31 March 2020 - 7 Nisan 5780 - ז' ניסן ה' אלפים תש"פ
Malaysia limits visits by Israeli nationals E-mail

Malaysian media outlet Malay Mail Online has reported that the number of Israel citizens entering the country for business and technology-related events has dwindled from 33 visitors in 2016 to only three individuals this year, this according Malaysian Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

This is in line with the Government’s new policy, which no longer allows Israel representatives to enter Malaysia for conferences, meetings and programmes held by international organisations, he added.

Responding to a question posed by Pengkalan Chepa MP Ahmad Marzuk Shaary during a sitting of Parliament in April, Muhyiddin revealed via a written reply that the three Israelis were given permission to enter Malaysia this year for existing business dealings.

“No further permission has been given to Israel citizens (to enter Malaysia for) international conferences, meetings and programmes”, the minister said.

Compared to previous years, Malaysia has seen a drastic drop in the number of Israelis entering the country this year.

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Netanyahu wins fifth term as PM in Israel’s election E-mail

In a very tightly fought election, Benjamin Netanyahu is set to serve a fifth term as Israel’s prime minister. The election result was close to call after the polls closed.

Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Blue and White party, led by former army general Benny Gantz, had tied with 35 seats each in the 120-seat house, the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. However, the rightwing bloc that Netanyahu is part of had 65 in total, a comfortable majority.

“We respect the decision of the people,” Gantz said in a televised statement on 17 April, adding that Blue and White had “founded a true alternative rule to Netanyahu”.

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Israeli diet is world’s “least unhealthy” E-mail

Research published in April carried out by Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the US, has found that Israel has the world’s healthiest diet, or to be more precise, the world’s least unhealthy diet.

The results of the study, entitled the “Global Burden of Disease”, were published in the UK medical journal The Lancet. The research tracked trends in consumption of 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries.

Dr Murray wrote: “This study affirms what many have thought for several years: that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world. While sodium, sugar and fat have been the focus of policy debates over the past two decades, our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium, or low intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables. The paper also highlights the need for comprehensive interventions to promote the production, distribution, and consumption of healthy foods across all nations.”

The study reported: “The countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths were Israel (89 deaths per 100,000 people), France, Spain, Japan and Andorra.”

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Beresheet spacecraft crash-lands on moon E-mail

Israel’s first moon lander came up just short in its historic touchdown bid on 11 April.

The robotic Beresheet spacecraft, built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), was set to become the first Israeli craft, and the first privately funded mission, ever to land softly on the moon. But the five-foot-tall robot did not quite make it, crashing into the gray dirt. Mission control lost communications with the spacecraft when it was about 489 feet (149 metres) above the moon’s surface. “We had a failure in the spacecraft; we unfortunately have not managed to land successfully,” said Opher Doron, the general manager of IAI, during a live broadcast from mission control. “It’s a tremendous achievement up ’til now.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, you try again,” said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who watched the craft’s landing attempt from SpaceIL’s control centre in Yehud, Israel.

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Israel’s exports of computer chips to China soared in 2018, according to new data supplied by the Israel Export Institute. Semiconductor exports to China rose 80% to US$2.6 billion.

Chinese firms purchased more semiconductors manufactured in the country, mostly at Intel’s plant based in Kiryat Gat and a few other companies. Moreover, Intel Israel accounted for close to 80% of those sales.

The data will be welcome news to the government of Israel as it seeks deeper ties with China, also because semiconductors equalled US$3.9 billion of the total goods exports in 2018, according to the export institute.

According to sources familiar with the development, the two countries have begun negotiations on a trade deal, and technology is projected to be a significant part of the discussions. In general, exports of Israeli goods to China, excluding diamonds, increased 50% to US$4.7 billion.

In 2017 Intel announced an investment of US$5 billion in a bid to expand capacity in its Kiryat Gat plant in the south of Israel. The plant produces some of the world’s smallest and fastest chips.

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