The notice below, announcing that as of today the Israel PTO will be available (on a limited basis - nor more than 75 applications per quarter) as an International Search Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) for US-based PCT filers, presently appears here on the USPTO web site; it was apparently posted on September 16, 2014, as that's the day on which Harry Kim of the USPTO sent a notice around to an email subscriber list.
I think that on the whole, this is welcome news for US-based filers, as it presents them with a cheaper alternative (presently $1021) to the expensive-but-largely-worthless USPTO-as-a-PCT-search-authority-which-is-really-farmed-out option. There's a PPH program in place between the US and Israel, so a favorable ISR from Israel can be used to jump-start examination in the US. And since, unlike the EPO, which gives credit to PCT searches conducted at the EPO, the USPTO doesn't honor its own searches, and the savings incurred by searching in Israel are greater than the premium one pays upon national phase entry in the US for having the search done elsewhere, it may in some cases make sense to have the search done in Israel. In addition, since it's actual examiners rather than outside contractors who do the searches, if you're willing to pay an Israel practitioner to do so, you can probably arrange a meeting with the examiner who conducted the search, if you think the ISR misses a point or want to clarify something during IPE before the IPRP issues.
Curiously, until today I wasn't able to find a corresponding notice on the ILPTO's site. Usually the ILPTO trumpets these sorts of announcements pretty loudly. On the other hand, since the searches are intended for US-based filers, there wasn't much point in announcing this beforehand to an Israeli audience. The present IL announcement, posted today, appears here in Hebrew and here in English, and while the content is largely the same as that of the USPTO announcement above, the ILPTO announcement includes the requisite "See, they really think we're good!" self-congratulatory line. Memo to the ILPTO: when it comes to search and examination quality, the USPTO ain't the standard to aspire to. Despite my many digs here at the ILPTO administration, I actually think that the ILPTO has the potential to be a better examining office than the USPTO.