- Written by MFA
Israel hosts Animals Committee of the CITES Convention
Israel will host the 28th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This is a precedent-setting event, as Israel's first global UN conference of this magnitude.
From August 30 - September 3, 2015, Israel will host the 28th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
This is a precedent-setting event, as Israel's first global UN conference of this magnitude. The project was initiated by the Israel Foreign Ministry's Division for the UN and International Organizations together with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA). Over 200 scientists from more than 40 countries are expected to attend, as well as representatives of UN agencies and NGO's. A reception will be held at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, September 1.
Among the issues to be discussed are the hunting of sharks, the smuggling and trade in elephants and rhinoceros, maintaining the wild populations of monkeys and rare parrots, the sale of snakes for the fashion trade, and the very lucrative practive of illegal hunting.
The State of Israel signed the CITES Convention in 1979 and appointed the INPA as the sole government agency in charge of implementing the Convention.
Israel is a small country that is very concerned with conserving its nature and as an active member of the CITES Convention it helps conserve wildlife populations across the world. Israel is situated in the Near East at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. While Israel's unique location has given rise to a rich variety of flora and fauna species, the growth of densely populated cities has severely reduced the amount of natural areas. In light of these threats, the INPA has implemented a strict policy which helps preserve the fauna and flora in Israel including rehabilitation and reintroduction of species and restoration of habitats, as well as stritct supervision over trade in species protected under the CITES Convention.
CITES was negotiated in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation and to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction. It entered into force on 1 July 1975 and now has a membership of 151 countries. These countries act by banning commercial international trade in an agreed list of endangered species and by regulating and monitoring trade in others that might become endangered.
The Animals Committee of experts is composed of individuals from the six major geographical regions - Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Central and South America and the Caribbean, and Oceania. It provides scientific advice to the Conference of the Parties, and undertakes periodic reviews of species.
Opening of CITES Animals Committee in Tel Aviv
Photo 2 :
Israel Ambassador Manor and CITES Secretary-General Scanlon sign the Host Country Agreement in Geneva, July 2015
Copyright: Israel Mission to the UN, Geneva
- Written by Taglit
Leading The Future
43 students from the USA and Canada concluded a two-month internship at leading companies in Israel through the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program
Today, Wednesday 5.8.15 marked the end of the fifth year of the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program. The evening, at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was attended by prominent individuals such as Mr. Yoram Tietz, Chairman of Birthright Israel Excel Program and Managing Partner of EY Israel, Avi Zeevi co-founder and General Partner of Carmel Ventures, Jonathan Saacks Managing Partner at Genesis Partners, David Gappell, Director of the Schusterman Foundation-Israel and Mr. Gidi Mark, International CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel.
This year, the management of the hosting companies welcomed 43 students from 27 top universities in the U.S. and Canada. They served as advisors and business mentors during a two-month internship. The students, chosen out of the thousands of applicants, stayed in Israel for two months, during which they met with Israeli leaders in various industries, visited important locations across the country and took part in professional workshops. Furthermore, they were paired with Israeli peers, officers from the intelligence unit of the IDF and students from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, who served as a bridge to Israeli society and culture. The students also received personal business mentoring and participated in a professional internship providing them with an understanding of the Israeli business world.
Israel's business leaders include: Avi Zeevi, Co-Founder and General Partner of Carmel Ventures, Tal Keinan, founder and CEO of KCPS Clarity, Leonard Rosen, CEO of Barclays Capital Israel, Modi Rosen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Magma Venture Partners, Gil Golan, Director at the Advanced Technical Center-Israel of General Motors, Yoram Tietz, Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Israel, Tomer Bar Zeev Co-Founder and CEO of IronSource and Eran Barkat, Partner at BRM group, to name a few.
"The Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship forms and empowers the future leaders of the Jewish world. Birthright Israel Excel is an extension to- and considered one of the most important projects of- Taglit-Birthright Israel. The Fellowship offers outstanding students the opportunity to discover the country and intern at leading Israeli companies, generating bonds that will serve as a catalyst in creating cooperation between the Diaspora and Israel," said Taglit-Birthright Israel's International CEO Gidi Mark. "With their return home, each student is linked to a local mentor, usually a senior businessman and philanthropist, active in the Jewish community and Israel. The mentors advise participants about their professional futures, the importance of social and philanthropic responsibilities and connect them to their Jewish identity and to the business and social sides of the State of Israel".
Taglit co-founders and philanthropists Michael and Judy Steinhardt and Lynn Schusterman, created Birthright Israel Excel five years ago with as goal to develop a cadre of future Jewish leaders, and empower them in the world of business, technology, and social entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the Excel Fellows’ connection and commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and to foster the development of a collaboration between international and Israeli companies. The program is supported by the Steinhardt Family Foundation, The Lynn and Charles Schusterman family foundation, and the Paul E. Singer Foundation.
About Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel connects young Jews to the State of Israel as well as to their Jewish identity through a free ten-day educational tour of the country. Over the past 15 years, Birthright Israel has opened the eyes of hundreds of thousands of trip participants to the people and the land of Israel. The trip aims to build an understanding, friendship, and lasting bond with the land and people of Israel and to reinforce the solidarity of the Jewish people worldwide. This allows for the creation of new friendships between participants and Israelis as well as deepens their understanding of the country and the Jewish religion and connects participants to their Jewish heritage. Birthright Israel is considered the most successful and largest Zionist project in the Jewish world.
Birthright Israel has a unique, historical and innovative partnership between the Government of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world through the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The gift of a trip to Israel started with philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt. Each year, individuals from across the world donate to Birthright Israel with the shared belief that it is the birthright of all young Jews to be able to visit their ancestral homeland.
Since its inception in 1999, over 500,000 Jews from over 66 countries have participated in the free 10-day educational tour of Israel. Of these over 80,000 young Israeli soldiers (from prestigious units of the IDF) and students have joined various groups on their tours.
Over the years, several studies have been conducted at Brandies University, located in the USA, demonstrating the lasting effect on Diaspora Jews when focusing on their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel and their ability to promote the country.
Photo provided by Taglit
- Written by MFA
Amb. Prosor's Press Statement on Iran
Today is a very sad day for Israel and the entire world because the international community is taking steps to lift the sanctions on Iran without first waiting to see if Iran complies with even a single obligation in the agreement.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Today, you have awarded a great prize to the most dangerous country in the world.
I hate to be the one who spoils the party, but someone has to say that the emperor has no clothes. Today is a very sad day. Not only for the state of Israel, but for the entire world, even if at this moment, the international community refuses to see the tragedy.
It is a sad day because the international community is taking steps to lift the sanctions on Iran without first waiting to see if Iran complies with even a single obligation in the agreement.
It is a sad day because this agreement gives Iran a seat on the commission which will decide whether or not it has violated the agreement. This is like allowing a criminal to sit on the jury which will decide his own fate.
You haven't changed Iran's destructive ideology, which goes beyond proliferating deadly weapons and funding terror.
It is not only that you have not cured the symptoms, you have strengthened the source of the problem. You have given the source of the problem - Iran - money, stability at home, and time to carry out its destructive ideology.
For the first time anyone can remember, Israel and the Arab world see eye to eye - this deal is dangerous for the region, for the people of the region- Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, and for the entire world.
You, in the international community, have a bad track record when it comes to seeing impending disasters, even when it is right in front of your eyes.
Good intentions too often leads to wishful thinking. Look at what happened with the Arab Spring, how so many people were absolutely convinced that we were at the dawn of a new Middle East. Think back, how many people praised Assad, who studied ophthalmology in London, as a reformer, who would change the economy of Syria - and quite a change it has been.
And all those who at that time dared to say they see things a bit differently were branded as without imagination, without creativity, and unable to escape old paradigms.
When the nuclear deal was made with North Korea, I remember good and well-intentioned people who wanted to believe they signed a deal which would prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons - and we all know what has happened since then.
They told us, we would live in a more secure world.
I'm sure that many of you, many around here, do not feel more secure in the world today.
Ladies and Gentleman,
I present to you this map - which is Iran's Empire of Terror.
Now, take a close look at this map. This is what the world looked like this morning, before you voted on the process of removing sanctions from Iran. You can see the impact of Iran's terror apparatus with your own eyes here. Countries like Thailand, Azerbaijan, and the Capital of the United States, managed to prevent, at the last minute, Iranian terror plots before they could be carried out. Other countries were not so fortunate. Countries from Bulgaria to Argentina have experienced the horror of Iranian terror first-hand.
In Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, and countries across the world, Iran has spread its tentacles in order to expand its empire.
This weekend, 21 years ago, Iran and Hezbollah sent a suicide bomber driving a van loaded with explosives, into the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. 85 innocent people were killed and many others were injured.
Since then, you can find Iran's fingerprints in every corner of the globe, targeting innocent civilians, smuggling arms, financing terrorist groups, and engaging in illegal proliferation activity.
Now, what did the world do to respond to Iran's growing empire of terror?
Well, just a few minutes ago, here:
It voted to empower it.
It voted to strengthen it.
It voted to fund their expansion.
Iran will now have 150 billion dollars to fund terror groups.
So, the 150 billion dollar question is - what will this map look like tomorrow?
How will the new Iranian pie be distributed?
How much money will go to Hezbollah and Hamas?
How much money will go to Assad?
How much money will go to fund worldwide terror activities?
and, how long will it take before this map is entirely red?
If the international community refuses to see this as a tragedy, that is a grave strategic error. But if it is aware of the tragedy, and it still chooses to purse this dangerous path, that is a catastrophe.
I would like to say that the Iranians are metaphorically laughing in everyone's face, but the sad part is that this time it is not a metaphor.
When the villain is laughing, you know something is wrong. Friends, the villain is laughing, and his laughter echoes throughout the world. Loudly and clearly.
When we hear laughter from a country whose Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, says that even after the agreement is signed, Iran will continue the battle against the United States, Iran will continue supporting terrorists in the Middle East and around the world - something is wrong.
When we hear laughter from a country whose president, just days before the agreement was signed, marches at the head of a parade in Tehran in which American and Israeli flags are burned- something is wrong.
When we hear laughter from a country which does not even attempt to mask its hatred, something is wrong.
Friends, something is very, very wrong.
Israel, but not only Israel, is on the front lines. We will all pay the price- and not just in the Middle East. It might sound surprising to some of you, but we in Israel tend to take it seriously when someone threatens to destroy us.
Ladies and Gentleman,
In future years, the consequences of this mistake will become clear to all, but for Israel, tomorrow is already too late.
Israeli Ambassador to the #UN Prosor held a press conference outside the #SecurityCouncil chambers following the adoption of a resolution which serves as a first step in the process of lifting #sanctions on #Iran: “Today, you have awarded a great prize to the most dangerous country in the world. If the international community refuses to see this as a tragedy, that is a grave strategic error. But if it is aware of the tragedy, and it still chooses to purse this dangerous path, that is a catastrophe. When the villain is laughing, you know something is wrong. In future years, the consequences of this mistake will become clear to all, but for Israel, tomorrow is already too late.”
Copyright: UN Photo/Loey Felipe
- Written by The Jewish Agency for Israel
More than 200 Immigrants from France to Arrive in Israel Tonight Aboard Special Aliyah Flight
Aliyah up 11% compared to 2014; More than 20,000 French Jews have arrived in Israel over the past five years
JERUSALEM – The wave of French immigration to Israel continues: More than 200 French Jews, half of whom are children, will arrive in Israel tonight (Monday, July 27) aboard a special Aliyah flight organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption.
The current wave of Aliyah from France comes following cooperative efforts by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency to sustain the high rate of French Aliyah and increase Aliyah from around the world. More than 20,000 French Jews—primarily young people and families—have made Israel their home over the past five years. Over 7,200 French Jews made Aliyah in 2014 – an all-time record, and the first time since Israel's establishment that more than 1% of a Western country's Jewish population immigrated to the country in a single year. The coastal city of Netanya is the number one destination for French immigrants to Israel, followed by Tel Aviv-Yafo, Jerusalem, Ashdod, and Ra'anana.
According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, some 4,260 immigrants from France have arrived in Israel so far this year, an 11% increase compared to the 3,830 who came during the equivalent period in 2014. Moreover, interest in Aliyah from France has jumped by some 30%: 3,160 new Aliyah files were opened in France during the first six months of 2015, compared to some 2,509 during the same period last year. Registration for Aliyah information sessions reached 6,150, compared to 4,425 during the equivalent period in 2014.
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze'ev Elkin said: "This plane with 200 immigrants from France is just one of many arriving in Israel this summer. This is the second year in a row that we are seeing a significant increase in Aliyah from France, and so the ministry and the entire government are working to further increase the rate of Aliyah and dedicate more resources to improving immigrant absorption. This year we are preparing to receive between 30,000 and 35,000 immigrants from around the world, the most in a decade."
Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: "Over the past two years, The Jewish Agency has significantly expanded its operations in Europe in response to increasing interest in Aliyah on the part of European Jews. We are seeing an unprecedented wave of Aliyah from European countries, which indicates not only how Europe is becoming an uncomfortable place for Jews, but—even more importantly—the extent to which Israel is becoming a magnet for Jews interested in a meaningful Jewish life, in freedom, personal security, and a sense of belonging to a country that is integral to the future of the Jewish people."
PHOTO: French Jewish familie about to immigrate to Israel at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris earlier today (July 27, 2015). Photo : Jeremy Fournée for The Jewish Agency for Israel.
- Written by European Union
Council Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process Council of the EU
1. The EU reaffirms its commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two state solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign, and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. The EU reaffirms that there is no alternative to a negotiated two state solution. The regional context, including the ongoing radicalisation and spread of terrorism, makes it even more urgent to end the conflict. The status-quo is not an option, as the viability of the two state solution is constantly being eroded by new facts on the ground. The EU urges both parties to demonstrate their stated commitment to the two state solution through concrete actions. Actions by either side which call into question their stated commitment to a negotiated solution must be avoided. The EU will actively support the parties to restore confidence and create an environment of trust necessary to engage in meaningful negotiations as soon as possible.
2. An immediate priority must be to address the grave situation in the Gaza Strip. One year after the conflict, the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire. In light of the urgent needs of the people in Gaza, all international community pledges should be honoured. The EU furthermore expresses its concern over UNRWA's severe lack of funds and, as a leading donor to UNRWA, calls on all concerned donors to step up their funding.
The EU believes that compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law by states and non-state actors, including accountability, is a cornerstone for peace and security in the region.
3. The EU welcomes recent steps taken by Israel to ease restrictions in Gaza. However, further positive measures are now needed that enable the full delivery of humanitarian aid, reconstruction and economic recovery on a permanent basis. The EU calls for a fundamental change of the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns. Recent rocket fire by militant groups is unacceptable and underlines again the danger of escalation. All stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace. The EU calls on all parties to agree on a durable ceasefire that prevents a return to conflict, strengthens Gaza, as it is an integral part of a future Palestinian state, and reinforces the link between Gaza and the West Bank.
4. The EU urges all Palestinian factions to find common ground, based on non-violence and reconciliation, and to work together to address the needs of the Palestinian population. Intra-Palestinian reconciliation is an important element for reaching the two state solution. In that regard, the EU calls on the Palestinian factions to make reconciliation and the return of the PA to Gaza a top priority. The PA must take greater responsibility in this regard and assume its government function in the Gaza Strip, including in the field of security, civil administration and through its presence at the Gaza crossing points. The EU is ready to provide full support to these efforts, including through the rapid reactivation and possible extension in scope and mandate of its EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS missions.
5. The EU is committed to working with all sides, including through implementation of existing agreements, to allow the socio-economic development of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and empower Palestinian institutions in preparation for statehood, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. The EU stresses that actions such as the easing of restrictions must be part of a fundamental change of policy with regard to the occupied Palestinian territory. It calls on Israel to enable accelerated Palestinian construction, as well as social and economic development in Area C. Such actions will serve to strengthen the prosperity and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. It further calls on Israeli authorities to halt plans for forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure in the Susya and Abu Nwar communities.
6. The preservation of the viability of the two state solution is at the core of EU policy and will remain a priority. In this regard, and recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access. These actions seriously threaten the two state solution. Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states. The EU will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications and remains ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two state solution. The EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The EU expresses its commitment to ensure that - in line with international law - all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.
7. Securing a just and lasting peace will require an increased common international effort. The EU, notably through the action of its recently appointed Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, will work actively on a renewed multilateral approach to the peace process in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including partners in the Quartet, notably the US, in the region and the United Nations Security Council. The establishment of an International support group is a possible way to contribute to this end; the Council asks the High Representative to explore options for implementation of this initiative with regional and international actors and to report back in early September. The EU's position on parameters, as set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of July 2014, provides a basis for achieving consensus on the way forward. The EU is ready to engage in joint work with regional partners on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, and welcomes ongoing efforts of the Quartet in this regard.