24 August 2014 - 28 Av 5774 - כ"ח אב ה' אלפים תשע"ד
Israel granted an ‘Observer Status’ of the Pacific Alliance E-mail

Israel has been accepted as an ‘observer state’ of the Pacific Alliance. The combined GNP of the Pacific Alliance member states amounts to over US$2 trillion and constitutes 36% of the GNP of Latin America.

It is the eighth largest economy in the world, accounts for 50% of Latin America’s trade and 26% of its foreign investments (over US$70 billion). Israel currently exports US$864 million worth of goods to the Pacific Alliance countries per annum, approximately 1% of Israel’s total exports.

The decision to accept Israel as an observer state was made in February at a Pacific Alliance summit in Cartagena, Colombia with the participation of the member state presidents. Israel joins the US and Canada among others as an observer state. Israel will be invited to take part in the staff work of the Pacific alliance and attend its conferences, which will facilitate the advancement of cooperation with its member states.

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A 12-day seminar for South Korean educators at the International School for Holocaust Studies of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, was held in January. A group of some 20 educators, among them teachers, principals and administrators, participated in a comprehensive programme designed specifically for them.

This is the first time the school has hosted a South Korean delegation. While at Yad Vashem, participants attended lectures and discussions on Holocaust history. The delegation also met with Holocaust survivors.

“Over the past few years, we have seen growing interest in the Holocaust around the world, including in countries geographically far from the events themselves,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem.

“The seminar for educators from South Korea joins others we have held recently for Asian educators from China and India. I welcome the increasing significance of Holocaust education in Korea, and pleased that we are able to host this first group of educators at our school,” Shalev added.

Participants also toured Jerusalem and other areas in Israel. The seminar was made possible by the support of the Adelson Family Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel.

The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem was founded two decades ago to provide Holocaust education to a broad audience. The school conducts dozens of seminars annually for educators from around the world, and produces educational material in over 20 different languages.

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Israel’s economy minister visits Indonesia E-mail

Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli Cabinet member to visit Indonesia in 10 years. Bennett was representing Israel at a conference of the World Trade Organization, held in December in Bali. Israel’s President Shimon Peres had visited Indonesia in 2000, when he was Minister of Regional Cooperation.

At the trade conference, which included representatives from countries including Canada, Mexico, Russia, Vietnam and India, Bennett stressed the importance of Israel expanding its free-trade relations and upgrading the free-trade agreements it has already signed.

Bennett also spoke at a conference event. “Economic ties can create bridges for peace,” Bennett said in his speech. “As minister of economy, I anxiously await the day I can sit down and sign free-trade agreements with all of Israel’s neighbours, as well as other Arab and Muslim states in the wider region.”

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Sri Lankan president makes landmark visit to Israel E-mail

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a historic visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month. President Rajapaksa is his country’s first head of state to come to Israel since both countries gained independence in 1948.

In welcoming his Sri Lankan counterpart to his residence, Israel’s President Shimon Peres hailed him as a great leader who was successful in bringing peace, reconciliation and restoration to his people, “which is not a small achievement.”

President Rajapaksa came to Israel to broaden and deepen political and economic ties between the two states. Following a reception in his honour, the presidents held a working meeting during which they discussed the peace process, economic projects, and the strengthening of cooperation between Israel and Sri Lanka in the fields of agriculture, water management, hi-tech and innovation.

President Rajapaksa noted he is the first president of his country to visit Israel. “When we received our independence in 1948, diplomatic relations began to be formed between our countries, and Israel was one of the first states with which we established diplomatic relations.”

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Workshop on tourism held in Vietnam Print E-mail

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Israel, Israel’s embassy in Vietnam held the first workshop on Israeli tourism on 4-5 December, under the theme: Israel – the Unique Destination, held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The seminar was an opportunity to introduce Israel’s rich cultural and varied tourism spots and a platform to exchange business cooperation between tour organisers of the two countries. In recent years, the number of Vietnamese tourists to Israel has significantly increased from a few hundred in 2008 to around 3000 visitors in 2012.

(Issue February 2014)


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