indicated an intention to invest- totaled $260 million.
From left: Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon; former President & CEO
Izzy Tapoohi; outgoing Finance Ministry Account General Michal Abadi;
Chairman of the Board Richard Hirsch; Vice President for Sales Stuart
Garawitz (Photo: Shahar Azran)
Finance Minister Offers Praise as Global Israel Bond Sales Exceed $40 Billion
When David Ben-Gurion (pictured below) stood before a packed house at New York's Madison Square Garden to launch the inaugural issue of Israel bonds, even the visionary prime minister could not have foreseen the extraordinary success of the new venture.
In January, Israel Bonds surpassed $40 billion in worldwide sales since the first bonds were issued in 1951. The momentous accomplishment was the second milestone for the Bonds organization in less than three weeks - on December 31, U.S. sales for 2016 ended with an all-time high of more $1.127 billion.
Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon praised the achievements, saying, “Since its founding, Israel Bonds has been a cornerstone of Israel’s economy. Crossing the $40 billion mark exemplifies the organization’s dedication to Israel, and the way in which its message of economic support has resonated on a global scale. On behalf of the government of Israel, I wish to thank Israel Bonds and its worldwide client base for helping to build every sector of our economy.”
Rony Hizkiyahu, the Finance Ministry’s new accountant general, said, “Israel Bonds is an important element of Israel's debt management policy, and has been mentioned as a credit strength by our rating agencies*. The organization's long-lasting contribution is yet another example of the decades-long economic partnership between the Diaspora community and Israel.”
Israel Bonds President & CEO Israel Maimon added, “The historic sales clearly show that throughout successive generations, the idea of demonstrating confidence in Israel through investing in Israel bonds has touched a response chord with individuals from all walks of life.”
(*Israel bonds are not rated)
A poster announces David Ben-Gurion's appearance at New York's Madison Square Garden for the launching of Israel Bonds. Even the visionary prime minister could not have foreseen the extraordinary success of the new venture.