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24 June 2017 - 1 Tammuz 5777 - א' תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ז
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Holocaust-denial leaflets at Australian universities E-mail

Leaflets denying the Holocaust were placed on car windshields on two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia, in April.

The leaflets began appearing at Monash University and the University of Melbourne at the same time as the opening in the city of Denial, a movie that portrays the court battle between Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust denier David Irving.
Containing slogans such as “the greatest swindle of all time” and “the Holohoax”, the leaflets claimed that the “official version” of the Holocaust, which is also portrayed by Hollywood filmmakers, is “demonstrably false”.

“These leaflets are the result of a nationally organised campaign to spread poisonous anti-Semitic conspiracies at our nation’s top universities,” said the national chairwoman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, Isabella Polger. “They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students.”

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Israel appoints its first female Muslim diplomat E-mail

Rasha Atamny, 31, a Palestinian Arab born in Baqa al-Gharbiya town in central Israel, will serve as the embassy’s first secretary in Ankara, Turkey, the Times of Israel has reported.

She studied psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before she was accepted into the three-year foreign ministry cadet course, one of only 21 candidates to make the cut.

In a blog written while she was at university, Atamny said she honed her diplomatic skills in her collegiate Model UN club. A year after joining the club, she was accepted to represent Israel at the UN in New York as a youth ambassador for three months.

She commented that her participation in the Human Rights Assembly Committee during a discussion on the violation of women’s rights was a turning point in her experience at the UN. “This time I listened to the speeches from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt condemning Israel’s systematic violations of women’s rights while I, an Arab-Muslim woman of Palestinian origin, represent Israel at the UN General Assembly,” she wrote.

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PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU VISITS CHINA, MARKING 25 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS E-mail

After an historical visit to Singapore and then to Australia, in February Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived back in Asia and made an official three-day visit to China in March, accompanied by his wife Sara.

The visit followed an invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and marked 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Beijing on 20 March and hosted an official dinner. Netanyahu also met with his Chinese counterpart, Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

In Beijing, Netanyahu was welcomed in the Great Hall of the People by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The national anthems of China and Israel were played.

The visit stressed the continued strengthening of economic co-operation with the Chinese government, increased Israeli exports to China, attracting Chinese investments in Israel, and increased industrial and research co-operation between Chinese and Israeli companies.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was accompanied by a senior business delegation of dozens of Israeli businesspeople from the various industries and companies active in China, as well as from companies interested in penetrating the Chinese market. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin; Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen; Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis; Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We will continue the talks on establishing a free trade agreement between China and Israel and we will hold the third joint Israel-China innovation conference. Of course we are continuing to develop new markets and to open new markets for the Israeli economy. I expect all ministers to co-operate on this, and they are doing so.”

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Israel beaten in World Baseball Classic in Tokyo E-mail

Team Israel saw its Cinderella run at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) end in March with a loss to Japan in Tokyo. Japan snapped a scoreless tie with five runs in the sixth inning on the way to an 8-3 victory in front of more than 40,000 fans packed into the Tokyo Dome.

Israel, the lowest-ranked team to qualify for the showcase tournament, dropped its last two games in the second round and did not advance to the semifinals in Los Angeles. Japan, with a tournament record of 6-0, and the Netherlands advanced from Pool E.

Israel had startled the baseball world by opening the tournament with four straight victories, including a 4-1 win over powerhouse Cuba in the first game of the second round, but lost 12-2 to the Netherlands and needed to beat Japan to move on. In the first round, the Israelis squeaked past third-ranked South Korea, 2-1, in extra innings, outscored fourth-ranked Taiwan, 15-7, and defeated ninth-ranked the Netherlands, 4-2, to finish first in Pool A with a 3-0 record.

This is the first year that Israel has qualified for the tournament. In 2012, its inaugural WBC squad narrowly missed advancing past the qualifiers.

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Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app E-mail

A new app to teach youth about the Holocaust will be a centrepiece of Switzerland’s chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Switzerland took over the rotating chairmanship of the 31-member intergovernmental group from Romania on 7 March.

The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate of four individuals by using multimedia tools.

In a ceremony at the Swiss embassy in Berlin, Benno Bättig, secretarygeneral of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said that educators must take on “the challenge of virtual reality” so youth will grasp that “we are speaking about people”, not merely about numbers.

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