JTA NEWS
26 September 2018 - 17 Tishri 5779 - י"ז תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ט
JTA NEWS :
Regional
More B’nei Menashe make Aliyah to Israel E-mail

A further 225 members of the B’nei Menashe Jewish community, which claims descent from one of Israel’s lost tribes, made Aliyah to Israel in June.

As in previous arrangements, this was organised by Shavei Israel, a Jerusalembased nonprofit that aims to strengthen ties between the Jewish people and the descendants of Jews around the world.

The 225 new immigrants all hail from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, which borders Burma and is home to the largest concentration of B’nei Menashe. Among those making Aliyah was Seingul Lotjem, a father of one, who had not seen his parents in the 18 years since they moved to Israel in 2000. “It has always been my dream to return to Zion,” Lotjem said, adding, “but it is especially emotional for me because my beloved father and mother made Aliyah in 2000 and I am overwhelmed to think that I will be able to meet them again and be reunited with them in the Land of Israel.” Also among the immigrants was Abel Hangshing, 80, who was reunited with his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in 10 years. He also met his great-grandchildren, who were born in Israel, for the first time.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming home 225 members of the lost tribe of Israel,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund. “It has been an incredibly busy year – and we are only getting started. With 429 B’nei Menashe having made Aliyah since January, we are determined to continue until all the remaining B’nei Menashe still in
 India are able to return to Zion as well.”

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TAU professor awarded honorary professorship from Tsinghua University E-mail

On 13 June, Tel Aviv University (TAU) President and Professor Joseph Klafter became the first Israeli to receive an honorary professorship from Tsinghua University in China.

The prestigious honour is considered one of the world’s highest honours, and has been bestowed upon top academics, including Nobel laureates.

TAU and Beijing-based Tsinghua University, one of China’s leading universities, have been collaborating closely in the field of nanoscience since 2014.

The award was presented to Professor Klafter for his “impressive leadership”, which contributes to the bold and successful partnership between the two universities.

Zvi Heifetz, Israel’s Ambassador to China, congratulated Professor Klafter at the ceremony, saying: “Prof. Klafter is an outstanding scholar, scientist and university president. On behalf of the state of Israel, I would like to congratulate him for receiving an honorary professorship from Tsinghua University. This appointment stands for Israel and China’s flourishing relations, as well as Tsinghua University and Tel Aviv University’s close relations.”

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Israeli tourist killed in car crash in India E-mail

Four Israelis were injured and one died in a traffic accident in a remote mountainside area of India in June. Eli Sneh, Israel’s Consul General in Delhi, met the four Israelis to help them fly back home and also return the body of 36-year-old Adva Ben Dahan to Israel for burial.

The vehicle in which the tourists were travelling swerved off a mountain road and plunged into a valley between Manali and Leh in the Spiti Valley in the Himalayan mountains in northern India. Roads in the area are steep, with sections of gravel and loose soil, and are criss-crossed by streams.

Sneh said the accident happened after the vehicle hit a bus and veered off the road, plunging more than 150 metres down a slope. Sneh arrived in the city of Kullu, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of India’s capital, Delhi, and visited the Israelis hospitalised there, one of whom was in serious condition.

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Suspect wanted for stabbing in Thailand E-mail

Thai police are pursuing a warrant for the arrest of an Israeli tourist who fled the country after stabbing an Australian tourist in a nightclub in the seaside resort of Pattaya in June.

Immigration officials informed police that the male suspect had left Thailand, The Nation newspaper reported. Australian tourist Jaydon Sienkiewicz, 21, was stabbed while partying with a group of 10 people, including his father and his Thai stepmother, in the Mixx night club. He suffered abdominal wounds and was rushed to a local hospital.

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Indian-origin woman running for mayor’s post in Ashkelon E-mail

One of the candidates running for a post as mayor in the city of Ashkelon in Israel has Indian ancestry in Vadodara, a city in Gujurat, a state in western India.

If Israel elects its first mayor of Indian origin this year, Vadodara will have its named etched in history forever. Dr Ricky Shay is the first person of Indian origin to run for the mayor’s post in Ashkelon. She was inspired to run for the post while working on the twin-city pact between Vadodara and Ashkelon.

“After the Vadodara-Ashkelon pact was signed some years ago, I began working on several programmes that were organised to bring these cities closer,” Shay told the Times of India.

“Before this pact, there was little contact with India. I came to Vadodara and met many people there. When I connected to my Indian roots and culture that is based on values of giving, patience and tolerance, I decided to run for the mayor’s post.”

“I have worked a lot for women’s empowerment here and I am banking on them for my victory. Ashkelon also has a Maharashtrian Jew community,” Shay said.

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