JTA NEWS
21 May 2019 - 17 Iyyar 5779 - י"ז אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ט
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EU to map and protect cemeteries in Eastern Europe E-mail
In January, the European Union (EU) awarded close to US$1 million to a project that aims to map and survey at least 1,500 Jewish cemeteries in the continent’s east. 
 
The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) announced the EU tender. Since the group’s establishment in 2015 with a grant from the German Government, it has helped protect over 120 Jewish cemeteries in seven Central and Eastern European countries. 
 
The mapping process will use state-of-the-art technology especially designed for the project. Around the cemeteries that ESJF maps and demarcates, the organisation typically sets up perimeter fences that it says dramatically reduce the risks to the sites. Eastern and Central Europe have well over 10,000 Jewish cemeteries facing various degrees of risk. 
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Israel ranks as world’s third-most-educated country E-mail

According to 2017 data recently released, compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel has outranked US and South Korea for the percentage of citizens aged 25-64 holding a degree in higher education, whether academic or vocational. 

OECD calculated the percentage of each country’s population between the ages of 25 and 64 who have completed a twoor four-year degree beyond high school – including both academic and vocational programmes. 

The data shows that 50.9% of Israelis in the target age bracket have a higher-education degree. The report noted that Jewish Israelis enter college at a later age than most Western counterparts because most serve in the military for at least two years after high school. 

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Israel’s Knesset approves exports of medical marijuana E-mail

As widely anticipated, Israel’s Parliament (Knesset) has unanimously approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana, allowing Israel to tap the lucrative global market. 

The government’s announcement of the decision in late December means that Israel will become the third country, after the Netherlands and Canada, to take its medical cannabis global.

The Israeli medical cannabis company iCAN predicts that the value of the global industry will reach US$33 billion in the next five years, as stigma fades and demand grows for the few countries certified to export. 

“Israel, already the most advanced nation in cannabis R&D, will now be able to produce and market cannabis and cannabis-based products that will help millions of people suffering from illnesses including cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, epilepsy and PTSD, to name just a few,” noted Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN. “We are proud of our forward-thinking government and will continue to work together to build the industry and help patients worldwide to access safe, quality medical cannabis,” he added. 

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SOUTH KOREAN DELEGATION MEETS WITH GROUPS AIDING IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION E-mail

A four-person delegation from the South Korean Ministry of Unification, the government office that is preparing to handle the possible future unification of the Koreas, visited Israel in November.

As reported by the Jerusalem Post, the representatives from the South Korean ministry were seeking to learn about methods for effectively assisting in the integration of immigrants.

To that end, they met with representatives from a variety of organisations during their fact-finding trip, including Nefesh B’ Nefesh, a non-profit organisation that promotes, encourages and facilitates Aliyah – literally meaning “to help Jewish people from the diaspora to immigrate to Israel”. The organisation aims to remove or minimise the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles that potential citizens may face.

Members of the delegation included the leader, Ms Kim Yoojin, director of the PolicyPlanning Division; Mr Kuem Sungho, deputy director and lawyer of the Policy-Planning Division; Mr Kang Heechan, deputy director of the Policy Coordination Division, and Ms Lee Sangmi of the Policy-Planning Division.

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Chinese enterprise association established in Israel E-mail

Top Chinese companies active in Israel recently launched an organisation to represent them in dealing with local authorities.

The official objective of the organisation, the Chinese Enterprises Association in Israel (CEAI), is “to promote and develop economic and commercial relations between its companies and organisations and government institutions in Israel”.

CEAI president George Guan said: “In addition to tightening relations between CEAI member companies, our goal is to be a bridge between CEAI and various concerns in Israel. We regard commercial relations with Israel as an important longterm partnership.”

An unofficial aim is to combat campaigns being conducted against the growing presence of Chinese companies in Israel in general and in particular infrastructure contracts. Sources close to CEAI explained that its founding is linked to the recent visit by the Chinese vice president to Israel in October.

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