After endless delays and irrespective of the discrediting of e-brokering, this morning Kardan Technologies and E*Trade Group (NYSE:ET) inaugurated

E*Trade Israel

.

At least the website has good company in bad timing: a few weeks ago the Ilanot Batucha investment house launched its own e-brokering venture, SmarTrade.

Backed by the powerful E*Trade group, E*Trade Israel will engage in online trade in non-Israeli securities.

Online brokering has been losing its luster. For the first quarter of the year, E*Trade reported a drop in revenues to $505 million, and rising losses to $7.2 million. Meanwhile, launching the Israeli site is costing a total of $6 million.

Chairman of E*Trade Israel's board is veteran venture capital executive Matty Karp, most recently of the Concord venture capital fund. The CEO is Arnon Zahavi.

E*Trade Israel will supply online investment services for private investors. At first the service will focus on shares and warrants traded on Nasdaq, NYSE and Amex. It will also offer financial information and a bilingual Hebrew-English guidance center for investors.

The company will be Israel's first online brokerage to offer online credit, automatic currency conversion services, unlimited trade, real-time updates of balances, and fixed commission rates from $15.96 per security transaction in the United States.

The global E*Trade serves some 3.7 million customers a day, who have invested roughly $48 billion through its service. the site carries out 136,000 transactions a day.

The main shareholders in E*Trade Israel are Kardan Technologies, a subsidiary of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange-traded Kardan Investments, E*Trade Group, Jerusalem Global Ventures, and its founders.

A survey carried out by Israeli company Teleseker found that 19.8% of Israel's households are connected to Internet. It also found that 20% of 1.27 million surfers carried out transactions online during 2000.