Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    JNS.org – The seed for the city of Cleveland’s first professional championship in a major sport in 52 years may have been planted at the Shaw Jewish Community Center on White Pond Drive in Akron, Ohio, nearly 20 years ago. That’s when a tall, lanky kid from Akron named LeBron James walked onto the hardwood court and changed the game of basketball forever. Coach Keith Dambrot, now the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, conducted those sessions that attracted […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →