Despite the ongoing scandal in the tax ministry, foreign investors' ardor in Israeli companies has not been dampened, according to figures released Sunday by the Manufacturers Association of Israel. The number of acquisitions of Israeli companies made by foreign investors in 2006 was around five times higher than the figure for 2005, with $18.5 billion being spent on purchases. At the same time, there was an increase of nearly 30% in the number of acquisitions of overseas companies made by Israeli investors. The Manufacturers Association expects the trend to continue during 2007. Foreign investment in hi-tech companies rocketed by 74% between 2005 and 2006, increasing by $690 million to $1.624b. However, there was a year-on-year decrease of 76% in foreign acquisitions in the Israeli chemicals sector, falling from $6.3b. in 2005 to just $1.5b. last year.