JTA NEWS
27 April 2017 - 2 Iyyar 5777 - ב' אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ז
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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visits Vietnam E-mail

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin landed in Vietnam on 20 March for a one-week official visit. He was welcomed by his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang at the presidential palace in Hanoi. “[It’s] very good to be in Vietnam,” Rivlin said as he got off the plane along with his wife Nechama.

Rivlin remained in the country until 25 March, seeking to strengthen Israel’s relations with the Asian country. “We consider Vietnam a leading country in the Asian sphere,” Rivlin said in a recorded message he posted on his Facebook page before leaving Israel. “Economic and security co-operation between us will advance the wealth and growth of both the countries and contribute to the stability of both of the regions.”

During the visit, President Rivlin had talks with his counterpart Tran Dai Quang and met with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, the Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong and the media.

In discussing how the country will co-operate in future, the leaders agreed to focus on the economy and to turn sciencetechnology into a prioritised pillar of their initiatives. They had similar views on the need to boost trade to US$3 billion in the next few years. President Rivlin also pledged to assist Vietnam to detoxify areas that had been contaminated by Agent Orange.

The two sides also discussed ways to enhance ties in security-defence, culture, education-training and tourism, and locality-to-locality co-operation.

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Representatives from Vietnam and Laos learn about non-formal education E-mail

The Israel Association of Community Centers Ltd (IACC) hosted two special overseas visitors who were on a fact-finding mission in March to learn about non-formal education model in terms of suitability for all types of communities.

They were Duong Do Thuy, Head of the Hanoi Office of Education, and Professor Phetlavanh Phimmasone, daughter of the Prime Minister of Laos.

IACC is Israel’s leading social organisation. It operates in approximately 180 community centres and 750 branches throughout Israel – in development towns and underprivileged neighbourhoods, major cities, local and regional councils; among Jewish, Arab, Druze and Bedouin populations, and for secular, religious and orthodox communities.

Duong Do Thuy commented: “We have no formal education or enrichment model in Vietnam. The model that we found in Israel and in the IACC can also be applied in various communities in Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular. We are currently evaluating the possibility of co-operation. It is estimated that it is a deal of tens of millions of dollars.”

According to Aviad Friedman, chairperson of the IACC, “The non-formal education model of the IACC is unique in terms of suitability for all types of communities and in terms of creating a strong and robust community. Just as the residents and children of Israel enjoy it, also tens of millions of residents and children of Vietnam and Laos will benefit from it. I am confident we will be able to promote it.”

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Architect Moshe Safdie visits Sri Lanka E-mail

One of the world’s most eminent architects, Israeli-born Moshe Safdie, who has a unique association with Sri Lanka, visited the country in February to attend the 35th annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), held in Colombo.

Safdie, designed Sri Lanka’s Altair, the country’s most distinctive and instantly recognised high-rise residential development, which is still under construction. At the SLIA event, he was one of seven speakers on the topic of “Return of the City: Megastructure Redefined”.

While in Colombo, Safdie visited the site of Altair and met representatives of its promoter, Indocean Developers. “The visit of Moshe Safdie is a milestone event for Altair and the 250-plus future tenants who have already purchased apartments, as well as for Sri Lanka’s architectural fraternity,” Altair Director Pradeep Moraes said.

“The many inimitable structures he has created have made him a legendary figure around the world,” added Moraes.

Safdie’s body of work over 50 years includes Marina Bay Sands, the new icon of Singapore; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, rated one of the 15 most spectacular concert halls of the world, and “Habitat 67” in Montreal, the project that first brought him global recognition.

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Israeli woman dies in Mumbai E-mail

A 23-year-old Israeli woman died in Colaba in southern Mumbai on 15 March after suddenly taking ill, police said.

The woman, Sarit Pafta, and her boyfriend had arrived in India on tourist visas on 10 March and were staying at a hotel. Pafta, of the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, was traveling in India with her boyfriend on a post-army trip – the country is a popular destination for young Israelis after finishing their IDF service.

According to Pafta’s boyfriend, she had felt unwell and told him she felt suffocated. With the help of hotel staff, he took her to a private hospital, but she died before she could be admitted, police said, adding that a case of accidental death was registered as the exact cause of death was not yet known.

Police did not suspect foul play, but a further probe was underway. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the cause of death was not immediately clear and that it was awaiting the results of an autopsy.

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Philippine President to visit Israel E-mail

Israeli news outlet Haaretz has quoted an official from Israel’s Foreign Ministry saying that representatives from the Philippine and Israeli governments are currently discussing the date of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Israel in May.

Although Duterte has made some uncomfortable and somewhat controversial comments since he became President last year, the two countries have strong business and diplomatic relations.

Israeli firms are active participants in the ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program. In November last year, Philippine defence and military officials visited Israel for a live-fire demonstration of Israeli missile and howitzer system, conducted jointly by Israel Military Industries and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-ELTA.

President Duterte had previously likened himself to Hitler when referring to his war to eradicate drugs from his country, however he later apologised for his comments, saying that he deeply regretted offending the Jewish community. He even visited the synagogue in Manila and met with the Philippine Jewish community.

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