During that visit, the two men discussed Russia’s advanced weapons sales to Iran, the situation in Syria, continued coordination between the military forces of the two nations in Syria, a discussion about the peace efforts in the country, and prevention of advanced weapons access for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.
Israel’s top military advisers accompanied Netanyahu that day, as did then-Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who was born in Ukraine.
How many people know that Israel is being represented at world muaythai boxing competitions by an observant Jewish young woman who gets into the ring as a professional fighter on a regular basis?
Well, meet Nili Bock, who competed this weekend against Russia at the 17th IFMA World Championship in Sweden.
Block competed in the 60 kg division, coached by Benny Cogan. Perhaps one could say that like the former Muhammad Ali, she “floats like a butterfly, but stings like a bee.” At least, when she’s in the ring.
Muay Thai is called the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs” because it uses punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact.” Clinches, choke holds and “hugs” are not okay and if you notice in the above footage, the referee (who is female) moves in to put a stop to it. Often. Sometimes she too gets a whack in the (head, arm, side, etc – take your pick) in the process. But the ref usually knows how to block those blows. Like her male counterparts, she’s been trained.
Muaythai boxing differs from other types of fighting, such as boxing with fists — “two points” — and hands and feet fighting, “four points,” that are allowed in other more regulated combat sports because it allows one to use the entire range of one’s limbs.
But how on earth would an observant Jewish girl growing up in Israel connect with such a sport?
Nili Block immigrated to Israel at the age of two years old with her family, like many Jewish children. The change came whe at age 10 she joined her mother in Thai boxing classes. It’s not clear what prompted her mother to sign up for the classes, nor what prompted her to bring her daughter along for the ride, although it is entirely possible that the strong physical exercise and good muscle tone prompted in the classes may have been at least one of the factors. Self-defense in the face of an environment in which terrorism is a daily reality could easily have been another.
By age 18, Nili Block had won the KickBbox World Cup in Hungary, a European Championship title, and a gold medal at the World KickBoxing Championship in Bangkok.
And Block continues to observe the Sabbath and kosher laws even while on her boxing tours.
One of the most popular matches last week in the competition leading up to the Israel-Russia semi-final this weekend was the competition between Nili Block and Jacqueline De Beer from South Africa, which was a qualifier for the 2017 World Games in Poland.
“Nili was full of determination and from the beginning of the match she demonstrated that she will use her full potential to achieve her dream to get to Wroclaw as a part of the IWGA World Games,” noted the IFMA World Muaythai Championship.
The competition — as has been the entire semi-final — was featured on the Dubai Martial Arts Academy website. Nili Block’s name and the nation she represents, is there too, showing just how much the world has changed.
Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for signing a presidential decree ordering the return to Israel of an IDF tank that was captured 34 years ago during a ferocious battle in the First Lebanon War.
“I thank the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that he responded to my request to return the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
The tank, used by the IDF during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub during the First Lebanon War on June 10, 1982, was captured by the Syrian army and eventually transported to the Soviet Union, then a Cold-War ally with Syria. The tank has since remained in Moscow, stored in a museum of armored tanks.
MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister, was an officer in artillery unit 7054 that helped rescue a battalion of Israeli tanks trapped by a Syrian ambush in Sultan Yacoub, Lebanon.
“We fired the whole night, and in the morning the battalion was rescued – except for that one tank and the three missing soldiers, whose fate is still unknown today,” Ben-Dahan recalled to Tazpit Press Service (TPS), referring to the continued mystery behind three IDF soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, who went missing in action during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. During the entire battle, 30 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost.
“Hearing about the return of the tank sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan told TPS. “It gave me chills.”
Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might bring news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.
Netanyahu raised the issue of returning the tank with Putin last month, after having received a request from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
“For the families of the soldiers missing in action, Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman, and Yehuda Katz, there is no trace of the boys nor a burial plot to go to for 34 years now,” noted Netanyahu. “The tank is the only evidence of the battle, and now it will be returned to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request.”
A delegation from the IDF’s Ordnance Corps is in Moscow working with representatives from the Russian army to transport the tank back to Israel as soon as possible.
In an appearance at the Russian Frobes Club last week, Jewish Billionaire Mikhail Maratovich Fridman, 52, who is worth $14.2 billion according to Forbes, which ranks him second wealthiest Russian, said he plans to leave almost all his fortune to charity. Nothing to his children.
“I’m not a big fan of this kind of public announcements,” Fridman told the Forbes Club audience, “but I can say that I am going to leave all my money to charity. I don’t plan to leave any money to my children.”
Fridman is a major patron of Jewish initiatives in Russia and elsewhere in Europe. In 1996 he was one of the founders of the Russian Jewish Congress. He makes large contributions to the European Jewish Fund, a non-profit organization promoting tolerance and reconciliation.
Fridman, together with Stan Polovets and fellow Russian Jewish billionaires Alexander Knaster, Pyotr Aven, and German Khan, founded the Genesis Philanthropy Group, to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Jews worldwide. In 2014, at the first annual Genesis Prize event in Jerusalem, Fridman told the audience that the prize is intended to inspire the next generation of Jews with the example of the Laureates’ outstanding professional achievement, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values.
The Ukraine born Fridman shares control of Alfa Group, the biggest financial and industrial investment group in Russia, with two college buddies and now billionaires German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev. They have been partners since 1989, when they launched Alfa-Eco, then Alfa-Bank—today the biggest private bank in Russia. The three college buddies bought Tyumen Oil from the Russian state in the late 1990s, merged it with BP’s Russian assets to form TNK-BP, then sold their stakes in 2013. Alfa Group has stakes in telecommunication giant Vimpelcom; owns Russia’s second-biggest retailer, X5; bought German oil and gas company DEA for $5.7 billion in 2015; and invested $200 million in Uber in 2016. (Source: Forbes)
Fridman, who has four children, the youngest is 10 and the eldest 22, told his Russian audience he wants his children to follow in his footsteps and create something on their own. He also confessed that he is worried his elder daughter Laura, 22, be targeted by bad people, which is something to be considered when you’re a very wealthy Russian.
Fridman revealed that his two close friends and business partners have made the same decision regarding their own children.
Only 22 countries around the globe have reached an average life expectancy at birth greater than 80 years, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, which would suggest that if one is planning to retire abroad, one should consider those countries most seriously.
Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), ranging from 60.0 years in the WHO African Region to 76.8 years in the WHO European Region, giving a ratio of 1.3 between the two regions. Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.5 years in 1990 and had remained almost the same by 2015 (4.6).
Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.
As to the friendly global race of whose citizens get to live longer, the top countries are, in descending order: Japan – 83.7, Switzerland – 83.4, Singapore – 83.1, Italy – 82.7, and Israel – 82.5. The US did not make the 80+ club in 2015, with only 79.3 years’ life expectancy. Neither did the Russian Federation – 70.5.
Israel’s neighbors are definitely not ideal locations for retirement: Egypt – 70.9, Jordan – 74.1, Lebanon – 74.9, and Syria – 64.5 (if you’re lucky). Nigeria stands out with 54.5 life expectancy, along with Angola – 52.4, Burkina Faso – 59.9, Burundi – 59.6, Cameroon – 57.3, Central African Republic – 52.5, Chad – 53.1, Guinea – 59, and Guinea-Bissau – 58.9.
So, here is the list of world countries where you’ll get to grow older than 80, barring unexpected circumstances:
Japan – 83.7
Switzerland – 83.4
Singapore – 83.1
Italy – 82.7
Israel – 82.5
France – 82.4
Sweden – 82.4
Canada – 82.2
Luxembourg – 82
Netherlands – 81.9
Norway – 81.8
Malta – 81.7
New Zealand – 81.6
Austria – 81.5
Belgium – 81.1
Finland – 81.1
Germany – 81
Denmark – 80.6
Chile – 80.5
Cyprus – 80.5
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used his finest diplospeak Sunday to strongly urge Iran to cancel its Holocaust cartoon contest, even though it was highly unlikely Iran would cooperate.
The “suggestion” came in what appeared to be a prompt response to a personal request from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend to demand Iran cancel the Holocaust cartoon contest.
“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”
Netanyahu posted photos of the contest registration being held in Tehran on Twitter with the tweet: Iran hosts Holocaust-denial cartoon contest while preparing another Holocaust. Shameful. Don’t stay quiet about it.”
Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday meeting with King Salman in talks on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He also met with the Saudi crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister.
But Kerry was apparently also listening closely to the Israeli government’s outrage over Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest. He was also likely to have been considering the effect Iran’s actions – and America’s response – might have on the U.S. presidential election campaign, and/or the effect it could have on Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Shortly after Netanyahu called on Kerry to denounce Iran’s actions, the State Department released a statement expressing “concern” over the effect the contest might have, and denouncing Holocaust denial in general.
“We are concerned that this contest in Iran could be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past,” said the statement, tweeted by AP journalist Matt Lee.
“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.
“The visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled for June 7,” a spokesperson told RIA Novosti. The date was confirmed Friday (May 13) by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, according to Sputnik News.
The prime minister was accompanied by top military and defense leaders who met with their Russian counterparts during the visit.
Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Russian-Israeli cooperation in Syria and in a number of other areas. The two leaders also discussed the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict as well as other regional issues.