18 October 2018 - 10 Heshvan 5779 - י' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Hong Kong hosts its fifth delegation of injured Israeli soldiers E-mail

The Hong Kong Jewish community reached a new milestone in April by hosting its fifth delegation of injured soldiers from Israel’s Brothers for Life (Ach’im L’Chayim). Having hosted delegations from Brothers for Life for the fifth time in as many years, Hong Kong continues to be Asia’s only host country.

Brothers for Life was founded in 2007 to assist injured soldiers to get their lives back on track, and now assists around 800 injured soldiers.

“Having now hosted five delegations of injured soldiers, we have acquired a total of 50 new Brothers,” remarked Doron Nagar, one of the Hong Kong community organisers.

Through the generosity of members of the Hong Kong community, the soldiers enjoyed the sights and sounds of Hong Kong and Macau and were warmly welcomed by the Israeli Consul General and Ohel Leah synagogue members.

The delegation paid its annual visit to Elsa High School, where the soldiers interacted with the students and spoke about overcoming personal difficulties. Students from Elsa have visited the Brothers for Life on their school trips to Israel, cementing the strong bonds between the school and the soldiers.

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Israel looking to boost agricultural development in Nepal Print E-mail

CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal met with Israel’s Ambassador to Nepal Benny Omer on 2 May to discuss co-operation on the agriculture industry in Napal.

Dahal said that Nepal can emulate Israel’s progress in the agriculture sector for its own prosperity. “Nepal’s economic prosperity is possible only with the development of agriculturebased industries, and technologies adopted by Israel will be highly important for us,” he said, conveying Nepal’s willingness to work together with Israel on agriculture-based industries. Ambassador Omer expressed his country’s readiness to lend support for Nepal’s agriculture development. “Beekeeping, floriculture, vegetable farming and fruit farming are our priority. We are ready to work with Nepali farmers in this sector,” he said. Commenting that Israel has adopted the policy of “learn and earn”, Omer said his country is ready to establish a professional training centre in Nepal.

(Issue Jun 2018)

Tzohar’s mission reaching Asia E-mail

Last month saw a return visit of Tzohar representative Adam Segal, International Resource Development Manager to Hong Kong. Segal is working to raise the profile of Tzohar across Asia, reaching out to community members who are not familiar with the Israeli organisation, its important pivotal role and the services it provides voluntarily.

Founded in 1995, Tzohar is an Israeli national religious and zionist rabbinical organisation dedicated to securing the Jewish future of the State of Israel by promoting initiatives and programmes focused on Jewish identity and national unity. It is a household name across Israel, attracting thousands of secular Israelis who turn to it in particular to conduct marriages and other life-cycle events.

He met with Jewish Times Asia to chat about the organisation and how it goes about uniting a Jewish Israel. When asked why so many secular Israelis turn to Tzohar, he explained that the attraction is its very warm, personal and non-judgmental approach to people. “With almost 10,000 couples opting for a civil wedding overseas to avoid a Jewish wedding, Tzohar realises the need to engage secular Israel in a very positive way.”

Tzohar is an independent organisation guided by halacha (Jewish law). Its projects, including weddings, are recognised by the Rabbinate, as is required by Israeli law. This provides couples with the very real option of having a wedding with a Rabbi and a bridal teacher who take the time to get to know each couple and create an experience that is meaningful for them.

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More collaboration between Israel and Vietnam on bilateral defence ties Print E-mail

Vietnam’s Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh hosted a reception in Hanoi on 8 May for the Director of Israel’s Defence Export and Cooperation Agency (SIBAT) Mishel Ben Baruch, who was on a working visit to Vietnam to seek ways to strengthen bilateral defence ties.

Stressing positive developments in Vietnam-Israel defence relations, Senior Lieutenant General Vinh expressed his hope that the visit of the SIBAT delegation will help to further enhance ties. He affirmed that the Vietnamese Defence Ministry’s leaders will create all the favourable conditions for the delegation to meet and seek opportunities for co-operation with Vietnamese partners in line with Vietnam’s laws. In particular, he suggested that both sides speed up collaboration in education, training, search-andrescue missions and the defence industry.

For his part, Baruch informed the host of the outcomes of his working session with representatives of the Vietnamese Defence Ministry’s Department of Foreign Relations, and affirmed that the Israeli side is willing to boost defence co-operation with Vietnam, especially in the areas that Vinh pinpointed.

Vietnam is currently the second-largest importer of military equipment from Israel in Asia.

(Issue Jun 2018)

TAU collaborates on new Indian centre for agriculture E-mail

In yet another development in Asia for Tel Aviv University (TAU), the university has announced a collaboration with the Indian philanthropic organisation Tata Trusts to launch a new Indian Centre for Agri and Allied Tech (ICAT) that will bring Israeli know-how and innovation to the farmers of the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India.

The initiative, supported by the government of Andhra Pradesh, will include an advanced R&D centre, as well as activities of agricultural experts in villages and farms with the aim of overcoming various technological, agronomic and economic barriers, and promoting sustainable agriculture and food security. In future, the programme is set to expand across the whole country.

TAU’s Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges will offer its expertise to a joint TAU-Tata steering committee, collaborating with experts from both Israel and India in order to identify problems in rural India and find potential solutions in Israel.

As part of the programme, experts, corporations and research institutes in Israel will adapt existing technologies and develop new solutions to meet the needs of Indian agriculture. The central R&D hub in Andhra Pradesh will test the various solutions under local conditions while training local workers to operate the new technologies.

Additionally, a network of satellite farms will conduct further experiments and supply farmers with guidance and various services. Farmers in each of the hundreds of villages throughout the state will implement and test the new technologies in their own fields, and business models will be developed to support wide diffusion of the innovative solutions among the broader farming population. This initiative marks the fruits of the university’s growing relationship with India in recent years.

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