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The Bank of Israel delivered an interest-rate hike that exceeded most forecasts to signal the start of a rare monetary tightening cycle in the face of inflation it now expects to peak later and at a higher level, according to the deputy governor, Bloomberg News reported. Andrew Abir, a voting member of the monetary committee and the central bank’s No. 2 official, said Israel’s inflation -- currently above the government’s 1%-3% target range -- will likely only begin to decline in the second half of the year.
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Sharp declines in financial asset prices, higher inflation and a new significant wave COVID-19 infections pose the greatest risks to the global economy, the Bank of Israel said on Monday in its twice yearly financial stability report, Reuters reported. And although Israeli banks and insurance companies maintained stability in the second half of 2021 with strong capital ratios, that could be derailed should financial asset prices fall further, the report said. Israeli stock prices have dipped 1.1% so far this year, on the heels of global declines, after a 31% rise in 2021.
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Israel's government said on Thursday it would give additional aid to El Al Airlines to help compensate for the reimposition of a COVID-19 entry ban on foreign tourists and restrictions on overseas travel by Israelis, Reuters reported. Israel's flag carrier will receive tens of millions of dollars from the state and El Al's controlling shareholders to help it weather the pandemic, and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, according to a Finance Ministry statement.
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Israeli airlines are facing new waves of mass layoffs and potential collapse as the global aviation market continues to be pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jerusalem Post reported. With long lists of travel restrictions and dashed dreams for summer tourism due to the emergence of the delta variant, millions around the world are in immediate danger of losing their jobs.
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There was a 38% increase in the number of Israelis filing for bankruptcy and opening debt cases with legal aid in 2020 during the coronavirus crisis, a market study has found, the Jerusalem Post reported. Oded Chen law firm, one of the country’s leading law firms in the field of insolvency, bankruptcy and debt cancellation, found that approximately 24,000 debt cases were opened with legal aid in 2020, of which about 9,000 were bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings of individuals.
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The chief executive of Unilever on Thursday said the global consumer goods giant remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel, distancing himself from this week’s announcement by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand that it would stop serving Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, the Associated Press reported. But CEO Alan Jope gave no indication that Unilever would force Ben & Jerry’s to roll back its controversial decision.

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Israel’s aviation industry is in danger of collapse, airline company heads told the country’s coronavirus airport commissioner, the Jerusalem Post reported. A solution to allow air travel, despite fears of new coronavirus variants and rising case numbers, must be found quickly, the airline heads told Maj.-Gen. (res.) Roni Numa ahead of the coronavirus cabinet’s meeting. Numa met with the heads of El Al, Israir, and Arkia and international carriers in order to hear their feedback and ask for solutions ahead of the meeting.

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After Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont-based ice-cream company and wholly owned subsidiary of global consumer-products giant Unilever that prides itself on its progressive politics, announced Monday that it is cancelling its license with its Israeli affiliate, a move that amounts to a boycott of Israel, a wave of legal and regulatory issues for its Dutch-American parent was triggered, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Israel’s prime minister vowed Tuesday to “act aggressively” against the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, as the country’s ambassador to the U.S. urged dozens of state governors to punish the company under anti-boycott laws, the Associated Press reported. The strong reaction reflected concerns in Israel that the ice cream maker’s decision could lead other companies to follow suit. It also appeared to set the stage for a protracted public relations and legal battle.

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Ben & Jerry’s said Monday it was going to stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem, saying the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are “inconsistent with our values,” The Washington Post reported. The announcement was one of the strongest and highest-profile rebukes by a well-known company of Israel’s policy of settling its citizens on war-won lands. The settlements are widely seen by the international community as illegal and obstacles to peace.

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