18 June 2019 - 16 Sivan 5779 - ט"ז סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ט

Millions of Iranians took to the streets on 23 June to attend Quds Day, held annually to protest Israel and Zionism. The event is also celebrated and commemorated around the world.

According to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, protesters attending the anti-Israel rallies declared that destroying the Jewish state is “the Muslim world’s top priority”. In a statement released after the marches, Iranians participating in Quds Day also called for unity among pro-Palestinian groups against the “child-murdering” Israeli government.

The resolution also criticised the US and Saudi governments for their treatment of Iran. Their supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Quds Day was “the symbol of fighting arrogance and global hegemons,” the news agency reported.

Iran’s government established Quds Day, held on the last Friday of Ramadan, in 1979. Al Quds is the Muslim name for Jerusalem. In the UK, marchers in the annual day parade blamed a fire in a low-income housing complex there that left 79 dead on “Zionists”.

Also, in a separate and disturbing development, during a UN session the Israeli diplomatic mission distributed to UN Security Council members satellite images of an Iranian site set up during a test carried out last year, using the Israeli flag the Star of David as a target for a ballistic missile test.

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Israel welcomes Indian Prime Minister E-mail

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited Israel from 4 to 6 July, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a red-carpet welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu said “Apka swagat hai mere dost. We have been waiting for you for a long time”.

The visit included a call on the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, and a working meeting and dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister.

This significant visit, the first of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, took place against the backdrop of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel, and aimed to further upgrade the ever-growing partnership between the two countries.

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Myanmar and Israel sign visa-exemption agreement for holders of special passports E-mail

Citizens of Myanmar and Israel holding diplomatic or other special passports will no longer need a visa to travel between the two countries, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

Meeting in Nay Pyi Daw in June, officials from both countries signed the agreement, which was written in English, Myanmar and Hebrew. Under its terms, Myanmar diplomatic and special passport-holders are exempt from visa requirements and are allowed up to 90 days’ stay in Israel, and vice versa.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affair Secretary Kyaw Zeya said that regular Myanmar passport-holders would still be required to obtain a visa to travel to Israel, although progress will slowly be made towards obtaining a visa-free agreement for all Myanmar citizens.

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Street in NewYork named after Elie Wiesel Print E-mail

New York City has named a street after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel.

During a ceremony last month, the southwest corner of 84th Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was renamed Elie Wiesel Way.

Wiesel was “perhaps the most eloquent voice for peace in our world”, said New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio in remarks delivered at the ceremony by Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “New York City is proud to honour his memory.” Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author, died at his home in Manhattan last July at the age of 87.

(Issue Jul/Aug 2017)

“Jerusalem Day” not welcome in Malaysia E-mail

Last month, following the threat of protests, an Islamic Party in Malaysia forced a Christian group to cancel an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) came out against the event, claiming that the “Nations of the Golden Gate Aligning with Jerusalem’s Jubilee” gathering promotes “Jewish culture” and “Zionist Christianity”.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Nasrudin Hassan, the Islamic party’s communication officer, said the event was a provocation against Muslims in the country and that the organisers should never “challenge the sensitivities of Muslims”.

“We can never forget the sufferings of Muslims caused by the atrocities of Israel. Now, they seek to create an extreme provocation to Muslims by organising Jerusalem’s jubilee on Malaysian soil,” he wrote on Facebook. The Christian group that had planned the event cancelled it after 32 police reports were filed against them because of the gathering’s “Zionist theme”.

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