20 June 2019 - 17 Sivan 5779 - י"ז סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Albert Einstein’s notes in Japan fetch a record at auction E-mail

A handwritten note in German by Albert Einstein for a deliveryman in Japan was sold at auction for US$1.56 million.

Einstein travelled and lectured throughout Japan for six weeks in 1922. The signed note was written in 1922 on the stationery of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, shortly after Einstein won the Nobel Prize for Physics. It reads: “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the
constant restlessness that comes with it.”

A second note in German that said “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” sold for US$240,000.

Both letters were purchased by the same person, and were auctioned off on 19 October at the Winner’s auction house in Jerusalem. The letters had been expected to sell for up to US$8,000 and US$6,000 respectively. The buyer asked to remain anonymous, according to reports. “It was an alltime record for an auction of a document in Israel,” Winner’s spokesman Meni Chadad told AFP.

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Israel’s Transport Minister invites Japanese participation in Middle-East infrastructure projects E-mail

On a three-day visit to Japan in October, Israel’s transportation minister, Israel Katz, announced a far-reaching proposal that could radically transform the geopolitical landscape.

Katz, who doubles as minister of intelligence, invited Japanese participation in multibillion- dollar projects to dramatically improve infrastructure in the Middle East. Israel’s goal, he said, was to establish itself “as the ultimate gateway between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Gulf countries, to transport goods from east to west and bridge three continents”.

Katz intends to propose ambitious, unprecedented cooperation between Israel and the Sunni Arab world, along with simultaneous plans to help the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. His plan is twofold: one part would be a land bridge dubbed “Tracks for Peace”, and the second part would be an artificial island off the Gaza Strip.

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Israel Prime Minister to visit India E-mail

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on 23 October that he will visit India in January, six months after his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visited the Jewish state.

Netanyahu will be only the second Israeli Prime Minister to visit India — Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi in 2003. “In the past year, I have visited all the continents besides Antarctica,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament). “And in January, I will make a reciprocal visit to my dear good friend, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, whose population is a significant part of humanity,” he added.

Modi’s visit to Israel in July this year celebrated 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, was described by many as the dehyphenation of New Delhi’s ties with the Palestinians.

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Anne Frank Halloween costume removed from websites E-mail

Just in time for this year’s celebratory Holloween parties, an online costume company removed a Halloween costume of Holocaust diarist Anne Frank from its US and European websites.

Holloween costumes.com, whose website is run by Minnesota- based company Fun. com, pulled the costumes after a backlash on social media.

The costume, which can be seen on social media in screen grabs, included a long-sleeved blue button-up dress, a brown shoulder bag and a green beret. The company described Frank as a WWII hero and an inspiration, adding that “we can always learn from the struggles of history”.

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New Israeli bank notes to feature women Print E-mail

The Bank of Israel has announced that the new NIS 20 and NIS 100 banknotes — the two remaining denominations in series C of the New Israel Shekel (NIS) — are expected to enter circulation at the end of November this year.

The new NIS 20 note is red and will have an image of Rachel Bluwstein — known in Hebrew as Rachel the poetess, and the back of the bill will contain words from her poem “Kinneret” (meaning the Sea of Galilee), alongside a picture of the shore of the same lake. The new NIS 100 is orange and bears the portrait of Leah Goldberg, one of Israel’s most acclaimed poets and writers. The back of the bill will have an image of deer plus an excerpt from Goldberg’s poem “White Days”.

Within the framework of the preparations for issuing the new banknotes, automated-machine operators are required to complete the calibration of vending machines and banknote-counting machines, through software that identifies new banknotes.

(Issue Nov 2017)

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