Business in Brief

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2013 on track to be record year for mortgages

The public is on track to take out some NIS 5 billion in new mortgages in August, according to banking sector figures. This is the pace of new mortgages over the past three months as well – the public borrowed an average of NIS 4.95 billion a month in May, June and July. If this pace continues, 2013 will become a record year for mortgages, with NIS 53 billion in financing. The total sum of mortgage debt in Israel doubled over the past six years, to NIS 252 billion - or 30% of Israeli banks’ total credit. Banks say that part of the reason is seasonal – families moving over summer break – but it’s also a matter of people selling off investment apartments when prices are at an all-time high. (Sivan Aizescu)

Manager killed while working on J’lem train line

A manager working on the new train line to Jerusalem was killed while at work Monday. Yossi Abinder, 54, was working with the team digging one of the tunnels for the train tracks when he slipped and was hit by a passing work vehicle. His coworkers described him as professional and experienced. Jerusalem police stated that this was clearly a labor accident and not a road accident, while the Economy Ministry countered that it was a road accident. Work on the site was stopped on Tuesday as a result. Work had only restarted on Monday, after it was revealed that the team had dug several meters of tunnel in the wrong place. (Avi Bar-Eli)

Waze finds way onto Google Maps

Waze’s functions are now available to Google Maps users, as of on Tuesday . Traffic reports on Google’s app will now include information about accidents, road works, road closures and other issues reported by Waze users. In addition, Waze’s app will now support Google searches. Google announced it was buying the Israeli social navigation company on July 11, after weeks of negotiation, for a record NIS 1.03 billion. Waze’s app allows users to report on road conditions as they drive. Due to its high market penetration, it gives users a reasonable indication of traffic. (News Agencies)

National Labor Federation suing Partner

The National Labor Federation is suing telecommunications company Partner for NIS 1.2 million for allegedly trying to prevent its workers from unionizing. The suit, filed in the Tel Aviv District Labor Court, states that management systematically tried to prevent workers from starting a union. Among other things, management pitted junior staff members against their peers, says the suit. The union declared itself the representative of Partner’s workers in early July, and since then management has been working illegally to undermine the labor process, the suit states. Partner denies the allegations and submitted its own countersuit seeking NIS 1.2 million in compensation. (Haim Bior)

Illustration: Mortgage bankers at work.Credit: Ofer Vaknin