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Economic News from Israel

  • Jerusalem-Brainsway has obtained FDA clearance for use of its deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) device for the treatment of depression in patients who fail to respond to therapeutics during a depression episode. MUSC in Charleston was one of the primary clinical trial sites that led to this approval.
  • Kadima-based IDE Technologies has signed a $150 million contract to plan and supply equipment for the largest desalination plant in the country that will be built near the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad, California. The company is equally owned by Delek Group and Israel Chemicals Ltd.
  • Kfar Saba-based PlaySight Interactive has closed a $1.5 million Series A financing round that will allow the company to begin roll out of its Smart Court sports analytics platform in tennis clubs across the US and UK. The product is based on concepts used to train fighter pilots in the Israel Air Force and advanced 3D visualization technology.
  • Tel Aviv-based Farmigo has raised $8 million in its second financing round led by Sherbrooke Capital and RSF Social Financial, and joined by previous investor Benchmark Capital. The company launched the first online farmer’s market to connect workplaces, schools, community centers, and other places directly to local farms to provide a personalized online market place for local, freshly harvested food. The first food markets are rolling out in San Francisco and New York, with a number of US cities, including Atlanta, targeted for expansion through this new financial round.
  • November’s Operation Pillar of Defense campaign in Gaza had little impact on the economy, according to the Bank of Israel. However, some Monetary Committee members estimate that real economic activity declined in November, although there was substantial improvement in the housing supply and drop in housing prices.
  • The Prime Minister’s Office has raised its 2013 economic growth forecast to 3.5% from 3% in November, citing the influence of the start of natural gas production. The Bank of Israel projects 3% growth next year, and the Finance Ministry expects the gas production to contribute 0.8% of the gross domestic product next year and 1% in 2014..
  • Israel’s economy grew an estimated 3.3% in 2012, its slowest pace in 3 years, due to scant export growth, but still outperformed many other developed countries. This was attributed to recessions in Europe, Israel’s largest trading partner, weak growth in the US, and slower growth in Asia.
  • As of the end of 2012, Israel’s population totalled 7.981 million, having grown 1.8% over the previous year according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Some 75.4% of the population is Jewish, 20.6% Arabs, and 4% others. The Bureau also released a report showing that 2% of Israeli citizens are Christian, 80% of which are Israeli Arabs.
  • Hotel overnights in Israel totalled 20.6 million in January-November 2012, 2% more than in the corresponding period of 2011. Room occupancy rate was unchanged from last year at 67%, and Dead Sea hotels had the highest occupancy rate at 83% followed by 72% in Jerusalem and 70% in Haifa.

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