21 November 2018 - 13 Kislev 5779 - י"ג כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Chief Minister of Punjab visits Israel E-mail

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, accompanied by a delegation of officials, made a five-day visit to Israel from 21 October. Punjab, a state in northern India, is primarily an agriculturebased region.

Singh had postponed the visit in the wake of the Amritsar train accident in which 59 people were killed and 57 injured on 19 October.

Singh and his delegation visited several facilities and institutions working in sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, dairy and waste-water management to tap opportunities that can address Punjab’s requirements and boost the state’s internal security apparatus.

During his trip, Singh met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Minister of Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz. He also visited the cemetery of Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the War of Liberation of Haifa in 1918. Haifa celebrated the centenary year of its liberation by Indian cavalry units in September, paying warm tribute to the courage shown by them in what is considered by most war historians as the “last great cavalry campaign in history”.

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Kindergarten students in Israel are learning Mandarin Chinese E-mail

Kindergarten children aged four to six in the Israeli city of Givatayim have started to learn the Chinese language and culture as part of a special programme, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper has reported. The learning programmes have started in several kindergartens and are expected to expand in the coming years.

Mandarin is taught by two Chinese teachers. Ping Chen is married to an Israeli and has experience in teaching Chinese to toddlers, and Dafna Wang was born in China and currently lives in Israel. She studied language instruction for preschoolers at a university in China.

As part of their Chinese studies, the children are exposed to Chinese culture, and are learning songs, games and colours and wearing Chinese traditional costumes.

After the first lesson, Chen commented: “The children were really excited that a Chinese woman arrived at the kindergarten. I was amazed that after I taught them the numbers, one of the girls approached me at the end of the class and counted in Chinese.”

Chen added that Chinese is a very difficult language, but it’s easier for children. “They made me very excited and at the end of the class everyone wanted to hug me. It was lovely.”

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Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary makes official visit to Israel E-mail

With increasing co-operation and the potential for closer collaboration between Hong Kong and Israel, Paul Chan, Hong Kong SAR’s Financial Secretary, led a 72-member delegation to Israel for an official visit from 3 to 6 September to strengthen economic and innovation & technology ties.

Included in the delegation were James Lau, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury; Legislator Elizabeth Quat and business leaders representing financial services, venture capital investment, biotechnology, fintech and smartcity development. Also among the delegation were Stephen Phillips, Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong; Ms Jojo Cheung, Chief Marketing Officer, Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Hong Kong, and representatives of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Hong Kong Cyberport.

During the four-day visit, Financial Secretary Chan met with Moshe Kahlon, Israel’s Minister of Finance; Eli Cohen, the Minister of Economy and Industry; Dr Ami Appelbaum, the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Innovation Authority, and Ambassador Yael Ravia-Zadok, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Deadly floods hit India E-mail

The tiny historic Jewish community in the southern Indian state of Kerala largely escaped harm from the deadly floods there that started in June and persisted until recently.

More than 350 people in Kerala have been killed and over one million have been displaced by the floods, which were the worst the state has experienced in a century. The Jewish community has about 26 members, most of whom reside in areas that were not affected, although the synagogues experienced flooding.

IsrAID dispatched a threeperson relief team to the state. The group, assembled from the organisation’s team stationed in Nepal since the 2015 earthquake, included an engineer, a project manager and a relief specialist. IsrAID is planning a long-term operation in Kerala to deal with the aftermath of the floods.

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Israeli-American suspected of murder in Taiwan captured E-mail

An Israeli-American man suspected of the grisly murder of a Canadian English teacher in Taipei was tracked down in the Philippines and was flown back to Taiwan on 5 September.

Police have identified him as 37-year-old Israeli-American tattoo artist Shlomo Mayer, who goes by the handle “Oz Diamond”.

It is alleged that Mayer and a 30-year-old African-American man named Ewart Odane Bent ambushed, murdered and dismembered a 43-year-old Canadian English teacher, Ramgahan Sanjay Ryan, with machetes on 21 August.

Mayer fled the country on 23 August and ended up in the Philippines. Taiwan and the Philippines have an extradition agreement, which means that Israel’s Foreign Ministry decided to not become involved in the handling of his case, despite a request from his family to intervene.

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