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29 July 2015 - 13 Av 5775 - י"ג אב ה' אלפים תשע"ה
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Jewish gravestones desecrated again in New Zealand Print E-mail

Three headstones were vandalized last month in the Jewish section of a cemetery in Dunedin, New Zealand. A swastika was painted on one headstone and two others were broken.

Dunedin is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand with a population of over 124,000. “We find this type of vandalism not only to be ignorant and stupid, but also state that the underlying menace behind it is disturbing and worrying,” said Andrew Spiegel, a member of the Dunedin  Jewish Congregation.

This incident comes on the back of a previously reported desecration of headstones in 2012 at the Grafton Cemetery in Aukland. Three men aged 1923 were arrested and charged. More than 20 graves, all more than 125 years old and some dating back to the 1880s, were vandalised. Fourteen were spray-painted with large black swastikas, many had the numbers “88” – code for “Heil Hitler” sprayed on them and two had further anti-semitic obscenities.

(Issue march 2015)

 

 
JAPAN’S PRIME MINISTER VISITS ISRAEL TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC TIES AS PART OF A MIDDLE EAST TRIP E-mail

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a recent trip to the Middle East in January. The trip was the first by a Japanese prime minister in nine years. The tour included stop offs in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

During his stay in Egypt, Prime Minister Abe attended the 9th Joint Conference Egypt Japan Business & Investment Seminar. In Jordan, Abe met with Jordanian King Abdullah II where they discussed areas to help counter Islamic State threats and Japan’s contribution to more U.N. peacekeeping operations and financial assistance.

Prime Minister Abe arrived in Israel on 18 January. This was Abe’s first visit to Israel. He was also joined by a delegation of over 100 government officials and heads of leading Japanese global companies. Some of the company executives were visiting to evaluate technological developments designed for use in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Also in the framework of the visit, the Japan External Trade Organization held a business conference, which was opened by the two prime ministers, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and Prime Minister Abe. More than 500 Japanese and Israeli businesspeople attended, which included Israel’s Economy Ministry holding a special exhibition on Israeli innovation.

During the meeting between the two prime ministers on 19 January, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “Prime Minister Abe, it is a pleasure to welcome you and your delegation to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. It’s an opportunity to reciprocate the warm hospitality you showed all of us last year when we visited Japan. Prime minister, your visit clearly demonstrates your own commitment to strengthening the relationship between Israel and Japan. This is a commitment I fully share.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin also held a working meeting with Prime Minister Abe. Rivlin began by congratulating him on his re-election. “Mr. prime minister, we know that you are making many efforts to bring peace to the whole world, and to our region. We know you have excellent relationships with all our neighbours, and it is very important for us that as friends you can help us,” he noted.

Prime Minister Abe thanked the president for his warm welcome on what is his first visit to Israel. He said, “We believe that this is a timely visit, as it coincides with seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Moreover, I am determined to never allow such tragedies to be repeated, and based on this commitment and determination, I am especially committed to making a proactive contribution to world peace, and the creation of a world free of war and discrimination.”

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Thailand apologises for Adolf Hitler gesture E-mail

A senior Thai Cabinet minister met Israel’s Ambassador to Thailand Simon Roded, after the Israeli diplomat said he was “saddened” by a government propaganda film that includes an image of a Thai school child painting a portrait of Adolf Hitler.

The film was commissioned by the Office of Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha as part of a campaign to promote traditional Thai values. Prayuth, who led a military coup in May, espouses 12 values in his vision of Thai national identity that his government requires taught in the classroom.

The opening of the film, which was screened nationwide in cinemas 6 December, included a sequence in which a smiling boy is applauded by one of his classmates as he  paints Hitler’s portrait against a red background and a swastika. “I have told the ambassador that the director did not intend to offend anyone,” said Pannada Diskul, from the Prime Minister’s office.

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Five-year sentence for Sri Lankan who planned Israeli consulate attack E-mail

An Indian court sentenced a Sri Lankan citizen to five years of detention after being convicted in planning a terror attack against the Israeli consulate in Bangalore. Mohammed Zakir Hussain was convicted after confessing.

Two other suspects in the affair, Mohammed Salim and Sivabalan, are still on trial. Hussain was arrested several months ago and convicted for planning a terror attack against the US consulate in Chennai, the Israeli consulate in Bangalore, and distributing counterfeit Indian currency. The Indian National Investigation Agency claimed  during the trial that Hussain was an agent of the Pakistani intelligence service ISI, with a handler in the Pakistani embassy in Sri Lanka.

In the past the ISI has been accused of aiding the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the attacks in Mumbai in November of 2008, which included the horrific massacre at the Chabad House.

A few months ago the Indian security services released a notice to all agencies and police stations warning that global jihadi elements may attempt terror attacks on Israeli destinations. Following the notice, the Indian government reinforced security at destinations and sites visited frequented by Jews and Israelis.

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Giant pandas to Israel E-mail

In a further strengthening of ties between China and Israel, with an ancient tradition known as “panda diplomacy”, China will send two giant panda bears to the Haifa Educational Zoo. This followed a twin-city agreement between Haifa and Chendu which was signed late last year.

In the agreement, Haifa Municipality Director-General Shmuel Gantz and Prof. Fei Lisong of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding discussed bringing two pandas, according to reports by Israel’s Hayom.

Haifa zoo staff will fly to Chengdu to learn about how to care for the pandas who live mostly on a bamboo diet, and will construct a special compound designed to accommodate the animals.

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