In 1998, when Philadelphia attorney Clifford Goldstein wanted to cash in on the staggering increase in Israeli technology stocks, he was disappointed to discover that no index-based mutual funds of Israeli companies existed.
“Wall Street is slow,” Goldstein says, noting that top brokerage firms he approached “told me they didn’t want to invest in kibbutzniks growing oranges.”
It used to be that if you wanted to invest in Israeli companies trading on the Nasdaq, you plunked some cash into Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA). The more savvy pro-Israel investor would track Israeli IT companies like Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP), a leading security firm instrumental in developing computer firewalls, or telecommunications giants like Amdocs (DOX), a $7 billion billing company.
When Clifford Goldstein was 7, his father took him to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a stockholders meeting of the Israeli company Ampal.
"I had five shares, so I went with him and I liked the feel of it," he recalled. "People were there as investors, but my father was there more because he wanted to invest in Israel."