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May 25, 2006 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-05-25

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Dry Bones





Editorials are posted and archived on JNonline.us.



Bonding With Israel


nly a handful of folks
in the world can make
an investment in Israel
like Omaha billionaire Warren
Buffett's $4 billion purchase of 80
percent of the Galilee-based Iscar
Metalworking. But for the rest of
us, investing in Israel is as simple
as purchasing Israel Bonds.
While this past Israel
Independence Day marked
Israel's 58th year, it also marked
the 55th year of the State of
Israel Bonds. During that time,
more than $25 billion of bonds
have been purchased; not only
has there never been a problem
redeeming them, the return has
always been more than financial.
Early on, Israeli Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion knew that
Israel's War of Independence
wouldn't end the war to destroy
Israel, and that the young nation
was far from being militarily
or economically secure. It was
critical to have a source of capital
beyond what the Israeli economy
could produce, and what world
Jewry could contribute. It was a
time of scarcity, of rationing.

Israel's population doubled in
its first year; tens of thousands of
refugees came each subsequent
year, requiring housing, educa-
tion, jobs and food. Ben-Gurion
called a meeting of 50 American
and Israeli leaders in Jerusalem
to come up with a solution and
Israel Bonds was born. Eight
months later, Ben-Gurion came
to the United States for Israel
Independence Day to launch the
program, selling almost $53 mil-
lion in bonds that first year.
Israel Bonds are interest-bear-
ing securities issued by the State
of Israel and sold in the United
States by the Development
Corporation for Israel (DCI).
Proceeds from the sale of Israel.
Bonds and other securities are
designated by Israel's Finance
Ministry for general use. An
historic agreement between the
Bonds organization and Israel's
Finance Ministry makes Israel
Bonds responsible for securing 50
percent of Israel's overseas bor-
rowing needs — approximately
$1.5 billion annually — begin-
ning in 2008.

THE 1400$11


Analysts call Israel Bonds
a safe investment. Many U.S.
state governments, including
Michigan, buy millions of dollars
of Israel Bonds, too. And support-
ers of Israel call the investment a
necessary one.
While Israel's economy is
strong — its Central Bureau
of Statistics just reported that
Israel's Gross Domestic Product
for the first quarter of 2006 grew
by an annualized rate of 6.6
percent, exceeding even the most
optimistic projections — its
needs are great. The demands of
defense, immigrant absorption,
peacemaking, social services and
job creation require more capital
than even a strong economy can
With Israel's population top-
ping 7 million people, the imme-
diate demands are for infrastruc-
ture. Israel Bonds will help fund
the Trans-Israel Highway, plus an
improved rail system to connect
Israel's major cities as well as the
development of a subway system
for Tel Aviv and a light rail system
for Jerusalem. Bonds also will

assist plans for development of
Israel's lightly populated Negev
In order to meet these needs,
Israel Bonds has created new
securities that mature in as few
as two years and has expanded
and diversified its other offerings.
The hope is that the new pro-
grams and the competitive rates
will meet the needs of a greater
number of investors.
Don't rely on us for financial

advice; Warren Buffett is a better
source. But take our word that
Israel Bonds plays an important
role in the continued strength
and vitality of the State of Israel.
So Happy.55th birthday to Israel
Bonds! May they, and Israel, go
from strength to strength. i t

tutions, which are the basis of
any concept of the future. Europe
no longer has the will to defend
What this means,
of course, is that the
fastest growing pop-
ulation segment in
Europe is its Muslim
Needless to add,
this is not good
news for European
Jews or those who
look to Europe for
support of Israel.
The political impli-
cations turn up repeatedly: in
the French Muslim rioting, the
Dutch official who threatens to
deport a Muslim woman who
speaks out against her religion's
intolerance toward women, the
Belgian prosecutor who indicts
Israeli officials for "crimes"

against the Palestinians, the
timid Spanish response to the
Madrid bombings.
Recently, a British'
association of univer-
sity professors again
passed a resolution
to deny invitations to
visiting Israeli schol-
ars. How come? Oh,
just scads and scads
of reasons, but among
them was the building
of its "separation wall."
By that I suppose
they mean the fence
that restricts the abil-
ity of terrorists to enter Israel
and murder people. That is
simply an intolerable restriction
on personal freedom to these
professors, who prove yet again
that one can be highly educated
and remain an idiot.
Of course, this statement

comes from a nation that
bungled its policies in Ireland
so badly, deliberately promoting
religious separatism, that it had
to wall that island off into two
separate entities. Forgive me for
pointing that out. It was most
insensitive of me.
If you had asked me several
years ago, after my stint as a
travel writer, where I wanted to
spend an ideal vacation, I prob-
ably would have answered in the
Dordogne of France, or Tuscany,
or, maybe, Flanders. I wouldn't
answer that way anymore.
That Europe is dying. I don't
think I care to see the one taking
shape for the future. It sounds no
more appealing than a certain
South American Indian tribe. II


Contact the Israel Bonds office in

Southfield at (248) 352-6555 or
(888) 352-6556, or online at
www.israelbonds.com .

Reality Check

Future Shock


embers of an iso-
lated South American
Indian tribe wandered
out of the Amazon rain forest
recently to seek refuge near a
town in Colombia.
Almost every aspect of con-
temporary life was alien to them.
When asked what their future
might be like in this new setting,
.they had no answer. There was
no concept of the future in their
culture. They lived in an eternal
At almost the same moment,
Russian President Vladimir
Putin was expressing grave
concern about the future of his
country. He announced that his
government would start making
incentive payments to families
having more than two children.
The Russian birth rate is in
steep decline, falling below the
level needed to replace its cur-

rent population.
The same is true throughout
Europe. Every country belong-
ing to the European Union is
experiencing this sort of drop. A
demographer told me in Bonn
several years ago, "Beneath the
sheets, the Germans are a dying
The drop off is significant
because it takes a large work-
ing-age population to sustain the
extensive welfare apparatus of
these countries. Right now, there
are more people older than 65
than there are younger than 18
in many of these countries. That
means trouble.
But it is also symptomatic of
the failure to create a vision for
the future. Europeans have voted
on that future in their beds and
decided to abstain.
They have lost confidence in
their religious and cultural insti-

George Cantor's e-mail address is

gcantor614@aol.com .

May 25 • 2006


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