Tel Aviv is the 24th most expensive city in terms of the total cost per night for businesspeople, the 2013 Corporate Travel Index shows,
yet while hotel prices place the Israeli metropolis in the 17th place, in terms of food costs it ranks just 71st out of 100 cities around the world.
The figures, which do not include US cities, reflect the average cost of one hotel room per night, three meals and minor miscellaneous costs. According to the data, it appears that restaurant food is not so expensive in Israel – at least not for tourists.
The figures, compiled by travel management company BCD Travel and New York-based management firm Mercer and published by Business Travel News, consist of the average cost of a four-star hotel room, two taxi fares, a newspaper, a bottle of water and a magazine.
The food costs were calculated according to the January 2013 pricing for a hotel continental breakfast; lunches of a sandwich, salad and a non-alcoholic drink; and dinners of a fish, chicken or beef entrée, salad and a non-alcoholic beverage.
According to this calculation, which does not include US cities, the most expensive city in the world is Tokyo with an average cost of $548 per night – $328 in hotel costs and $220 for three meals.
Geneva ranked second with an average cost of $539 per night – $348 in hotel costs and $191 for three meals. Hong Kong and Oslo ranked third with an average cost of $522 per night, yet in Hong Kong hotel prices are more expensive ($320), while in Oslo food costs more ($220).
Tel Aviv ranked 24th, with the average total cost per night for businesspeople standing at $424 – $299 in hotel costs and $125 for three meals.
Tel Aviv is less expensive than Moscow ($501), London ($494), Paris ($494), Copenhagen ($458), Basel ($457), but more expensive than Amsterdam ($422), Brussels ($413), Frankfurt ($401), Rome ($399), Vienna ($353), Beijing ($350), Toronto ($349), Berlin ($341), Montreal ($335), Dusseldorf ($331), Prague ($308) and Budapest ($269).
The study also includes data about many cities in the United States, although the calculation of food costs there is slightly different, mainly due to the different menus.
According to the figures, the most expensive city in the US is New York with an average cost of $421 per night, followed by Washington DC ($421), San Francisco ($411), Boston ($386) and Chicago ($399).
Combining the two charts, Tel Aviv is in the overall 25th place.
The calculation of the cost of meals in the US include a breakfast of two eggs, meat, toast, orange juice and coffee; a lunch of soup, a hamburger or chicken sandwich, a slice of pie and a soft drink; and a dinner of soup, filet steak, a glass of red wine, dessert, and a cup of coffee. The listed costs do not include tax but do include a 15% gratuity.
Dozens of trucks carrying goods from Iraq, Jordan and Turkey have been travelling on Israel’s roads on a daily basis recently, following secret talks between Israeli and Turkish officials and senior officials from neighboring Arab countries.
Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that following the intensification of battles in Syria and the near collapse of the country’s regime, and after merchandise transported by convoys from Turkey to Iraq and Jordan, and vice versa, was robbed – the Jordan River Crossing (near Beit She’an) and the Haifa and Ashdod Ports have become an alternative for the transport of goods.
Every day, trucks arrive from Jordan and Iraq at the Jordan River Crossing, where the goods they are carrying are loaded onto Israeli trucks, which usually take them to the Haifa Port. From the port they are transported by sea to Turkey and other countries, where trucks from Iraq and Jordan used to travel via Syria.
A similar way is made by goods imported from Turkey and neighboring countries to Jordan and Iraq, which arrive at the port on ships. The vessels unload their cargo there, and the merchandise is taken by trucks to the Jordan River Crossing on its way to Jordan and Iraq.
According to estimates, the goods transported through Israel are worth tens of millions of dollars a month.
“Israel’s roads have turned into a transport pipe for exports and imports of goods and commodities from and to Jordan and Iraq,” confirmed a source at the Tax Authority, which is in charge of transporting the goods and inspecting them on the land border.
“These goods and products are not usually flown, but transferred in containers through trucks by land – and now by sea as well,” the source added.
Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that the transport operation is part of a first-its-kind cooperation between the customs authorities and transportation officials in Jordan Iraq and Turkey, and Tax Authority and other government officials in Israel.
The goods and deliveries undergo a strict security check in order to prevent the option of taking advantage of the Israeli gesture, which does not involve a very high profit for Israel, in order to carry out terror attacks or transfer weapons.
Citi Global Markets has opened a global financial data intelligence lab in Israel, as part of Citi’s Technology Innovation Center. The financial data intelligence lab will be one of the main focus areas of the Innovation Center in 2013 and is expected to grow considerably. The decision to open the lab in Israel was based on Israel’s potential talent and activities in data.
The lab currently manages several of the most advanced projects in capital markets, combining technological challenges in data science big data, and related fields. Specifically, the lab leads projects of complex processing in large real time data.
Citi hired Dr. Oren Glickman to head the lab’s research team. The research team will hire local talent with academic skills and expertise in related fields such as machine learning and data mining.
Citi Technology Innovation Center in Israel head Lyron Wahrmann said, “Today’s rapidly changing business environment and technological trends force financial institutions to be innovative. This new financial data intelligence lab will allow Citi to leverage existing capabilities, develop new business opportunities and lower business costs.”
Citi FX and Local Markets global head Anil Prasad said, “Big Data analysis is set to become an ever more critical element in our business. Our job is to analyze the world, capture as much flow as we can and use that both to advise our clients on what we think markets will do in the future and provide them with the liquidity to execute. Giving client’s advice on the market and what it’s going to do and providing them the ability to hedge or invest makes our clients happier and makes our business better. That, I believe, is what big data analysis has the capacity to do. For this reason, one of the hottest areas in terms of hiring in our business right now is data scientists.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 3, 2013
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), will build a hotel and residential complex in the Old City of Jaffa, after signing a contract with the landowner, RFR Holdings Ltd. This will be the company’s first W Hotel brand hotel in Israel. RFR bought the land, at 2 Louis Pasteur Street, from the Catholic Church in 2006.
The lot has an authorized building plan for residential and hotel use. The lot includes a four-floor building from 1879, which was originally used as the French Hospital, and is slated for preservation. Starwood will convert this building into a hotel and will also build a six-floor hotel and apartment building that will include the chain’s flagship restaurant. Altogether, the project will have 20,000 square meters of built-up space: 125 hotel rooms, 38 luxury apartments, and commercial space for the hotel’s use.
The apartment complex will have a separate entrance. Apartments will range in size from 92 square meters, which will cost NIS 6.4 million, to a 544-square meter penthouse, which will cost NIS 58 million. British architect John Pawson will design the W Tel Aviv hotel, together with Israeli architect Rami Gil, who designed the new Jaffa Port, located a short way from the project.
Construction of the project is due to begin in the spring of 2015. Eldar Marketing Ltd., which Starwood and RFR chose to handle sales, will begin marketing the project in two weeks.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 3, 2013
The multinational chip giant Intel is reportedly in negotiations to acquire Omek Interactive, a Beit Shemesh-based start-up that develops gesture-recognition and tracking technology.
Intel competitors Qualcomm and Samsung are also considering bidding on the Israeli company, according to a report published Friday by the website VentureBeat. The article quoted one source, however, as saying a bidding war for Omek is unlikely.
Intel did not respond to the news of its interest in the start-up, which develops software that creates an interface for identifying gestures through the use of three-dimensional cameras.
Omek CEO Janine Kutliroff told VentureBeat: “Omek is always having conversations of a strategic or financial nature. We never comment on rumors in the marketplace.”
VentureBeat reported that “For these companies [Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung], gesture control technology is attractive as it offers a way to simplify increasingly sophisticated devices, draw customers to cool sci-fi-like devices, and chew up a lot of computing power that can be produced by their future chips.”
Omek Interactive was founded in 2007 by Kutliroff and her husband, Gershom Kutliroff, who is Omek’s VP for technology. According to the company website, Janine Kutliroff was CEO of IDT Global Israel and has a degree in applied mathematics from Columbia University in New York.
The company has raised about $14 million to date. It raised $3.5 million during its first financing round, including funds from the Kutliroffs. A second round in 2011 generated $3.8 million from the U.S. investment fund Artists & Instigators, which according to its website invests in “creators who are crafting game-changing businesses.” A third financing round, also in 2011, raised $7 million and was led by Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital.
Jim Moore, a technology mergers and acquisitions executive, commented on the possible acquisition in VentureBeat: “In this case, using depth of field camera data for gesture input will allow people to control their computers without touching them.”
“It is [the] early days for this technology as the application builders will need to build this into their interface and functionality,” he said. “But the possibilities are enormous.” In addition to Omek, Israel has spawned an impressive number of gesture-recognition companies, including PrimeSense, which developed the chip that Microsoft’s first generation of Kinect systems was based on.
The moment everyone has been waiting for has arrived: After more than four years of drilling and pipe laying, the flow of natural gas from the Tamar gas field, located some 90 km (roughly 56 miles) west of Haifa, has begun.
The gas is travelling in pipes hundreds of kilometers south into the Yam Tatis gas field and from there will continue to an intake center in Ashdod, where it is expected to arrive in about 30 hours.
This marks a major turning point both for Israel’s economy and society and will provide the state with energy independence at least until 2035.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This is an important day for Israel’s economy. On the holiday of freedom we are making an important step towards independence in the field of energy.”
He further added, “In the past decade we have pushed the gas industry forward and this will benefit Israel’s economy as well as Israel’s citizens.”
Upon its arrival to Israel, the gas will support the generation of electricity at power stations – owned both by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) and private companies, as well as smaller factories – gradually allowing for prices to drop as Israel’s electricity shifts from expensive, polluting and import-dependant materials, such as diesel and fuel oil, to its own natural gas.
The transition will also increase Israel’s competitive edge in comparison to foreign industries and increase state revenue as royalties for the gas begin to roll in.