Your Investments: We need to appreciate all we have in Israel

Israel is in a much better position than most countries around the world.

By AARON KATSMAN
August 1, 2019 22:01
3 minute read.
Your Investments: We need to appreciate all we have in Israel

An electronic board displaying market data is seen at the entrance of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in Tel Aviv, Israel January 29, 2017. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)

Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom. -John F. Kennedy

Many olim from Western countries bellyache over how backwards Israel is. While the very same people may trumpet Israeli ingenuity and hi-tech, they will go on-and-on about bad sidewalks, below-average customer service, and the fact that a handful of individuals control a huge chunk of the economy.

Well, let me tell you: Israel is in a much better position than most countries around the world. Just think back 20-25 years, anytime you took a trip to the old country, you came back with toilet paper! No longer any reason to do that.

Sometimes the daily grind of life can make you a tad bit cynical, but there is nothing like an eye-opening experience to bring you back to reality. I just returned from a family vacation to Georgia. No not the US state known for its warm hospitality, rather the country known for nature and pouri bread. While the nature was truly stunning, everything else was exemplary of the 3rd world.

Georgia sports an average monthly salary of $400 for men, much less for women, has managed to exit communism and is trying to build an economy based on tourism, but in many ways has yet to succeed. Lack of infrastructure, an inability to capitalize on abundant natural resources, and non-existent public restrooms unless counting a hole in the ground, make it hard to really be a draw for tourists.

Although Israelis flock to Georgia, there is little tourism coming from the West. One evening, we were speaking with other Israelis when one man said, “if we have what they have, we would have built an empire!”

I am not using this space to rag on Georgia. In fact, if any of the very nice people we met are reading this, I want you to know that we sincerely had a great time. It’s just that getting back home makes one really appreciate all the good that we have. We tend to complain out of desire for improvement, but at the same time, we all need to take a step back to be thankful for all the goodness that we have.

Huge news

A bid economic event just took place that didn’t receive much fanfare but is a huge feather in the cap of the robust Israeli economy. The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) went public, and the offering was hugely successful with the stock surging 30% in its first day of trading. Globes quotes TASE CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev, who promoted and carried out the successful offering, “The TASE is today joining the leading companies in Israel and many stock exchanges around the world operating as public companies, with transparency, responsibility, and sharing their performance with the general public. This, the first time that a global offering is taking place on the TASE, is a great success. We hope that we have paved the way for other Israeli companies to hold IPOs, including large international investment concerns and local investors.”

Anytime we get more transparency and a platform for other firms to raise capital that’s reason to celebrate. Israel really is a young, vibrant country with a strong economy. In fact the continued strength in the Shekel against the dollar just proves it. A strong currency is the sign of a strong and prosperous country.

Georgia, thank you so much for providing us with a fun trip and a great way for the family to bond. Thank you as well for reminding us that we really have it great here in Israel!
This article reflects opinions of the author, not the Portfolio Resources Group or its affiliates.

Aaron Katsman is author of ‘Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing,’ and is a licensed financial professional in the US and Israel. For more information, call (02) 624-0995, visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email aaron@lighthousecapital.co.il.


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