23 October 2019 - 25 Tishri 5780 - כ"ה תשרי ה' אלפים תש"פ
Israel’s Knesset approves exports of medical marijuana E-mail

As widely anticipated, Israel’s Parliament (Knesset) has unanimously approved a law to permit exports of medical marijuana, allowing Israel to tap the lucrative global market. 

The government’s announcement of the decision in late December means that Israel will become the third country, after the Netherlands and Canada, to take its medical cannabis global.

The Israeli medical cannabis company iCAN predicts that the value of the global industry will reach US$33 billion in the next five years, as stigma fades and demand grows for the few countries certified to export. 

“Israel, already the most advanced nation in cannabis R&D, will now be able to produce and market cannabis and cannabis-based products that will help millions of people suffering from illnesses including cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, epilepsy and PTSD, to name just a few,” noted Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN. “We are proud of our forward-thinking government and will continue to work together to build the industry and help patients worldwide to access safe, quality medical cannabis,” he added. 

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A four-person delegation from the South Korean Ministry of Unification, the government office that is preparing to handle the possible future unification of the Koreas, visited Israel in November.

As reported by the Jerusalem Post, the representatives from the South Korean ministry were seeking to learn about methods for effectively assisting in the integration of immigrants.

To that end, they met with representatives from a variety of organisations during their fact-finding trip, including Nefesh B’ Nefesh, a non-profit organisation that promotes, encourages and facilitates Aliyah – literally meaning “to help Jewish people from the diaspora to immigrate to Israel”. The organisation aims to remove or minimise the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles that potential citizens may face.

Members of the delegation included the leader, Ms Kim Yoojin, director of the PolicyPlanning Division; Mr Kuem Sungho, deputy director and lawyer of the Policy-Planning Division; Mr Kang Heechan, deputy director of the Policy Coordination Division, and Ms Lee Sangmi of the Policy-Planning Division.

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Chinese enterprise association established in Israel E-mail

Top Chinese companies active in Israel recently launched an organisation to represent them in dealing with local authorities.

The official objective of the organisation, the Chinese Enterprises Association in Israel (CEAI), is “to promote and develop economic and commercial relations between its companies and organisations and government institutions in Israel”.

CEAI president George Guan said: “In addition to tightening relations between CEAI member companies, our goal is to be a bridge between CEAI and various concerns in Israel. We regard commercial relations with Israel as an important longterm partnership.”

An unofficial aim is to combat campaigns being conducted against the growing presence of Chinese companies in Israel in general and in particular infrastructure contracts. Sources close to CEAI explained that its founding is linked to the recent visit by the Chinese vice president to Israel in October.

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Controversy at Miss Earth 2018 beauty pageant E-mail

Miss Earth Lebanon was forced to withdraw from the Miss Earth 2018 annual beauty pageant after posing in a photo with Miss Earth Israel. The annual event was held in the Philippines.

A photo posted on Facebook on 17 October, showing Miss Earth Lebanon Salwa Akar with Miss Earth Israel Dana Zreik, went viral. Akar posted the picture with the caption: “My advocacy is to help people find peace and love within themselves so they can love each other and become peaceful with our mother earth.”

According to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesman Ofir Gendelman, Akar’s title was “revoked in Lebanon because she ‘dared’ to take this photo with Miss Israel... Lebanese apartheid must be condemned.” Israeli news website Ynet said Akar claimed she did not know Zreik was Israeli because the Israeli-Arab contestant spoke to her in Arabic. However Miss Lebanon’s pageant organisers did not accept the explanation, as the photo shows that Zreik was wearing an Israel sash.

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World Bank lists Israel 49th in Doing Business Index Print E-mail

Israel has climbed five spots on the World Bank’s “2019 Doing Business Index”, published in November, and is now ranked 49th out of 190 countries after a seven-year downward trend.

Published annually, the index analyses a variety of criteria, including government regulation, access to electricity, taxation and the availability of financing to determine a country’s ranking in terms of the ease of doing business there. The top five countries/jurisdictions this year, in order, are New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and South Korea. The US is ranked eighth and the UK is ninth.

(Issue Dec 2018)

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