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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean’

Spanish, Portuguese Jews Support Sephardi and Mizrahi Heritage Empowerment Program

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.

“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”

“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.

Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.

Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.

“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”

Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.

“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr

ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”

“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.

Jewish Press Staff

Netanyahu And NATO Representatives Commit To Mutual Cooperation, Fighting Terror Together

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with ambassadors from NATO countries earlier on Tuesday to discuss expanding cooperation between Israel and NATO against the common threat of global terrorism.

“There are so many threats that are facing NATO that are similar to the ones facing Israel,” said Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr whose embassy is currently NATO’s contact point embassy in Israel.

During the press conference, Ambassador Vehr shared a message with Prime Minister Netanyahu on behalf of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who said that Israel and NATO face common threats.

“Today our nations face greater, more complex threats than they have in many years,” Vehr said on behalf of Stoltenberg. “It is right that those countries that share common values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law work together for the good of us all.”

Netanyahu concurred with Ambassador Vehr and Secretary General Stoltenberg and also expressed his belief in mutual cooperation between Israel and NATO.

“Israel has much to contribute to NATO. I believe NATO has much to contribute to Israel,” said the prime minister. “We’ve already begun that process, but I think we can extend and increase our cooperation.”

Although not a member of the NATO alliance, Israel has already played an integral role as a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, a working group between NATO and seven Mediterranean countries focused on maintaining security in the Mediterranean region.

“Israel for many years has been an active member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, the only security forum that brings together NATO allies with Israel and Arab countries. Last month, NATO and Israel went further, agreeing to establish an Israeli mission at NATO,” Ambassador Vehr said. “Having a mission will help us to take our political and practical cooperation to a higher level.”

Official authorization for such an office had been delayed by Turkey, a NATO member that has had strained bilateral ties with Israel since 2010. Turkey’s eventual lifting of its rejection to an Israeli mission was viewed by some as a sign on Turkey’s part of reconciliation with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately welcomed the establishment of the office on May 4, referring to it as a critical step in the advancement of Israel’s security and as a demonstration of NATO’s desire to cooperate with Israel on security matters.

“We’re in the process of opening up the office as soon as possible,” remarked Netanyahu at the press conference. “We attach great importance to that.”

Netanyahu’s meeting today preceded an upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw scheduled for July 8-9, which NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg referred to last week as a “landmark summit” addressing “a changed security environment” around NATO.

Netanyahu assured NATO ambassadors that Israel is prepared to help the military alliance cope with global terrorism.

“In three weeks, you’re going to have an important summit in Warsaw and I believe the combat against global terrorism should be and probably is already a central part of your agenda,” Netanyahu told the NATO ambassadors. “Know that Israel stands ready to advance that agenda and I have no doubt that if we work together, we can roll back this terror.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

New Legislation Would Free Up $1.5 Billion in Credit for Israeli Housing Starts

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Construction companies are no longer allowed to charge their customers fees for their own legal services, according to a key item in a new amendment to the Sales Law being promoted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Calcalist reported Thursday. Another significant change in the law would remove the requirement that contractors post a bank guarantee for the VAT portion of the cost of the apartment, and instead the state would set up a special fund to cover the buyers’ outlay. This would save contractors millions of dollars, releasing more than $1.5 billion in bank credit to the real estate market. The construction firm would still have to insure the rest of the buyer’s investment, in case said firm goes out of business.

The Housing Ministry, which began the move to amend the law nine months ago, is hoping the changes would pass by the end of the Knesset summer session in August. The move was spurred by the common understanding that the construction section of the current Sales Law is outdated, and has led real estate companies to develop their own ways of bypassing it, at the expense of their customers. The amendments were forged by an inter-office team that included Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenetz, the Consumer Protection Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the Tax Authority.

“It is our responsibility to help the Israeli public get accessible housing, while legally protecting the buyers and maintaining fairness in all processes,” Minister of Housing Yoav Galant told Calcalist. One of the problems in the way housing business is done in Israel has to do with the buyer paying the contractor’s attorney for processing the new apartment at the Land Registry Office (the local word for the office is Tabu — no relation to taboos, the word is simply the Arabic mispronunciation of the Turkish word Tapu, or title-deed). A recent legislation limited the fees paid to said attorney to about $1,300, but even so, the clients may believe that by paying his fees the attorney is now working for them, which he certainly isn’t — he remains in the service of the contractor.

The Housing Ministry believes that registering the apartment and providing a legal deed is part of the overall product the contractor is expected to provide, and so they now want to go one step further and eliminate altogether the requirement for buyers to pay for this service.

There are other amendments which are not as crucial economically, but certainly add transparency to the process of buying an apartment in Israel. Companies would have to inform buyers of every change they intend to make in the original construction plan, for instance, if they want to add apartments. They also must inform buyers of changes in nearby lots, so that, if, for instance, their magical view of the Mediterranean would now be blocked by a 48-story tower, buyers would have the opportunity to get out of the deal and look elsewhere.

Contractors may no longer be permitted to sell apartments on land that is yet to be re-zoned for construction. If a plan for a new housing construction exists but the permit for building has yet to be issued, firms may sell units to buyers, but only with the proviso that the project is not yet legally authorized, providing the date for the expected authorization, and that buyers can get their money back in its entirety should the permit not be issued.

Also, any significant change in a purchased apartment’s layout, including in common areas such as storage spaces and lobbies, would be considered legally as failure to fulfill the contractor’s commitment and buyers may recoup their investment.

JNi.Media

EgyptAir Flight MS804 Disappears Over Mediterranean

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Egypt Air Flight MS804 en route to Cairo from Paris disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning.

The plane was an Airbus 320 manufactured in 2003. It went off the radar 10 minutes out of Egyptian airspace at 02:45 local time (CLT), as it was cruising at an altitude of approximately 37,000 feet.

The aircraft departed Charles de Gaulle airport at 23:09 CEST. Civil aviation officials in Egypt were quoted by Vice News as saying the aircraft ‘probably crashed into the sea.’ A French airport official who requested anonymity told Reuters, “It did not land. That is all we can say for the moment.”

Government officials in Greece are investigating a report by a merchant ship’s captain who said he saw “a flame in the sky” over the area in the Mediterranean in which the plane disappeared.

The pilot, identified as Captain Mohamed Shokeir, was highly experienced with more than 6,000 flight hours, according to the Al Ahram daily. The copilot had more than 2,000 flight hours.

At the time, the aircraft was carrying 56 passengers with three security personnel and seven cabin crew, Gulf Business.com reported. The passengers included 15 French nationals, 30 Egyptians, two Iraqis, one from the UK and a Canadian, as well as a Belgian, a Saudi, a Sudani, a Czech national, one Portuguese and an individual from Algiers.

Egyptian Army fighter jets and Greek ships are searching together for the missing EgyptAir plane, according to Al Ahram.

Hana Levi Julian

Noble Energy, Delek to Speed Up Israeli Gas Production at Leviathan

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The developers of the mammoth Leviathan natural gas field filed an expanded development plan Wednesday with the Petroleum Supervisor at Israel’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.

Texas-based Noble Energy Inc., Delek Group Ltd., and Delek Drilling LP now plan to speed up development to bring gas and condensates on stream by 2019, Globes reported.

There’s good reason to move as fast as possible: until the gas begins flowing, the cost of development is $5-6 billion. Still, the first estimate for what has become Israel’s largest infrastructure project was originally $6-7 billion.

Eight drilling sites are to be connected by an underground pipeline to the platform and rig where all the gas management systems will be installed. This platform will be linked to the coast by another pipeline to be built by the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company. From there, the gas will be sold to Israeli customers at home and exported to neighboring countries as well.

Production capacity will reach 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year in order to meet market demand. This is five bcm more than the original development plan, which capped at 16 bcm.

The annual pipeline capacity will only be 12 bcm; however there will be an additional outlet on the platform at sea, which could be used to export directly to a regional nation as needed. That outlet will also be able to handle a 12 bcm per year pipeline as well.

All the gas treatment which is to take place at sea, will be carried out in accordance with the national master plan that was approved by the relevant authorities.

Hana Levi Julian

New Israeli Gas Field Discovered, ‘Greatest Potential Since Leviathan’

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

ISRAMCO and Modiin Energy LP reported Sunday a new natural gas field has been discovered beneath the waves of the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Israel, with “the greatest potential since Leviathan.”

The new gas field was discovered along the borders of the mammoth Tamar gas reservoir. It’s about the same size as Tamar, which currently serves much of Israel’s needs.

The reservoir was reported by Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc., in a resources estimate on the Daniel East and West licenses held by the two companies.

According to Tzahi Sultan, who owns part of the controlling interest in Modiin Energy, the Daniel licenses “have the greatest potential since Leviathan.”

Trading in Daniel East and Daniel West was suspended on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) pending the announcement, according to Globes business news service.

“Gas reserves of this order could significantly change Israel’s energy industry,” Sultan was quoted by Globes. “If the potential is realized, the disocvery could help competition in the Israeli gas industry a great deal and could completely change the picture.”

After trading resumed, participation units in ISRAMCO jumped by 8.46 percent, and units in Modiin skyrocketed by 34.3 percent.

“We are excited at the potential that has been revealed for finding gas in the Daniel East and Daniel West licensed,” Modiin Energy CEO Ron Maor said in a statement.

“This is potential of a significant size which, if realized, could represent competition for the currently existing reserves, and improve the country’s energy security. Together with our partners we will carry out drilling to test the potential prospects as soon as possible.

“We hope that the State of Israel will encourage further activity in the potential gas reserves in the Daniel East and Daniel West fields.”

The Tamar gas field was discovered in January 2009, also in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israel coastline. The field is located in Israel’s exclusive economic zone, roughly 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Haifa in waters 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) deep. The adjoining Tamar South field added even more reserves. Together, the two finds comprised the largest discovery at the time of gas or oil in the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Leviathan gas field is one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade, and is believed to ultimately have the potential to change Israel’s relations with its neighbors. It is located about 47 kilometers (29 miles) southwest of Tamar, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa. It’s about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) deep in the Levantine basin.

In November 2015, the developers of the Leviathan gas field closed and inked their first gas deal with Egypt.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s Leviathan Developers Ink Gas Deal With Egypt

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Developers of the mammoth Leviathan natural gas field beneath Israel’s Mediterranean coastal waters have inked a deal with Egypt. It’s a deal that has had Israel’s government — and that of Cairo — holding their collective breath for months.

Leviathan will start pumping the natural gas to Egypt beginning in 2019 or 2020, for up to 15 years, according to the agreement. The price of the gas includes a floor price and is to be linked to the cost of Brent oil, Reuters reported.

The Leviathan developers and Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings agreed in last week’s letter of intent to negotiate the terms on the final deal.

Natural gas will be pumped from Leviathan to the Dolphinus Holdings via an existing underwater pipeline, Dolphinus and the Leviathan developers said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

The pipeline was built nearly 10 years ago by East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) when gas was being piped from Egypt to Israel. At the time, EMG had been managing an Egyptian-Israeli gas agreement. But that deal collapsed in 2012 after unending terrorist attacks ended the flow in the gas pipeline that ran through the Sinai Peninsula.

Leviathan, which holds an estimated 622 bcm of gas, is being developed by the Texas-based Noble Energy and Delek Group through Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas. Dolphinus represents Egypt’s non-governmental, industrial and commercial consumers.

“We’ve worked with Dolphinus before and we expect to reach a final agreement quickly,” Yossi Abu, CEO of Israel’s Delek Drilling told Reuters.

“The Egyptian market is thirsty for gas, both for domestic use and for their export facilities. There is a lot of room for cooperation there.”

Dolphinus already agreed earlier this year to a seven-year deal to purchase at least $1.2 billion of natural gas from the Israeli Tamar gas field.

Leviathan is located close to the Tamar field. Cyprus also has a role in some gas field development with Israel as well; the two countries share a common basic with Egypt which gas discoveries have been made.

In addition, the Italian company ENI announced in August of this year that it had discovered one of the largest gas fields in the world off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast. The reserves are estimated at about 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of about 5.2 billion barrels of oil.

Abu noted that the discoveries, together with Egypt’s cooperation, have created a natural leadership role in the region for Cairo.

“Egypt is becoming a regional hub through cooperation with the Leviathan and Tamar partners, and together with Israel and Cyprus,” he said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the eastern Mediterranean contains huge gas reserves – estimated at approximately 122 trillion cubic feet.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-leviathan-developers-ink-gas-deal-with-egypt/2015/11/29/

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