16 October 2018 - 8 Heshvan 5779 - ח' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Palestinian-Israeli woman to serve as judge in a Sharia court E-mail

For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, a Palestinian- Israeli woman has been appointed to serve as a judge in a Sharia religious court.

As reported by the “New Arab” website in April, Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee announced that Hana Mansour-Khatib – a lawyer specialising in family law from the northern town of Tamra – had won a unanimous internal vote for the office. Mansour-Khatib even won the backing of members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. The move has been hailed as historic by Israeli officials.

Some critics have dismissed it as a publicity stunt, drawing references to the continued human rights abuses suffered by Palestinian Muslims living under Israeli occupation. In the Jewish State, family law, including legislation governing divorce, marriage and endowments, is governed by religious courts, with separate systems existing for different religious denominations.

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Relations warm up between New Zealand and Israel E-mail
New Zealand’s newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee contacted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month in an effort to restore diplomatic relations.

Brownlee received his ministerial warrant on 2 May, Israel’s Independence Day, and hours later wrote to Netanyahu to get the relationship back on track. “I’ve sent a letter to Mr Netanyahu yesterday, firstly congratulating them on their national day but expressing a desire for the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track and to do that by recognising that we’ve got synergies and innovation and agriculture and various other things like that,” he told local media.

Brownlee confirmed there is more work to be done, but remains resolute about the importance of restoring the relationship to its prior strength.

In December, Israel withdrew its ambassador from New Zealand and postponed the travel rights of its ambassador to Israel, based in Turkey, after New Zealand co-sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
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Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI) announced in April that it had been awarded contracts in India totalling almost US$2 billion.

The deal includes a contract worth over US$1.6 billion – the largest defence contract in the history of Israel’s defence industries – to deliver an advanced Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) air and missile defence system to the Indian Army. IAI will also supply additional Long-Range Surfaceto-Air Missile (LRSAM) air and missile defence systems to be built in India for Indian aircraft carriers.

MRSAM is an advanced ground-breaking air and missile defence system that provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial threats. In its existing version, MRSAM is operational with the Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the Israel Defense Forces. The system includes an advanced phased-array radar, command and control, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.

MRSAM was developed jointly for the Indian Army by IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization in collaboration with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd and IAI’s ELTA unit, as well as Indian companies including BEL, L&T, BDL and other private vendors.

“Over the past 25 years, IAI has worked with the Indian defence industries and armed forces in many areas as part of our strategic partnership. The current contracts represent an enormous expression of confidence by the government of India in IAI’s capabilities and advanced technologies that are being developed with our local partners as part of the Indian Government’s ‘Make in India’ policy,” commented Joseph Weiss IAI President and CEO.

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India and Israel agree on new rules for business visas E-mail

As part of the growing partnership between India and Israel, and in order to ease the travel of Indian businessmen to the country, Israel has finally approved a new policy allowing multiple-entry business visas for five years.

“Connectivity is an important ingredient in relationship between peoples. I am glad we can add another positive measure in this regard while celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations,” said Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

Israel’s Minister of the Interior Rabbi Arie Deri approved the outline to the visa agreement between the two countries, which was the result of co-operation between the Ministry of the Interior and the Population Authority. Within the framework of the improved agreement, Israeli citizens wishing to travel to India on business or as tourists will receive a multipleentry visa valid for five years. The agreement grants identical terms to Indian citizens wishing to visit Israel.

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Pakistan allows a citizen to register as a Jew E-mail

For the first time since the 1980s, Pakistan has allowed one of its 180 million citizens to publicly register as a Jew.

Fischel Benkald, 29, was notified in March that the religious status in his National Database and Registration Authority profile could be changed from Muslim to Jew, Fox News reported.

Benkald, who was born Faisal Benkald, was brought up by a Jewish mother and a Muslim father in Karachi. He had been pushing to change his national identity card status for three years. He chose the Yiddish name Fischel.

Wilson Chowdry, the chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, took up Benkald’s cause with the Pakistani High Commission in London.

In Pakistan, the national identity card is used for voting, purchasing public transportation tickets, applying to college, buying phones and more. It contains details of a person’s name, date of birth and religion, plus a photo and a thumbprint.

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