16 November 2018 - 8 Kislev 5779 - ח' כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ט
No tourists visas for Israelis to Indonesia E-mail

Reports published in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper in May suggesting that Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, will soon be issuing tourist visas to Israelis have been denied by the Indonesian government.

According to the Jakarta Post, “The Indonesian government does not have a tourist visa policy for Israeli citizens,” the government said in a press release, while stressing that Indonesia and Israel had no diplomatic relations.

Indonesia’s Immigration Directorate General Agung Sampurno denied a report by an Israeli media portal claiming that it 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 only made possible 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.

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Strong tourism drive in the Philippines E-mail

After breaking tourism records in 2017, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism conducted its first road show in the Philippines, on 24 April in Manila and 26 April in Cebu City.

Nineteen companies from Israel joined the tour. The Manila event was conducted in a networking format between companies from Israel and more than 100 local travel agents.

Director Hassan Madah of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in India and the Philippines commented: “[Our country] is an emerging destination for the Filipino travellers [as] tourist arrivals from the Philippines to Israel have been growing [in] the last two years.”

Madah added: “We wanted to tap new markets, so we decided to conduct road shows in Manila and Cebu. We are also working on connectivity, as we discussed with Philippine Airlines the possibility of having direct flights, which hopefully [will happen] by the end of the year.”

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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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