F16 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin
F16 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin. Photo by AP
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American aviation and defense giant Lockheed Martin will be investing tens of millions of dollars in Israeli investment funds, said the Finance Ministry’s economic attaché in the United States, Assaf Vitman. Investment bank Morgan Stanley is also also considering such an investment, said Vitman.

Israeli economic representatives worldwide are busy looking for ways to interest not only such large companies in investing in Israel, but also to attract investment from various large institutional investors such as pension funds or universities, and from Jewish organizations such as federations. Even bodies such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund are considered potential investors.

The economic representatives are working to locate new groups of investors in Israel, whether in direct businesses, venture capital or other investment funds.

“There is a lot of money in the U.S. looking for investments, and we need to provide investors with a challenge,” said Vitman. He said investors first look to invest in their own countries, then think about the BRIC nations ‏(Brazil, Russia, India and China‏), and only then do they consider such “innovative attractions such as Israel.”

Vitman said his job is to put Israel on the investors’ map and the work never ends.
Jewish federations manage $13 billion in funds, and are a focus for investment in Israel. Until now they have mostly given donations, but almost never invested their capital here.

Israel is expected to receive almost $4 billion in U.S. aid in 2011, including Washington’s share of development cost of the Arrow and Iron Dome anti-missile systems. But the funding for binational joint research and development funds such as BIRD, BARD and BSF may be in trouble. While Israel is willing to up its investment in the funds, the Americans are holding due to budgetary limitations.