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21 May 2019 - 17 Iyyar 5779 - י"ז אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ט
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China Southern Airlines to fly to Tel Aviv E-mail

China Southern Airlines is to launch Tel Aviv – Guangzhou flights starting 2 April.

The Chinese carrier will operate three weekly flights, using an Airbus 330 with 260 seats, between Ben Gurion airport and Guangzhou (Canton).

The flights will replace the Tel Aviv – Guangzhou flights of Hainan Airlines, which is halting the route on 22 February and replacing it with flights between Tel Aviv and Shenzhen, near Guangzhou.

China Southern will be the fourth Chinese airline to fly to and from Israel, joining Hainan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Sichuan Airlines.

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Philippines looking to acquire more defence systems Print E-mail

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that the Philippines will acquire more missiles from Israel.

The Department of National Defense will be purchasing a Surface-to-air Python and Derby (SPYDER) mobile-air defence system from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, according to a report from the state-run Philippines News Agency. Lorenzana, however, said that he does not yet know the exact number of missile launchers that the Government will be acquiring.

Last year, the Philippine Navy also acquired Israelimade Spike ER (Extended Range) surface-to-surface missiles, which were installed on its multi-purpose attack craft. The Navy tested the effectiveness of the missiles in a naval drill off Limay, Bataan, in August 2018. The Israeli-Er missile system installed on the Navy’s gunboat accurately neutralised its target from a distance of six kilometres.

(Issue Mar 2019)

 
Swastikas painted on iconic Bondi Beach murals E-mail

Late at night on 9 February, vandals painted dozens of swastikas on the worldfamous murals decorating the promenade of Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. Earlymorning walkers and joggers alerted authorities to the vandalism the next morning.

The Jewish Agency for Israel head Isaac Herzog called the incident “a hateful attack” that “does not conform with Australian values of openness and inclusion”.

Municipal staff worked through the day to remove the swastikas, but some of the artwork will have to be repainted. Surveillance cameras are in use at the beach, but are primarily used to monitor those who decide to have a night-time swim. New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger condemned the vandalism, saying: “To say that the Jewish community is appalled at this expression of wanton racism is a severe understatement. The swastika represents the ultimate in race hatred, and all Australians of goodwill will stand together in condemning this shocking display.”

Local Mayor John Wakefield commented: “Five murals were defaced. Council have removed all symbols from the murals and at least one has to be completely redone.”

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JAPANESE MINISTER OF ECONOMY VISITS ISRAEL WITH BUSINESS DELEGATION E-mail
In a week-long trip in January, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Sekō led the largest-ever delegation of Japanese businessmen to visit Israel. Well over 90 representatives of major companies, including top executives from Mitsubishi, Toshiba and Hitachi, participated in the trip.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen met with Minister Hiroshige Sekō on 15 January. This was the Japanese minister’s third visit to Israel in the past four years, and was an additional milestone in the deepening of bilateral economic relations and commercial co-operation between the two countries.

“There’s been a tremendous increase in Japanese investments in Israel. In the last few years, Japanese investments in Israel have grown by a factor of 120. Last time I spoke it was 44 times bigger. It’s growing at an astronomical rate. Actually, it’s worth five billion dollars today, but it is growing very rapidly,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“Our relationship is a natural one. Prime Minister Abe and I agreed that we have to upgrade the economic relations, and this visit is part of that. I welcome you and your colleagues. We want to see more trade, more tourism, more investments in both directions. Welcome to Israel,” added Netanyahu. Some executives from Japanese corporations also met with Netanyahu.

During the visit, the two economy ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding about digital health and the advancement of bilateral co-operation in cyber and the automotive industry. In all, the two nations set up a total of six agreements. “We are starting to see the fruits of strengthening the economy between Japan and Israel,” Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said at a meeting of the Japan Israel Innovation Network (JINN) Business Forum, during which the accords were signed. The business forum was set up in May 2017 to promote economic co-operation.

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North Korea ordered to pay compensation to US family after student’s death E-mail

A US court has ordered North Korea to pay US$501 million to the family of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old Jewish student who died in 2016 after being imprisoned there. 

In December, a District Court judge in Washington, D.C., awarded the Warmbiers approximately half the US$1.05 billion they had requested in their punitive damages lawsuit in April 2018.

Warmbier had been travelling to Hong Kong for a studyabroad programme when he decided to visit North Korea on a guided tour. While visiting that country in January 2016, he was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner. He was imprisoned by the North Korean government and suffered severe brain damage, but there were no external signs of physical trauma.

In June 2017, Warmbier was evacuated in a coma and was taken home to his family in Cincinnati. He died six days later in hospital. A North Korean spokesman denied that Otto Warmbier had been tortured while in custody, Fox News reported. 

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