17 November 2019 - 19 Heshvan 5780 - י"ט חשון ה' אלפים תש"פ
Balai Quezon House officially opens inside the Philippine Embassy E-mail

The Philippine Embassy in Israel has officially inaugurated the Balai Quezon (Quezon House) inside its premises on 29 October.

Members of the diplomatic corps and Israeli officials were also present at the launch of the centre, which was established to honor President Manuel L. Quezon’s policy creating a safe haven in the Philippines for Jewish refugees of the Holocaust.

Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research Ernesto C. Abella was the guest of honour for the official opening ceremony. Also present were Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum, proud “Manilaners” who now reside in Israel. Mr. Weissler and Ms. Kestenbaum were among the almost 1,300 Jewish refugees who were able to find safety in Manila; the community referred to themselves as “Manilaners” in fond reference to the city that became their new home.

In his keynote address, the Undersecretary noted that Quezon’s policy had been driven by principle and a sense of shared humanity: “... the idea that a people would shelter another for the simple reason that they believe in their basic right to exist and pursue a life of freedom and fulfillment.”

He expressed hope that the Balai Quezon would support efforts to build awareness of Quezon’s inspiring legacy, and lauded it for being “the first and only of its kind in the Philippine foreign service.”

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Israeli child dies on flight home from Thailand Print E-mail

According to Israel media reports, a one-year old infant girl died on 19 October on an Aeroflot flight from Thailand to Moscow when she began experiencing health problems.

The baby, who reportedly had a genetic condition, died whilst returning with her family to Israel from a vacation in Thailand. The pilot of the airplane made an emergency stop in the Russian city of Kazan, but doctors were unable to resuscitate the baby and declared her dead.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the incident, and that the Israeli embassy in Moscow asked the Jewish community in Kazan to assist the family.

In another tragic incident in Thailand, a 22-year-old Israeli woman has been killed in a diving accident on Koh Phi Phi Island, the Foreign Ministry reported on 6 October.

The woman was vacationing with her family. The family received assistance from the ministry and from Israeli Consul in Bangkok, who helped to arrange the body to be flown back to Israel for burial.

(Issue Nov 2019)

“Study in Israel” initiative for higher education targeting more Asian candidates E-mail

In October, the Council for Higher Education in Israel (CHE) launched the “Study in Israel” initiative in order to double the number of international students enrolled in Israeli colleges and universities, initially targeting students in North America but now seeing with greater emphasis on China and India.

With already 12,000 international students enrolled in higher education institutions, the programme aims to grow these numbers through dozens of short-term and longer study schemes at top Israeli schools.

The programme’s tagline is “Engage in Excellence,” highlighting the country’s innovative academic and research landscape as part of the startup nation.

“We have committed to making Israel a ‘brain gain’ country for students and researchers from around the world—North and South America, Europe, and Asia,” said Professor Yaffa Zilbershats, chair of the CHE’s Planning and Budgeting Committee.

“With this new campaign, Israel is now more attractive than ever; we’re looking forward to bringing many more students from around the globe in years to come.”

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Chess players refuse to play in India E-mail

Two young Iranians refused to play their games against fellow opponents from Israel at the World Junior Chess Championships, according to Iranian news agency Mehr.

The tournaments took place in Mumbai and Delhi during October, wherein several hundred players from around 65 countries participated.

However, Iranian players Grand Master Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei and International Master Aryan Gholami did not show up for the scheduled matches against their Israeli opponents.

Iranians are routinely barred by their government to face-off against Israelis in international competitions due to socio-geopolitical tensions; earlier this year, Iranian judoka Saied Mollaei said he was coerced by the Iranian authorities to intentionally lose a bout in order to avoid fighting Israeli Sagi Muki at the Judo World Championships in Tokyo.

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Israel hospital in collaboration agreement with Chinese rehabilitation facility E-mail

The Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital in Tel-Aviv has signed a collaboration agreement with the China Rehabilitation Research Center (CRRC), the largest such facility in China.

Having joined the Sino-Israel Hospital Alliance last June, this partnership meets the hospital’s goal of engendering more symbiotic relationships with hospitals across China.

The signing ceremony in October took place as part of the visit of the hospital’s director, Dr. Dov Albukerk, at an international conference in Beijing, and was initiated by the Chinese hospital.

Earlier this year, Albukerk was also invited to lecture in Jǐnán, China, at a national summit initiated by the Chinese Ministry of Health on China’s strategy for addressing the global challenge of population aging.

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