16 October 2018 - 8 Heshvan 5779 - ח' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Philippine President to visit Israel E-mail

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will make an official state visit to Israel from 2 to 5 September. The visit will be the first by a Philippine President since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries 61 years ago, in 1957.

The historic visit will highlight the friendship between Filipinos and Israelis, which began when President Manuel L. Quezon opened the doors of the Philippines as a sanctuary to an estimated 1,300 Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Holocaust.

The President and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to discuss common concerns. Duterte will also meet with the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.

A business delegation representing various sectors of the Philippine economy will join the visit and participate in a business forum to be keynoted by President Duterte. During the visit, the two governments hope to sign agreements on air traffic, combatting drug trafficking, security issues and agricultural co-operation.

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Indian lawmaker impersonates Hitler Print E-mail

An Indian politician, Naramalli Sivaprasad, showed up to parliament on 9 August dressed as Adolf Hitler, in an attempt to push for more funding for his south-Indian state, Andhra Pradesh.

Apparently this was not the first time that the Indian actorturned-politician had worn a costume to a session of parliament – he has previously dressed as famous characters from Hindu mythology and as a Hindu god.

In his stunt on 9 August, Sivaprasad spoke in character as Hitler: “I started as a soldier in the German army and earned great respect, but I was greedy for power and as a result became responsible for WWII, which resulted in the death of several people and I also killed myself.”

(Issue Sep 2018)

Gujarat grants minority status to its Jewish community E-mail

The Indian state of Gujarat granted minority status to its Jewish community in July. The decision makes Gujarat the third state in India, after Maharashtra and West Bengal, to recognise Jews as a minority community.

The recognition means that Jews there “shall get benefits of welfare schemes formulated for religious minority communities within the jurisdiction of Gujarat,” its government said in a statement, according to The Times of India.

Gujarat is home to about 170 Jews, mostly centered in the western city of Ahmedabad. The city is also home to the only synagogue in the state, the Magen Abraham Synagogue, built in 1934.

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Nepal’s Energy Minister seeks Israeli investment in the country’s energy sector E-mail

Israel’s Ambassador to Nepal Benny Omer paid a courtesy call on Nepali Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Singh Pun on 30 July. During the meeting at Minister Pun’s office, they discussed issues relating to mutual co-operation between the two countries.

Minister Pun, stating that a new era of stability had dawned in the country following the promulgation of a new constitution, urged Ambassador Omer to help create an environment conducive to Israeli investment in Nepal’s energy sector.

The Minister said: “There’s demand for 10,000 MW of electricity for Nepal in 10 years. We have a favourable investment climate in Nepal for investors in the energy sector. Thus, I urge Israeli investors to consider investment in this sector.”

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Kuwait Airways guilty of racial discrimination E-mail

Kuwait Airways agreed last month to pay damages plus legal costs to an Israeli woman who was refused a ticket on a flight from London to Bangkok on the grounds of her nationality.

Mandy Blumenthal, with the help of UK Lawyers for Israel, had claimed damages against the airline for racial discrimination and harassment after she tried to buy a return ticket to the Thai capital at Heathrow Airport in November 2017.

Blumenthal’s encounter at the Kuwait Airways desk was filmed and the video is available on YouTube. It shows that Kuwait Airways was prepared to sell her the ticket but refused once it saw the Israeli passport. The ticket clerk repeatedly explained that “Israeli passport holders are not permitted to travel on Kuwait Airways.”

The airline has agreed to pay Blumenthal damages but without admitting liability, UK Lawyers for Israel said. The report did not say how much the airline was willing to pay. “The law is clear: Direct discrimination on grounds of nationality in the provision of a service to the public is illegal,” said David Berens, one of Blumenthal’s attorneys. “Ms Blumenthal has done a service in showing up Kuwait Airways’ illegal policy. Kuwait Airways is now legally obliged to end this policy or end its services from the UK altogether.”

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