Insiders Stress Importance of Israeli Infrastructure Development

December 9, 2012 9:55 am 0 comments

The Jerusalem Light Rail, one of Israel's recent infrastructure improvements. Photo: Matanya/Wikimedia Commons.

NEW YORK—“I guarantee it! Your investment will not return 500 percent,” Yehuda Raveh, managing partner of the Israel Infrastructure Fund (IIF), told a recent meeting of investors in New York.

What Raveh did promise was an innovative approach to the financing and development of urgently needed transportation, water, communications, and energy infrastructure projects in Israel, coupled with reliable returns of up to 17 percent for investors in the country’s future.

“An ideal situation for institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals who believe in Israel,” Raveh told JNS.org on Nov. 27.

Israel is a nation quite literally on the move. In just more than six decades, the Israeli population has increased almost 15-fold, going from 600,000 in 1948 to more than 8 million in 2012. Multiple waves of immigration have been characterized by diversity—Russian, Ethiopian, Yemeni, North American and many others.

The brightness and security of the nation’s future is “enhanced by investment in its infrastructure,” Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni said at the investors’ meeting, especially considering that Israel finds itself in a Middle East “where the entire regional order has become a regional disorder.” The strong performance of the Israeli economy, its rising stock market, and a government policy that recognizes the importance of investment and attention to infrastructure are essential elements of future planning, Aharoni said.

Sigalit Siag, chief fiscal officer of the Israeli Economic Ministry, said facilitating infrastructure growth “encourages significant investment from foreign entities.” She anticipates that about 75 billion shekels will be allotted to transportation during the next five years.

The IIF is helping to meet Israel’s mobility challenge by developing a cooperative model of government and private-sector funding integration that gets things done. Its Highway 431 project was completed significantly prior to its due date, according to Raveh.

“That has never happened in the public sector,” Raveh told JNS.org. Had the project not been finished on time, the IFF would have been fined 1 million shekels per day for the delay, Raveh said.

In Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat—a former venture capitalist—is leading the charge to augment the ancient city’s rich historic character with a modern and global feel through partnerships, investment, and infrastructure development.

At a Nov. 15 talk with aspiring leaders at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass., Barkat described the need for a new model of governing—one that emphasizes working with diverse communities and private-public partnerships. He described the development of local councils under his leadership to give a voice to the diverse array of Jerusalem communities—secular, Arab, Haredi, and Christian. Furthermore, drawing on his business background, he advocated for the creation of a young management team that led the way in forming private-public partnerships that leverage Jerusalem’s unique history, diversity, and strengths in education and life sciences to create new opportunities for investment and growth.

Barkat specifically touted the NIS 8.5 billion plan to build 12 skyscrapers at Jerusalem’s entrance as part of a massive modern business district as the result of his model. The project is expected to bring 40,000 new jobs to the city and allow Jerusalem to compete in the global marketplace.

During a Nov. 11 meeting in New York focused on expansion of development in the Negev, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert noted that infrastructure improvements, especially high-speed railways, unify the country and increase the efficiency of travel from the north to the south. He praised rail development overall, but noted that several rail projects have not met their scheduled start dates. Asked by JNS.org how private investment in the construction and operation of transportation infrastructure could impact cost and efficiency—and help meet or beat completion deadlines—Olmert declined to answer, citing a need for additional information.

Founded in 2007 to foster development of transportation, water purification, energy, communication, and other significant infrastructure projects, the IIF has partnered in such projects as CityPass, the 23-station Jerusalem light rail system that began operations in August 2011. The IIF participates in the management of Highway 6, known as the Cross Israel Highway, Highway 431, energy pipelines, energy production, and communications projects.

Five years after its founding, the IFF manages more than $1 billion of infrastructure investment—largely in Israel.  The fund can virtually guarantee significant returns to institutional and individual investors based on government guarantees.

“No war, no situation will negatively affect energy, transportation or water purification,” Raveh said. “These are not negatively affected; consumption actually goes up in times of crisis… These stable, continuing investments are little affected by crises, hostilities, or economic changes.”

Responding to a question concerning the safety of investing in Israel, Raveh said, “Don’t believe every word you read in the newspapers. Tel Aviv was never attacked, nor was Jerusalem. Investing in Israel has steadiness and assurance.”

—With reporting by Sean Savage

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Israel Sports Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli Judo Team Faces Antisemitic Harassment in Morocco: ‘We Will Murder You’

    Israeli athletes at a world Judo championship in Morocco reportedly faced antisemitic slurs during the competition, news site WorldNetDaily reported on Monday. “We will murder you,” and “you’re not wanted here, go home,” were among the vituperative attacks directed at the Israeli Judo Association team, which was in Morocco last week for the World Masters Judo Tournament. According to Haaretz, each Israeli teammate was met with boos and jeers upon entering a fight. Additionally, no Israeli flags were present at [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.