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      'Israel's Economy is Good and the World Should Know It'

      Tel Aviv Stock Exchange hosts international press for a special briefing on the situation of Israel's economy and an outlook towards 2011.
      By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski
      First Publish: 1/14/2011, 3:13 AM / Last Update: 1/14/2011, 5:05 AM

      The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) held on Thursday its annual press briefing for members of the international media. Taking part in the briefing were Saul Bronfeld, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Ester Levanon, CEO of TASE.

      During the briefing Levanon provided a brief review of TASE's groundbreaking achievements in 2010 and also presented a forward-looking analysis of the Exchange's goals for 2011.

      Levanon told Israel National News TV’s Yoni Kempinski that Israel has a great economy with the highest yields, but that it very much needs to pass that fact along to foreign investors.

      “We would like foreign investors to come and invest in the Israeli economy and we believe that most of them are not really aware of what a good place it is to invest,” said Levanon. She added that Israel’s joining the OECD last May opened up a whole new ball game for investors, and while “they cannot invest in more than 100 percent of our market, we believe there is a real place for growth.

      “It’s very important for us to make it known to [foreign investors] that we are a developed market, that it’s a very good market and a very good economy,” said Levanon. “We have a ten year record which is better than most of the world. That’s what we would like them to hear.”

      According to Levanon, despite the fact that Israel has security issues or fights wars sometimes, the stock market always continues to do well, since “the Israeli economy knows how to deal with it. We live here. We go about our daily work. We don’t think: ‘Okay, now we should stop everything.’”

      One example of Israel’s amazing track record, said Levanon, is that during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israeli economy continued to do a well and a month after the war the stock market was even higher than it was before. “During that year the economy went up four and a half percent,” she said. “I think it was one of the best, if not the best, in the western world at that time.”

      She said that in general the TASE follows the rest of the world, although Israel is in the position of being “in the middle of the world,” meaning that if it chooses to follow the markets in the Far East on a given day, it might miss what will happen later on in New York. “In some cases we find ourselves in the middle, having to decide whether the Pacific is important or what’s happening in New York is important. On a day to day basis it looks the same, but if you look at the bigger picture, we do better than all those markets.”