20 January 2018 - 4 Shevat 5778 - ד' שבט ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Vietnam garden has Israeli roots E-mail

Dinh Huy Hoang, aged 24, majored in crop science at the agro-forestry faculty of the Central Highlands University, Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak Province, Vietnam.

During his sophomore year, he heard about an agriculture course opening in Israel, applied and got in. “A trip to Israel, a country with advanced agriculture, was a dream of mine for a long time. So when the chance came up, I decided to temporarily halt my study in Vietnam to go learn something new,” he told a local Vietnamese website.

“Vegetables are grown on vast tracts of land, stretching over thousands of hectares, but are all under the roof of greenhouses and domes,” Hoang said.

This is in stark contrast to the small-scale agriculture in Vietnam, where a field of less than two hectares is considered large enough. But the most “mystifying” part for Hoang and other Vietnamese students taking part in the course was that despite the extreme weather conditions in Israel, where temperatures in some parts go as high as 50 degrees in summer, “the vegetables and plants all look fresh and have a healthy green colour.”

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Israel’s economy ranked world’s third-most-stable in 2016 E-mail

A nearly non-existent inflation rate and low unemployment have helped propel Israel to the number-three spot on a list of the world’s most stable and promising economies for 2016 published by the Bloomberg financial news agency.

The list named Hong Kong as the most stable economy in 2016. Rounding out the top 10 in the rankings were, in order, South Korea, Israel, Denmark, Taiwan, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore and Thailand.

The countries ranked lowest for stability in 2016 included Croatia, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Serbia, Spain, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Argentina and South Africa. The country whose economy was rated lowest for 2016 was Venezuela, despite its rich oil resources.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visits Vietnam E-mail

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin landed in Vietnam on 20 March for a one-week official visit. He was welcomed by his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang at the presidential palace in Hanoi. “[It’s] very good to be in Vietnam,” Rivlin said as he got off the plane along with his wife Nechama.

Rivlin remained in the country until 25 March, seeking to strengthen Israel’s relations with the Asian country. “We consider Vietnam a leading country in the Asian sphere,” Rivlin said in a recorded message he posted on his Facebook page before leaving Israel. “Economic and security co-operation between us will advance the wealth and growth of both the countries and contribute to the stability of both of the regions.”

During the visit, President Rivlin had talks with his counterpart Tran Dai Quang and met with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, the Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong and the media.

In discussing how the country will co-operate in future, the leaders agreed to focus on the economy and to turn sciencetechnology into a prioritised pillar of their initiatives. They had similar views on the need to boost trade to US$3 billion in the next few years. President Rivlin also pledged to assist Vietnam to detoxify areas that had been contaminated by Agent Orange.

The two sides also discussed ways to enhance ties in security-defence, culture, education-training and tourism, and locality-to-locality co-operation.

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Representatives from Vietnam and Laos learn about non-formal education E-mail

The Israel Association of Community Centers Ltd (IACC) hosted two special overseas visitors who were on a fact-finding mission in March to learn about non-formal education model in terms of suitability for all types of communities.

They were Duong Do Thuy, Head of the Hanoi Office of Education, and Professor Phetlavanh Phimmasone, daughter of the Prime Minister of Laos.

IACC is Israel’s leading social organisation. It operates in approximately 180 community centres and 750 branches throughout Israel – in development towns and underprivileged neighbourhoods, major cities, local and regional councils; among Jewish, Arab, Druze and Bedouin populations, and for secular, religious and orthodox communities.

Duong Do Thuy commented: “We have no formal education or enrichment model in Vietnam. The model that we found in Israel and in the IACC can also be applied in various communities in Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular. We are currently evaluating the possibility of co-operation. It is estimated that it is a deal of tens of millions of dollars.”

According to Aviad Friedman, chairperson of the IACC, “The non-formal education model of the IACC is unique in terms of suitability for all types of communities and in terms of creating a strong and robust community. Just as the residents and children of Israel enjoy it, also tens of millions of residents and children of Vietnam and Laos will benefit from it. I am confident we will be able to promote it.”

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Architect Moshe Safdie visits Sri Lanka E-mail

One of the world’s most eminent architects, Israeli-born Moshe Safdie, who has a unique association with Sri Lanka, visited the country in February to attend the 35th annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), held in Colombo.

Safdie, designed Sri Lanka’s Altair, the country’s most distinctive and instantly recognised high-rise residential development, which is still under construction. At the SLIA event, he was one of seven speakers on the topic of “Return of the City: Megastructure Redefined”.

While in Colombo, Safdie visited the site of Altair and met representatives of its promoter, Indocean Developers. “The visit of Moshe Safdie is a milestone event for Altair and the 250-plus future tenants who have already purchased apartments, as well as for Sri Lanka’s architectural fraternity,” Altair Director Pradeep Moraes said.

“The many inimitable structures he has created have made him a legendary figure around the world,” added Moraes.

Safdie’s body of work over 50 years includes Marina Bay Sands, the new icon of Singapore; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, rated one of the 15 most spectacular concert halls of the world, and “Habitat 67” in Montreal, the project that first brought him global recognition.

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