11 April 2016 - 3 Nisan 5776 - ג' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Sri Lanka’s new ambassador to deepen bilateral relations E-mail

Israel and Sri Lanka expect to further deepen and strengthen the existing bilateral relations between the two countries, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said recently.

The two countries agreed to enhance close relations when the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Israel, Periyasamy Pillai Selvaraj, presented his credentials to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin at a ceremony held on 2 November at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The ambassador, escorted by a motorcade, was welcomed upon his arrival at the President’s Residence with a Guard of Honour and the playing of the National Anthems of both countries.

Following the presentation of credentials, the Israeli President warmly welcomed the new Ambassador and wished him every success in his new assignment as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Israel.

In his remarks, Ambassador Selvaraj conveyed the warm greetings and best wishes of President Maithripala Sirisena, and those were warmly reciprocated.

President Rivlin said the existing bilateral relations between Israel and Sri Lanka are excellent and expressed the confidence that the relations would be further deepened and strengthened during the tenure of the ambassador.

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Halloween shoppers protest E-mail

US retail giant Walmart halted sales of its Israeli soldier costume after consumers protested against the product, The New York Times reported. Some of the shoppers accused Walmart of selling an “apartheid army” costume, leading Walmart’s management to stop offering the Halloween special, according to the report.

The picture accompanying the product showed a costumed child holding a toy Uzi, although the costume did not include the replica gun. Several Muslim groups in the US threatened to end their commercial ties with Walmart and launch a boycott over the costume.

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“Hello Israel!” competition in Shanghai E-mail

Hosted by the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai and the International Education Association Shanghai, and cohosted by Shanghai Jing’an District Education Bureau, the 2015 “Anemone Cup” Innovative Drama Competition for Shanghai High School Students was held on 22 November at the Jing’an Youth Activity Center.

About 500 people, including government officials and high-school students, watched the competition. The theme of the competition was “Hello, Israel!”. In all, 24 students from eight high schools in Jing’an District participated.

They devised eight original dramas to express their understanding of Israel and its history, advanced technology and innovative ideas.

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Israel mourns the passing of its fifth President, Yitzhak Navon E-mail

Yitzhak Navon, who served as the fifth President of the State of Israel from 1978 to 1983, passed away on 7 November at the age of 94. He was laid to rest on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

During his presidency, he strove to act as a bridge between Israel’s ethnic groups, religious and secular, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, left and right, Jews and Arabs.

One of the highlights of his term of office was his state visit to Egypt in 1980 at the invitation of President Anwar Sadat. He impressed his hosts with his eloquent Arabic, breaking the ice and demolishing stereotypes of Israelis and Jews as a “foreign element” to the region.

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India’s President Prenab Mukherjee made an historic landmark visit to Israel in October. It was the first-ever official visit to the Jewish state by a president of India. While in the region for a six-day, threenation visit, he first visited Jordan and Palestinian Territory, and then spent three days in Israel.

The visit to Israel marked an historic political milestone and reflected the continued strengthening of relations between the two countries. Israel and India are engaged in a range of issues of bilateral interest, including co-operation in agriculture, education, science and technology, and the visit is expected to further cement bonds and enhance mutual understanding.

During the welcome ceremony, Israel’s President Reuvan Rivlin commented: “Even as a president of a country as wonderful as India or Israel, it is not every day that one truly has the chance to make history. But today, we together are making history. For the first time ever, as President of the State of Israel, I have the honour of saying to you, as President of India, ‘Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.’”

While in the country, President Mukherjee also held talks with President Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He visited the Holocaust memorial and participated in a community reception and was also the guest of honour at a state dinner given by President Rivlin. President Mukherjee was invited to address a special plenary meeting of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).

The visit concluded with a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, where President Mukherjee received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his long-time exemplary public service as a leading diplomat and champion of social and financial reform. The conferring of the doctorate also marked the ongoing academic co-operation between the two countries.

One of the key objectives of the visit was the signing of two bilateral agreements, one dealing with the issue of double taxation and the other with cultural exchanges. Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon and Eastern Region Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadwah joined their respective presidents in signing the two agreements.

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