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Israel Credit Grantor’s Fact Sheet (2/1999)

Background: Israel was founded in 1948. Since its early years, waves of immigrants arrived to the newly established state, mainly from Europe, North Africa, the USA and Asia. Presently has a population of 6 million following the recent major waves of immigration from the former USSR republics and Ethiopia.

Business Structures: There are over 300,000 registered enterprises of which some 150,000 are active. Legal forms are private limited companies, public limited companies, general partnerships, limited partnerships, non-registered partnerships, cooperative societies, friendly societies and sole proprietor businesses.

Locating Businesses: Most of the public databases are in Hebrew. Internet is becoming however a good tool for locating Israeli businesses. Many companies have their own sites or have a reference in other sites, such as governmental sites that provide assistance to newly established hi-tech companies etc. There are also online Yellow Pages at www.yellowpages.co.il

Banking Information: Israel’s central bank is Bank of Israel. The largest commercial banks are Bank Hapoalim Ltd., Bank Leumi Leisrael Ltd., Israel Discount Bank Ltd., United Mizrachi Bank Ltd. and First International Bank of Israel Ltd. Banks are not allowed to disclose information without their client’s authorization.

Public Records and Financial Information: Public records of companies and registered partnerships are kept at the Registrar of Companies & Partnerships, a department of the Ministry of Justice.

Registration includes legal form, date of incorporation, activities, share capital, shareholders, directors and attachments made against assets.

Only publicly traded companies are obligated to publish financial statements. 700 companies are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, 110 Israeli companies are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and 8 on the London Stock Exchange.

Personal Information: Data is not publicly available. According to the Privacy Protection Law, data in a database can be used only for its specifically determined purposes and not for others.

Trade Payment Histories: The credit industry in Israel is still developing. There is no specific legislation for credit reporting or debt collection activities. Data is gathered by credit reporting agencies. According to current legislation, public reporting can be made only on businesses. A new bill is currently being formulated, proposing to allow also public consumer databases.

Standard Terms: Risks are relatively not high but their evaluation depends much on the field of business in which the debtors operate. Debt collection is relatively difficult and legal actions are normally lengthy.