JTA NEWS
20 June 2018 - 7 Tammuz 5778 - ז' תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ח
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Former Israeli Ambassador to Japan lights torch at ceremony marking Israel’s 70th anniversary E-mail

Ruth Kahanoff, former Israeli Ambassador to Japan, was one of 12 prominent members of Israeli society to light a torch at an official ceremony on Mount Herzyl in Jerusalem on the 18 April, the eve of the Yom Hat’Atzmaut 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.

Ambassador Kahanoff lit a torch in the name of MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. MASHAV was established 60 years ago as the official foreign aid arm of the State of Israel.

Since then, it has sent thousands of experts and instructors to every corner of the world to share the know-how and experience that have transformed the world into a better place for hundreds of millions of people. MASHAV is the bearer of tidings, and embodies the Jewish/Israeli concept of Tikun Olam – healing the world (the commitment to work towards a better world).

Ambassador Kahanoff has extensive diplomatic experience and has made a significant impact on Israel’s foreign relations. She has also served as MFA Deputy Director General for the Asia-Pacific Region.

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Germany appoints its first envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism E-mail

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) recently welcomed the German government’s appointment of Dr Felix Klein as the country’s first Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

“Already a leader in Europe in the fight against antiSemitism, Germany has taken another praiseworthy step in addressing the need for a dedicated and expert individual to protect the well-being of the country’s Jewish community, and Dr Felix Klein is without a doubt the best choice for the position,” said WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer. “As Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations in the German Federal Foreign Office over the last four years, Dr Klein played a pivotal role in Germany’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism, drawing wide attention to the very real threats experienced by Jewish communities across Europe, to the dangers of far-right extremism, and to the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust,” Singer added.

The Federal Cabinet of Germany appointed Ambassador Felix Klein to be Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, effective 1 May 2018. “Felix Klein will advance the cause of Jewish life in Germany with persistence and tact and will devote his energy to fighting anti-Semitism,” said Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the Interior.

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EL AL’S NEW BOEING 787 DREAMLINER TAKES TO THE SKIES IN HONG KONG E-mail

Israel’s national carrier, EL AL Israel Airlines, has launched an upgraded service between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Its inaugural Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong touched down on 4 March.

Competition from local Asian carriers is becoming stronger. With increased flight paths from Asian cities to Israel, a host of local carriers are now allowed to compete for passengers. EL AL therefore took delivery of a new plane to maintain its market share in the key Hong Kong hub.

Market conditions for EL AL in Asia have changed in recent years, due in part to the Israeli government’s open-sky policy, which has been seen as a positive step to increase tourism and attract more business travellers from Asia to Israel. The number of Asian travellers is rising every year, especially from China. For example, the number of Chinese visitors to Israel hit a record high in 2017, up 41% over the previous year. Also in 2017, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, launched direct flights to Tel Aviv. It now offers four to six weekly flights direct to Tel Aviv, and will be flying daily soon.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with registration 4X-EDC, is named “Tel AvivJaffa”. The inaugural flight was greeted by a water salute on the apron of Hong Kong International Airport.

A celebration ceremony for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner took place in the Plaza Premium Lounge and departure gate later in the day, hosted by Massada Apelman, the former General Manager of EL AL Hong Kong, and Rachel Skuratovsky, General Manager of EL AL Hong Kong. Dr Rafael Aharoni, Chairman of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and Ahuva Spieler, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong, were the officiating VIP guests at the event.

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International Women’s Day events in India E-mail

The Embassy of Israel in India celebrated International Women’s Day with a month full of women-empowerment activities in Delhi throughout March. The embassy’s activity ranged from culture to agriculture, from media to academia.

Women Empowerment Month with the Embassy of Israel began on 6 March with a Power Brunch with distinguished women from the Indian press and media. Editors and senior journalists shared their experience as women in their field, and the diplomatic team at the Embassy spoke about working in an all-women political team, except for the Ambassador.

On 8 March, the Israeli short film Ahotcha (Big Sister) was screened at Amity University, followed by a talk with the director, Michal Gassner. Later in the month, three Israeli films all directed by women were screened in an Israeli Film Festival, in co-operation with Hyderabad Film Club.

Mango expert Timna Shoer visited India, contributing to the Indo-Israeli co-operation on agriculture. And on 12 March, the Chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel, Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, visited Delhi to promote further partnership in the field of academia between India and Israel.

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More Philippine caregivers deployed to Israel E-mail

In a report to the Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Embassy in Israel noted that for 2017, the deployment of Filipino caregivers in Israel increased by 2.53% compared with the 2016 figure.

According to the report, deployment from January to December 2017 reached 2,922, compared with 2,850 from January to December 2016.

Labor Attaché to Israel Rudy Gabasan noted that although there was an increase in deployment for 2017, this was minimal compared with the increase in 2016 (24.6%). The high placement fees for deployment to Israel are a significant factor in this minimal increase.

Although the minimum wage in Israel in the Household Service Workers category is higher than in other Middle East countries, caregivers going to Israel still pay exorbitant placement fees, which is illegal in the Philippines and in Israel.

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