Israel Will Soon Say Shalom to Google, Office in the Works

Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, reports that Google will open an office in Israel soon and perhaps expand its existing Hebrew-language Google Israel site into a content-bearing portal.

Internet portal giant Google is about to open an Israeli subsidiary and broaden its business here, Haaretz has learned...Last week, two business development managers from the Google branch in London visited Israel and met with managers of major portals and Hebrew language Web sites to find future business partners.

If Google indeed expands its operations to Israel, it would provide tough competition to Israeli portals, which include Ynet, Walla!, NRG, Nana, and Golden Pages. Google would compete directly with MSN Israel, which is the only content portal in Israel that belongs to a international company, Microsoft...The Israeli search engine market currently generates $6 million in annual revenues, up almost 100 percent from a year ago. The total Israeli Internet advertising market stands at around $30 million annually.

Globes [online] also has a story.