1. Tourism to Israel rose by 24.6% in 2017 and reached a record level of 3.6MN tourists, 800,000 from the USA. Tourism comprises around 2.5% of Israel’s GDP and is a substantial employer – a 35% growth in employment since 2010. (“Economist Intelligence Unit,” January 15, 2018).
2. Israel’s national debt-to-GDP ratio declines, systematically, from 70.6% in 2008, 69.6% in 2010, 67.1% in 2012 and 64.8% in 2014 to 60.6% in 2016 (Globes Business Daily, January 12, 2018). Israel’s exports are challenged by the appreciation of Israel’s Shekel, reflecting the robust performance of Israel’s economy (e.g., keeping inflation at 1%-3%; 4.1% unemployment, rising GDP and GDP per capita, etc.). In 2017, Israel’s exports surged, for the first time, beyond $100BN ($43BN hightech) – a 5% increase over 2016.
3. Israel-India commercial, defense, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation is second only to Israel-US. Israel is involved in 80% of the irrigation-solution market in India – which is expected to reach a value of $4BN in four years – as represented by the India-Israel multi-national corporation Na’anDanJain, which is active in 100 countries, considering Africa a top target. Israel and India collaborate in the area of agricultural development with India providing the production resources, while Israel generates the knowhow. According to Index Mundi, the economic profile of India includes an impressive annual economic growth of 7% during 1997-2016, a 5% unemployment, a 5.2% inflation and an $8.7 trillion GDP.
4. 2017 was the best year, since 2000, for Israeli companies on NASDAQ (Globes, January 3).
5. Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing participated, along with Samsung, in a $70MN investment in Israel’s Cortica (artificial intelligence). Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, who the first outside investor in Facebook, co-led (along with OrbiMed) a $10MN round of investment in an Israeli bio-pharmaceutical startup, ChemonmAb. Japan’s Toyota participated in a $5MN round of private placement by Israel’s Guardian Optical Technological, which developed an optical sensor for car interiors. (Globes, December 5, 2017). Israel’s Qumra Capital raised $150MN for its second late-stage venture capital fund. Most investors are Family Offices, which invested in Qumra’s first venture capital fund, and financial institutions from the US, Europe and Israel (Globes, January 9). The British Arix Bioscience and Adam Street Partners, along with Japan’s Ahai, invested $30MN in Israel’s Atox Bio, which develops novel immune-modulators for critically ill patients (Globe, Dec. 5, 2017).