24 September 2019 - 25 Elul 5779 - כ"ה אלול ה' אלפים תשע"ט
India-Israel hackathon rewards innovation in cyber security and agriculture E-mail

Keen to inspire young entrepreneurs, the state of Andhra Pradesh in India organised a first-of-its-kind hackathon to resolve problems in the fields of agriculture, cybersecurity and water supply.

The Sunrise Open Challenge Hackathon (SOCH) included startups and entrepreneurs from India and Israel, along with teams of students from both countries. The 30-hour event, which took place in Visakhapatnam and Tel Aviv in February, was organised by the Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society, in association with DCF Ventures and Axis Innovation.

The Indian leg of the event saw participation from 38 teams, with a total of 178 participants. Participating teams came from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. The top three solutions by startups and the top three students’ teams were shortlisted under each category as winners, and prizes worth Rs 50 lakh (about US$70,000) were announced for each category.

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Personal possessions of Oskar Schindler sold at auction E-mail

Some personal possessions of German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,200 Jews he employed in his factory during the Holocaust, sold at auction recently for more than US$46,000.

The items – his Longines wristwatch, a compass, a 1938 Sudetenland Medal, two fountain pens and a business card – were sold in March by the Boston-based RR Auction, for more than they were expected to attract.

The items were from the estate of Schindler’s wife, Emilie, who died in 2001. The compass is said to have been used by Oskar and Emilie Schindler while fleeing Russian troops and heading for American-occupied territory in 1945. The Sudetenland Medal was awarded to all German officials and members of the Wehrmacht and SS who marched into Sudetenland, and it was later awarded to military personnel participating in the occupation of the remnants of Czechoslovakia. Schindler had aided in the annexation and occupation of the Sudetenland as a spy for the German government.

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Taipei mayor sits on airport floor causing a stir back home E-mail

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who recently participated in the 33rd International Mayors Conference, held in Israel, has been criticised by other politicians in Taiwan for a photo showing him sitting on the floor at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv as he charged his mobile phone.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been criticised for not arranging access to the VIP lounge for the mayor.

The photo, posted on 27 February, shows Ko casually sitting cross-legged on the floor of the airport as he scrolls through and charges his cell phone.

The photo was part of a series of images from his five-day trip to Israel, where he met with leaders to discuss ways of fostering new innovative industries in their cities.

“I think such an advanced airport must also have sockets for everyone to use. Those who deliberately do not use them and instead look for a corner to sit on the ground and pretend to be charging their phone are too pretentious, arrogant. It’s not the way a naive, natural, plain man would behave,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councillor Wang Shih-cheng Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei City Councillor Wang Chihping wrote: “You say he’s honest? Or is he destroying the image of Taipei? Which is it?” In an interview with Apple Daily, Wang said that as the head of the city, Ko should have staff help him recharge his phone batteries at the airport.

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South Korea builds its own mikveh E-mail

Chabad Korea has completed the construction of South Korea’s first mikveh (a bath for ritual immersion). A special reception event was held on 31 March at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.

Orthodox Jewish women residing in the country have previously needed to fly to China or Japan to use a ritual bath. Chabad Rabbi Asher Litzman says women have been forgoing job offers with companies such as Samsung because they would have no access to a mikveh in South Korea.

The new mikveh is constructed in the shape of a water drop that symbolises the purity of the rainwater source of the mikveh. The walls and floor are made of wood, in a modern design that hints at Korean tradition. The ceiling, shaped like a drop of water, was built using a 3D printer.

“We arrived 11 years ago and it’s been our foremost goal to build a mikveh that will serve the Jewish community living here,” said Rabbi Asher Litzman. Work on the project began a year ago. According to Jewish law (halacha), Jewish women need to be immersed in a mikveh (for conversion, for getting married and for observing niddah – family purity).

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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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