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Israel Offering Bond Issue in U.S. Totaling $200 Million

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In an effort to “diversify its financing after the era” of loan guarantees, Israel will float $200 million in bonds in the United States this week, said Finance Ministry spokesman Eli Yosef.

Yosef, who was optimistic about the bonds’ prospect, said the $200 million in bonds would be printed in the United States and marketed to investment banks and financial institutions.

Israel recently arranged a $250 million loan from some 43 banks, which put up the money in a variety of currencies.

There were no details regarding who would sell the bonds, or what the interest rate would be.

The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had repeatedly stated his plan to make the Israeli economy independent of American funding.

Israel receives $1.8 billion dollars in military aid and $1.2 billion dollars in economic aid annually from the United States, both in the form of grants.

In addition, the United States also agreed in 1992 to guarantee $10 billion in loans to Israel by commercial banks in order to fund a housing and economic development program for immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

In another development, the Boston-based New England Funds, in conjunction with B’nai B’rith and New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., is launching a mutual fund next month that will invest the bulk of its assets in Tel Aviv.

Batucha Securities, a Tel Aviv money manager, is serving as an economic subadviser.

The Israel Growth Fund was the result of an initiative by B’nai B’rith to come up with an investment package representing a new kind of economic partnership with Israel, according to officials with the organization.

The fund will invest 65 percent of its assets in Israeli companies.

It is expected to be introduced in January, with the aim of raising $50 million by april $100 million within a year and $200 million in three years.

The fund will be managed by the Chicago-based Harris Associates.

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