22 October 2018 - 14 Heshvan 5779 - י"ד חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Indonesia-Israel tourist visits reopened E-mail

The on-again-off-again permission for Israeli and Indonesian tourists to visit each other’s country is now back on again, according to official diplomatic channels.

Indonesia has reopened its doors to Israeli tourists after the Israeli Foreign Ministry held talks with its counterparts in Jakarta via international channels to resolve the recent visa crisis.

In the June issue of Jewish Times Asia, we reported that Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, would soon be issuing tourist visas to Israelis. However, Indonesia’s Immigration Directorate General Agung Sampurno denied a report by an Israeli media portal that claimed Indonesia was issuing tourist visas to Israelis. He said the granting of visas to foreign citizens from a country that did not have diplomatic relations with Indonesia was possible only through the Calling Visa mechanism, which is overseen by the Foreign Ministry and its related agencies, including the Immigration Directorate General. “The report stating Indonesia was issuing tourist visas to Israelis is a hoax,” Agung said.

In May, Indonesia decided to ban the entry of Israelis in response to the escalation of the conflict on the Gaza border. Israel responded in kind, barring Indonesian nationals from entering the country.

Israel’s Ambassador to Singapore, Simona Halperin, conducted quiet talks with officials in Jakarta and was able to reach understandings with them, which led to each country lifting its ban on the other’s tourists.

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Wrestler wins youth medal in Japan championship E-mail

Noah Leibowitz, an 11-yearold Japanese Orthodox Jew, recently competed for the first time and won a first-prize medal at an All-Japan youth wrestling championship in July.

Noah took the wrestling world by storm going head-tohead with two defending champions. “I was very nervous and everybody was watching. The mats are on the floor and all the people sit around the mats. It was a crazy environment. It looked like David and Goliath,” Leibowitz told The Jerusalem Post.

But he didn’t flinch, and in fact he hardly gave up a point on his way to winning his first national title.

“Noah is wrestling with the SWAT team police wrestling club, one of the most elite clubs. All the guys who are coaches are former Olympians,” said Leibowitz’s New York-born father, David, who moved to Japan 25 years ago.

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Xiamen opens trade liaison office in Israel Print E-mail

Xiamen, a port city on China’s southeast coast, has opened a trade liaison office in Israel, becoming the third Chinese city to do so this year. The other two are the capital, Beijing, and Dongguan, an industrial centre in southern China.

Representatives of the Xiamen Torch Hi-Tech Development Zone will scout for technological innovation for the Chinese city’s largest companies from an office in Tel Aviv, according to an official announcement.

All three initiatives are designed to facilitate business ties between Chinese companies and Israeli entrepreneurs offering technological innovation.

The scale of Chinese cities – even modestly sized ones such as Xiamen have millions of residents – means that the country’s municipal governments are large enough to provide the foreign commercial aid usually supplied by the embassies of national governments.

(Issue Sep 2018)

Three visa application centres open up in China E-mail

A new Israeli visa application centre opened in Shanghai on 24 July, following the opening of a centre in Beijing the previous week. Another visa application centre is expected to open soon in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China.

Zvi Heifetz, Israel’s Ambassador to China, said in a speech at the opening ceremony in Shanghai that the opening of visa application centres in the three Chinese cities would bring convenience to Chinese tourists, and would play an important role in strengthening the relationship between China and Israel.

The new centre in Shanghai will provide services such as online and telephone consultations and a fast-track visa service, which allows applicants to get a visa just one day after they submit their application.

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Israel expands visa application centres in India E-mail

Israel’s push for more visa application centres seems to be moving at pace apart from China, it is now expanding in India with the aim of attracting more tourists, the Embassy of Israel in India opened an Israel Visa Application Centre in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on 29 August, to cater to West Bengal and the eight states of the Northeast India region.

Visa applications under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi centre will also be acceptable at the centre in Kolkata. The visa application categories include B1 for employment; B2 for business, tourism, meetings or conferences, and A2 for students.

“Israel is experiencing a tourism boom like never before. India has recorded half-yearly growth of 82% as compared to the same period in 2015 and has become one of the best-performing markets in Asia for Israel. Keeping this in mind, the Ministry consistently aims to introduce initiatives that ease the procedure of visa applications to Israel,” said Hassan Madah, Director, Israel Ministry of Tourism – India & Philippines.

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