Shorts: Business, professional & real estate

Yahoo! enters Israeli market

Yahoo! entered the Israeli Internet search engine market by signing a strategic cooperation agreement last month with Web portal Walla Communications.

The companies plan to challenge Google Israel’s three-year market domination. Walla will now be able to use Yahoo!’s new search engine, giving Walla access to one of the world’s largest online databases.

Searches can be conducted in Hebrew as well as English and other languages. — jta

Nonprofit receives innovation award

The Bemaaglei Tzedek organization, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit, was chosen for the annual Ernst & Young Israel Innovation in Society Award. The honor salutes an Israeli organization that demonstrates entrepreneurial creativity, initiative and originality on behalf of Israeli society.

Bemaaglei Tzedek has become well known since its founding in 2004 for its efforts on behalf of contract workers. It also introduced the Tav Chevrati, or Social Seal, which cites restaurants that demonstrate good employment practices. Nearly 400 restaurants across Israel have received the seal, and the organization has been credited with bringing the issue of workers’ rights to the forefront of public awareness.

Asaf Banner, the managing director of Bemaaglei Tzedek, said the recognition from Ernst & Young shows that Israeli business leaders have recognized the group’s work. — jta

PayPal buys Israeli startup

PayPal acquired an Israeli software startup company for $169 million.

Fraud Sciences Ltd. has expertise in online risk tools. PayPal, an eBay Inc. company, announced Jan. 28 the acquisition of the privately held firm. Fraud Sciences, which began marketing its product a year ago, is expected to remain in Israel and become PayPal’s local research and development center, according to the Israeli business newspaper Globes.

“Integrating Fraud Sciences’ risk tools with PayPal’s sophisticated fraud management system should allow us to be even more effective in protecting eBay and PayPal’s hundreds of millions of customers around the world,” said Scott Thompson, president of PayPal in a news release.

Fraud Sciences’ founders Shvat Shaked and Saar Wilf served in classified technology divisions in the Israeli army. They will join PayPal’s technology and fraud management teams. — jta

Shekel hits high against the dollar

The Israeli shekel recently hit a new 10-year best against the U.S. dollar, at 3.62 shekels to the dollar.

So far in 2008, the shekel has been one of the world’s strongest currencies, appreciating more than 6 percent against the dollar. The shekel appreciated about 10 percent against the dollar in 2007. — jta

Beer company enjoys boost in suds sales

The San Francisco-based Shmaltz Brewing Com-pany, best known for its HE’BREW beers, recently reported a 550 percent boost in sales in the past four years.

Founder Jeremy Cowan expects the company to do $1.5 million in sales in 2008. Also, in late spring 2008, Shmaltz will launch a new line of lagers. The beers are brewed in Ukiah and Saratoga, N.Y.

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