24 October 2017 - 4 Heshvan 5778 - ד' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ח
“Wheelchairs of Hope” in Vietnam E-mail

From the children of Israel to the children of Vietnam: Israel’s Embassy in Vietnam is donating 100 innovative wheelchairs especially designed for children with disabilities.

In a moving ceremony held on 22 June at the Orthopedic and Functional Rehabilitation Center in Hanoi, Israel’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Meirav Eilon Shahar, presented the first 20 wheelchairs to a festive crowd, sending a message of solidarity and friendship.

The embassy decided to use the budget allocated for the festivities of Israel’s 69th Independence Day to purchase the innovative, one-of-a-kind, lightweight wheelchairs from Israeli company “Wheelchairs of Hope”.

The remaining 80 wheelchairs will be delivered to additional rehabilitation centres in four provinces in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Ben Tre and Ha Giang. Wheelchairs of Hope is an Israeli initiative that aims to develop, design, manufacture and provide wheelchairs to children who need assistance with mobility. The company was among the first to receive a Grand Challenges Israel (GCI) grant, dedicated to supporting technological and innovative solutions to challenges in global health and food security in developing countries.

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Philippine Independence Day reception in Tel Aviv E-mail

Israel’s Minister for Welfare and Social Services Haim Katz was the guest of honour at a diplomatic reception marking the 119th Anniversary of Philippine Independence Day, hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv last month.

During the event, Minister Katz confirmed that the Israeli government is offering assistance to those displaced by the recent conflict in Marawi City, Mindanao. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has already allocated a special budget for humanitarian aid.

Addressing about 250 guests from the Israeli government, the diplomatic corps, the business community and leaders of the Filipino community, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial highlighted the close ties and enduring friendship between Israelis and Filipinos.

Ambassador Imperial mentioned that this year is also the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippine and Israel. He added that bilateral relations between the two countries have never been as strong and multi-faceted as they are today. Intelligence-sharing and defense co-operation have become more robust. Two-way tourism continues to rise, and last year Israel became the Philippines’ fastest-growing tourism market. Agricultural cooperation remains an important aspect of the relations, and the Ambassador expressed appreciation for the Granot Agrostudies Program under MASHAV, through which Filipino students learn about innovation and technologies from Israel.

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India’s navy chief visits Israel E-mail

The head of the Indian navy, Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, arrived in Israel on 11 June for a five-day visit, during which he met with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Israel Navy Commander Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit, according to Haaretz.

Indian media reported that during his visit, Lanba would follow up on the progress being made on “joint projects and initiatives with Israel”.

The chairman of India’s chiefs of staff committee (CoSC) also met with highranking officials from Israel’s Defense Ministry and visited Haifa Naval Base and other military sites. “Since the renewal of formal diplomatic relations in 1992, defence co-operation has been one of the main pillars of bilateral engagement between the two nations,” The Hindustan Times reported, quoting a Defense Ministry statement.

One of the things that interests India is how Israel is securing its gas fields in the Mediterranean. The plan for securing the area includes the purchase of four patrol boats made by the German company Thyssenkrupp, the use of drones, and the collection of intelligence relating to possible attacks on the fields, whether by missile fire, sea vessels or aircraft.

“The threats [faced by the two militaries] are totally different, but in the end, they too want to learn about the technologies we are using and their concept. The world of terror has also changed, and they are coming to the conclusion there that with a small investment, an attack on a platform like a gas field can cause a strategic crisis or seriously harm a country,” said an Israeli naval officer.

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Independence Day donation supports reading programme for Hong Kong children E-mail

While a traditional reception to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day is generally expected each year, this year the Consulate General of Israel in Hong Kong chose to make use of its budget fund to donate to a programme that targets children in the local community of Hong Kong. This year, Israel marked its 69th Independence Day on 2 May.

The Consulate partnered with the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children (HKSPC), a Hong Kong children’s charity organisation that since 1926 has been committed to nurturing children in their early childhood development, to support their “Parent-child Reading Programme”, an educational programme that encourages reading and learning in deprived families.

“Chinese and Jewish families do share similar cultures and values. It is important for us, as parents or teachers, to encourage children and cultivate this good habit. There is nothing better than reading a book to inspire one’s imagination,” said Consul General Sagi Karni, adding: “We hope our donation will make even a small difference in raising the awareness of reading and making it more accessible to the needy families with more budget for manpower and books.”

This is the third donation from the Consulate to a non-government organisation as a token of appreciation for the close friendship between Israel and Hong Kong.

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Shanghai community marks Yom Hashoah E-mail
A special gathering to remember the victims of the Holocaust was held in Shanghai’s Ohel Rachel Synagogue on the evening of 24 April to mark Yom Hashoah.

White candles were lit for the annual Holocaust memorial event, organised by the Israeli Consulate in Shanghai. Diplomats from 22 countries attended the event, which was hosted by Nadav Zysblat, Israel’s Deputy Consul General.

Six million Jews were killed during WWII. Old pictures displayed at the memorial event were a testament to the Jewish people’s struggle in the fight against fascism. According to official data, over 20,000 Jews fled to Shanghai during WWII, escaping from Nazi persecution with the help of the Chinese people. In his speech at the event, Deputy Consul General Zysblat expressed his gratitude to Shanghai and China.
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