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The Daily TIP: Bill Supporting U.S.-Israel Alliance Gains Cloture in Senate, Heads for Passage

Posted by Tip Staff - January 29, 2019

Bill Supporting U.S.-Israel Alliance Gains Cloture in Senate, Heads for Passage
Israeli, German Companies Announce Joint Moon Venture
Intel To Make "Unprecedented" Investment of Nearly $11 Billion in Israeli Operations
North American Demand for Israeli Orri Jaffa Mandarin Oranges Expected to Grow 70%

Bill Supporting U.S.-Israel Alliance Gains Cloture in Senate, Heads for Passage

The United States Senate voted 74 to 19 for cloture, allowing bill S1, Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, to move forward for debate and a vote, The New York Times reported Monday.

The law combines four previous bills into one: Rubio-Coons United States-Israel Security Authorization Assistance Act of 2018, which overwhelmingly passed both houses last year; Ros-Lehtinen-Deutch United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last year; Engel-Royce Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2018, which also overwhelmingly passed the House last year; and Rubio-Manchin Combating BDS Act of 2018, which was recommended for passage by the Senate Banking Committee.

Each of these bills had bipartisan sponsors and highlighted United States priorities in the Middle East.

“The Israel Project strongly supports all components of S1. We applaud the strong bipartisan support this bill received and believe this underscores the deep relationship shared between the U.S. and Israel," Joshua S. Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project said in a statement following the cloture vote.

"S1 boosts security cooperation with Israel and Jordan—an important Arab ally. It also authorizes dramatic, and much needed, new financial sanctions against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime."

Block also applauded the bill for codifying the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the U.S. and Israel. He called it "vitally important" to the security of both countries, and predicted that it would "deepen" the ties between the two allies.

"Lastly, it is imperative that we do not cease in the fight against the insidious and deeply anti-Semitic BDS movement," Block said with regard to the bipartisan Rubio-Manchin legislation. "We applaud the Senate for taking important steps to empower state and local governments, including the 26 states that have anti-BDS laws, to counter the BDS movement’s economic warfare of discrimination.”

With the successful cloture vote, the bill goes before the full Senate. Final passage of the legislation is expected Wednesday, the Times reported.

Israeli, German Companies Announce Joint Moon Venture

German satellite manufacturer OHB System AG and Israeli government-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) announced on Tuesday a joint moon research program for the European Space Agency (ESA), Globes reported.

Under the terms of the agreement, OHB will provide services for reaching the moon, using a lunar lander to be developed and manufactured by IAI. Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company, founded in 1953, currently develops and manufactures surveillance and communications satellites, as well as aerial defense, anti-missile, drone disruption, and marine systems.

The spaceship, which will be launched from Cape Canaveral in a few weeks, is based on the spaceship built for Israeli non-profit venture SpaceIL, aiming to land the first Israeli-made unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

Although OHB and IAI did not reveal the financial aspects of the deal, sources familiar with the project estimate the agreement could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

IAI space division manager Opher Doron, who signed the cooperation agreement with the German company, said: "There's still a long road ahead, and there are many risks, but this is very important step in the right direction, and we're all excited. The business potential of this activity is very good, largely owing to the activity done in the development of Space IL's Bereshit spaceship.”

The first such mission using the IAI-built lander could be ready in as little as two years, Doron observed.

The European mission involves sending landers to the moon to test technologies for producing fuel, oxygen, and water, among other raw materials from lunar soil, according to OHB CEO Marco Fuchs. They also hope to collect and analyze samples of the moon’s terrain.

Commenting on the partnership with IAI, Fuchs noted that landing on the moon still poses a technological challenge, and OHB is, therefore, investing major resources in developing technologies in the matter through the new partnership with IAI.

Intel To Make "Unprecedented" Investment of Nearly $11 Billion in Israeli Operations

Intel, the United States-based chip-making giant, will make an "unprecedented" 40 billion shekel ($10.9 billion) investment in its Israeli operations, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

"This is huge news for everyone who cares about the State of Israel, the Israeli economy and Israeli citizens," Kahlon said, adding that the "unprecedented decision," made in consultation with the government, would likely create thousands of jobs in southern Israel.

Intel, which opened its first Israeli facility in Haifa in 1974, currently employs 11,700 people in Israel. Of those, 1,100 are employed by its autonomous driving subsidiary, Mobileye, which it bought for a record $15 billion in 2017.

Though Intel has not been specific about its plans, it is expected that the investment will be to build a new production plant in Kiryat Gat. The new facility is expected to be 370,000 square feet and employ at least an additional 1,000 people.

The Israeli government is expected to grant the chip-maker, 3 billion shekel ($816 million) as an incentive.

Intel also announced on Monday that its exports from Israel last year amounted to $3.9 billion, a $300 million increase over 2017. It is also estimated to have spent $1.7 billion purchasing local goods and services.

"Our continued confidence in Intel’s future and excellent partnership with the State of Israel is at the foundation of the business plan we will submit," Yaniv Garty, the general manager of Intel Israel and a vice president at the company, said.

"This plan, when it comes to fruition, is expected to yield great economic and social value for Israel in general and for Kiryat Gat in particular."

Last February, Intel announced a $5 billion expansion of the Kiryat Gat facility.

North American Demand for Israeli Orri Jaffa Mandarin Oranges Expected to Grow 70%

The Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel plans a significant expansion of its Orri Jaffa mandarin orange exports to the United States and Canada this year because of increased demand for these easy-to-peel mandarins.

The Jaffa Orri was developed by scientists at the Israeli Volcani Center Agricultural Research Organization. Not only does the peel come off easily, but the Jaffa Orri boasts a sweet juicy flavor and fleshy texture and has virtually no seeds.

Plus, this mandarin was bred to have a particularly long shelf life and appears later in the season compared to other easy peelers – from January into May.

The American citrus market has been growing steadily over the past two decades and is composed largely of imports. The mandarin sub-category has become the largest in the citrus category, accounting for some 40 percent of the market. Americans seem to be choosing them in place of traditional oranges.

Over the past five seasons, citrus exports from Israel to North America have increased from 3,000 tons to 9,000 tons last season, of which about 5,300 tons are easy-to-peel mandarins. This season, export of Orri Jaffa mandarin alone is expected to reach 9,000 tons, constituting a potential 70% growth.

“The US market for easy-to-peel mandarins is substantial and holds promise as a developing target market for Israeli citrus exports,” says Tal Amit, director of the Citrus Division in the Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel. “The success of easy-peeler mandarins, in particular, can be easily credited to the fruit’s great flavor and unbeatable convenience.”

Orri Jaffa mandarin currently is exported to 45 countries. Most of the yield is exported to Europe (78%) – most prominently France (39%), the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Russia (7% each). About 18% of the fruit is shipped to North America, and 4% to Asia Pacific.

(via Israel21c)

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