31 March 2020 - 7 Nisan 5780 - ז' ניסן ה' אלפים תש"פ
More tourism agreements between Israel and China E-mail

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism signed an agreement in May with China’s online travel operator Ctrip to strengthen their tourism presence in the Chinese market.

More cooperation will be carried out between the two sides, mainly in terms of itineraries, data collection, and marketing to attract Chinese travellers.

Some 55,000 Chinese visited Israel during the first four months of 2019, marking a 70% increase year on year, according to the data released by the Ministry of Tourism of Israel. This is a promising start; in 2018, 105,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel, which was over a 100% increase from 2015.

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Russia unveils first Holocaust monument in Moscow E-mail

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the unveiling of a memorial on 4 June at Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.

The monument, depicting hands pulling open a door’s shutters, commemorates Jewish resistance fighters.

“Although about half of the victims of the Holocaust were citizens of our country, Moscow had no separate monument for the genocide,” Herman Zakharyayev, the president of the STMEGI association of Mountain Jews, told the Moskvich magazine.

Holocaust and a plaque for the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” he acknowledged.

“But it had no prominent monument to match those of Berlin, Warsaw or Budapest.”

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The already prosperous economic ties between Vietnam and Israel seem to be strengthening, with both governments confirming that a bilateral free-trade agreement is under negotiation and could raise the two-way trade deal to an estimated worth of US$3 billion.

Diplomatic relations have grown steadily since Israel’s President Reuvan Rivlin made a state visit to Vietnam in March 2017.

The latest initiative was a joint roundtable conference on business and investment opportunities in Vietnam, which was held in Tel-Aviv on 22 May. A total of 30 companies participated. Sabine Segal, Deputy Director General for International Business Affairs at the Israel Export Institute, said the conference was an initiative of the Vietnamese embassy. It is intended as an effort to help Israeli firms study the Vietnamese market and its opportunities. Highlighting the growth of the two countries’ economic trade and investment relations, she stressed the importance for yet more bilateral, multifaceted collaborations.

At the conference, Vietnam’s Ambassador to Israel, Do Minh Hung, delivered an overview on Vietnam’s economic development and integration, as well as its foreign investment attractions. He pointed to cooperation pillars of the two countries, including trade, agriculture, tourism, investment, and science-technology.

Vietnamese trade counsellor at the embassy Le Thai Hoa also gave a presentation on business climate in the Southeast Asian nation. Hoa also introduced a number of legal frameworks for Vietnam/Israel ties, Israeli investment in Vietnam, as well as the current situation and prospects of trade ties between the two countries. He encouraged Israeli firms to seize opportunities offered by the Vietnamese market, which could be a gateway for them to reach a wider market of the ASEAN Economic Community.

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Israel’s population soars past 9 million on Independence Day E-mail

Israel’s population has surpassed 9 million individuals, as reported last month by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the eve of the nation’s 71st Day of Independence.

At the time of printing, Israel reportedly houses 9,021,000 citizens, more than ten times its population of 806,000 at the time of the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. Around 45% of World Jewry currently reside in Israel.

The population has grown by an exponential 2% (or 177,000) since Independence Day 2018. Over the past year, 188,000 babies were born, 31,000 people immigrated to Israel, and 47,000 people have died.

The Central Bureau of Statistics projects that Israel’s population will reach 10 million by 2024, 15 million by 2048, and 20 million by 2065. Statistically, 6,697,000 of the Israeli population are Jewish (74.3%), with 1,890,000 (20.9%) identifying as Israeli Arab, and the remaining 434,000 (4.8%) belong to other religions and communities.

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Royal Thai King’s Guard spotted carrying Israeli rifles E-mail

During the official coronation ceremony of the appointment of Thailand’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn in May, soldiers of the Royal Thai King’s Guard were carrying goldenplated and painted Israeli Tavor bullpup rifles.

According to the Israel Defense, the rifles appear to be the older Tavor 21 IDF models, which may have been sold to Thailand at a discount after the later-generation Tavor models entered the market.

The Tavor TAR-21s produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), were spraypainted gold in the “old tradition of the Royal Police,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

Thailand purchased TAR-21 bullpup assault rifles to replace its M16-A1 assault rifles as the standard issue rifle of the Thai Royal Army and, according to local Thai reports, has around 76,000 TAR-21 rifles in use.

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