23 January 2018 - 8 Shevat 5778 - ח' שבט ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Israel taps Ctrip to attract more Chinese tourists E-mail

Ctrip, one of China’s leading providers of travel services and package tours, and Israel’s Tourism Bureau have signed an agreement regarding strategic co-operation.

While the bureau wants to leverage Ctrip’s advantages as China’s largest online travel agent, such as big data and precision marketing, Ctrip wants to see Israel relax its visa regulations.

The recent rapid increase in the number of visitors from China to Israel looks set to continue, given the growing demand and the introduction of more direct flights between the two countries. According to Israeli Ministry of Tourism statistics, Israel welcomed 271,100 global tourists in July, an increase of 17% over the same period last year. In July, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Israel reached 64,000, an increase of 66%, reinforcing the position of China as the fastest-growing source of inbound tourists to Israel. Yariv Levin, Israel’s Minister of Tourism, said in a statement: “I am delighted to have witnessed the rapid growth of Israeli tourism in the Chinese market, thanks to the innovative approach of the Israeli tourism industry’s rich marketing activities in China and the creation of a destination brand image. In addition, a new direct flight to Israel has also played a vital role in the growth of the tourism market, and the rapid increase in the number of tourists in China has made great contributions to the Israeli economy and the job market.”

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Tennis star retires for Yom Kippur in China E-mail

As reported by the Jerusalem Post, Dudi Sela was just one set away from reaching his first ATP Tour semi-final in almost nine months on 29 September in Shenzhen, China, but with Yom Kippur about to commence he retired from his quarter-final match against Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The 32-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 77 in the world, was playing in his first ATP Tour quarter-final since reaching the semi-finals of the Chennai Open in India in the first week of January.

He asked for his match in Shenzhen to start as early as possible to reduce the chance of having to stop due to Yom Kippur. But his showdown with Dolgopolov (ranked 53) was scheduled as the second match on centre court and he was always going to have trouble completing it after the first contest of the day lasted two hours and 16 minutes.

After losing the first set 6-3, Sela tied the match with a 6-4 win in the second set, but while trailing 1-0 in the decider, and with Yom Kippur about to begin in Shenzhen, he approached the chair umpire and told him that he needed to retire.

Reaching the semi-finals would have earned Sela an additional US$12,000 to the almost US$30,000 he had already guaranteed himself by advancing to the last-eight. It also cost him at least 45 ranking points, and of course the chance to go even further in the tournament.

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Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister praises Hitler E-mail

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso spoke during a recent Liberal-Democratic party convention in a way that seemed to praise Adolf Hitler’s policies.

“I am not doubting a politician’s motives,” Aso said. “I don’t question your motives (to be a politician). But the results are important. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right.”

Aso’s statement ignited the fury of Jewish organisations around the world. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in the US harshly condemned Aso, saying his words were “dangerous”.

The Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper said: “This is just the latest of a troubling list of ‘misstatements’ and are downright dangerous... When will the Japanese elite realise they have a Nazi problem?” Other Jewish organisations also protested.

As a result, Aso released a statement explaining his intentions and claiming he did not intend to justify Hitler’s murderous policies.

“It is clear from my overall remarks that I regard Hitler in extremely negative terms, and it’s clear that his motives were also wrong,” he said. “It was inappropriate that I cited Hitler as an example and I would like to retract that.”

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Israeli mafia group threatening police representative in Thailand E-mail

A member of a crime organisation in southern Israel has recently been arrested on suspicion of threatening an Israel Police representative in Thailand.

According to Ynetnews, the Israel Police, aided by Interpol, conducted an investigation following a series of recent threats and slanderous comments on social media and other websites against the Israel Police’s representative in Thailand, Deputy Commissioner Yoni Hajaj.

The reason behind the threats and slander was reportedly the belief that Hajaj was involved in the arrest of a murder suspect in Thailand.

Among other things, the suspect wrote online posts with explicit threats against the officer and his children, uploaded photos of Hajaj with a superimposed gun shooting a bullet at his head, and published false and slanderous stories about him.

These online publications were also sent to Israel’s consulate in Thailand and the local Chabad rabbi, as well as to lawyers and businessmen.

In light of these threats, Hajaj was put under tight security.

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More agricultural centres for India E-mail

Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon met recently with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his official residence in Patna, Bihar state.

Ambassador Carmon said that his country was ready to help build more agricultural research centres across the country. Two research centres are currently being built in the Vaishali and Nalanda districts in Bihar.

The one in Vaishali will conduct modern scientific research on mangoes and lychees, while the one in Nalanda will provide study and research in the area of vegetables. They will also provide training to farmers so they are able to use the most modern equipment and technology to improve quality and production in fruits and vegetables, said Ambassador Carmon.

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