18 November 2016 - 17 Heshvan 5777 - י"ז חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ז
Jewish Times Asia

Airline competition to fly direct from Asia to Israel will now clearly be stepped up with the announcement that Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific will launch direct flights in March 2017.

The airline will begin operating four weekly flights on 26 March. Currently, EL AL Israel Airlines offers the only direct flight to and from Hong Kong. In April this year, China’s Hainan Airlines launched direct flights between Beijing and Tel Aviv, joining EL AL as one of only two airlines operating an Israel-China route. Korean Airlines also flies to Tel Aviv via Seoul daily.

Cathay Pacific will offer three ticket classes: tourist, business and a separate 28-seat premium economy department. Cathay Pacific has not previously operated in Israel. They have an arrangement through Tal Aviation, which is also the Israeli representative of Air Europe, Germania, American Airlines and Air Baltic.

Cathay Pacific’s new route will be subject to final government approval. As reported in the September 2015 issue of Jewish Times Asia, there are many other Asian carriers in the process of getting clearance to fly to Israel. These include Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Israel and Japan signed an aviation agreement in July 2015. Israeli and Japanese airlines will jointly operate up to 14 weekly flights in each direction. The new aviation agreement will allow for the introduction of a regular route between the two countries, although no official starting date has yet been approved. More recently, Singapore Airlines has also been in negotiations to fly between the two countries.

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Adolf Hitler’s home to be torn down E-mail

Adolf Hitler’s birthplace in Austria will be torn down and a new building with no connection to the Nazi leader will be built in its place. The plan was announced recently by the country’s Interior Ministry.

The plan must still be written into legislation and passed by Austria’s Parliament, the Associated Press reported. The vote is due take place before the end of this year, and likely would be a formality, according to the news service.

The Austrian government has initiated formal legal procedures to dispossess the home in the German border town of Braunau from its owners, in an attempt to prevent the site from becoming a shrine to the neo-Nazi community. Hitler was born in the home on 20 April, 1889, and Gerlinde Pommer’s family has owned it for more than a century. The town has tried for decades to purchase the building. The ministry had rented the home for decades and sublet it to charitable organisations.

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Mountain climber dies in India E-mail

While hiking along the Ganges River in India in October, Israeli mountain climber Ariel Freeman, 50, slipped and fell to his death – the latest in a string of hiker fatalities in the area over the past month.

Ariel Freeman, from Moshav Nir Tzvi, was hiking with his wife and fellow trekkers when the tragedy occurred. Those accompanying him were unable to report the incident until they reached an area with cell phone service. His body was recovered at the scene and taken to the police station in the town of Uttarkashi. The Israeli Foreign Ministry assisted the family and the body has since been flown back to Israel for burial.

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China and Israel agree on 10-year multiple-entry visas for citizens E-mail

Israel’s Interior Ministry has announced that the Chinese Israeli 10-year multiple-entry visa agreement will take effect this month on 11 November. The agreement was signed at the second meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation on 29 March 2016. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the signing ceremony.

The Chinese-Israeli 10-year multiple-entry visa agreement is another major move after Israel and China agreed on a mutual visa waiver for diplomatic and official passport-holders this January. According to the agreement, Chinese tourists will be able to have multiple entries to Israel, with the maximum duration of each stay being 90 days.

In recent years, ChineseIsraeli relations have been developing rapidly in various fields, including intergovernmental platforms such as the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation, and co-operation in trade, bilateral investment, culture, academia and tourism. The visa agreement is expected to continue to strengthen co-operation between the two countries.

China’s tourism industry is the fastest-growing in the world. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel has been increasing by 30% annually. Israel welcomes Chinese tourists and hopes that this momentum will be long-lasting.

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More young Jews participating in trips to Israel, says Birthright E-mail

Well over 30,000 young Jews from 59 countries visited Israel over the past summer with Birthright Israel, which offers free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jews aged between 18 and 26.

Birthright announced in October that it will offer a new, seven-day trip to Israel in an effort to allow young professionals to participate in the free trip to Israel.

“The purpose of this trip offering is to allow those who are busy and having a hard time taking off work to still enjoy the trip,” said Noa Bauer, Birthright Israel’s VP of International Marketing. “We’re reaching out to young professionals who are committed to building their careers and can’t seem to take the full 10 days off work.”

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