2 July 2015 - 15 Tammuz 5775 - ט"ו תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ה

Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett launched the flagship ‘Water City’ project in China on 25 November, announcing that the city of Shougang in Shandong province would be the focus of Israel’s water-related activities in the country.

The announcement was made in the presence of Chinese municipal officials during Minister Bennett’s current visit to China. The minister was in China to head a business delegation with representatives of 15 Israeli companies seeking opportunities for Israeli water technologies.

Israel is considered a leading industry player in water technologies and the ‘Water City’ initiative is a first-of-itskind enterprise supported by the joint Israel-China Mission entrusted with advancing bilateral economic ties.

The minister’s visit is the high point of an ongoing process led by the Israeli Ministry of Economy through its trade attachés in China. The attachés are working with Chinese authorities to advance Israeli companies and incorporate Israeli technology in the country’s massive water system.

China faces many challenges including rapid population growth and widespread contamination of the country’s water resources. Beijing is therefore “thirsty” for Israeli solutions.

Israeli water technologies will be implemented in the project in Shougang for commercial use, which will showcase solutions offered by Israeli companies in real-world conditions in an effort to persuade Chinese authorities to adopt these solutions in other Chinese cities. The city of Shougang will enjoy technologies offered in the fields of desalination, sewage management, irrigation, reuse of water for agricultural purposes and water supply maintenance.

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More B’nei Menashe make aliyah to Israel E-mail

Another fifty B’nei Menashe immigrants have recently arrived from India to Israel, bringing the total number of community members to make aliyah in 2014 to 500 – the most ever so far. A further 200 are also expected to arrive this December.

The B’nei Menashe claim descent from the tribe of Menashe (or Manasseh), one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel which were exiled by the Assyrian empire after the death of King Solomon more than 2,700 years ago.

The immigrants were brought to Israel by Shavei Israel, an organisation that assists lost Jews throughout the world and helps with absorption and aliya programmes. The organisation received permission from the Israeli government last October to bring around 900 descendants to the Jewish state by 2015.

Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund thanked the Israeli government for bringing the B’ nei Menashe home. “The return of the Lost Tribe of B’nei Menashe to Zion after 2,700 years of exile is a modern-day miracle,” Freund stated. “It is a testament to the determination and resolve of the people of Israel to come home again.”

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Israel marks China’s 65th National Day E-mail

Hundreds of people gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv on 26 October 2014 to celebrate China’s 65th National Day, together with Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping.

At the reception, President Reuven Rivlin spoke warmly of Israel’s relationship with China, and stressed Israel’s great appreciation for China. In her address, Gao Yanping said: “In recent years, we have seen increasingly frequent exchanges at all levels and fruitful cooperation in various fields between China and Israel”.

“Three state leaders and members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China have paid their visits to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then former President Shimon Peres have also visited China,” Ambassador Gao added.

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German church to become a synagogue E-mail

A Protestant church building in Germany, which was put up for sale, has been purchased by the local Jewish community in the town of Cottbus, southeast of Berlin, in a bid to turn it into a synagogue.

In an official ceremony in November, Ulrike Menzel, who heads the Protestant Church of Cottbus, handed over the keys of the compound to its new owners. “We are extremely pleased,” Solomonik Max, one of the leaders of the local Jewish community, told the Daily Bild newspaper. The community has so far been holding its services on rented premises.

According to local media reports, the region of Brandenburg, which includes the city of Cottbus, decided to finance much of the purchase of the church building for the community. Markus Dröge, the region’s pastor, said he saw the purchase as “a sign of hope after the tragic Nazi period in which the church had shown too little resistance.”

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Jewish boy attacked in New Zealand E-mail

A four-year-old Jewish New Zealand boy was attacked last month by a group of men while he walked home from his pre-school.

According to a report in The New Zealand Herald, the boy was left traumatized after being attacked by a man who hit him hard on the top of his head in front of his mother, brother and a friend. The incident took place in what the paper described as an upscale Auckland suburb of Mt. Eden. The paper cited New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman as saying the attacker was a man in his 20s of Middle Eastern appearance, and the man reportedly laughed as he left the scene with four others.

Head of the New Zealand Jewish group said the attack appeared to be a hate crime racially motivated as both the boy and his friend were wearing kippas and are ultra-Orthodox Jews. The boy’s mother notified police who are now working to make an arrest. Goodman said he believed this anti-Semitic hate crime on a defenseless boy would come as a shock to many New Zealanders.

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