Our series moves to Israel.
A growing presence
Credit card issuance has risen 56.5 percent since 2003. This year there are 5.6 million credit and 1 million debit cards in circulation (Euromonitor International).
In 2005, the Bank of Israel reported that credit card purchases amounted to about US$30 billion, according to Globes Online. It estimates that total will grow to about US$49 billion by 2010.
Lending and Jewish law
According to strict interpretation of Jewish law, a Jewish creditor is prohibited from profiting in any way from lending to another Jew (MyJewishLearning.com). Credit card use continues to grow in spite of this rule.
According to Globes Online, Israeli credit card companies began publishing full financial reports only in 2007, forced to do so by new laws inspired by growing demand for cards. Prior to that, companies didn’t disclose details such as commissions paid by banks for transactions.
Cards and crime
Analyzing “The Analyzer”
Israeli hacker Ehud “The Analyzer” Tenebaum was indicted on Oct. 28, 2008, on felony conspiracy and fraud charges after he and three accomplices broke into the computers of a card issuer and withdrew $1.7 million through ATMs. Tenebaum is also known for hacking into the Pentagon’s computers when he was a teenager (Wired News).
Official tourism site
– Go Israel
Location: The Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon (map)
Population: 7 million (July 2008)
Internet users: 3.7 million (June 2008 estimate)(
Area: 12,905 sq. miles (about the size of New Jersey)
GDP: US$185.8 billion (2007 estimate)
Currency: New Israeli shekel (RUB)
Key exports: US$50 billion of machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, chemicals, textiles and apparel
Key imports: US$55 billion of military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods