JTA NEWS
24 May 2017 - 28 Iyyar 5777 - כ"ח אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ז
JTA NEWS :
Regional
More B’nei Menashe arrive in Israel E-mail

A new influx of more than 100 members of India’s B’nei Menashe community recently arrived in Israel to add to the number of families that have made aliyah over the past several years.

The B’nei Menashe are descendants of the biblical tribe of Menashe, exiled more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian Empire. The aliyah from India has been led by Shavei Israel, founded by Michael Freund, who continues to play a significant role in the ingathering of India’s ancient Jewish community. The organisation has helped more than 3,000 members of the community to immigrate to Israel, with an estimated 7,000 still in India.

Freund hopes to see at least 700 B’nei Menashe make aliyah this year in what he called “the largest-ever airlift in a single year”.

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Computer Scientist Adi Shamir wins Japan Prize 2017 E-mail

Israeli computer scientist Adi Shamir, a professor at the Weizmann Institute in Israel was among three winners of the 2017 Japan Prize, an award honouring achievement in science and technology, for his work in the field of cryptography.

Shamir was recognised for his “contribution to information security through pioneering research on cryptography,” according to the prize’s website.

The Japan Prize Foundation announced the awards in February. Dr Shamir’s achievements range from the development of the “RSA cryptosystem”, an innovative encryption technique using mathematical methodology, to the proposal of the “secret sharing scheme”, which ensures secrecy by breaking up classified information into parts and dispersing it among several individuals; the “identification and signature schemes” through which individuals can be identified without revealing secret information; and the generic “differential cryptanalysis”, which deciphers common key cryptosystems.

Shamir, 64, is the second Israeli to win the prize. Ephraim Katzir, a biophysicist and former Israeli president, was honoured in 1985, the inaugural year of the award.

In 2002 Shamir, with Ronald Rivest and Leonard Adleman, won the Turing Award, widely considered to be the world’s most prestigious prize in the field of computer science.

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Tour operator offers North Korea visits E-mail

As reported by Globes Israel news wires, an Israeli tourism company has received an exclusive franchise to issue official tourist visas for people planning to visit North Korea.

Rimon Tours group subsidiary Tarbutu will offer visits to the closed country starting this spring and summer.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “There is no travel warning for North Korea, and no specific ban on travelling there. We of course recommend extreme caution, since there are no diplomatic relations with North Korea, but it is not classified as an enemy country.”

Tarbutu announced that four organised tours of North Korea will be held in April and May 2017. The company has an exclusive co-operation agreement with North Korea.

Tarbutu programme manager Haim Peres said: “North Korea is without question one of the most fascinating countries in the world today. It is a closed country cut off from the world, including its neighbours. More is unknown than known about the country.”

According to figures from Tarbutu, only 100 Israelis have visited North Korea in organised tours. Up until now, Israelis have been granted tourist visas for North Korea only through parties in China. Now, however, KISTC, the North Korean national travel agency, is accepting tourist visas for Israelis.

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Japanese hotel chain’s in-house magazine publishes anti-Semitic article E-mail

An in-house magazine for guests of Japanese hotel chain the APA Group recently published an article featuring anti-Semitic statements written by the chain’s CEO, Mr Toshio Motoya.

In the article, which appeared in the February edition of Apple Town, the magazine for guests staying at the chain’s Canadian hotels, Motoya stated: “Jewish people control American information, finance, and laws, and they benefit greatly from globalization because they move their massive profits to tax havens so they don’t have to pay any taxes.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver complained about the article.“It is very unfortunate that my writings gave you an erroneous impression that I hold anti-Semitic beliefs,” Motoya reportedly responded.

It “is not an apology,” the hotel stated in response to questions. “It was issued to resolve the misunderstanding because [Motoya] was being stigmatised as an anti-Semite.”

The essay has been removed from the company’s website. Motoya has written seemingly anti-Semitic statements in previous issues of Apple Town. In the issue of 24 September 2015, he wrote an article proposing the establishment of a Japanese ministry of information, suggesting that it should “be utilising the capabilities of American marketing companies funded by Jewish people”.

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A different Pesach experience E-mail

Getting away for Pesach is always a challenge, especially for Jewish residents living in Asia. One opportunity this year is to spend Pesach “Down Under”. “Aussie Pesach” is offering a 10-day package to stay at the Gold Coast, Queensland, from 10 to 19 April.

The location, the 5-star Marriott Resort & Spa, is a retreat that combines stunning surroundings with a fully catered experience promising world-class kosher cuisine. With its swimming pools and its programme of kids’ activities, the hotel caters for a family’s every need.

Meaningful Yom Tov programmes, Seder nights, minyan services, learning progammes, and an on-site synagogue with chazannin and rabbis will make every visitor’s Pesach experience memorable.

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