22 November 2017 - 4 Kislev 5778 - ד' כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ח

Chinese automaker Qoros is considering the establishment of an advanced R&D centre in Israel, Chinese media recently reported.

According to the Chinese reports, “Qoros plans to open an R&D centre in Israel to focus on developing a smart-car, to stand at the forefront of electric vehicle development – including autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence technologies. These technologies will be integrated in the next generation of electric cars by Qoros.”

The announcement was included as part of the coverage of an event at which Qoros presented the plans for its electric vehicle division. The “E-MISSION 2016”, a prototype of a Qoros electric vehicle based on the Qoros 5, will be displayed at the Beijing Auto Show in April.

The platform will serve as the base for both an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid that will be launched in China within 12-18 months.

Qoros is held by Kenon Holdings, which spun off from Israel Corporation last year and is controlled by Idan Ofer (55%). Unfortunately the Qoros venture has so far not been a profitable one for Kenon Holdings as it continues to finance massive losses incurred by Qoros – a total of US$1.1 billion so far. Qoros sold 13,000 vehicles in China during 2015 – more than twice as many as in the corresponding period in 2014, but those are paltry figures given the size of the Chinese market.

Qoros was launched in 2012 as a 50/50 independent joint venture between Chinese automaker Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation. The company is aiming to be one of the first Chinese auto manufacturers to meet European and international quality standards.

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New search engine to target anti-Semitism E-mail

The World Zionist Organization (WZO) has launched an app called “Sniper”, which it says is a search engine for anti-Semitic content.

The Sniper system is set up to scan the internet using an algorithm that will identify certain keywords in different languages. WZO members will scan the results, confirm the cases that actually show real anti-Semitism, and respond with direct replies or contact authorities in the offending party’s country.

WZO emphasises the fact that the app will be monitored and supervised, so that its use will be proper, and not aimed at shaming individuals or groups without proper evidence.

“The Sniper will create deterrence,” say the entrepreneurs behind it. “It won’t be so easy to publish a status calling for the murder of Jews, or pictures of burning Israeli flags.”

Sniper’s first users will be members of the WZO’s global network for combatting antiSemitism, at the WZO’s communications centre. Later, other users are expected to join in.

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French comedian barred from Hong Kong E-mail

Controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who arrived in Hong Kong on 28 January to perform two stand-up comedy shows, was expelled from Hong Kong a day after being detained, and his shows were cancelled. His two sons, one a minor, were also detained.

Dieudonne, who has been convicted seven times in France for inciting racial hatred against Jews, posted photos of the incident on his official Facebook page. In a later post, he said he had been detained for 15 hours, and blamed it on “pressure by Israel”. He returned to Paris via Thailand on the same day.

In November last year, a Belgian court sentenced Dieudonne to two months in jail for racist and anti-Semitic comments during a show there.

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Couple arrested for forged Israeli passports Print E-mail

An Iranian couple was arrested in India while trying to board a British Airways flight because they were carrying forged Israeli passports.

The husband and wife were also carrying their original Iranian passports when they were arrested on 24 January at Chennai Airport, the New Indian Express reported.

They had met and married while working in India and had planned to settle in the US. The couple reportedly thought it would be easier to enter the US with Israeli passports. Airport police told the newspaper that the passports were forged in Goa in India, where the man was working.

(Issue March 2016)


Israeli wine exports to Asia increase E-mail

Israel’s wine exports grew 6% to US$39 million in 2015, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute commented during the 2016 Sommelier Wine Exhibition, which was held in Tel Aviv in January, where 80 wineries displayed their wares.

The Export Institute added that despite last year’s larger export volume, the money value of exports actually slipped 3% in 2015, due to the weakness of the Euro.

An analysis by the wine industry and the Export Institute’s economic unit shows that most of the increase in Israel’s exports of wine and other alcoholic beverages were to Asia: the wine sector’s exports to Asia rose 16% to US$2.6 million, while exports to North America grew 8% to US$25 million. Exports to the European Union were down 18% to US$10 million, which the Export Institute attributed to the Euro crisis.

According to Export Institute figures, Israel has 300 wineries, 60 of which are commercial. Most of the wineries are boutique and garage wineries – small businesses producing only a few thousand bottles a year. The local wine market’s annual turnover is NIS 1 billion, with exports totalling 40 million bottles a year, plus 10 million more bottles of grape juice, and 20% of output is for export.

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