29 December 2015

Bonding with Israel

Middle East Eye

While in Mexico earlier this month, I was searching for a word in an online dictionary when I was accosted by a two-pronged advertisement in Spanish—at the top and side of the screen—declaring Israel “the best gift” for Hanukkah.

The ad directed me to the website of the Development Corporation for Israel, commonly known as Israel Bonds, the New York-based broker-dealer and underwriter for securities issued by the state of Israel in the United States.

Israel Bonds was founded in 1951 by David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, and has done a particularly brisk business as of late, with 2015 sales reportedly exceeding $1 billion for the third consecutive year. Worldwide, nearly $40 billion worth of bonds have been sold since their emergence on the scene nearly 65 years ago.

In 2011, bonds were made available for purchase online, generating more than $100 million in four years. Bond names range endearingly from Maccabee to Sabra to Mazel Tov to eMitzvah.

Such is the outfit’s prestige, it seems, that Israel Bonds President and CEO Israel “Izzy” Tapoohi got to ring the closing bell for the Nasdaq Stock Market in Times Square this past 17 December.

As usual, the press release on the Nasdaq website made the closing bell sound like the sensational equivalent of the first moon landing—with “exciting viral content and ceremony photos” promised on the Nasdaq Tumblr page and a webcast offered at two different online locations.

Some may wonder why the state of Israel requires yet more billions on top of the billions of dollars it already receives from the U.S. on an annual basis. READ MORE AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.