Major Jewish organizations are investing heavily in a recently launched index fund that tracks companies with a significant Israeli presence, prompting speculation that literally billions of dollars may – according to Steven Schoenfeld, the founder and CEO of the BlueStar Israel Global Index fund – “be brought into productive investment in Israel”:
Last June, Schoenfeld’s company launched ISRA, a new Israeli equity fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange that aims to track its BlueStar Israel Global Index, which includes a diverse mix of 93 Israeli companies traded both in Israel and abroad.
To date, four federations or foundations affiliated with federations have invested or committed to invest in the fund: the foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Jewish United Fund of Chicago, the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, and the Jewish Foundation of Memphis. Together they have pledged $15 million to investments in the fund.
Total endowments held by Jewish federations, affiliated organizations, and Jewish family foundations however total roughly $65 billion, and Schoenfeld described ongoing discussions with “twice that many federations.”
BlueStar launched with the intention of leveraging the Israeli investment environment, which Schoenfeld described at the time as the “best of both worlds: the superior economic management of a developed market, but with emerging market growth characteristics.”
Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post on Thursday published extensive analysis describing how underwater energy reserves off Israel’s coast are positioning the Jewish state to “become a player in the big energy league” and significantly alter “the Middle East political kaleidoscope.”
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