22 November 2017 - 5 Kislev 5778 - ה' כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Organisers refuse to raise flag or play anthem for Israeli athlete E-mail

An Israeli judoka who won a gold medal in October at the Abu Dhabi Gold Slam tournament was forced to celebrate his victory under the International Judo Federation’s flag (IFJ) and anthem.

Tal Flicker defeated his Azerbaijani rival to win gold in the men’s under-66kg category, but the United Arab Emirates’ ban on Israeli symbols meant he officially competed for the IFJ.

The 12 Israeli athletes at the tournament were prevented from wearing the Israeli flag or even the three-letter country code ISR.

Flicker appeared to be singing the Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel, as the IFJ’s anthem was played over the tournament’s sound system.
No local organisers of the tournament appeared to be on stage during the podium ceremony, with Flicker’s medal being presented to him by Head Refereeing Director Juan Carlos Barcos, a Spanish national. Prize money and a floral tribute were handed out by Japan’s Takao Kawaguchi.

The 25-year-old’s act quickly went viral on social media, with users praising him. The video gained a lot of attention on social media, with people condemning the organisers as “racist”.

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Chinese bike-sharing company launches services in Israel E-mail

Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo has launched its services in Israel with an initial short-trip service at BarIlan University in the Tel Aviv District, Ramat Gan. The company plans to place 1,000 shared bikes in Israel by the end of the year.

According to China Tech News, Ofo needs to enter only three more countries to achieve its goal of reaching 20 countries by the end of 2017.

Ofo’s launch at BarIlan University received great support from the student union, teachers and students. Ofo placed 100 bikes at 19 parking sites around the campus.

Dai Wei, founder and chief executive officer of Ofo, said that Israel is an important stop for its international strategy. He said the company is committed to bringing its green and convenient short-trip solution to every city that needs it, and hopes to spread its green environmental protection concept and encourage people to use low-carbon travel methods, so as to improve the global ecosystem.

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Hainan Airlines launches Tel Aviv-Shanghai flights E-mail

Hainan Airlines landed its inaugural flight to Ben Gurion Airport on 12 September. It was the first flight of the company’s new Tel Aviv-Shanghai route, with three weekly flights scheduled on Boeing Dreamliners.

As reported in the July/ August issue of Jewish Times Asia, 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.

Because the route is to a new destination, Hainan Airlines will receive a €750,000 grant from the Ministry of Tourism, to be used for marketing efforts aimed at increasing the number of Chinese tourists to Israel, among other things.

Before the first flight, the Minister of Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz said: “Increasing the number of destinations between Israel and China is likely to provide an incentive for realising the huge potential of incoming tourism from China, and bolster Israel’s exposure as a desirable tourist destination. There are hundreds of thousands of Chinese who admire Israel’s history and Jewish sites that attract millions of visitors from all over the world.”

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China and Israel hold consultations on arms control Print E-mail
Israel taps Ctrip to attract more Chinese tourists E-mail

Ctrip, one of China’s leading providers of travel services and package tours, and Israel’s Tourism Bureau have signed an agreement regarding strategic co-operation.

While the bureau wants to leverage Ctrip’s advantages as China’s largest online travel agent, such as big data and precision marketing, Ctrip wants to see Israel relax its visa regulations.

The recent rapid increase in the number of visitors from China to Israel looks set to continue, given the growing demand and the introduction of more direct flights between the two countries. According to Israeli Ministry of Tourism statistics, Israel welcomed 271,100 global tourists in July, an increase of 17% over the same period last year. In July, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Israel reached 64,000, an increase of 66%, reinforcing the position of China as the fastest-growing source of inbound tourists to Israel. Yariv Levin, Israel’s Minister of Tourism, said in a statement: “I am delighted to have witnessed the rapid growth of Israeli tourism in the Chinese market, thanks to the innovative approach of the Israeli tourism industry’s rich marketing activities in China and the creation of a destination brand image. In addition, a new direct flight to Israel has also played a vital role in the growth of the tourism market, and the rapid increase in the number of tourists in China has made great contributions to the Israeli economy and the job market.”

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