19 February 2019 - 14 Adar I 5779 - י"ד אדר א' ה' אלפים תשע"ט
WJC co-signs German Council of German Jews’ declaration condemning AfD E-mail

The World Jewish Congress co-signed a joint declaration initiated by the Central Council of Jews in Germany on 8 October condemning the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as a “racist and anti-Semitic party” and a “threat to Jewish life in Germany”.

The declaration, entitled “No Alternative for Jews”, stated: “The AfD is not a party for Jews... the AfD is a party in which hatred of the Jews and the denial of the Shoah have a home. The AfD is antidemocratic, inhumane and, in many parts, right-wing extremist.” It was released on the same day that a separate group called “Jews for the AfD” was officially launched in Weisbaden.

Founded in April 2013, AfD last year became the first far-right party to win seats in the Bundestag in more than half a century year.

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India-Israel Innovation Centre launched in Bengaluru E-mail

The first India-Israel Innovation Centre (IIIC), an entrepreneurial technology hub, was launched in Bengaluru (formerly Bengalore) on 10 October. The IIIC is a significant step towards facilitating the penetration of Israeli companies in India, and aims to forge local partnerships and joint ventures between companies from the two countries.

The centre will provide an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship, partnership with vendors, mentoring and non-formal community development that will assist the growth of the companies in different verticals, and covers business, technology, investors and customers.

Startups that are part of IIIC will be given mentorship, guidance and opportunities to participate in IIIC’s global events and experience networking avenues with potential customers.

The IIIC was launched by Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission; Ariel Seidman, Deputy Counsul-General of Israel in India; Moshe Porat, Founder and CEO, Mesh Labs, and Varad Krishna, Founding Partner of IIIC.

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Cycling team competes in Hong Kong E-mail

The Israel Cycling Academy, Israel’s first pro-cycling team, participated in the invitational Hammer Series 2018 Hong Kong Cyclothon on 14 October. The event featured some of the top teams and riders in the world, including Team Sky from Great Britain and Lotto Soudal from Belgium.

The Hammer Series 2018 kicked off in Stavanger, Norway, in May, continued in Limburg, the Netherlands, in June, and finished in Hong Kong.

The event was a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Asia Tour Class 1.1 Road Race, with 11 UCI WorldTour teams (an unprecedented number) converging on Hong Kong’s shores, putting the international spotlight squarely on the city.

In a fast and furious race over a 4.3km circuit in Tsim Sha Tsui, alongside the picturesque Victoria Harbour, the teams, consisting of five cyclists each, competed head-to-head over 10 strenuous laps (43km in total).

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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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