JTA NEWS
1 March 2015 - 10 AdarI 5775 - י' אדר ה' אלפים תשע"ה
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Israel’s Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes first official visit to Myanmar E-mail

Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzachi Hanegbi, conducted an official visit to Myanmar from 27-29 August 2014. This was the first official visit of its kind in 35 years by a senior Israeli official since the visit by then Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan in 1979.

Myanmar has a friendly and long standing relationship with Israel, beginning in the 1950’s, when Burma’s Prime Minister U Nu visited Israel (1959) and Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reciprocated (1961).

In recent years, Myanmar is undergoing a process of democratization and national reconciliation, aimed at ending the conflicts between different ethnic groups. Myanmar, currently Chair of ASEAN, is developing its economy at an intensive pace, making it known in economic circles as the most recent “Tiger” of South East Asia. It has thus become an attractive destination for investors, including companies and businessmen from Israel.

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Shanghai unveils memorial to Jewish refugees E-mail

A memorial to the more than 13,700 Jews who fled Europe to safety in Shanghai during the Holocaust was unveiled at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.

The memorial was unveiled on 2 September in a public ceremony. It includes a statue of six Jewish refugees, symbolising the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, and a 110-foot-long copper wall inscribed with the names of the Jewish people known to have taken refuge in Shanghai.

Museum curator Chen Jian calls it “Shanghai’s List” — nod to Steven Spielberg’s iconic film “Schindler’s List” according to the Shanghai Daily. The names were collected by the museum with help from surviving refugees and the Israel Consulate in Shanghai.

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Illegal drugs found in the Philippines bound for Israel E-mail

Two parcels containing illegal drugs which were supposed to be sent to Israel were intercepted by antinarcotics agents in a warehouse of an express courier service in Pasig City, Manila.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives seized two plastic packages on 11 September containing 12 sachets of 'shabu’, or methamphetamine hydrochloride, weighing 120 grams.

Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr., PDEA director general, said that “a representative of the unnamed courier service sought the agency’s help after the company discovered the two outbound parcels.” Cacdac said the agents immediately went to the warehouse of the courier service on Brickstone Street in Barangay (village) Kapitolyo .

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Fashion retailer Zara pulls Holocaust – style T-shirt from stores E-mail

Spanish fashion retailer Zara has been in the news for the wrong reasons, especially on social media. Tweets aimed at the company lambasted it for producing a child’s sheriff star shirt that resembled the uniform worn by Jews in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The company of course apologised and the shirt was immediately pulled from its online catalogue and stores.

Negative comments began to build on social media regarding T-shirt design. According to 972mag.com the shirt was available in Zara’s Israeli, French, Albanian and Swedish online stores. It was also being sold in the UK, for children up to the age of three. The shirt had horizontal stripes, rather than the vertical ones found on the uniform the Nazis imposed on Jewish people during the Holocaust.

The word “sheriff” was also dimly viewable on the star. However, the combination of stripes and a yellow star angered many on social media.

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ISRAEL GAZA CONFLICT COMES TO THE STREETS OF ASIA WITH RALLIES AND MARCHES E-mail

With a cease-fire in effect as of 26 August, the 12th in the 50 days of conflict, of which, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, previous ones have been broken by Hamas, perhaps the streets of both Gaza and Israel will remain quiet for some time and cautious optimism will prevail.

Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted as saying that, “While Hamas was not knocked out, it was delivered a severe blow that could very well be the beginning of the end of its control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas started this round with 10,000 rockets, and is now estimated to possess between 2,000 and 3,000.

“It started with Hamas possessing some 32 attack tunnels leading into Israel, and the army destroyed all the ones it had identified. And Hamas has had hundreds of fighters, including commanders, killed,” explained Steinitz.

“Hamas destroyed Gaza, harmed itself, and didn’t achieve anything,” he added. “Hamas knows the truth, they can celebrate, but they know the truth,” concluded Steinitz.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas and other terrorists organisations in Gaza prompted many sympathy groups to spring up in the region to rally in support and solidarity of the Gazan people. Spurred on by the many hundreds of civilian lives lost and partly fuelled by other rallies taking place in around the world, as well large Muslim populations in Asia.

Over the past few months, nearly every country in Asia organised solidarity marches in support of the people of Gaza and the Palestinians.

A rally event was organised in Singapore, held at Hong Lim Park on 28 July. More than 1000 people gathered, organised by Muhd Firdaus Bin Marzuki, founder of the facebook group, From Singapore to Palestine (FS2P). Mr Firdaus created the fanpage in 2012 to create awareness in Singapore about the situation in Palestine. A total of eight speakers voiced concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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