30 March 2015 - 10 Nisan 5775 - י' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ה

A major disaster relief operation recently took place in Nepal, where many hundreds of hikers were trapped. More than four feet of snow fell around the Annapurna trekking route in the Annapurna mountain range of the Himalaya’s on 14-15 October.

At that time bad weather was linked to cyclone Hudhud, which made landfall on the eastern coast of India. Mount Annapurna is the world’s 10thhighest peak and one of the most popular high-altitude treks in Nepal.

Around 400 people had been stranded; half of them were foreigners, according to local reports. Over 220 people had been rescued. Locals and international tourists were among 39 people known to have died. The Nepal Army has now ended its rescue operations.

“The last rescue helicopters hovered over Mustang, Manang and Dolpa districts on 20 October,” said Yadav Koirala, Nepal’s Disaster Management Division. “All the casualties were in those three districts northwest of the capital, Kathmandu. We believe that all the trekkers and guides have been helped and as far as we know there are no more people stranded on the route,’ Koirala added. He also relayed a message that some soldiers would remain camped out in the area.

Those familiar with the location and the route commented that the deaths of so many trekkers on this route was unprecedented. Thousands of foreigners usually attempt to trek the circuit in October, which is considered a favourable month for climbing and is not generally known for severe weather .

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Benjamin Netanyahu meets with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi E-mail

In a rare meeting on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, this September, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

They discussed a wide range of issues including defence cooperation and the situation created by the Islamic State (IS) in West Asia.

During the 30-minute meeting, Netanyahu invited Modi to visit Israel soon. Modi had come to Israel in his capacity as Chief Minister of Gurajat province, earlier this year, a position he held since 2001.

One of the main topics of discussion related to cyberdefence, India is focusing on building its own cyber-defense systems, in collaboration with other countries including the US and UK.

While in New York, Modi discussed this topic and other security issues during a subsequent meeting with US President Barack Obama.

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China appoints new Middle East special envoy E-mail

China’s new special envoy on Middle East affairs, Gong Xiaosheng, made his first visit to Israel in September.

In Jerusalem, he met with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.

Gong emphasized that the Chinese government attaches great importance to developing friendly and cooperative ChinaIsrael relations.

“We hope that through our efforts and visits, we can make some contribution to peace in the Middle East and promote negotiations and a political settlement,” he said.

Livni and Hanegbi said Israel considers its relationship with China to be of great importance. They expressed appreciation for China’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and said they hoped China would

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Israel to open embassy in Lithuania E-mail

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has announced that it is due to open an embassy in Lithuania.

The new embassy is expected to be operational in January 2015, and is an expression of the significant strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, made a recent visit to Lithuania and met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Algridas Butkevicius and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.

At his meeting with Foreign Minister Linkevicius, Lieberman announced the opening of an Israeli embassy in Vilnius. Foreign Minister Lieberman stated that relations between Israel and Lithuania have strengthened in recent years, a fact that has been expressed in many areas. These include the inauguration of a Tel Aviv-Vilnius airline route, a substantial increase in tourism, the development and strengthening of economic and business ties between the two countries in the fields of high-tech, technology and medicine and the relationship between the two nations. Over 150 representatives from 60 Israeli companies recently participating in The Life Sciences Baltics conference.

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A large gathering of guests, local government representatives and Chabad emissaries from Asia attended the re-opening of Chabad of Mumbai’s headquarters, also known as Nariman House, on 26 August. They assembled at the restored six-story building, which will also house Mumbai’s first memorial to the victims of the horrific terror attacks that took place eight years ago.

On 26 November, 2008, Pakistani militants descended upon Mumbai from boats, besieging the city in a three-day rampage that left more than 100 people dead. Gunmen targeted hotels, a hospital, and a restaurant in the Indian finance capital, and took the Chabad House hostage.

It resulted in the killing of the rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka and four visitors who were staying at the house. The Holtzberg’s 7-year-old son, who was rescued by his nanny during the bloodshed, now lives with her at his grandparents’ home in Israel. It was decided that attending the event would be too traumatic for him.

“Today, as we look to the future, our message is one of perseverance and unshakable belief in the power of light over darkness,” said Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky, who now co-directs Chabad of Mumbai together with his wife, Chaya.

The official reopening also serves as the starting point for the next phase of reconstruction. A planned US$2.5 million museum is to be built where the Holtzbergs lived and on the floor where most of the murders took place.

“For reasons we will never know and never fathom, six pious people along with 158 others were torn from our grasp in the most barbaric and inhuman of ways,” Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the ChabadLubavitch movement, said during the ceremony. “Today, we fulfill a promise which was made at the funeral of Rabbi Gabi, that we would rebuild.”

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