The Israeli Technion Institute of Technology and Shantou University in China will establish a joint academic technological institute in China under the name: Technion Institute-Guangdong Technology (TGIT), with a donation of $130 million from the US based Li Ka Shing Foundation .
The Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT) – sponsored by the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) with a US$130 million grant – will represent unprecedented cooperation between the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and Shantou Municipal Government, Technion, and STU. Guangdong Province and Shantou Municipal Government will set aside RMB900 million (approximately US$147 million) to fund construction and initial operations, as well as 330,000 square metres for the campus to be located next to STU.
The US$130 million grant from LKSF is the largest ever to the Technion and one of the most generous in the history of Israeli higher education. It will be allocated for strengthening the Technion’s home campus in Haifa, for the benefit of its students and researchers, to enable the Technion to fulfil its leading role in TGIT.
Mr Li Ka-shing, Chairman of the LKSF, Will speak at today’s ceremony in Tel Aviv to formalise the memorandum of understanding for the establishment of TGIT. The agreement will be signed by Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie and STU Provost Professor Gu Peihua, and will soon be brought for the approval of the Technion’s and Chinese statutory authorities.
Shortly after leaving Israel for London, billionaire Idan Ofer has given £25 million (about $40 million) to the London Business School, where he studied in the 1980s. This is the largest single donation received by a UK business school.
The donation was made by the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation, which also announced the development of a special scholarship program for Israeli students at London Business School.
About a month ago, the institution received a £10m donation from South African Jewish billionaire Nathan Kirsh.
The scholarship program, whose scope was not disclosed, will be launched soon. It is aimed at further exposing Israel’s future business leaders to the global economy, while helping them accumulate knowledge, understanding and connections.
Ofer said in a statement, “I have enjoyed a long association with the School and believe that it offers something uniquely valuable in the world of business education, combining strong fundamental business and management education with an emphasis on the business community being part of the solution for a better society.”
The project, he noted, “is an important step towards ensuring the School can continue to grow and prosper in the future, creating new generations of leaders who can address the challenges of business and wider society.
“My father Sammy enjoyed learning from others and throughout his career in shipping was known to spend many hours speaking with seamen and officers of vessels, rather than being tucked away in his office. This sense of curiosity resonates strongly with London Business School’s community where students are not just stretched intellectually; they become a part of an ever-expanding international community, learning as much from each other as from the faculty.”
He added that “one of the goals of The Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation is to ensure the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalization. London Business School is at the forefront of helping to meet these challenges. The Foundation hopes in this small way to contribute to economic growth in the region, ultimately improving the prospects for peace and stability.”
Idan Ofer, Israel Corporation’s controlling shareholder, moved to London recently after being criticized in the past few years for benefits received by the Israel Chemicals (ICL) company (which is controlled by Israel Corp) and the low royalties it paid the State. These royalties were raised in recent months. In addition, the government vetoed ICL’s talks for a merger with Canadian fertilizers giant Potash Corporation.
At the dealers convention, Qoros unveiled a model line-up planned for the next decade based on four modular car platforms based on the work of Qoros’s chief designer, who also was responsible for designing the modern BMW-owned Mini.
The first platform, C, is a family sedan that is the basis for the company’s first car, the Qoros 3, which has already been unveiled. The C platform could be the basis for at least nine different models, including the Qoros Over, a convertible, a three-door model, a hatchback, a station wagon, and a compact recreational vehicle. The Qoros D platform will have three main models: a compact 6-7 seat minivan, a large sedan the size of a Volkswagen Passat, and a recreation car, Globes said. The top-of-the-line E platform will be introduced at a future date and would include a luxury town car, a high-end hatchback, and probably a sport utility station wagon to resemble the BMW Mini.
Israel Corp has invested almost $500 million in Qoros to date, Globes said.
Two years ago, an Al Jazeera report brought attention to a Hamas decision to ban the palm frond exports to Israel, resulting in a loss of $1 million of expected revenue for Gazan merchants.
According to anonymous pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon, it’s unclear if Gaza exported the palm fronds in 2012. Proof of this year’s exports were from an Israeli government border crossing report that showed that one truck labelled “lulav (palm fronds)” came across the border in August, along with two truckloads of “spices” and 19 truckloads of “plastic boxes.”
The 2011 Al Jazeera report brought attention to the cross-border lulav trade and the economic sacrifices Hamas inflicted on Gazans by barring palm frond exports. The change in policy for 2013 may have been deliberate, compelled by Gaza’s economic crisis or the result of canny merchants eager to resume their lucrative lulav export business.
Sukkot has been profitable for other exporters involved in honoring its traditions. Beside the lulav, Jews also use an etrog, or citron, similar to a large lemon, largely exported to Israel from Tunisia, and now Morocco, for the first time this year. But much etrog commerce eludes government tax and customs officers, Israeli media has reported.
The palm fronds are used by Jews as part of a Sukkot ritual, along with fronds from a myrtle and a willow, held together with the etrog. The “four species” are shaken in the four directions of the compass, then up and down, to symbolize global unity and G-d’s ubiquitous nature.
The Israeli and Palestinian Agriculture Ministries agreed on Saturday night to revive some of the joint committees formed in the 1990s under the Oslo Accords, which were frozen 13 years ago with the onset of the second intifada.
The ministries also decided to join forces in establishing a regional center for agronomic cooperation.
The increased cooperation comes amid the renewed peace process and was announced as US Secretary of State John Kerry made a brief visit to Israel on Sunday.
According to the Israeli Agriculture Ministry, the decision to establish the center occurred during a meeting on Saturday night between Rammi Cohen and Adbullah Lahlou, directors-general of the Israeli and Palestinian Authority ministries, respectively.
Aiming to renew the cooperative relationship in the agricultural sector, the discussions focused on the desire to improve food quality for the Palestinian public. Because agricultural disease and pests know no borders, enhancing agriculture on the Palestinian side would likewise lead to improvements on the Israeli side, according to the Israeli ministry.
“The residents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority will benefit from a tightening of economic ties, and there is no doubt that agricultural cooperation will help ease the regional tensions by creating an economic benefit for both sides,” Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said.
Cohen and Lahlou decided that it would be in the interest of both sides to restart some of the cooperative agricultural committees that were halted during the second intifada, such as a plant protection committee, a marketing committee and a veterinary committee, the Agriculture Ministry said. In addition, Agriculture Ministry officials will resume training Palestinian farmers and help with the transfer of Palestinian agricultural products to Israel and to export.
Although, after the intifada, the committees ceased to operate in an official capacity, “there was always cooperation,” Samir Moaddi, the ministry’s agricultural coordinator for Judea and Samaria, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night.
Partnerships on issues such as the spread of disease through animals and plants have continued after the intifada and through today on a per-need basis, he explained.
“There are no borders for diseases,” he said. “If you don’t treat them here, it will go there, and if you don’t treat them there, it will go here.”
Even in 2006, when Hamas was in control of the Palestinian government, agricultural experts continued to work together on a professional level, Moaddi added.
Creating the center for agronomical cooperation and reviving the committees for marketing, veterinary services and plant protection will serve to strengthen a relationship that already exists, bringing it up to the level of direct collaboration between directorsgeneral, he explained.
Veterinary services in the PA are still quite weak, and Moaddi said he hopes that the strengthened ties will bring about a much more robust Palestinian system of tending to their animals.
Through the agronomic center, marketing committee and the acquisition of Israeli knowledge, Moaddi hopes to see increases in Palestinian agricultural production.
To achieve such growth, Palestinian farmers will need to learn to make better use of minimal – and often saline – water resources. To this end, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry will conduct a seminar with West Bank farmers at the end of October to teach them how to make use of some of the new water technologies available, Moaddi explained.
The PA exports roughly 80,000 to 100,000 tons of agricultural products annually to Israel, Moaddi said, noting that these figures include products coming from Palestinian farms in the entire West Bank – Areas A (under full PA control), B (PA civil and Israeli security control) and C (full Israeli control).
The PA imports more than 200,000 tons of crops annually from Israel and exports only about 5,000 tons to other countries, he added.
The intifada had little effect on the rise of Palestinian agricultural exports to Israel, and the numbers have been steadily rising over recent years, Moaddi continued.
For example, during the shmita year of 2008 – when Israeli farms take a fallow year to rejuvenate the land – the PA exported about 100,000 tons to Israel. Moaddi expects this number to climb to more than 130,000 tons in 2015, the next shmita year.
“Cooperation in the field of agriculture is the best that it is among all the ministries,” Moaddi said. “There is a mutual interest.”
Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of the regional organization Friends of the Earth Middle East, welcomed the collaboration as “an important step,” one that he felt would “help continue building trust and cooperation and would bring environmental and economic benefits for both sides.
“We urge policy-makers to continue to leverage this narrow window of opportunity with a renewal of the political process and to work toward increasing environmental cooperation through the existence of joint projects for treating sewage hazards and water pollution,” Bromberg said. “This, among other things, is a path toward rejuvenating activities in the Joint Water Committee, whose activity has been frozen in practice for over two years.”
Bromberg was referring to the committee created during the formation of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which contains professional representatives from both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides tasked with making decisions on shared water issues.
Avraham Daniel, chairman of the New Israel Farmer’s Federation within the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, likewise praised the decision for agronomic collaboration.
“However, we would like to emphasize that before signing such collaborations and others, we must first take care that agriculture will exist at all in Israel,” Daniel warned.
Israeli government policies in recent years have reduced the number of foreign workers in agriculture and imposed burdensome taxes and fees on farmers, he said, “bringing about a situation in which the next generation does not exist and the average age of farmers is 63. If this policy continues, agriculture will disappear within a decade from our country’s landscape.”