Business in Brief

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Low-rent TA apartments to be divvied by lottery

To address the affording housing shortage in the city, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will open 77 low-rent apartments in early 2014 in the city's Shapira and Yad Eliyahu neighborhoods with residents to be selected by lottery. Rents will range from NIS 1,125 per month for the smallest apartments to NIS 3,100 per month for three bedrooms. Registration for the housing lottery began on Tuesday and will end on October 21. The drawing will take place on November 5. There are residence, age, income and work eligibility criteria for the housing lottery. Participants must have been Tel Aviv residents for five consecutive years. Single applicants must be above the age of 27, while couples must have at least one spouse or partner below the age of 45. Income benefits recipients and people whose income exceeds the average for those in Israel's seventh income decile may not participate. Families must also have had one spouse who worked full time during the past three years or is filed as self-employed with the Income Tax Authority. (Raz Smolsky)

LifeWave: Stock options granted to Haim Ramon were worthless

The company LifeWave, which developed a device for treating chronic sores, clarified on Wednesday the remuneration it provided its chairman Haim Ramon. The company said that Ramon received NIS 500,000 in direct compensation for his work at the company between September 2009 and June 2013. He also received 328,000 stock options at strike price of NIS 5.68 that were issued at time when the company's stock was worth just NIS 0.37. Consequently, the options were never exercised. Ramon used to be a minister and one of Kadima's top politicians before leaving politics for the business world in 2009. LifeWave's operations were sold about two weeks to a group headed by biotech entrepreneur Ron Weissberg after the company lost 99% of its value. As part of the sale, the company will receive NIS 1.25 million immediately to pay off its creditors. (Eran Azran)

Study: Legalizing pot would boost economy

Legalizing marijuana would generate more than $450 million annually for the Israeli economy, a new study shows. The black market for cannabis in Israel is worth $707 million annually, according to the study released Tuesday by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. If the sale of marijuana were legalized and taxed at rates similar to cigarettes, it would add about $268 million in tax revenues and another approximately $198 million in savings to law enforcement directly related to illegal marijuana use, the study found. At least 275,000 Israeli adults used marijuana in the past year, the study found; the tax revenue estimate was based on that number. Some 75 percent of those questioned in a public opinion survey analyzed in the study said they believe marijuana has legitimate medical uses. Israeli support for medical marijuana was similar to the level of backing recorded in the United States in a survey earlier this year, according to the institute. Twenty-six percent of Israelis supported the legalization of marijuana, the survey found, with 64 percent opposed. In the United States, 52 percent of survey respondents supported legalization. The Jerusalem-based firm Kevoon conducted the survey of 500 respondents reflecting a representative sample of Israeli Jews. The survey had a sampling error of 4.5 percent. (JTA)