19 December 2018 - 11 Tevet 5779 - י"א טבת ה' אלפים תשע"ט
AJC leadership delegation visits South Korea, Japan and China E-mail

In October, a member delegation led by AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API) Director Shira Loewenberg visited Asia. The first stop was a two-day visit to Seoul, where the group met with, among others, Minister of Trade, Energy, and Industry Kim Hyun Chong; Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Hyun, and Professor Moon Chung-in, Special Advisor for Unification, Diplomacy, and National Security Affairs for President Moon Jae-in.

The delegation also had private meetings with Israel’s Ambassador Chaim Choshen and US Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Rapson. “Our annual visits to Seoul demonstrate our continued support for the US-ROK alliance and staunch belief that a US presence in the region is vital to peace and security,” said AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API) Director Shira Loewenberg.

The principal topics discussed during the visit were: Korean-US bilateral ties; Korean-Israeli bilateral relations, including the status of the proposed free-trade agreement between the two countries; the status of North Korean nuclear negotiations, and ongoing challenges in the Middle East, among them North Korean proliferation activities in the region.

On 19 October, the AJC leadership delegation concluded a two-day visit to Japan by meeting privately with Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Hideo Sato, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Abe and the Foreign Minister. The visit included discussions with US Ambassador William Hagerty and a dinner hosted by Israeli Ambassador Yaffa Ben-Ari.

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FTA negotiations between Israel and South Korea in full swing E-mail

According to South Korean newswire Yonhap, South Korea and Israel agreed on 9 November to continue efforts for the early conclusion of their negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) during working-level diplomatic talks, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

Hong Jin-wook, director general of the African and Middle Eastern affairs bureau at Seoul’s foreign ministry, held a policy consultation meeting with his counterpart, Gilad Cohen, in Seoul on a range of issues, including business cooperation and security on the peninsula.

“With the shared recognition that the South Korea-Israel FTA will serve as an opportunity to establish an institutional foundation to expand and deepen bilateral economic cooperation, the two sides agreed to continue efforts for the early conclusion of the negotiations,” the ministry said in a press release.

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Israel ambassador hints at direct flights between Manila and Tel Aviv E-mail

In an article in the Philippine newspaper SunStar on 23 October, the newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz was quoted as saying that to develop more trade and tourism for both countries, the presence of a direct flight would maximise the potential of both countries in people-to-people exchanges and trade relations.

According to Harpaz, both countries are looking to establish a direct flight by next year, and if this happens it would make travel to the Holy Land much more accessible. He also expects a boost in trade activities.

Reports have indicated that Philippine Airlines will launch a direct flight between Manila and Tel Aviv by late 2018 or in 2019. With this planned direct connection, the flight time will be cut to only 10 hours.

Harpaz pointed out that tourism is an important pillar to maintain the longstanding relationship between Israel and the Philippines. The two countries have maintained a close relationship ever since the Philippines opened its doors to Jews during the time of the Holocaust.

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ORT establishes first Israeli training programme for Filipino educators E-mail

A delegation of teachers and principals from Davao City landed last month in Israel to learn innovative teaching methods from the ORT Research and Development Center in Tel Aviv.

ORT was founded in 1949 as a network of vocational schools, and is today the leading educational network of comprehensive schools in Israel, specialising in the hightech and science fields.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel G. Imperial and the CEO of ORT-Israel Zvi Peleg attended the signing ceremony along with a delegation of educators from Davao City, the country’s third -largest city. The agreement between Davao and ORT-Israel has been developing over the past 18 months in partnership with the Pass-it-Forward organisation, founded by Shmuel Weiss. It includes innovative Israeli science and technology educational programmes developed by ORT Israel that will be exported to thousands of local Filipino students.

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MASHAV consultant visits Myanmar Print E-mail

As part of the bilateral cooperation between Myanmar and Israel in the framework of various training activities in different fields, Ms Katerina Rudenko, who is an Israeli expert from MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) and a consultant on Gender and Entrepreneurship, visited Southern Shan State, Myanmar, from 16 to 18 October to conduct an orientation training on Gender and Entrepreneurship.

The programme was part of the Improving Market Opportunity for Women Project (IMOW), organised by MEDA Myanmar with the support of MASHAV and the Embassy of Israel in Myanmar. Officers from MEDA’s key facilitating partners, value chain officers, female sales agents and gender mentors attended the training.

MEDA is an economic development organisation that operates around the world. It works with local partners that focus mostly on women, youth and the rural poor.

(Issue Dec 2018)

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