JTA NEWS
22 October 2017 - 3 Heshvan 5778 - ג' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ח
JTA NEWS :
JERUSALEM’S BIENNALE SHOW INCLUDES EXHIBITORS AND PROJECTS FROM ASIA E-mail

The third Jerusalem Biennale, currently underway, is hosting many dozens of exhibitions and projects from all around the world. Well over 200 global artists, including many from Asia, are displaying their works. The event runs until 16 November.

This year’s Biennale Show also encompasses 26 Jewish contemporary art exhibitions and projects, and is happening in several venues across the city, including the Tower of David Museum, The Bible Lands Museum, Hebrew Union College (The Skirball Museum), Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Jerusalem Research Institute and more.

The central mission of the Jerusalem Biennale is to facilitate the manifestation of various creative forces in Jerusalem, within the framework of Contemporary Jewish Art.

This year’s theme is “Watershed”. As a geological term, it examines water, streams and rivers that split and converge. It can also be used as a metaphor to help us think about ourselves and the way we split and converge as individuals and groups. In both Hebrew (Kav Parahat Hamayim) and English, the word “watershed” refers to a significant turning point – an event that changes the course of history.

One of the strongest showcases features Indian artists. A group of nine Indian artists built their biennale exhibition, “War and Peace”, around a shared watershed moment: Indian and Israeli independence from the British Mandate, which occurred in 1947 and 1948 respectively. “When I read the history of Israel I found a lot of similarities between India and Israel. And I have been working on watershed themes for years, inspired by events in New Delhi,” said curator and participant Hemavathy Guha.

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India looking to bid for Israel oil-and-gas exploration E-mail

Indian state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp plans to bid for Israeli offshore oil-and-gas exploration blocks, India’s oil minister told Reuters. It is the first significant major development between the two countries since a groundbreaking trip by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to the country in July.

A high-ranking delegation from India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, recently visited Israel to discuss taking part in the tender for blocks in the Mediterranean Sea. “We will definitely bid for Israel’s oiland-gas blocks,” said Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Many oil majors have been hesitant to enter the Israeli market, fearing a backlash from oil-rich Arab states hostile to the country.

Israel put 24 exploration blocks up for auction in November 2016, and the country’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, has said he would be happy to choose two or three foreign exploration groups. The auction closes on 15 November.

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First time since WWII, a far-right party in the German parliament E-mail

Jewish leaders congratulated Angela Merkel in September on her election to a fourth term as German chancellor, while decrying the rise of Germany’s newest right-wing populist party, which for the first time will enter the national parliament.

The Alternative for Germany Party, or AfD, finished third with 13.1% of the popular vote. The party, which was founded in 2013, is likely to have 94 seats in the 631-member Bundestag.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union won with what is being seen as a weak 32.9 % of the vote, followed by the Social Democratic Party, with what observers have called a poor showing of 20.8%.

Speaking to the Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called the AfD a “party that agitates against minorities”. For now their target is Muslims, he noted.

“But I am convinced that when the topic of Muslims is no longer interesting, and it becomes politically and socially opportune to switch to another minority, they could easily do so. And I include Jews in that number,” Schuster said.

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Israel and China sign financial protocol E-mail

Israel and China signed a US$300 million extension of a financial protocol between the two countries in Beijing in September, aimed at increasing Israeli exports of clean tech and agricultural technologies to China.

The deal, signed by Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and his Chinese counterpart Xiao Jie, is an intergovernmental agreement that provides state guarantees for Israeli banks to provide long-term credit to Chinese importers to make purchases from Israeli exporters. Since the original financial protocol was
signed in 1995, some 320 transactions worth some US$1.75 billion have been signed in various fields, including health, agriculture and education.

“The visit to China follows the implementation of significant export transactions from Israel to China in recent years, which demonstrates the strength of Israeli industry and its reputation in the world,” Kahlon said.

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Rabbi in Mexico City loses life in earthquake E-mail

Volunteers from Israel’s ZAKA search-and-rescue organisation pulled the body of a local rabbi from an office building in Mexico City that collapsed in a massive earthquake that hit the country on 19 September.

Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi had been working in the building when the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico, rocking the capital and causing hundreds of buildings to collapse. Ashkenazi served as the rabbi of the Kehillat Magen David synagogue and was an in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, chief rabbi of the Magen David Jewish community of Mexico.

The ZAKA volunteers in Mexico were working with the Mexican Jewish rescue and recovery organisation Cadena, including throughout Rosh Hashanah, 21-22 September and Shabbat.

Two weeks earlier, on 7 September, at least 96 people died in an 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, hitting the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

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