The new effort to increase Latin American trading, particularly with Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, will compliment Netanyahu’s simultaneous effort to increase economic ties with China and other East Asian countries. These four Latin American countries formed the free-trade Pacific Alliance last year and account for about 36 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). They all trade significantly with North America.
Currently in Latin America, Brazil is Israel’s main trading partner, taking in Israeli exports at about $1.1 billion per year and importing to Israel at about $400 million per year. In June, Israeli President Shimon Peres signed a free-trade agreement with Colombia.
A technology for the extraction and analysis of data from cellular phones, which was developed by Israeli company Cellebrite, helped expose a wide-scale crime ring in a recent operation which included the arrest of 46 members of an international crime organization and the confiscation of assets worth €13.75 million (about $18 million).
The crime organization was uncovered in a joint operation launched by the Belgian and Spanish police forces, with the help of the European Union’s law enforcement and criminal intelligence agencies, Europol and Eurojust.
The ring is suspected of laundering some €50 million ($65 million) since 2007, and trading with drugs from Morocco which were distributed in Europe. Investigators seized 5.3 tons of hashish, 77 vehicles, 20 buildings, five companies and €225,000 ($295,000) in cash.
A significant part of the investigation, which lasted a year, was conducted with the help of a technology developed by Cellebrite. Last year, the company launched the UFED Touch device – a special tablet for security and police organizations, which allows the extraction and decoding of data from cellular phones or tablets, even if the information is protected by a code, encoded or has been deleted.
The investigators can also use the device in field conditions and in real time. It looks like a thick and strong tablet with an adjustable touch screen, and is quickly operated by simply connecting the examined cellular phones.
All organizations involved in the investigation had Cellebrite’s equipment, which facilitated the cooperation. The tablet itself was used by investigators to extract information from the crime organization suspects’ cellular phones.
After extracting the data from the phones, investigators used Cellebrite’s UFED Link Analysis software, which can cross-check information and reveal communication links between mobile devices.
Investigators create a sort of “tree” of links between the people which is graphically presented on the computer screen, and can view conversations, correspondences, messages and photos exchanged between the suspects. They can then extract information from the cell phones and analyze it to visualize the links between the suspects and the organization’s activity.
Cellebrite’s equipment has been sold to many intelligence and security organizations around the world. The Israeli technology has helped solve many other cases, which are usually not cleared for publication.
FC Barcelona, the most popular soccer team in the world will hold a special visit in Israel to promote peace. The visit was initiated by President Shimon Peres and will see the team playing for Israel and Palestinian children at Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday.
“I am excited to be welcoming one of the best teams in the world,” Peres said. “I am convinced that sport is a way to lift barriers. For many kids in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority it’s a dream come true to meet stars like Messi, Iniesta and Neymar, and even play with them.
“The game will reflect principles of peace, moderation and curiosity.” The President’s Residence jokingly remarked that Peres intends to spend his weekend practicing to prepare for Messi’s kick off.
The team will be accompanied by a large delegation of 300 guests and fans who follow the players around the world. They will visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Western Wall and the Badoura Stadium near Hebron. They will possibly also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The main event will be watched by an audience of 14,000 teens – guests of the Education Ministry which is launching a program aimed at promoting tolerance and acceptance in schools throughout the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not attend the game so as not to complicate security procedures. He will instead attend a team practice at the Maccabiah village together with his wife Sara. The couple has invited teens suffering from cancer to the meet.
Barca’s trip to Israel was produced by Comtec.
Israel came in for warm praise from European football’s supremo Michel Platini as the Euro Under-21 football championships ended with Spain thrashing Italy 4-2 to retain the title.
“The stadiums were wonderful and well-organized, the pitches excellent and the atmosphere in the stadiums was great with many families with young children attending. That is exactly the type of tournament that I like to see,” Platini told a news conference.
Spain stood out above all their opponents, winning all their matches without conceding a goal until the final and their flowing style captivated the crowds. They won a fourth title in Jerusalem, one fewer than the record held by Italy.
Israel qualified as host and was on paper the weakest team in the event, although it managed to beat England in a meaningless encounter and forced a draw with eventual semi-finalists Norway.
It was a disappointing outing for Germany, Russia and England, who never threatened to advance to the semi-finals, while the Netherlands showed flair but was frail defensively.
The 13-day tournament was the most important international sporting event to be held in the Jewish state since the 1968 Paralympics and was held amid tight security following a politically-charged build-up.
Israel stages its most important international sporting event in 45 years on Wednesday when the hosts kick off the Euro Under-21 football championship amid tight security following a politically-charged build-up.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA has held firm against calls from pro-Palestinian activists to move the tournament away from Israel, who are the weakest of the eight teams competing, because of restrictions on the movement of their athletes.
Israel start their campaign against Norway, who coach Guy Luzon surprisingly believes are the toughest team in Group A ahead of usual favorites Italy and England.
“I don’t fear any player in any opposing team… we don’t know any of the players in the England, Italy or Norway teams we are concentrating only on our own team,” said Luzon, who will take the helm at Belgium’s Standard Liege next season.
Local pundits had assumed that beating Norway, who ousted France in qualifying, would be Israel’s best chance of picking up three points but Luzon suggested otherwise.
“Norway are no weaker than Italy and England even though they might not have the same reputation, but to my mind Norway will beat both England and Italy,” he added.
Underdogs Israel should be helped by the large home support and hot, humid conditions of about 30 degrees Celsius.
Many of the teams in the June 5-18 tournament will field full internationals, some of whom play for top European clubs. The lesser known players will try to impress coaches and scouts at an event considered a shop window for the future of the game.
The format sees two groups of four teams, with the top two contesting the semi-finals ahead of the final in Jerusalem. Holders Spain, Germany, Russia and Netherlands are in Group B.
Those who have top players on show include Spain, with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Benfica striker Rodrigo, Germany, who have Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Lewis Holtby, and England with Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The tournament is the most important sporting event Israel has hosted since the Paralympic Games in 1968.