25 Million Eggs en Route From Turkey for Holiday Period

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The Agriculture Ministry yesterday approved the import of 25 million eggs from Turkey ahead of the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday. The approval came in light of the ministry's concerns about a possible egg shortage during the holidays due to a large drop in egg production during the war. Also, a large proportion of the eggs produced during the war were of inferior quality. A large part of Israel's egg production comes from moshavim near the northern border, and those farmers were hurt particularly hard because of the war. As a result of the temporary egg shortage, the ministry and the Egg Producers Association agreed to import 15 million Turkish eggs for home consumption, and another 10 million for industrial use. However, the head of the poultry producers organization, Yaakov Cohen, said he doubted that the eggs would actually be imported since the price was too high and the shortage would likely be minimal. (Amiram Cohen)

Discount Investments announced yesterday that the merger agreements between Internet and international call providers Barak and Netvision had been signed, as well as the merger agreement between Netvision and GlobeCall. The companies have asked for approval of the deals from the antitrust commissioner and the Communications Ministry, both of whom have to give their okay. Netvision will purchase 100 percent of the other two companies, and will pay with its own shares. Recently, the companies have updated their appraised values for purposes of the merger, performed by Deloitte Touche. Netvision was valued at $130 million, Barak at $110 million, including $30 million in bank debts, and GlobeCall at $20 million. (Eran Gabbay)

The Finance Minstry has reneged on its promise to increase the research and development budget for 2007 from the planned NIS 1.28 billion to NIS 1.5-1.8 billion, according to the president of the Manufacturers' Association, Shraga Brosh. Brosh said that the treasury even planned to cut the R&D budget to only NIS 1 billion for 2007 as part of its coalition considerations. The money is for the Chief Scientist's Office in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the original agreement was to increase the budget by NIS 600 million over three years, with the 2007 budget to be at least NIS 1.5 billion. (Ora Coren)

All foreign workers in agriculture will have to carry an identity card with a magnetic strip. The card will be issued to each worker by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and will carry information about the worker and his employer. The card is intended to prevent a worker from leaving his employer without permission and going to work for someone else. It will also allow the Immigration Police to verify that the worker is employed legally. The new rules will take effect at the beginning of 2007. The decision was reached between the ministry and the representatives of the farmers. Also agreed to was the continuation of the use of manpower firms to bring the foreign workers to Israel. The arrangement to transfer the import of workers to private companies was canceled at the farmers' behest. Workers will be allowed to switch employers only after the worker provides the employer with advance notice. In exceptional circumstances, the ministry will be allowed to approve the immediate transfer of a worker. (Amiram Cohen)



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