Lev Leviev
Lev Leviev, controller of Africa Israel. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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Leviev will weigh diamond polishing in Israel

Lev Leviev, one of Israel’s biggest diamond moguls, said Sunday that Zionism − not business considerations − would be the only reason he would set up a polishing operation in Israel. He was responding to an appeal by Abraham Traub, president of the Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association, to weigh setting up a diamond polishing plant in the Haredi city of Elad. Leviev, who is also the controlling shareholder of Africa Israel Investments, doesn’t have polishing operations in Israel. But with labor costs rising in places like India, the association is campaigning to bring the business back to Israel, in particular to Elad, to create jobs for its largely ultra-Orthodox population. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

Capital markets, economists see inflation at 1.9% in next 12 months

The capital market and economists are for the first time in a long time in agreement: Inflation for the next 12 months will reach 1.9%, near the midpoint of the government’s 1% to 3% target range, the Bank of Israel said Sunday. It was the first time in many months that bond yields and economists’ forecasts were in accord on the outlook for the consumer price index. Bank of Israel figures released Sunday also indicate that the country’s M1 money supply increased 0.5% in April to a record NIS 131.9 billion. Over the past 12 months the supply has climbed by a robust 9.3%. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Cabinet approves two committees to boost China ties

The cabinet Sunday approved the formation of two committees to devise plans for strengthening economic ties between Israel and China. They will include ways to boost trade, encourage investment and promote joint research and development initiatives by cutting through red tape for Israeli activity in China. The committees will also promote Israeli activity in third countries. The committees were formed following agreements reached between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the latter’s visit two weeks ago. The two panels include a cabinet committee chaired by the prime minister and an inter-ministerial committee chaired by Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council. ‏(Ora Coren‏)