by Stewart Ain and Josh Mitnick |
Tel Aviv – Israel’s economy, which for a decade rode the wave of globalization and liberalization to high growth, now is bracing for the shock waves of the U.S. financial crisis to hit home.
“A financial tsunami is nearing and Israel may face recession,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Tuesday.
But few analysts expect a recession, with most insisting that Israeli banks remain fundamentally sound. They do expect, however, that economic growth will slow considerably.
Polls indicate Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will score a decisive victory in next Wednesday’s Kadima Party primary, setting the stage for her to become the first woman prime minister since Golda Meir more than 30 years ago.
But analysts caution that an upset is possible and believe she may have an even harder time putting together a coalition government to succeed that of Ehud Olmert, who has promised to resign after the election because of a corruption probe. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is Livni’s chief rival for the Kadima top spot.
On the eve of a season focused on aspiring to spiritual heights, Congregation Shearith Israel on West 70th Street is celebrating a more physical ascension. The historic congregation, founded in 1654 by Sephardic Jews and commonly known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, was granted permission on Aug. 26 from the city’s Board of Standard and Appeals to build a controversial nine-story community house adjacent to its landmarked synagogue.
by Joshua Mitnick And Stewart Ain |
Israel Correspondent and Staff Writer
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to put the best spin this week on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but observers expect little if anything will be accomplished by the end of the year.
With the release this week of a detailed Palestinian peace proposal dealing with borders, refugees and security, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seen by observers as trying to burnish his tarred legacy.
“He wants to put his fingerprints on the map of the Middle East to show he did something in addition to all of the corruption he is connected with,” said Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.