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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘China’

Latin American Trading Moving Up on Israeli Agenda

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to improve economic ties with politically friendly Latin American countries in order to compensate for the crippled economy of Israel’s main trading continent, Europe.

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.

Chinese-Israeli Cultural Relations Blossoming

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

According to China’s Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, “Culture goes beyond borders. Cultural exchanges constitute an important and dynamic part of China-Israel relations. Now the momentum is set. I am convinced that with our joint efforts the China-Israel cultural cooperation is bound to blossom.” To this end, the efforts of Israeli Barry Swersky are helping Chinese-Israeli cultural ties bud into fruition. In partnership with the Chinese Embassy and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China, Swersky is arranging an exhibition in Israel exploring the future of Chinese art through the eyes of young artists. Swersky is also fostering a collaborative relationship between CAFA and Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Swersky explains, “I have felt that Israeli cultural organizations, whether artists or orchestras, are seeking more ways to go to China. They went to China and started to look for contacts. They have been successful.” He added, “As the cultural organizations become more interested in China, they have found their way into China. People are discovering each other, so there is a greater flow. There are museums in China presenting Israeli artists.”

Since 2008 Swersky has been promoting Chinese-Israeli cultural exchange. Among Swersky’s many projects is a TAO Beijing Dance Company performance with noted Israeli oud player Yair Dalal, joint master classes for gifted young Chinese and Israeli pianists, and construction of sculptures in Haifa and Haifa’s twin city, Shanghai, in a project proposed by Israeli artist Peter Jacob Maltz.

Swersky is not the only Israeli to be active in Israeli-Chinese cultural relations, as Israeli singer David D’Or has developed a solid audience in China and Israel Sinfonietta Be’ersheva has performed there twice. According to Swersky, “Already in May 1993, Israel and China signed a cultural agreement. In 2011, the governments agreed on a program for the years 2011 to 2015, a program which in general terms covers subjects such as culture and art, cultural events, museums and exhibitions, cinema and television, publication and literature.”

“Governments place great emphasis on ‘soft power,’” Swersky explained. “The identification with some elements of culture always helps Israel have a strong image in dance and music. It’s part of a country’s image.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

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Egypt, What are The Odds? My Prediction

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Diplomats, politicians, media, political pundits all over the world are trying to make some sort of sense out of the current balagan, violent anarchy, revolution, riots in Egypt.
Egypt is Egypt.  It’s not Canada, nor France, nor Brazil, China, Australia, Russia, Korea or even South Africa.
Every culture, society, has its own culture/character and it’s totally ridiculous and unrealistic to expect all people to be the same.  Most of us tend to project our own morals, values etc. on others and blind ourselves to the truth.
Egypt is not a European country, even though many people are confused by the Egyptian elite who can be extremely western and sophisticated.  They are “the Egypt” the diplomats and intellectuals meet, when shopping and vacationing in Europe, or when visiting their children in American universities.
The Egyptian population is growing rapidly, unlike the western world.
“Egypt’s population is officially set to reach 84.743 million by World Population Day this Thursday, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics told state-run news agency MENA on Tuesday.
This reflects an increase from 2006′s figure of 72.8  million, and 2009′s figure of 76.1 million. Total population reached 83.7 million by the beginning of 2013, representing a 10.9 million person increase since 2006.”
You can’t understand what’s really happening on the streets and government offices in Egypt without understanding its society.  It’s like trying to play chess against a grandmaster without knowing the rules.
Western democracy just won’t work in Egypt.  The only stable governments that Egyptians have known were dictatorships. It takes a strong military dictator to control the volatile Egyptian population.  Mohammed Morsi failed; remember that he was elected democratically, as democratically as the Egyptians could manage.  Now they are being ruled by the street.
“The military’s early-morning assault that left at least 54 people dead might have been expected to unite Egyptians in grief and anger. Instead, Egypt’s bloodiest day in more than two years of unrest appeared to intensify the scarring arguments about who should be ruling the country and who is responsible for its plunge into turmoil.
Egyptians who not long ago were protesting side by side, even members of the same family, now rely on different sources of information, offer widely divergent accounts of what caused Monday’s carnage and argue that they are the true defenders of the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Rival camps both claim that the United States is offering concrete support to their opponents.”
No doubt there are powerful members of the military pulling those strings, getting the people out to riot.
And what’s my prediction?  At some point a new military dictator will take charge.  He may conduct some sort of  “elections” to give a fig leaf to his dictatorship and get more international aid.  It’s only a strong military dictatorship that can control a country like Egypt.

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Bennett Says China to Study Free Trade Proposal

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett announced during his visit to China that Beijing officials have agreed to carry out a survey to determine the value of a free trade policy.

China previously has rejected approaches from Israel that it conduct a study, and this week’s agreement, a pre-condition for a trade agreement,  was unexpected.

It probably will take one to two years to complete the survey, which will be the basis for a free-trade agreement with Israel if the results are positive.

Bennett told Globes, “Trade between Israel and China totals about $8 billion annually, and forecasts are that such an agreement would considerably increase the amount so that more and more small and medium Israeli companies could become involved in bilateral economic activities with China.”

Israel’s exports to China in 2012 rose 0.9% to $2.74 billion, with a large part attributed to  exports from Intel and Israel Chemicals.

“The Chinese pay major attention to Israel. The Chinese government has taken a strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with Israel and good things are happening between the two countries in this sphere” an official accompanying Bennett told Globes.

Chinese Crew Begins Blockbuster Filming in Old City (Video)

Monday, June 24th, 2013

A Chinese film crew has begun filming what is supposed to a blockbuster movie of a romantic comedy in the Holy Land and which will expose Israel to the Chinese, to the delight of the Tourism Ministry and the tourist industry.

The ministry is investing more than $80,000 to help promote the film, with expectations that the exposure of Israel to Chinese movie-goers will attract them to visit.

The artists worked with the Ministry of Tourism to arrange the filming of the movie “Old Cinderella,” starring Zhang Jingchu. “It’s a great pleasure to be here in Jerusalem and in Israel,” the actress says. “It’s amazing.”

Approximately 15 minutes of the 95-minute film will be filmed in Israel.

In recent years, more and more foreign film companies are choosing Israeli settings for their works. Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and other locales provide a dramatic and visually rich landscape for feature films.

Why the Ancient Art of War and Other Strategies Matter

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Why is it important to study the strategies of history and the ancient art of war today? Has military strategy essentially changed over the years? In part two of this week’s podcast, Andrew R. Wilson, Professor of Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College, and prolific author on the subject of Chinese military history, explains why the lessons of history are so important today.

Report: Muslim Countries ‘Worst Violators of Religious Freedom’

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Ten out of the 15 countries with the worst religious freedom abuses are Muslim, according to the recently released U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report identifying the status of religious freedom throughout the world, and citing countries that are the least tolerant of religious freedom.

IRFA requires the President of the United States, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, those governments that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.

IRFA defines “particularly severe” violations as ones that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious,” including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or “other flagrant denial[s] of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”

After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to take action to remedy the situation, or to invoke a waiver if circumstances warrant (As the late JFK put it: He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB).

For the 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

USCIRF also finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

USCIRF also places countries on its Tier 2 list, where the country is on the threshold of a CPC status, meaning that the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are particularly severe and that at least one, but not all three, of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard is met.

The Tier 2 designation provides advance warning of negative trends that could develop into severe violations of religious freedom, thereby giving policymakers an opportunity to engage early and increasing the likelihood of preventing or diminishing the violations. USCIRF has concluded that the following eight countries meet the Tier 2 standard in this reporting period: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, and Russia.

But not to worry – the State Department has issued indefinite waivers on taking any action against Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. As a result of these waivers, the United States has not implemented any policy response tied to the CPC designation for either country.

Gives a whole new meaning to the slogan “Freedom must be earned.”

In Egypt, the government has failed to protect Coptic Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people. The Copts have been tortured and killed and individuals continue to be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for “contempt” or “defamation” of religion (Islam).

Somebody should start boycotting Egyptian products…

In Iran, religious freedom for minorities has deteriorated over the last year, a bad year for the Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims. The Report details that, “physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests, and imprisonment” intensified.

Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Zoroastrians have faced harassment, intimidation, discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment. Anyone who has dissented against the government, a theocratic republic, including Majority Shi’i and minority Sunni Muslims, have been intimidated, harassed, and detained. Several dissidents and human rights defenders have been sentenced to death and executed for “waging war against God.”

Human sacrifice, that must be their god’s favorite pastime.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-muslim-countries-worst-violators-of-religious-freedom/2013/05/10/

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