25 August 2016 - 21 Av 5776 - כ"א אב ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Nobel Prize laureates visit North Korea Print E-mail

Israeli Professor Aaron Ciechanover was one of three Nobel Prize winners who visited North Korea recently in an effort by the International Peace Foundation to promote “silent diplomacy”. The trip started on 29 April and ended on 6 May.

The Nobel laureates delivered speeches and held seminars at some of the North’s top schools.

“The events will not engage in rhetoric by making political statements,” according to the foundation. The goal was rather to foster engagement with North Koreans “to establish a dialogue which could contribute to a wider understanding beyond politics and power play,” said Chairman Uwe Morawetz, according to the Times of Israel.

(Issue May 2016)


Shimon Peres sends special greetings to Queen Elizabeth II E-mail

Former Israeli President Shimon Peres sent Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II a happy birthday video message telling her that “life begins at 90”.

The Queen’s 90th birthday took place on 21 April, although the official celebrations in the UK will be held in June. In September, Queen Elizabeth II became the country’s longest reigning monarch, after ascending to the throne at the age of 25.

Peres, who is 93, told the Queen in his message: “From my own experience I can tell you that in my judgmentlife begins at the age of 90, and they go up better and better. It is really a blessing not just a wish, a blessing to you, to us, that you will continue to guide, to inspire, to offer a smile, to the young and the old and make our lives different, despite all the problems and wars we went through. You are a great leader for the free world; you are a great hope for the coming generations. God bless you.”

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Zuckerberg pays US$700 for rights to domain name Print E-mail

Zuckerberg’s daughter is named Maxime Chan Zuckerberg, and Augustine reportedly acquired the domain name soon after the child was named, reports ScoopWhoop.

Augustine, a student at KMEA college in Kochi, India, apparently makes a habit of picking up domain names that he thinks will be relevant in the future. When GoDaddy sent Augustine an email asking him whether he was willing to sell the domain, he agreed and asked for US$700.

Only later did he realise that the domain name was being purchased by ICONIQ capital, which manages Mark Zuckerberg’s assets.

(Issue May 2016)


Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely revealed that Israel and Indonesia conducted secret negotiations, and that a representative of the Israeli Foreign Ministry recently visited the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta.

The statements were made in reply to a question in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) from MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) regarding the Israeli decision to prevent Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi from entering Ramallah in March.

Israeli authorities stopped Marsudi from entering Ramallah to visit the Palestinian Authority (PA). According to local Israeli media, the Israeli decision to prevent her entry was sparked when she refused to meet with Israeli government officials in Jerusalem.

Marsudi was travelling to Ramallah to dedicate an honorary Indonesian consulate to the PA and to meet Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and President Mahmoud Abbas.

Haaretz reported that if Marsudi visited Ramallah she would also need to meet with Israeli politicians in Jerusalem. While Israel, as a result of policy changes in recent years, does not allow foreign ministers from countries with which it has relations to visit the PA without also visiting Israeli officials, ministers from Arab and Muslim countries had previously been allowed to go to Ramallah only.

“There were secret communications with Indonesia, with which we have no diplomatic relations, and there were understandings that they crudely violated, and we therefore prevented her from entering,” said Hotovely in the Knesset. “It was a violation of the diplomatic code, and so the most honourable thing is to honour the code, and when you commit a violation, don’t be surprised that you are preventing yourself from visiting the Palestinian Authority.”

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Rabbi rescues Israeli backpackers in Nepal E-mail

On 16 March, Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz, who co-directs Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, joined the crew of a medical evacuation helicopter in Nepal to rescue two stranded Israeli backpackers who were suffering from hypothermia at an altitude of 15,500 feet.

Backpackers Maya Butbul and Sharon Nachumi were rescued from their predicament on a ridge in the Himalayas, 100 miles from the capital, Kathmandu.

The two women had messaged the rabbi an SOS signal with a satellite phone they had borrowed from a Chabad House in Kathmandu. “Hypothermia had set in, and every minute was precious,” Rabbi Lifshitz said.

Thanks to the Chilik Magnus rescue squad, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and fellow Israeli backpackers trained in first aid, the women were cared for until the chopper arrived. They were then taken from the Annapurna range in the Himalayas to a hospital in Kathmandu, where they received treatment.

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