11 December 2018 - 4 Tevet 5779 - ד' טבת ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Warsaw church named “House of Life” for helping Jews E-mail

The Roman Catholic All Saints Church in Warsaw, which provided help to Jews in WWII during the Nazi German occupation of Poland, has been recognised as a “House of Life”.

A ceremony to unveil a commemorative plaque in the church on 7 June was attended by representatives of the Polish government and Jewish organisations, Catholic Church leaders, the diplomatic corps and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

The Church of All Saints, located within the perimeter of what was the city’s Jewish Ghetto during WWII, provided wide-ranging assistance to Jews.

It issued false baptismal certificates to hundreds of Jews who wanted to escape from the ghetto, offered meals and accommodation on the parish premises, and placed Jewish children in an orphanage set up in a Warsaw suburb in a house that belonged to the family of the parish priest, Father Marceli Godlewski.

In 2009, Father Godlewski was posthumously awarded a Righteous Among the Nations medal from the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem.

Samuel Tenembaum, the son of the founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, said during the ceremony that after the Nazi German invasion of Poland, Father Godlewski could not stand idly by. Instead, he “provided shelter and food to Jews within the walls of this church, even though he realised that offering any kind of assistance to Jews was punishable by death.”

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New flight scheduled between Shanghai and Tel Aviv E-mail

Israel’s Tourism Ministry and China’s Hainan Airlines announced in June the signing of a marketing agreement to open a new route between Shanghai and Tel Aviv.

This step makes Hainan Airlines the first airline to operate regular flights between Shanghai and Israel. In the past year there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists and business people visiting Israel from China, noted the Tourism Ministry. The new route is expected to increase these numbers further.

As part of the agreement, Hainan Airlines will operate three direct weekly flights from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, starting from 12 September, using their new Dreamliner planes (787-900).

Hainan Airlines has also decided to add another flight to the current four weekly flights on the Tel Aviv-Beijing route due to increased demand, beginning in September.

According to statistics provided by the Tourism Ministry, the entry of Hainan Airlines into the Israeli market in April 2016 changed the face of incoming tourism from China, leading to a significant drop in airfares.

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Hong Kong signs air services amendment agreement with Israel E-mail

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bingleung, signed an air services amendment agreement on 8 June while visiting Israel.

Representing the government of Israel to sign the agreement was the Minister of Transport and Road Safety Israel Katz.

The amendment agreement and the air services agreement signed in March 1998 provide a legal framework for air links between Hong Kong and Israel, which will promote economic development and cultural exchanges between the two places.

Professor Cheung said that Israel is an important aviation partner to Hong Kong. Israel is along the corridors of the Belt and Road Initiative. The signing of the amendment agreement marks an important chapter of the bilateral aviation relations between the two places, creating more opportunities for economic and trade development between Hong Kong and Israel under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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Memorial museum planned for French train station E-mail

A train station in eastern France that became the first concentration camp for French Jews during the Holocaust is being rebuilt as a memorial museum.

The Pithiviers station housed around 3,500 Jews in May 1941. That was before the most infamous deportations of French Jews, and before Jews were being murdered en masse in Auschwitz.

Local authorities said in June that they would devote hundreds of thousands of euros to preserve the place, set up educational exhibitions on its walls and declare it a historical monument.

The abandoned train station, whose old rails have not been replaced, had remained unused for years after the Holocaust, the France3 television channel reported. Schools in its region of eastern France have for many years been taking pupils to see the station, which is currently closed to the public.

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JWA Hong Kong celebrates its 70th anniversary E-mail

The Jewish Women’s Association of Hong Kong (JWA) marked its 70th anniversary with a gala event at the Aberdeen Marina Club on 21 May. It was also a glorious celebration of Israel’s 69th Independence Day.

Who could have imagined these two parallel celebrations 70 years ago in Hong Kong, as a group of visionary women established an organisation to bring Jewish women together to help those in need, while in Israel a Jewish homeland was being established?

After a few words of welcome from JWA Co-Chair Marissa Raccah, Sagi Karni, Consul General of Israel in Hong Kong, led the 170 attendees in a toast to the State of Israel and shared his reflections about how we in Hong Kong can indeed make a difference through involvement in organisations such as the JWA.

He also thanked the key corporate sponsors of the event, including Zim Shipping, Brinks and Malca-Amit.

This year the JWA hosted a very special guest from Israel, singer Shiran Almog, an 18-year-old teenager who has been battling cancer for the past three years. At the age of 15 she was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, and has undergone surgery and treatment. Her dream is to be an actress and singer.

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