Jersey boys push right buttons in Israel

Game on: the senators open trading with TASE chief executive Esther Levanon

Game on: the senators open trading with TASE chief executive Esther Levanon

A new link between Jersey and Israel was forged this week with a groundbreaking visit by 30 of the island's politicians and business leaders.

Economics Minister, Senator Alan Maclean and Assistant Chief Minister Senator Freddie Cohen, led the delegation, the first of its kind, under the auspices of UK Israel Business, a new group encompassing British and Israeli chambers of commerce.

As a result of a recent amendment to legislation in the States of Jersey, eGaming firms with research and development centres in Israel will be able to base their gaming facilities in Jersey, in a similar fashion to Gibraltar, Malta and the Isle of Man.

Gambling in casinos is not legal in Israel but at least two major companies hope to harness the appetite for gambling by developing a web-based business.

Jersey is also making a strong pitch for Israel to use it for some of its clean technology. Israel is a world leader in electric cars and the delegation discussed the possibility of developing the Israeli business on the island.

The senators opened the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Tuesday, ringing the bell for the start of trading with chief executive Esther Levanon.

Sen Cohen said: "It is of great benefit to the island that we have been able to engage in positive meetings with senior Israeli politicians and business leaders.

"Israel is an important global market and we are pleased to be strengthening our political ties with the country, as well as meeting key business representatives."

Sen Maclean said the visit had been "extremely positive and productive", adding: "We have attended a number of meetings with some of Israel's leading financial services companies and legal firms. Jersey's well-established reputation as a transparent, co-operative and well-regulated jurisdiction precedes us, and we have established some productive dialogues during our time here."

Daniel Seal, chief executive of UK Israel Business, said: "This has been an important step in creating economic ties between Israel and Jersey. UK Israel Business is delighted to be bringing these two countries together, which will improve both Jersey and Israel's productivity."

Israeli officials accompanying the delegation, which included officials from the top companies in the Channel Islands, spoke of "a massive synergy" between the countries and were hopeful that there would be repeat visits and a return visit by Israeli business leaders.

And at least one Israeli ex-pat Briton spoke wistfully of his hope that a deal could be struck to import Jersey's famous potatoes to Israel.

    Last updated: 2:09pm, May 26 2011