29 June 2016 - 23 Sivan 5776 - כ"ג סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ו

In a further move to expand existing agricultural trade and research opportunities between Israel and China, Israel’s Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and China’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Yu Xinrong have signed a joint action plan for future collaborations, in the hope of doubling agricultural trade volume between the two nations over the next five years.

The signing ceremony took place on 19 November at the Israeli Agriculture Ministry in the presence of China’s Vice Prime Minister Wang Yang. This was a follow-up to an August meeting between the Israeli and Chinese agriculture ministers in Beijing.

The joint action plan aims to promote co-operation between the two nations in the sector, specifically focusing on bilateral trade, knowledge exchanges and collaborative research projects, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry explained.

“We are excited about the economic and trade co-operation between Israel and China,” Minister Ariel said. “There are many successes, but it is not enough. There is more to do to broaden the bilateral ties, and the purpose of this meeting was to advance further achievements. Let us increase our exports to Asia and, thereby, help farmers, as well as limit the European boycott.”

By continually strengthening co-operation, the action plan aims to speed up agricultural trade volume between China and Israel to US$450 million by 2020. According to Itzik BenDavid, the Agriculture Ministry’s deputy director-general for foreign trade and international relations, Israel is currently exporting about US$60 million worth of food products to China and about US$2.5 billion worth of food products globally. It imports about US$180million worth of food products from China, and about US$5.5 billion worth of food products from the rest of the world.

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Indonesian journalists visit the Knesset E-mail

Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, but that did not stop five respected Indonesian journalists from joining two Thai counterparts on a five-day fact-finding study visit sponsored by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affair Council’s (AIJAC) Rambam Program in October.

The group’s itinerary included a visit to Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset and a discussion with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, meetings with sever al Israeli journalists and a briefing by Jerusalem Post’ s Palestinian Affairs reporter Khaled Abu-Toameh, a close look at Israel’s startup business culture, and a security briefing along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria.

Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. The Indonesian journalists, most of who were Muslims, also appreciated the chance to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as a new mosque in the Israeli Arab village of Abu Gosh.

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Sri Lanka’s new ambassador to deepen bilateral relations E-mail

Israel and Sri Lanka expect to further deepen and strengthen the existing bilateral relations between the two countries, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said recently.

The two countries agreed to enhance close relations when the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Israel, Periyasamy Pillai Selvaraj, presented his credentials to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at a ceremony held on 2 November at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The ambassador, escorted by a motorcade, was welcomed upon his arrival at the President’s Residence with a Guard of Honour and the playing of the National Anthems of both countries.

Following the presentation of credentials, the Israeli President warmly welcomed the new Ambassador and wished him every success in his new assignment as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Israel.

In his remarks, Ambassador Selvaraj conveyed the warm greetings and best wishes of President Maithripala Sirisena, and those were warmly reciprocated.

President Rivlin said the existing bilateral relations between Israel and Sri Lanka are excellent and expressed the confidence that the relations would be further deepened and strengthened during the tenure of the ambassador.

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Halloween shoppers protest E-mail

US retail giant Walmart halted sales of its Israeli soldier costume after consumers protested against the product, The New York Times reported. Some of the shoppers accused Walmart of selling an “apartheid army” costume, leading Walmart’s management to stop offering the Halloween special, according to the report.

The picture accompanying the product showed a costumed child holding a toy Uzi, although the costume did not include the replica gun. Several Muslim groups in the US threatened to end their commercial ties with Walmart and launch a boycott over the costume.

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“Hello Israel!” competition in Shanghai E-mail

Hosted by the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai and the International Education Association Shanghai, and cohosted by Shanghai Jing’an District Education Bureau, the 2015 “Anemone Cup” Innovative Drama Competition for Shanghai High School Students was held on 22 November at the Jing’an Youth Activity Center.

About 500 people, including government officials and high-school students, watched the competition. The theme of the competition was “Hello, Israel!”. In all, 24 students from eight high schools in Jing’an District participated.

They devised eight original dramas to express their understanding of Israel and its history, advanced technology and innovative ideas.

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