JTA NEWS
22 January 2020 - 25 Tevet 5780 - כ"ה טבת ה' אלפים תש"פ
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Deceased IDF soldier recognised as a military casualty E-mail

In September, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced it had recognised the late Captain Tamar Ariel, the Israeli Air Force’s first religious female navigator, as an official military casualty.

Having perished in a freak snowstorm while on vacation in Nepal in 2014, the ministry said the decision was made in light of new evidence indicating that Ariel was killed as she tried to save others caught in the blizzard.

Customarily, only the families of soldiers who fall in battle or in terror attacks receive this distinction, but exceptions are made for troops killed while trying to save lives.

“The recognition of Cpt. Ariel, of blessed memory... was made following a deep investigation by relevant professionals at the Defense Ministry and after new evidence was presented to the ministry that Tamar was killed while trying to save the lives of others,” the ministry said in a statement.

As a result of the decision, Ariel’s family will be recognised as a bereaved family of a fallen IDF soldier, which grants them certain economic benefits from the state and non-governmental organisations.

Captain Ariel, one of six children, made headlines when she completed flight school as a fighter jet navigator in December 2012the first Orthodox woman to do so.

At her graduation ceremony, she stood out from her peers by wearing an ankle-length skirt in keeping with religious modesty norms.

“I don’t think that women need to go to flight school — I think that they can,” she told The Times of Israel at the time. “I recommend that any woman, religious or not, give it a shot. If they call you in, if you pass the tests, it means that the army thinks you can do it. So go ahead — try.”

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Israeli husband who fled to Thailand finally agrees to divorce his wife after 6 years E-mail

An Israeli businessman who, after refusing to give his wife a get (official divorce in Jewish law courts) and fled to Thailand for the past six years, has now been tracked down.

The man, who had signed a divorce agreement, fled to Bangkok before the get documentation could be filed for his intended ex-wife. Attorneys in Israel have been pursuing the case ever since.

The sanctions levied against him alone were not the only reasons he decided to complete the divorce proceedings after so many years in hiding. Instead, the threat of revoking his passport seems to have been the primary influence.

A previous court appearance was scheduled earlier this year, but the evasive husband preferred not to show. Shluchim were sent by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel who spoke with him in Thailand, along with local rabbis, once again trying to persuade him to give his wife a get. His bank account was frozen, and his driver’s license cancelled, but even these measures did not break his resolve.

Attorney Ilana Leibowitz, representing the estranged wife, asked the government to cancel any and all assistance he might receive from an Israeli consulate/embassy in any country.

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Hainan Airlines to suspend ShanghaiTel-Aviv flights E-mail

Chinese carrier, Hainan Airlines has announced that it will temporarily suspend its direct flights to Tel-Aviv due to operational constraints for the coming winter schedule.

This will come into effect from 27 October 2019 through to 29 March 2020.

The airline said that the halt is temporary and due to operational constraints, but provided no details.

Hainan emphasised that the reason for the suspension was not security-related, as China has not issued a travel warning for Israel. An exception was made when the airline cancelled a flight to Tel-Aviv last year following a warning by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), due to concern at the time about attacks in the area of Syria.

Hainan Airlines landed its inaugural flight from Shanghai to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on 12 September 2017. It was the first airline from China to operate regular flights between Shanghai and Israel.

Because the route was a new destination, Hainan Airlines received a grant from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, intended to be used for marketing efforts aimed at increasing the number of Chinese tourists to Israel.

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Israeli woman to climb Mount Manaslu E-mail

Tatiana Abramson, an Israeli national, is to be one of 530 climbers – including 260 expedition members of various teams and nationalities – who are set to climb the world’s eighth highest peak in western Nepal this autumn season.

According to Chatur Tamang, managing Director at Cha Tours Treks and Expedition, 55 year-old Tatiana Abramson has reached the base camp to begin her ascent. “She wants to be the first woman climber from her country to stand atop Mount Manaslu,” he said, adding that Tatiana had already climbed several peaks in Europe.

“Most of the expedition members left for Camp I and II for their acclimatisation rotation,” Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, Director at Seven Summit Treks (SST), told the Himalayan Times from the base camp.

According to him, a team from SST has already plotted a route up to Camp III.

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New Chair at the AJC Asia Pacific Institute E-mail

Robert S. Peckar has been appointed the new Chair at the AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API) and takes over from Jeffrey E. Stone.

Mr Peckar also serves a Chairman of AJC’s Project Interchange (PI), which serves as a strategic partner to API in bringing influential Asians to Israel for first-hand experience with the realities, challenges, and achievements of Israel, as well as an understanding of its place in the global playground.

“I am extremely pleased to serve as the Chair of API following the outstanding work of Jeffrey E. Stone,” said Peckar. “I look forward to working closely with our highly competent professional staff and our lay leadership to advance AJC’s enlightened approach to the opportunities presented in Asia for Jewish and Israel advocacy.”

Established in the US, AJC is a leading global Jewish advocacy group, holding strong global governmental relationships with diplomats and world leaders alike.

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