As 2020 comes to a close, we recognize that this has been a challenge for everyone around the globe. We look forward to 2021 and have reasons to believe that the upcoming year will be one of significant improvement and recovery, especially with promising vaccines for COVID-19. While 2020 had its share of bad news, Israel had significant positive events, especially with regard to its newly-established diplomatic relationships and its continued growth economically, particularly in its technologically-oriented industries.
Celebrating the Holiday Season
First off, we want to wish each of you “Hanukkah Sameach” and “Chag Sameach”! Or for the purely English speakers: “Happy Hanukkah!” The holiday will last for eight nights and days, ending on the evening of December 18th.
Hanukkah commemorates the long odds the Jewish people had to overcome in fighting for their freedom against the oppressive monarch from Damascus and celebrates their eventual victory.
Even in this COVID-19 world, the Jewish people can still celebrate Hanukkah in a safe manner. A couple of events on the virtual event calendar include the international Stand With Us Virtual Gala, which takes a stand against Anti-Semitism. For the youngsters in your family, the Kids on Stage Productions Hanukkah Show features “The Temple & the Secret Code,” which provides an opportunity for young detectives to solve a mystery presented by live actors via Zoom.
To those of you who mark the holiday season on December 25th, we wish you a “Merry Christmas!”
While many of you will open our presents on Christmas morning, celebrations around the world will continue, albeit much more muted this year considering the ongoing pandemic.
For instance, in Bethlehem, the annual lighting of the Christmas tree proceeded, but only a few dozen people attended. In a normal year, thousands of pilgrims and tourists would visit Bethlehem; the ancillary income from hotel stays and restaurant visits definitely helps the local economy.
For the little ones among us, anticipating your visit from Santa Claus always brings a sense of excitement and anticipation. You can follow Santa’s path from the North Pole throughout the entire globe via NORAD’s Santa Tracker.
The Abraham Accords – A Monumental Step towards Peace in the Middle East
Abraham is the name of the highest-ranking biblical bishop of the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
In honor of the bishop, the Abraham Accords are attributed to the two peace agreements made between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) and between The State of Israel and Bahrain. The two agreements were both signed on September 15, 2020.
Combined with two other countries who have already had long-established relations with Israel, Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994), the Abraham Accords doubled the number of states with normalized relationships, all in the space of just one month.
The two Accords themselves are anticipated to be merely the initial step towards what is expected to the expansion of full diplomatic relationships with other Middle East and Northern African nations.
In fact, only a month after the UAE and Bahrain each signed their own agreements, Sudan formally agreed to normalize relations with the State of Israel on October 23, 2020.
The Gulf State of Oman is also reportedly interested in establishing official relations with Israel and may do so in 2021.
The Israel-United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, signed between two countries which already had relatively robust relationships with each other, formalized the relationship. Among many new events, the Accord established telephone links between Israel and the UAE by unblocking Israel’s +972 country code, as well as the first direct commercial flight from Israel to the UAE on August 31, 2020.
The Israel–Bahrain normalization agreement, cemented the relationship with has been growing, albeit unofficially, since 2005, when Bahrain abandoned its boycott of Israel. One event in particular, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center near RVW Wealth’s headquarters in Los Angeles, occurred when the King of Bahrain denounced the Arab League boycott of Israel. Like the Accord between Israel and the UAE, the Bahrain agreement created embassies in each other’s countries, as well as the establishment of flights between Tel Aviv and Manama.
Featured TJP Companies:
In September and October, we explored in-depth the top ten companies by market value in TJP. This month we look at another four companies
Kornit Digital Ltd. (Ticker: KRNT, Listing: USA (NASDAQ), Market Cap: USD 3.95 Billion, TJP Targeted Allocation: 2.4%):
Kornit Digital Ltd. Is an Israeli-American international manufacturing company that producing diversified products from printers to ink and chemicals used in apparel and home goods to textile accessories for the decorating industry.
A team that worked in the digital printing field founded Kornit, including Ofer Ben Zur, who was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from its founding in 2002 until 2014. The current CEO is Ronen Samuel. The company has over 800 employees.
Kornit’s global headquarters are located in Rosh HaAyin, Israel, while its North American operations are located in Englewood, New Jersey, which is close to New York City.
In August 2020, Kornit acquired Custom Gateway, which is a provider of cloud-based software workflow solutions. The acquisition will enable Kornit to use Custom Gateway’s order management system in order to streamline the chain of operations from the front-end (e.g. online orders from customers) to the back-end (e.g. production and logistics).
Israel Discount Bank Ltd (Ticker: DSCT.TA, Listing: Israel (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange), Market Cap: USD 4.1 Billion, TJP Targeted Allocation: 2.0%):
IDB Bank first began in 1949 in New York City as a single-person office for the Tel-Aviv Discount Bank. Eventually, IDB was elevated to a full physical office when foreign banks were permitted legally to have such locations in 1962.
Within the United States, IDB has physical locations in New Jersey, Florida, and California. Internationally, IDB has locations in Chile, Uruguay, and Israel.
Elbit Systems Ltd. (Ticker: ESLT, Listing: USA (NASDAQ), Market Cap: USD 5.2 Billion, TJP Targeted Allocation: 1.8%):
Elbit Systems, Ltd is a Haifa, Israel-based international defense electronics company. Aerospace, intelligence surveillance, and unmanned aircraft systems are among its various product sectors.
The company is located in the Matam Technology Park and has over 14,000 employees. The CEO is Dov Kotler and its Chairman is Michael Federmann.
In November 2020, the United States Air Force (USAF) selected Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd, to compete for future orders within the USAF’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (ID/IQ) contract. JADC2 ID/IQ is an integrated computer system used to unify various parts of USAF (e.g. air, land, and sea).
In the same month, Elbit Systems launched E-LynX-Sat, which is a compact satellite communications add-on system, which is important for communications involving defense systems that cover long distances over hundreds of kilometers.
Tower Semiconductor Ltd (Ticker: TSEM, Listings: Israel (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange) & USA (NASDAQ), Market Cap: USD 2.9 Billion, TJP Targeted Allocation: 1.8%):
Tower Semiconductor is an Israeli-American company that manufactures integrated circuits for semiconductor companies such as Samsung, Panasonic, and Broadcom
Tower Semiconductor has four fabrication facilities: Fab 1 (Size 6”) and Fab 2 (8”) are located in the company’s headquarters of Migdal Haemek, Israel, while Fab 3 (8”) and Fab 9 (8”) are located in Newport Beach, CA and San Antonio, TX respectively.
The CEO of Tower Semiconductor is Russell Ellwanger, with Amir Elstein as its Chairman. The company has over 300,000 employees worldwide.
In August 2020, Tower Semiconductor announced a new radio frequency (RF) switch technology that targets the 5G and high-performance RF switch markets. This technology will be used in mobile and base-station applications.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading this month’s Jerusalem Portfolio newsletter.
As always, please take care of yourself, and feel free to contact us for more information.
Selwyn Gerber, CPA
Jonathan L. Gerber, CPA, MBT, PFS