JTA NEWS
19 July 2019 - 16 Tammuz 5779 - ט"ז תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ט
JTA NEWS :
Regional
UIA Annual Dinner 2019 in Hong Kong E-mail

The 2019 UIA Hong Kong – Keren Hayesod campaign kicked off to an enthusiastic start as 180 friends and supporters convened at the Hong Kong Jewish Community Centre for the “UIA Solidarity and Appeal” evening on 14 March.

Israel’s Consul-General to Hong Kong, Mrs. Ahuva Spieler and Irit Barash, Director of UIA Israel graced the occasion with their presence, as well as all UIA Directors and leadership, led by Co-Chairs Daniel Green and Philippe Bera. The event was successfully led by Daniel Kirwin, UIA Director.

The guest speaker for the evening was Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel’s highest-ranking diplomat and a well-established writer, and newspaper columnist.

Ambassador Prosor was introduced by Philippe Bera, Co-Chair of UIA Hong Kong.

Ambassador Prosor has served Israel in multiple roles, most notably as Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2011 to 2015.

Ambassador Prosor gave an intriguing and illuminating description of his tenure as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and exemplified how he chose to take a proactive, innovative and realistic course of action in representing Israel. Just one highlight of his successful tenure to the United Nations was his becoming, in 2014, the first Israeli diplomat nominated to supervise UN elections.

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Vietnamese students complete agriculture MSc in Israel E-mail

Six Vietnamese students have completed an agricultural MSc programme, the fourth course carried out as a cooperative venture between the Arava International Centre for Agriculture Training (AICAT) and Tel Aviv University in Israel.

A graduation ceremony was held in February for the Vietnamese students and seven others from Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Professor Nir Ohad of Tel Aviv University applauded the efforts made by Vietnamese students during the course, and expressed his hope that with the knowledge gained in Israel they will contribute to the success of Vietnam’s agriculture industry.

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Jewish Karachi resident now allowed to visit Israel E-mail

Fishel Khalid, a 31-year-old Jewish resident of Karachi, has been issued a new passport by the Pakistani authorities. The passport lists his religion as Judaism.

In a tweet on 23 January, Khalid said he received a call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 2 January, informing him that he is now permitted to visit Israel on his Pakistani passport.

Khalid said that he had been in contact with the National Database and Registration Authority of Pakistan (NADRA) since 2016 to register himself as Jew, and that after a long time his request was approved by the government. “I was registered as a Muslim at birth but I told NADRA that I am not a practising Muslim and provided them all the details and documents [to prove it],” he told the BBC.

In the September 2018 issue of Jewish Times Asia we reported on his appeal to allow him to travel to Israel in time for the Pesach festival in April.

Khalid, who also goes by the name Fishel Benkald, tweeted his request to senior government officials, along with images of his Pakistani passport showing his religion listed as Judaism, and specifying that the passport was valid “for all countries of the world except Israel”.

As reported in the May 2017 issue of Jewish Times Asia, Pakistan, for the first time since the 1980s, allowed one of its 180 million citizens to publicly register as a Jew. He was notified in March 2017 that his religious status in his NADRA profile could be changed from Muslim to Jew.

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More Israeli and Indian tourists visit each other’s countries E-mail

The Embassy of India in Israel and the Incredible India Tourism office jointly hosted an India Tourism Seminar in Tel Aviv on 14 February.

India’s Ambassador to Israel, Pavan Kapoor, made the welcome remarks, highlighting the immense tourism potential India has for the Israeli traveller, beyond backpacking to luxury tourism, family tours, medical tourism and shopping. Air India flights between Tel Aviv and Delhi, which started in March 2018, have increased the number of passengers both ways, in addition to El Al flights and the recently announced Arkia flights to Goa and Cochin.

The seminar included presentations about Kerala, South India, North East India, Luxury Tourism and Wellness Tourism. The event was well attended by tour operators and the media. Ambassador Kapoor also selected the winning ticket in a lucky draw sponsored by Air India – one tour operator won a round trip to Delhi.

Looking at the figures for tourism in the reverse direction, Israel recorded a 21% growth in Indian tourist arrivals to the country last year, with around 70,800 travellers visiting from January to December 2018 (up from about 58,700 in 2017), making it the 12th-highest source market for Israel, according to a media release from the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT).

Hassan Madah, IMOT director, India and Philippines, elaborated: “Last year has been outstanding for Israel Tourism in India and worldwide as we welcomed 4.12 million tourists into the country. With a rapid increase in leisure outbound trips, India is an important market for us, possessing tremendous potential to become one of the key source markets for Israel in the coming years.”

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Bat-Mitvah celebrations for B’nei Menashe immigrants E-mail

Ten 12-year-old girls, all of whom are recent B’nei Menashe immigrants who were taken on Aliyah from India by Shavei Israel, celebrated their Bat-Mitzvah in January at a festive gathering of family and friends hosted by Girls Town Jerusalem, where they are enrolled as students.

“We were delighted to attend this very special and moving Bat-Mitzvah celebration, which symbolises the rite of passage that the girls and their families have undergone in returning to the Jewish people,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund. “We are grateful to Girls Town Jerusalem for the warmth, love and acceptance that they have showered upon these recent immigrants, some of whom arrived here barely six months ago. May they grow up to be proud Jewish women here in the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.”

“We are determined to continue with our efforts until all the remaining 7,000 B’nei Menashe still in India are able to return to Zion,” he added.

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