25 April 2018 - 11 Iyyar 5778 - י"א אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Myanmar and Israel sign visa-exemption agreement for holders of special passports E-mail

Citizens of Myanmar and Israel holding diplomatic or other special passports will no longer need a visa to travel between the two countries, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

Meeting in Nay Pyi Daw in June, officials from both countries signed the agreement, which was written in English, Myanmar and Hebrew. Under its terms, Myanmar diplomatic and special passport-holders are exempt from visa requirements and are allowed up to 90 days’ stay in Israel, and vice versa.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affair Secretary Kyaw Zeya said that regular Myanmar passport-holders would still be required to obtain a visa to travel to Israel, although progress will slowly be made towards obtaining a visa-free agreement for all Myanmar citizens.

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Street in NewYork named after Elie Wiesel Print E-mail

New York City has named a street after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel.

During a ceremony last month, the southwest corner of 84th Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was renamed Elie Wiesel Way.

Wiesel was “perhaps the most eloquent voice for peace in our world”, said New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio in remarks delivered at the ceremony by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “New York City is proud to honour his memory.” Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author, died at his home in Manhattan last July at the age of 87.

(Issue Jul/Aug 2017)

“Jerusalem Day” not welcome in Malaysia E-mail

Last month, following the threat of protests, an Islamic Party in Malaysia forced a Christian group to cancel an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) came out against the event, claiming that the “Nations of the Golden Gate Aligning with Jerusalem’s Jubilee” gathering promotes “Jewish culture” and “Zionist Christianity”.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Nasrudin Hassan, the Islamic party’s communication officer, said the event was a provocation against Muslims in the country and that the organisers should never “challenge the sensitivities of Muslims”.

“We can never forget the sufferings of Muslims caused by the atrocities of Israel. Now, they seek to create an extreme provocation to Muslims by organising Jerusalem’s jubilee on Malaysian soil,” he wrote on Facebook. The Christian group that had planned the event cancelled it after 32 police reports were filed against them because of the gathering’s “Zionist theme”.

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Frank Lowy knighted by Queen in her Birthday Honours E-mail

Frank Lowy, a Holocaust survivor who fought in Israel’s War of Independence and went on to become a billionaire shopping magnate in Australia, was knighted last month in the UK as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Lowy is Chairman of the Westfield Corp, a global shopping centre company he cofounded in 1960, as well as a philanthropist.

A Slovakia native, Lowy settled in Australia in 1952 after evading the Nazis in Budapest and fighting in Israel’s 1948 war for independence.

“Frank Lowy is recommended for his contribution to the UK economy through the company he founded, Westfield, and its major investments in the UK,” his knighthood citation says.

Lowy said the genesis of his regard for the UK was listening to the BBC World Service as a young boy in war-torn Eastern Europe. He recalled that as a child he would huddle around a radio in a bunker, listening to the chimes of Big Ben in London introduce the latest war news. “It always gave us hope that help was on the way, and that the war would end in our favour,” he said.

Anton Block, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, congratulated Lowy on his recognition. “This is a singular honour and one that befits the immense contribution Mr Lowy has made as an innovator, a creator and a philanthropist,” he said.

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A ground-breaking event took place on 26-27 May in Dongguan, southern China. The South China Courage Conference, on the theme of “Finding Inspiration to Make a Difference”, featured keynote speaker and Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman and several other educational experts and speakers.

Mr Friedman is the author of I’m No Hero: Journeys of a Holocaust Survivor and a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Holocaust Museum in Seattle, Washington.

The 89-year-old, who was born in Brody, Poland, spoke about how he lived through an incredible journey that saw his early life nearly destroyed by the Holocaust. Surviving with the help of two Ukrainian families in Poland, his family hid in a tiny space the size of a queen-size bed for 18 months. The courage of Henry’s saviours— and so many others like them—offers us critical lessons and stories that should inspire us to live better and treat all people with dignity. His message was “One person CAN make a difference.”

Other presenters at the event included Dr Glen Timmermans from Macau University, who gave workshops about the origins of anti-Semitism, and Simon Li, Director of Education for the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre (HKHTC).

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