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.At the invitation of the President of the State of Israel, 46 royals, presidents, prime ministers and parliamentary leaders from Europe, North America and Australia, will attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, entitled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism.” 

The World Holocaust Forum organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will take place on 23 January 2020 at the Warsaw Ghetto Square in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. The Forum marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, will begin at 13:30.

The event program will include addresses from a number of world leaders: President of the State of Israel H.E. Mr. Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin, Prime Minister of the State of Israel H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, President of France H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron, The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles, President of Russia H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, as well as a senior leader from the United States of America and the President of Germany H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Holocaust survivor and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau as well as Forum organizers – President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation Dr. Moshe Kantor and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev – will also speak at the event. Interspersed throughout the proceedings there will be several short video clips and musical interludes performed by an international orchestra conducted by world renowned conductor Vladimir Spivakov accompanied by an international choir.

The event will conclude with a memorial ceremony. Holocaust survivors Rose Moskowitz, from the United States, and Colette Avital, Chairperson of the Central Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel will light a memorial torch, after which, heads of delegations will commemorate victims of the Holocaust by laying wreaths at the base of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument in Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem. Cantor Shai Abramson will recite the El Maleh Rahamim memorial prayer, followed by Holocaust survivor Naftali Deutsch who will say Kaddish, the mourner's prayer. The ceremony will conclude with Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah.

The World Holocaust Forum will be broadcast live via satellite feed worldwide and via Yad Vashem's website and Facebook page. The broadcast will be translated simultaneously to six languages – EnglishHebrewFrenchGermanRussian and Spanish.


Confirmed Leaders of Nations and Heads of Delegations at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum
(As of 15 January 2020)

President of Albania H.E. Mr. Ilir Meta
President of Armenia H.E. Mr. Armen Sarkissian
Governor-General of Australia The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd)
Federal President of Austria H.E. Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen
Chairman of the House of Representatives of Belarus H.E. Mr. Vladimir Andreichenko
King of Belgium His Majesty King Phillipe
Chairman of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Mr. Željko Komšić
President of Bulgaria H.E. Mr. Rumen Radev
Governor-General of Canada the Right Honourable Ms. Julie Payette
President of Croatia H.E. Ms. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
President of Cyprus H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Andrej Babiš
Prime Minister of Denmark H.E. Ms. Mette Frederiksen
President of European Council H.E. Mr. Charles Michel
President of the European Commission H.E. Ms. Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Parliament H.E. Mr. David Sassoli
President of Finland H.E. Mr. Sauli Niinistö
President of France H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron
President of Georgia H.E. Ms. Salome Zourabichvili
President of Germany H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier
President of the Hellenic Republic H.E. Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos
Representative of the Holy See His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch
President of Hungary H.E. Mr. János Áder
President of Iceland H.E. Mr. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson
President of Italy H.E. Mr. Sergio Mattarella
Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia H.E. Ms. Ināra Mūrniece
President of Lithuania H.E. Mr. Gitanas Nauseda
Grand Duke of Luxembourg HRH Henri
President of Moldova H.E. Mr. Igor Dodon
Minister of State of Monaco H.E. Mr. Serge Telle
President of Montenegro H.E. Mr. Milo Đjukanović
King of the Netherlands His Royal Majesty Willem-Alexander
President of North Macedonia H.E. Prof. Dr. Stevo Pendarovski
Crown Prince of Norway HRH Crown Prince Haakon
President of Portugal H.E. Prof. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
President of Romania H.E. Mr. Klaus Iohannis
President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin
President of Serbia H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Vučić
President of Slovakia H.E. Ms. Zuzana Čaputová
President of Slovenia H.E. Mr. Borut Pahor
King of Spain His Majesty King Felipe VI
Prime Minister of Sweden H.E. Mr. Stefan Löfven
President of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The Prince of Wales HRH Prince Charles, United Kingdom
Vice President of the United States of America H.E. Mr. Michael R. Pence*
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi*
*Awaiting official confirmation

About the Fifth World Holocaust Forum   23 January 2020

Heads of State from Europe, North America and Australia are converging at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, taking place on 23 January 2020. The event, entitled “Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism,” is being organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, headed by Dr. Moshe Kantor, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin.

As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the message is clear – antisemitism has no place in our global society.

This historic event takes place against the background of the rise in hateful and violent expressions of antisemitism, especially in Europe. Given this alarming situation, efforts to educate about the dangers of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia and foster Holocaust commemoration, education and research have made this event more crucial and relevant than ever.

The Holocaust, aimed at the total annihilation of all Jews everywhere, and the eradication of their culture and history, was fueled by extreme racist antisemitism. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the international community enacted universal principles and instituted international organizations with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity. The ways in which antisemitism has persisted since the war and proliferated over recent years need to be identified, studied and understood. World leaders must be alert to antisemitism's current manifestations, and remain resolute in combatting it where it appears. It is the responsibility of all humanity, and especially the leaders that are gathering at Yad Vashem, to work to fight antisemitism, racism and xenophobia.

Yad Vashem works tirelessly to increase the knowledge and awareness of the history of the Holocaust, not only to ensure that its meanings continue to be relevant 75 years after the end of WWII, but also as a lighthouse warning against the alarming racism that is on the rise around the world today.



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The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the B'nai B'rith World Center, will be holding "Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines", a commemorative event held in tandem with an event in New York hosted by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, B’nai B’rith International, and the US-Philippine Society, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Balai Quezo


The event, which focuses on Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's landmark "Open Doors Policy" offering safe haven in the Philippines to Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, will feature a panel discussion with Professor Robert Rockaway of Tel Aviv University, as well as screenings of excerpts from ABS-CBN iWANT documentary, The Last Manilaners, and Star Cinema's feature film on President Quezon's decision to accept Jewish refugees, Quezon's Game.

Mr. Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum, the two "Manilaners" still living in Israel, will attend the event as special guests.



From 1937 to 1941, President Quezon extended visas to Jewish refugees who sought to escape the growing terror of the Holocaust in Europe. This policy, which came to be known as the "Open Doors Policy", led to the entry of close to 1,300 Jewish refugees to the Philippines, where they settled in Manila - leading them to refer to themselves, fondly, as "Manilaners". This little-known part of the shared history between Filipinos and the Jewish people was first brought to light in Frank Ephraim's book, Escape to Manila, and has since become the foundation of bilateral relations between the Philippines and the State of Israel.

Balai Quezon, the Philippine Embassy's cultural center, was inaugurated in 2019 to build awareness of President Quezon's policy and its impact on Philippine-Israel relations.

Photo Courtesy: The Library of Congress.




The Israel Ministry of Defense Reveals a Breakthrough in Laser Technology 

The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), at the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals that a technological breakthrough has been achieved in the development of lasers for the interception of RAM threats, UAVs, and ATGMs


Head of the Directorate of Research and Development in the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem: “We are entering a new age of energy warfare in the air, land and sea. The R&D investments made by the DDR&D in the last years have placed the State of Israel among the leading countries in the field of high-energy laser systems. Throughout the year 2020 we will conduct a demo of our capabilities.” 



Today (08.01.2020), the DDR&D in the Israel Ministry of Defense reveals its investment in laser technology, which has led to the technological breakthrough that will enable the development of platforms to intercept a variety of threats. Based on high-energy lasers, this technology will prompt a strategic change in the defense capabilities of the State of Israel. 


As a result of the aforementioned technological breakthrough, the DDR&D has launched three programs for the development of high-energy laser demo systems in cooperation with defense industries, Rafael and Elbit Systems:


  • Development of a demo ground-based laser system to complement the capabilities of the Iron Dome (an additional layer to the air defense array)
  • Development of a maneuver platform-mounted laser system to defend troops in the field 
  • Development of a laser demo system mounted on an air platform to intercept threats above cloud covers and for the defense of wide areas 



Advantages of interception via high-energy lasers:


  • Continuous use at a low cost 
  • Higher effectiveness as a result of the use of two different and complementary technologies - kinetic air defense (via systems such as the Iron Dome), and laser platforms
  • Efficient management and decrease in the number of interceptors used 
  • Potential to intercept a variety of threats such as UAVs, drones and guided rockets in the future


Over the years, the DDR&D has invested considerable efforts in advancing powerful laser technology. Many developments, both from Israel and abroad, have been tested and proven to be ineffective. Significant achievements have recently been made as a result of the collaboration between the DDR&D, defense industries (Rafael and Elbit Systems) and academic institutions. These achievements were made possible by the development of electric source laser systems, in replacement of chemical laser technology.



The technological breakthrough is based on the precision of the laser beam. Using the new technology, the defense establishment has succeeded in precisely focusing the beam on long-range targets, including overcoming atmospheric disturbances. This technology enables the development of highly effective operational systems that will serve as an additional layer of defense to secure the State of Israel by air, land and sea.


Head of the RD Directorate Brig Gen Yaniv Rotem.

Photos Israel Ministry of Defense





 Dozens of Israeli, Palestinian and international 11th graders at the Eastern Mediterranean International School in Kfar Hayarok yesterday (Jan 14) completed ‘marathon peace talk simulations’. The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks simulation was hosted by the Leon Charney Resolution Center, founded by Tzili Charney in memory of her late husband, and facilitated by Dr. Sapir Handelman, winner of the Peter Baker award for peace and conflict studies, who leads Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress assemblies in the USA, as well as in Israel and the PA.

The peace negotiation simulations, in which the students represent the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, featured two separate tracks – with one track establishing negotiations and the other working behind the scenes. 


The Leon Charney Resolution Center, which opened in September 2015, is dedicated to the history and future of negotiations, peace and learning. The late Leon Charney (1938-2016), a prominent lawyer, author, broadcaster and former advisor to, among others, President Jimmy Carter, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Ezer Weizman, played an important role in the Camp David Peace Accords, which led to the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Charney, who dedicated a major part of his life to back-channel diplomacy, understood that the road to peace and stability required peacemaking activities in multiple dimensions. Together with his wife, Tzili, Charney established the center in order to encourage, develop, and initiate peacemaking activities that can create the foundation for a better world.


Dr. Sapir Handelman, who will be facilitating the negotiations and teaches at Tel-Aviv University, is a former Lentz Fellow in Peace and Conflict Resolution Research at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Wayne State University, where he was a visiting professor at the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. He developed and leads the Minds of Peace Experiment – an Israeli-Palestinian public negotiating congress – in major universities throughout the US, Canada, and in Israel and the Palestinian territories.



The mission of EMIS is to make education a force for peace and sustainability in the Middle East., while fostering intercultural understanding and promoting personal and social leadership. The students, who come from all over the world to live and study together, can choose between two international study programs - either the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program or the three-year Cambridge IGCSE, AS and A level programs.

Photo credit Guy Yechiely




On Tuesday, December 17th, 2019, Ms. Dyana Cordero, Director of the Costa Rican Export Promotion Agency (PROCOMER) in Israel, organized a cocktail in order to invite Israeli businesspeople to attend the event called Costa Rica Services Summit, which will take place on February 2020 at the Costa Rican Covention Center.
The event had the presence of the Ambassador of Costa Rica in Israel, Mr. Marco Vinicio Vargas Pereira, the Minister Counselor and Consul General of Costa Rica, Mr. Javier Rojas Víquez, the Honorary Consul of Costa Rica in Haifa, Mr. Natan Allalouf and representatives of Israeli universities and companies from different sectors, such us energy, real estate, autonomous mobility, cyber security and film industry, among others. 
During the event, Ms. Cordero talked about the more conspicuous characteristics of the country, such as its political stability and democratic tradition, its zeal regarding the protection of the natural environment and its culture of peace as a country without an army. Besides, she presented what Costa Rica has to offer in the field of services, highlighted the advantages that Costa Rica offers as a destination for foreign investment and invited the audience to attend the Costa Rica Services Summit. Israeli entrepreneurs narrated their own experiences doing business in Costa Rica and both parties vowed to continue strengthening the commercial bonds between both nations.  
Photo Silvia Golan