19 February 2019 - 14 Adar I 5779 - י"ד אדר א' ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Tourist numbers to Israel reach record level E-mail

A record 3.1 million tourists entered Israel in the first nine months of 2018, up 15% from the corresponding period in 2017, the country’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported.

The number included 2.9 million tourists, and 200,000 day visitors who entered Israel for less than 24 hours. Of the 2.9 million tourists, 2.6 million flew to Israel and 324,000 arrived by land.

2018 looks set to be a record year for tourism. Israel had 3.8 million tourists last year and around three million tourists in 2016.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with his wife, his daughter and a delegation of senior government officials and business leaders, made an historic trip to Israel from 2 to 5 September.

The visit was the first by a Philippine President since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries 61 years ago, in 1957.

The visit highlights the friendship between Filipinos and Israelis, which began when President Manuel L. Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines as a sanctuary to an estimated 1,300 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust. The trip was also an opportunity for Philippine workers currently living in Israel to meet the President. Most of them are working in hospitals or are employed as carers for elderly Israelis.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with President Duterte on 3 September at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. Duterte also met with Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel.

During the visit, three bilateral agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Duterte. The first was an agreement on “Temporary Employment of Filipino Home-Based Caregivers in Israel”, which will completely cancel all fees paid to agents and will have positive repercussions on similar agreements with other countries in the future. The second agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on “Scientific Cooperation”, which will encourage and establish scientific co-operation programmes between the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and the Philippines Department of Science and Technology. The third agreement was an MOU on “Cooperation in Encouraging Bilateral Investments” between Invest in Israel (part of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry’s Foreign Investments and Industrial Cooperation Authority) and the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments.

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Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs invited to visit Israel Print E-mail

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Yuval Rotem paid a courtesy call on Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai in August and invited him to make an official visit to Israel.

Following the meeting, Rotem also met with Thailand’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs Busaya Mathelin. They discussed potential opportunities of strengthening relationship’s between Thailand and Israel and exchanged views on further cooperation.

(Issue Oct 2018)

Asian Games chooses Israeli app for official mobility E-mail

An Israeli startup’s app was chosen as the official mobility app for the recent Asian Games, which took place in Indonesia from 18 August to 2 September.

The Moovit app helped millions of fans get to sports competitions at the event by sending out notifications of all transit updates and changes and providing real-time transit arrivals and directions, as well as trip plans, service alerts and “Get Off” alerts. “Moovit has the most complete, up-to-date coverage of all modes of transit and lines in the two locations, Jakarta and Palembang, than any other provider,” the company said in a statement. Moovit had previously helped organise major sport events, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the UEFA Euro 2016.

Israel competed at the Asian Games five times, from 1954 to 1974. In 1981 the Asian Games Federation was replaced by the Olympic Council of Asia and for political reasons Israel was excluded, and a year later it was banned permanently. Palestinian athletes, however, remain on the roster.

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Dutch bakery to change its name E-mail

A bakery that was recently opened in Amsterdam under the name “Anne & Frank” will change its name following widespread online criticism. The bakery is located not far from the former hiding place of Holocaust victim Anne Frank and her family.

People posted thousands f angry comments on Twitter and other social networks, on which the bakery had tried to establish a presence for promotional reasons, the De Stentor daily reported.

Many found it tasteless of the owners to reference Anne Frank in the bakery’s name, which was written in an antiquated font on the bakery’s display window. Owner Roberto Barsoum removed all the words except “bakery” from the sign, and has said he will change the bakery’s official name with the Chamber of Commerce.

Barsoum told the Het Parool daily that he feared a backlash when his partner first suggested the name, but that he later found it too attractive to pass up. “I was afraid the name would cause anger, that people would think I was trying to exploit the name for commercial purposes,” he said. But later he reckoned “It’s a good name, a sign of protest. I Don’t think it’s an abuse personally of the Anne Frank name. And it’s such a small shop, it’s not like it will make anyone a millionaire.”

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