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Israeli President, Georgian Prime Minister Celebrate ’2,600 Years of Friendship’ in New Economic Accord

Posted on:
January 28, 2014
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Economy, Relations
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Georgia

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday met with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, who is on an official visit to Israel to increase economic cooperation between the two countries. In a joint statement, the two leaders referred to a bilateral relationship that began 2,600 years ago.

Prime Minister Garibashvili said, “Israel is a friend, and Georgia attaches great importance to the relationship between the two countries. We know that the bond between the Georgian and Jewish people goes back 2,600 years, when the Jewish people first came to Georgia after the destruction of the First Temple. Since then Jewish people became like family, they were accepted, loved and respected and became part of Georgian society throughout history.”

Garibashvili said, ”Israel is a very important country for Georgia. I came here to confirm once again that Israel is a friend and partner. We’d like to strengthen our bilateral cooperation. Georgia is a small country and is a contributor to global peace and a small contributor but wherever we go, we are contributing and we are dedicated.”

Peres said, “I’m delighted to see you here, the Prime Minister of Georgia, which is a very dear country to us. We are now celebrating 2,600 years of friendship. It was great to see Georgia coming back to herself, at her best full of hope and contribution.”

Addressing the current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, President Peres said, “Peace is both our heritage and our strategy. We know it’s not simple but we will continue to make major efforts to reach the right conclusion and bring peace to this part of the region. We must not let history gallop past and lose this opportunity.”

“There are many in the Arab worlds who already know that we are not the problem, the real problems are terror and division and that has nothing to do with us. Terror is today the greatest problem for many countries in the Middle East,” Peres said.

Source: Algemeiner.com

Egyptian and Israeli trade cooperation exhibited in New York City

Posted on:
January 27, 2014
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Egypt

(By Hanna Kamionski, Director of Consumer Products at the Israel Economic Mission in NYC)

On January 14, A delegation of Egypt’s top textile and apparel manufacturers, operating in the Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ), showcased their products to U.S. garment companies seeking duty-free sourcing opportunities in the Middle East. This B2B presentation, organized by The Egyptian Ready Made Garment Export Council, took place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in NYC. Israeli suppliers working with the Egyptian producers were also present. This was the third in a series of road shows planned by the Egyptians and Israelis in an effort to increase exports for QIZ producers.

According to the QIZ agreement signed in 2004 by Israel, Egypt and the U.S., products manufactured in the QIZ are allowed duty-free entry into the U.S., if they contain at least 10.5 percent of Israeli input and at the same time comply with the rules of origin, which require 35 percent added value and substantial transformation. Most of the goods exported from the QIZ comprise of textiles and garments due to the high level of custom duties in the U.S. and the Egyptian expertise in the textile field. As a result of the direct joint interest of Israel and Egypt to promote exports to the U.S., the QIZ project has been continuously operating, even during the turbulent times since Egypt’s revolution in 2011.

On January 15th, The Egyptian Export Council hosted a lunch, at the Marriott Marquis, honoring the Egyptian – Israeli delegation. Guest of Honor, Anne W. Patterson, Assistant Secretary For Near East Affairs, at the U.S. State Department, delivered a speech on “Mid-East Economic Diplomacy: Expanding U.S. Trade Connections.” In her message, she encouraged U.S. companies to expand production in the QIZ, claiming that “in spite of the political upheavals that have taken place in recent years, there has been very little disruption of critical business activities. Deliveries have largely continued on time and there has been very little labor unrest in this sector.”  In attendance at the conference, which as become an annual tradition, were officials from the Egyptian Consulate and also the Israel’s Economic Minister in NYC, Ms. Nili Shalev. -

See more at: http://itrade.gov.il/us-ny/2014/01/22/egyptian-israeli-trade-cooperation-celebrated-new-york-city/#sthash.r7Qsv4Tc.dpuf

VIDEO: Israeli song a hit in Yemen

Posted on:
January 22, 2014
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Yemen

“Sana’a al-Yemen” blares from stereos and minibus speakers. “Come with me to Sanaa,” Zion Golan sings in Yemeni Arabic.

A song from an Israeli singer with Yemenite roots – but who has never visited the country – has become a surprise hit in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, the Economist reported on Tuesday.

Zion Golan’s song “Sana’a al-Yemen” is frequently heard blaring from stereos and minibus speakers. “Come with me to Sanaa,” Golan sings in Yemeni Arabic. “Sanaa, my home, you’ll like it.”

But although the lyrics refer to Sana’a as home, Golan has never been there. As an Israeli Jew he is forbidden to travel to Yemen.

Golan is one of more than 300,000 Israelis who trace their roots to Yemen, once home to a significant Jewish community dating back to at least the 2nd century, the Economist writes.

The bulk of Yemen’s Jews left when Israel was founded in 1948, escaping Yemen’s instability, poverty and instances of anti-Jewish violence. Today barely a hundred Jews remain.

But cultural ties have survived. Yemeni restaurants in Israel’s Tel Aviv serve traditional cuisine and some markets discreetly stock qat, a leafy mild narcotic popular in Yemen.

Israelis of Yemeni descent such as Golan and the late Ofra Haza, a pop star famed for her fusion of western and eastern sounds, continued to write music that found an audience in Yemen, since it is grounded in the traditions of their ancestral home.

The artists’ bootleg albums have long been bought and sold underground (trade with Israel is illegal in Yemen). More recently, the internet has made the songs more accessible. Young Yemenis watch performances on YouTube, sharing them on social networking sites such as Facebook, where they often express astonishment at the resilience of Yemeni culture and lament the Jewish community’s near-extinction in Yemen.

Source: Haaretz.com

PM launches negotiations to expand free trade with Israel

Posted on:
January 21, 2014
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Economy, Relations
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Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, today announced the launch of negotiations to expand and modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), a cornerstone of the commercial relationship between the two countries. The announcement was made during an official visit by Prime Minister Harper to Israel.

An expanded and modernized CIFTA will enhance bilateral commercial flows by reducing technical barriers, enhancing cooperation, increasing transparency in regulatory matters and reducing transaction costs for businesses. In the area of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, a modernized agreement will provide new mechanisms to increase cooperation and resolve market access irritants more expeditiously. This initiative will also create new opportunities for Canadian agriculture, agri-food, and fish and seafood companies in the Israeli market. The first round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Israel from February 3-9, 2014.

Quick Facts

CIFTA is a cornerstone of Canada’s commercial relationship with Israel.
The Agreement came into force on January 1, 1997, and amendments were brought into force on November 1, 2003, to implement further tariff concessions on agricultural and fish and seafood products.
Since CIFTA came into force, Canada’s two-way merchandise trade with Israel has more than doubled.
Quotes

“Our Government is committed to providing Canadian businesses with the market access they need to compete and succeed internationally. An expanded and modernized trade agreement with Israel will generate more jobs and economic growth at home and in Israel, while strengthening the clos

- See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/01/21/pm-launches-negotiations-expand-free-trade-israel#sthash.tuzz5uY3.dpuf

Norway: Boycotting Israel will not promote positive change

Posted on:
January 20, 2014
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Economy, Relations
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Norway

Country with record of enmity towards Israel is now assuming more balanced policy in region, enhancing cooperation in various fields such as energy, television. Norway’s prime minister is expected to make first visit to Israel this year

The new Norwegian government, which so far was considered one of the most hostile administrations facing Israel, is working towards bracing the ties between the two countries and enhancing mutual cooperation in an array of fields.

The conservative-progressive minority government, which was established some three months ago, included an article in its elections platform that states that the government will change its Middle East policy and implement a more balanced course of action. This is in stark opposition to previous leftist administrations, whose policy was clearly pro-Arab.

As part of the new policy, Norway’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader Erna Solberg is expected to make a visit to Israel later this year. It will be the first visit of a Norwegian prime minister in over a decade. Solberg was also among the first world leaders to issue a letter of condolences following the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon.

“There are indications of a significant improvement in the ties between the two countries,” said Israeli Ambassador to Oslo Naim Araidi. “The public and the authorities are beginning to understand that relations with Israeli do not necessarily have to be defined by the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the two nations can develop normal ties in every field irregardless.”

Immediately following the establishment of the new government, the Israeli embassy to Norway initiated a preliminary meeting between Israeli and Norwegian companies, who discussed opportunities to promote business interactions between the well-developed Norwegian oil sector and Israel’s developing natural gas industry. The acting finance minister, who is the leader of the Progressive Party, has expressed public support of a tighter cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy over the past.

Despite calls made in recent years in Norway – inter alia among local artists – to boycott Israel, the new Norwegian Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey said: “We don’t see the boycott as an effective tool to promote positive change. The Norwegian government is interested in tighter cultural relations between the two countries. I am certain that a deeper mutual understanding is a prerequisite for achieving progress on political matters.”

Last week, Widvey opened a conference for Norwegian television producers, which was dedicated to the success of the Israeli television industry in exporting drama series.

About 160 Norwegian televison producers and both private and state networks heard lectures by two of the Israeli industry senior personalities: Karni Ziv, director of the drama and comedy department at the Keshet franchise, and Reshef Levi, a producer and screenwriter. The sides discussed future cooperation opportunities.

“I am impressed by the achievements of the Israeli television and film industry, development of television series that were a national and international success, series that were exported and highly praised around the world – like ‘In Treatment’ and ‘Homeland’,” said the Norwegian culture minister.

“I believe that the success of Israeli productions could inspire the Norwegian industry. It shows that even a relatively small country can achieve great accomplishments. The key to success is a good story and quality directing.”

Source: Ynetnews.com

Wounded Syrian couple treated in Israel

Posted on:
January 20, 2014
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Syria War

(JNS.org) Israel Defense Forces troops brought a wounded Syrian couple to Poriah Hospital near Tiberias last week. The couple, residents of the embattled town Daraa, arrived with gunshot wounds in their legs. The male is 27 years old, and his wife is 23.

Two months ago, the couple lost their daughter two weeks after she was born.

“Because of the gunfire and the siege on our town in the Daraa area, we were left with no choice but to deliver the child at home—and the medical condition of my baby deteriorated,” the woman told Israel Hayom. “All our pleading at the [Syrian] army checkpoint to go to the hospital did not help. We went back home and our daughter died there.”

While the couple remains hospitalized, their wounds are not life threatening.