25 March 2017 - 27 Adar 5777 - כ"ז אדר ה' אלפים תשע"ז
Chinese-speaking tour guides E-mail

With Chinese tourism to Israel increasing, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is looking to university students to fill its lack of Chinese-speaking tour guides.

The ministry is offering a grant of nearly US$4,000 to each undergraduate or graduate student of East Asia Studies who undergoes the rigorous tour-guide course and becomes licensed to lead Chinese groups.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry reports that tourism from China grew 43% from 2014 to 2015. It estimates that 100,000 residents of China will visit Israel by 2018.

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Israeli embassy in Vietnam carries out humanitarian mission E-mail

Israel’s embassy in Vietnam, together with the local Family Medical Practice network, recently carried out a seven-day humanitarian mission to one of the country’s poorest areas.

A multinational team comprised of over 120 doctors, nurses and logistics personnel travelled to Kon Tum to offer free medical care and medications, guide the local medical staff in family medicine, provide a modern ultrasound machine to the Kong Plong district hospital, and distribute basic food products and clothing.

The mission, founded by Dr Rafi Kot, touched the lives of over 8,000 people through the provision of essential medical and basic care.

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Holocaust-denying leaflets distributed on university campuses E-mail

Leaflets claiming that the Holocaust never happened were distributed at Australian universities in September. They have been referred to university authorities for investigation, and have led to calls for tougher action against racism on university campuses.

The leaflets asserted that the Nazi genocide against Jewish and other communities during WWII never occurred, and that historical evidence of the Holocaust is “the greatest swindle of all time”. Michael Fisher, national chairman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, called the distribution of the leaflets “part of a co-ordinated campaign aimed at intimidating Jewish students and academics”.

“Although the leaflets are closely similar to one another in content and appearance, they have appeared in three slightly different forms, suggesting that there have been three separate print runs,” he said.

Fisher described the leaflets as “toxic propaganda” and “a contemptible attempt to abuse and isolate Jewish students and staff, many of whom lost family in the Holocaust and whose grandparents in Australia are survivors of the genocide”. Fisher identified “neo-Nazi groups” as the most likely authors and distributors of the leaflets.

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Israel has honoured Japan’s “Schindler”, diplomat Chiune Sugihara, by naming a street in Netanya after him.

The Mayor of Netanya, Miriam Fierberg-Ikar, unveiled the new street sign in an official ceremony on 8 June in the presence of Sugihara’s son, Nobuki Sugihara. Ahead of the ceremony, he met with about 50 local residents who survived thanks to his father.

During WWII, Chiune Sugihara was a Vice Consul at a Japanese consulate in Lithuania. Against his government’s orders, he helped about 6,000 desperate Jews to escape the war-torn country, the advancing Nazis and almost certain death.

Sugihara began issuing the visas in late July 1940, writing them day and night until he closed the consulate about a month later. Even as he left, he was writing visas and handing them out the window as his train pulled away, bowing and apologising to those who still remained on the platform. Within a year, almost all the Jews in Lithuania had been killed.

Netanya is known as a place where many Jewish people arrived after fleeing from the oppression thanks to visas issued by Sugihara. The plan to build the street marks 30 years since Sugihara’s death.

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Israeli soccer star completes record transfer to Chinese club E-mail

Eran Zahavi completed his record move to Chinese club Guangzhou R&F on 29 June and leaving behind a massive void for his club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi will receive US$8 million for Zahavi, the most lucrative transfer ever involving an Israeli club. The 28-year-old will earn an estimated US$12.5 million over the next twoand-a-half years, as well as a US$20,000 bonus for each goal he scores.

Zahavi’s move to Guangzhou looked to be all but complete many weeks ago when the clubs agreed on the transfer fee. However, with his trip to China being delayed by visa and contractual issues, Maccabi made Zahavi an improved offer and he was considering not boarding his flight to Guangzhou. He eventually decided to make the trip after Maccabi refused to meet all of his demands.

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