6 March 2015 - 15 AdarI 5775 - ט"ו אדר ה' אלפים תשע"ה
Reuven Rivlin is elected Israel’s 10th president E-mail

On 10 June, Reuven Rivlin was elected by the Knesset – Israel’s parliament to serve as Israel’s tenth president. He will assume office on 24 July.

Rivlin was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is a lawyer by profession and holds an L.L.B. degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Amongst many civil positions, he served as legal adviser, chairman and team manager of the Betar Jerusalem Sports Association. He was a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. He also served as Chairman of the Likud Organisation (19881993) and as Chairman of the Jerusalem Branch of the Herut Movement (from 1986).

Rivlin was first elected to the Knesset in 1988, and has since then served on a wide range of Knesset committees. Most notably, Foreign Affairs and Defense; Constitution, Law and Justice; State Control; Education and Culture; and Advancement of the Status of Women.

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The wider expatriate community at large, local residents and the small Jewish community of Pnom Penh, Cambodia are still in deep shock and awe of the recent double murder of Dutch national’s Daphna Beerdsen and her nineteenth month-old daughter Dana.

Beerdsen, 31, was killed on 28 April by an intruder who entered her home in Chamkarmon district while attempting to steal a bicycle. When she shouted for help, the suspect lashed out with a screwdriver, fatally stabbing her six times, Cambodia’s police officials said in a statement.

While the intruder was attacking Beerdsen he also attacked her daughter injuring her very seriously. With life threatening injuries Dana was airlifted to hospital in Thailand on 29 April. She was taken to Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital for treatment before being airlifted to Bangkok General Hospital. Following a series of operations to save her life to reducing swelling on her brain she passed away peacefully on 8 May.

The suspect, 35-year-old Chea Pin, has been charged with intentional murder with aggravating circumstances at the court of first instance, according to Heang Sopheak, the court’s vice prosecutor. Pin has been remanded in custody and is awaiting trial at Prey Sar prison.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said, “that he confessed to the police and acted as a lone thief, and we found the laptop and mobile phone of the victim [with him]. There is no other suspect to be arrested.” Pin was a homeless man living in Wat Than pagoda near the house where the Beerdsen family lived, just a few hundred metres. The man had been imprisoned twice before on charges of theft in 1997 and 2007.

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Planned attacks on US, Israeli consulates in India E-mail

In a recent report published in May by The Times of India, Pakistani security services planned to carry out terror attacks on a US and an Israeli consulate in India, Indian security agencies said.

Information about the attack was given to Indian security services by a Sri Lankan national allegedly hired by Pakistani officials as part of the plan during an interrogation.

The Sri Lankan, Sakir Hussain, said Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency planned to attack the US consulate in Chennai and the Israeli consulate in Bangalore.

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Israel’s first ambassador to China dies E-mail

Zev Sufott, a British-born diplomat who served as Israel’s first ambassador to China died on 18 April in Tel Aviv following a battle with cancer. He was 86.

“He was a pioneer,” said Reuven Merhav, who, as Israel’s former director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recruited Sufott for his first China post as a “Special Advisor” in 1991.

When Israel established full diplomatic relations with China in 1992, Sufott was appointed ambassador. “Forty years after first learning Chinese he saw this as the closing of an historic circle,” said Merhav, who served as Israel’s Consul General in Hong Kong.

A native of Liverpool, UK, Sufott was wounded in battle during Israel’s War of Independence. In 1950, he joined Israel’s Foreign Ministry, where he served in various posts in a career that spanned more than 40 years.

His assignments included tours in Washington, DC (First Secretary and Counselor); London (Consul General); and the Netherlands (Ambassador). Sufott also served in the Foreign Ministry as Deputy Director for Europe. In 1990, after concluding his tenure in the Netherlands and nearing retirement, Sufott, then 63, was informed by Merhav that Israel was set to open a Liaison Office of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Beijing.

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Tourist caught smuggling gold and diamonds Print E-mail

An Indian national was arrested in Israel for allegedly smuggling diamonds and gold worth hundreds of thousands of dollars hidden in his underwear, Israel Hayom newspaper reported.

The diamonds were recovered from an Indian tourist by the custom officials, during a routine inspection at the Jordan river border crossing area an international border between Israel and Jordan.

“Gold was found in the man’s toothbrush container and luggage, while a bundle of wrapped diamonds weighing 150 carats was found in his underwear,” the customs official said.

The unnamed man admitted to his plan of selling the diamonds once he was in Israel. All of the diamonds in his possession were undocumented, despite international conventions requiring such documentation to prevent trade in blood diamonds and money laundering, the report stated.

(Issue June 2014)

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