23 October 2018 - 15 Heshvan 5779 - ט"ו חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Yom Hashoah – a day to remember the Holocaust E-mail

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, is observed every year. It is a day of commemoration of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany.

The day was inaugurated in Israel in 1959 and takes place on 27 Nisan (Hebrew month), a week before Yom Ha’Atzmaut–Israel’s Independence Day.

In Israel, flags are flown at half mast and there is a state ceremony held at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority. At 10 am, air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes and all activity comes to a halt.

Outside of Israel, the day is marked with ceremonies and programmes that include the lighting of memorial candles. Jewish communities get together and solemnly observe and remember the millions of Jews who were murdered.

The Hong Kong Jewish community held their Holocaust Remembrance Day on 24 April at the Jewish Community Centre. The event was organised by the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre (HKHTC). This year’s theme was “Never Again”.

Members from all of Hong Kong’s Jewish congregations were represented. In addition, representatives from many consulates joined the evening’s gathering and other multi-faith leaders. In attendance was Sagi Karni, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong, who gave an address.

Opening remarks were read by Glen Steinman, HKHTC Director. The evening programme included a moving and graphic video documentary entitled Sgt. Howard Cwick, Jewish Liberator: Eyewitness to History.


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Ohel Leah Synagogue celebrating Israel's 69th Independence Day of 1 May E-mail
To mark the day, the community was invited to take part in a festive Maariv (evening prayer) service including the Hallel prayer, with a guitar accompaniment.

However, before celebrations began in earnest, attendees took part in a ‘transition’ ceremony led by Assistant Rabbi, Itzik Sachs, marked the end of Israel’s Memorial Day – Yom Hazikaron and the move into Independence Day celebrations.

To mark the Memorial Day, community members were handed out a memorial candle with the name of a soldier or citizen who had died fighting for the State of Israel or through acts of terror. Readings were read by Alan Landau, Penina and Avi Nagar; and the memorial prayers were recited by Lior Dagan and Rabbi Sachs, where each person was invited to say the name written on their candle.

The Israeli flag was then raised to full mast by Elianna and Joe Diestel, hoisted to the top of the Ohel Leah synagogue building, marking the move to Yom Haatzmaut. A video of the Declaration of Independence was screened, followed by addresses by Rabbi Asher Oser and Sagi Karni, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong.
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Israel embassy website in China the most popular E-mail

According to Israel Today, the website of the Israeli Embassy in China on the Chinese social media network Sina Weibo is the most popular of all foreign embassies, with 1.9 million followers. By comparison the US embassy has around 1 million followers.

The Weibo social media network has 600 million registered users, of whom around 300 million are active. In second place and far behind is the Canadian embassy, with 1.13 million followers. The US embassy is in third place with 1.035 million followers. In fourth place is the Brazilian embassy, with around half million followers, and in fifth place is the Japanese embassy, with fewer than half a million followers. Then followed by South Korea with 396,000, Cuba with 359,000, Britain with 289,000, France with 255,000 and Russia with 167,500.

An article on the “What’s On Weibo” website offered an analysis of what makes the Israeli embassy in China so popular. The answer given is that in general, Chinese citizens have a very positive attitude towards Israel.

In addition, the activities of the embassy in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai are widely appreciated. One such activity was when the Shanghai Consulate published a video clip of hundreds of Israelis, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, holding up signs in Chinese thanking the Chinese people for the shelter they gave to Jews during WWII.

After former Israeli president Shimon Peres passed away, half a million followers visited the embassy site and recorded their condolences, hailing Peres as a great friend of China.

Several articles about the Israeli embassy have been published in the Chinese media and by several leading Chinese bloggers.

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President Rivlin meets Procurator General of China E-mail

On 2 April, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with Cao Jianming, the ProcuratorGeneral of the People’s Republic of China. Cao was accompanied by Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit.

The Procurator-General is the highest agency at the national level responsible for both prosecution and investigation in the People’s Republic of China, the Hong Kong SAR and the Macau SAR.

Rivlin welcomed Cao to his residence, saying: “As an Israeli, as a Jerusalemite, and a student of the law, it is a great pleasure to welcome you. We know your great nation is so important to the whole world, and we are proud of our relationship with China: on a G2G basis, on a B2B basis and between people. We are very honoured to have you as our guest.”

“No one can compete with the combination of China and Israel,” Rivlin added.

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Imam apologises to Jewish and Christian groups in Singapore E-mail

An Indian religious cleric in Singapore has been ordered to be deported from the country after speaking out against Jews and Christians during a sermon.

Because of his remarks made at a mosque in January, Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel pleaded guilty in a state court to a charge of promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race. He was fined $2,860 Singapore dollars, which he paid, and was ordered to be deported.

During a prayer session, the imam had said in Arabic: “Grant us help against the Jews and Christians,” citing the Quran as his source, according to court documents.

In February, a video of the Imam reciting the prayer in Arabic surfaced online. The Imam explained that the verse “God help us against Jews and Christians” came from an old Arabic text he had learned in his village in India, not from the Quran.

“Recent events abroad have highlighted how the build-up of anger and resentment among different religious groups can lead to social friction and violence,” the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs statement said. “The government has the responsibility to act quickly and firmly to repudiate divisive speech, even if the course of action is sometimes difficult.”

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