JTA NEWS
23 January 2018 - 8 Shevat 5778 - ח' שבט ה' אלפים תשע"ח
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Exiled Bangladeshi national returns to Israel E-mail

The first Bangladeshi national to ever visit Israel, Dr Shadman Zaman, returned to the Jewish state in November with the Zionist Federation of Great Britain as part of an advocacy trip, after he was exiled from his home country following his initial visit to Israel in February.

“I want to use this platform to tell people from Bangladesh that Israel is a democratic state that provides equal rights to all of its citizens irrespective of religion, ethnicity and colour,” he told i24NEWS in an interview.

“Bangladeshi people would benefit greatly by being friends with Israel,” continued the pro- Israeli activist, who is currently part-way through his conversion process to Orthodox Judaism.

Now residing in the UK following a ban from his home country, Zaman explained how his upbringing by his “open-minded” family, where he was heavily influenced by his grandfather, who was described as “the earliest Bangladeshi Zionist”, was somewhat unconventional. He described himself as “coming from a Muslim majority country where you are taught to hate Israel in society and in school.”

The current Bangladeshi government is “socialist, progressive”, he said, but added that the population is “87% Sunni Muslims indoctrinated with the Wahhabi ideology that call Jews worse names than I wish to mention.”

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Eran Zahavi named most valuable soccer player in China E-mail

Israeli soccer star Eran Zahavi was named in November as the most valuable player in the Chinese Super League after finishing the season as the top goal-scorer.

Zahavi, 30, won the award in only his second year in the Chinese league, which has attracted dozens of top international players in recent years with huge salaries.

He was also awarded the Golden Boot, given to the league’s leading goal-scorer. His 27 goals for the season were just one short of tying the league record of 28.

Despite his individual success, Zahavi’s Guangzhou R&F club finished only fifth in the league.

At the awards ceremony, Zahavi, who has a US$7 million a year contract with the club until 2020, was coy about his future with the team, saying he would have to consider whether he would remain with the squad next season.

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China agrees to extradite criminal suspect E-mail

As reported by Haaretz on 29 November, China has agreed for the first time ever to extradite a wanted criminal to Israel.

Yaniv Zaguri, who is the reputed head of an organised crime ring in southern Israel, was under arrest in China for three weeks.

His extradition is considered a breakthrough in Israeli- Chinese relations because the two countries have no extradition treaty. As a result, technically Zaguri is being deported rather than extradited. Nev-ertheless, China is deporting him at the request of Israeli law-enforcement agencies.

Zaguri, who is high on the wanted list of the Negev district police, went to China several months ago after serving his last jail sentence in Israel.

According to an Israeli law enforcement official, he was arrested in China due to problems with his visa, apparently stemming from the fact that he lied about his criminal record.

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Amir Gal-Or receives National Friendship Award E-mail

Infinity Group founder Amir Gal-Or was presented with the National Friendship Award at state ceremony in Beijing in October, hosted by Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

The award was in recognition of his work to promote Israel-China relations and his contribution to the field of innovation. The Award is China’s highest honour granted to foreign citizens.

The state ceremony was held ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In his acceptance speech, Gal-Or emphasised the need to promote bilateral ties between the two countries.

Infinity Group is an investment firm known for its “China Outbound” initiative, which supports Chinese companies interested in entering international markets.

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JCCs worldwide to share funds for joint programmes E-mail

A new partnership between dozens of Jewish community centres in 15 countries has yielded a pool of US$1.6 million for joint projects through to 2020.

The pool was created during the JCC Global World Conference in Tarrytown, New York, in November. It includes tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies for nine Jewish communities in poor countries, including India, Ukraine, Venezuela, Moldova and Greece.

The pool is part of a three-year pilot programme in which international JCCs are paired with one another for joint projects that aim to strengthen inter-communal bonds, according to JCC Global, an Israel-based umbrella group of Jewish community centres that is celebrating its 40th anniversary. JCC Global calls the new partnership “Amitim 2.0–Fellows – A Global Leadership Network”.

In total, 53 JCCs around the world will fund US$795,000 toward the partnerships, while JCC Global will fund US$800,000, the organisation said. The initiative will bring “Jewish Peoplehood concepts and programmes to 75 JCCs worldwide”, according to the organisation.

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