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On 16 November 2020, the Palestinian Centre for Research and Agricultural Development (PCARD) and the Galilee International Management Institute (GIMI) launched the first of many activities aimed at improving production and trade in key agricultural sectors. The workshop took place in Nahalal, Israel as part of the project ‘Israelis Meet Palestinians in Agriculture and Cross-border Trade’ funded by the European Union under its EU Peacebuilding Initiative.


The 3-year project will bring together agricultural workers, farmers, agronomists, the business sector, students and many other stakeholders to improve the production quality and quantity in key Palestinian and Israeli agricultural sectors - dates, almonds, herbs, honey, olive oil, vegetable and grapes. A number of agricultural communities on both sides will benefit from improved trade capacity. Ultimately, the project will promote and facilitate cross-border trade, by establishing trade contacts, organising exhibitions, trainings and field visits in the priority agricultural-trade sectors.


PCARD Director, Eng. Salah A. Eisheh said: ‘The project targets seven strategic agricultural sectors in Palestine and Israel, namely dates, vegetables, medical herbs, grapes, almonds, honey and olives.  The aim is to strengthen economic and technical cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis, and to create commercial relations locally and internationally to the benefit of the targeted sectors.’


GIMI President, Dr. Joseph Shevel said: ‘This is a very good opportunity to make the positive change that we are looking to see for both Palestinians and Israelis. GIMI will work with PCARD to upgrade the trade experience, enhance the marketing knowledge and improve the quality and quantity of agriculture products for all participants in the project. I devote many thanks to the European Union for supporting this initiative.’


EU Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret said: ‘Cross border cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians that benefits the lives and livelihoods of real people is an EU priority. We must not forget the road to peace always involves keeping dialogue and channels open, as well as building mutual trust. This is one of the building blocks that can help support a political solution to the conflict’.



This project is funded by the EU Peacebuilding Initiative, which aims to support and promote the conditions for a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict through civil society projects and citizens' positive engagement. The programme is divided into two parts, which: 1. aim to promote conditions for a negotiated settlement of the conflict via participatory civil engagement, and via enhanced mutual understanding, confidence and trust; 2. contribute to peacebuilding through joint work supporting socio-economic development and strategic cooperation.



Photo Janine Golan / the Galilee Institute.







The Academy for Young Diplomats was inaugurated on Monday October 26, in a virtual ceremony attended by hundreds of students, parents and educators. Later that week the academy held its first major event, a Model UN conference for 50 elementary school students on the topic of Human Rights and Drones.


The Academy for Young Diplomats, an initiative of the the Petah Tiqva municipality and overseen by Mrs. Rachel Amrani, will provide diplomatic training to outstanding elementary school students, including strengthening spoken English skills, MUN simulations, international relations debates and discussions with diplomats. This is believed to be the youngest age MUN and diplomacy training program in Israel. In total, several hundred students from a dozen classes around the city are being trained.


Mrs. Rachel Amrani, director of the Chen Young Ambassadors School and founding director of the Academy for Young Diplomats, opened the evening by welcoming all of the guests. She introduced Mrs. Tali Toledano, the director of the Elementary School division in Petah Tiqva, who then told the students how excited she was to have been part of this important initiative, and how much the teachers and principals were counting on the students. The mayor of Petah Tiqva, Mr. Rami Greenberg, addressed the students and reiterated the dedication of the city to supporting youth empowerment. Mr. Ron Katz, the head of the Education Department in Petah Tiqva also spoke, expressing his own support for this important initiative, and hope that it would continue to grow. Mr. Ohad Hursendi from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the students about the importance of communication and learning different perspectives in conducting diplomacy.


Following the formal speeches, several alumni of the Young Ambassadors school spoke. The alumni, now university students or in army positions, talked about the skills and invaluable experiences they had gained through their time in the Young Ambassadors program, and wished they had had the opportunity to start in elementary school. Several principals of different schools also talked about their excitement to be able to offer this program to their students.


Just a few days later those diplomatic skills were on full display, as the first MUN conference of the year was held. 50 students from the first few schools to open the program: Bar Lev, Ein Ganim, and Haim Hefer, represented a range of countries as they discussed the merits and humanitarian concerns stemming from military and civilian use of drones. After an intense three hours of speeches, debates and negotiations, the committees were brought to a close with a roll call vote. 


During the closing ceremony, Mrs. Amrani expressed her admiration for the hard work and exceptional diplomacy she had witnessed in the committees. She also thanked the dedicated chairs of the committees: Gaia Gol, Rotem Getraide, Maya Jerbi, Ameen Agbaria, Yehonatan Bashi, Itay Rechav, and Yoad Hershkovitz. The chairs of each committee seconded her words, stressing how impressed they were with the high-level debate from students at their very first MUN conference. Finally the award winners were announced: Inbar Levy (Brazil), Yoav Deane (Japan) and Talia Rupin Pinhas (Peru) received Outstanding Delegates and Lia Katsevman (Czech Republic), Yaara Gross (India), and Yonatan Oren (Ireland) received Best Delegate in the first committee. In the second committee, Yehuda Lavi (Australia), Lavi Golan (Estonia), Koren Druker (Poland) and Hadar Englandar (Slovenia) were the Outstanding Delegates, while Bar Swift (France) and Kfir Levita (United Kingdom) were the Best Delegates.

Naomi Fellert, who represented Germany, summarized the feeling for many first time students when she told Diplomacy.co.il that the conference was “a lot of fun...I learned many things and felt like it really helped me understand. I found the topic very interesting and worth studying. In retrospect I can’t believe that I was nervous to first join.”

Mrs. Rachel Amrani, the Director of the Academy for Young Diplomats, said that the academy was opened to start the education of a new generation of Israeli diplomats from an even earlier age, and provide them with the opportunities to learn and experience diplomacy. It offers a wide variety of lectures, programs, workshops, and a wide variety of simulations, and other learning opportunities. These lessons are meant to give students a greater understanding of what is going on in the world, in the UN, an understanding of international politics and the intricacies of the world of diplomacy, as well as improving the ability to discuss, analyze and express oneself, spoken English, debate, negotiation and decision-making.

The next MUN conference will be an international one, held on November 22 and examining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Photo credit: Academy for Young Diplomats

Steven Aiello



 In preparation for the convening of the 38th World Zionist Congress, which will convene virtually for the first time between October 20 and 22, 2020, with the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin - the "Confederation of General Zionists" faction submitted a resolution to the World Zionist Congress To establish a committee that will discuss the addition of new Zionist communities and federations and the inclusion of more Zionist voices in the World Zionist Organization
The "Confederation of General Zionists" faction has submitted a resolution to be voted on during  the World Zionist Congress - which will convene for the first time in history virtually (between October 20 and 22, 2020) - to establish a committee to discuss joining new Zionist communities and federations to the World Zionist Organization (WZO).
The resolution states that since the Zionist movement can do more to include and represent the voices of Jews from the Eastern community, Ethiopians, Jews of the former Soviet Union and many other communities, it is proposed to establish a committee that will report on how the Zionist movement can improve the representation and inclusion of those Zionist communities. The Committee will also recommend concrete steps to achieve this goal. At the same time, the resolution proposes  to invite Zionist organizations representing those Jewish  communities to appoint a representative on their behalf to this committee. 
The Confederation also submitted a resolution to  deepen the connection between religious leaders in Israel and the Diaspora. This is in response to  the worsening deterioration in relations between Diaspora Jews and the State of Israel. Such a dialogue, whether carried out  in the digital arena during the coronavirus crisis or via physicals visit when the situation allows, will inspire the deepening of relations between the State of Israel and the Diaspora. The draft resolution states that Israeli rabbis and spiritual leaders, women and men alike, from all streams - should be invited to the United States to meet with Jewish leaders from all streams in Diaspora Jewry and various community frameworks. At the same time,  American rabbis and spiritual leaders, women and men from all streams should be invited to meet with Jewish leaders in Israel from all streams and community frameworks. 
The Congress will be held this year virtually for the first time since its inception in 1897 by Theodor Herzl. The World Zionist Congress is the only elected democratic body that represents Jews around the world and serves as the supreme institution for legislation and decision-making of the World Zionist Organization. The Congress outlines the policies and platforms of the World Zionist Organization and elects the leadership of Israel’s major national institutions, including Keren Kayemet, Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Agency, etc.  The Zionist political parties in Israel and global Jewish organizations, which include the religious streams in the world, meet once every 5 years to elect the leadership of the world Zionist movement and set an agenda for the movement.
Several of the key figures in the "Confederation of General Zionists" include: Chairman Jesse Sultanik, whose grandfather Kalman Sultanik z”l previously served as Vice President of the World Jewish Congress; Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, David Yaari, Vice Chairman of the Confederation of General Zionists and former MK Dov Lipman. 
Yaari, stated that "one of the great challenges of our generation that must be on the Congress’s agenda is how to strengthen the connection between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. As we witness a growing gap within our people, we must ensure Zionism becomes relevant to Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora and determine how to involve our natural partners in federations around the world in a significantly more meaningful way". Yaari added that the Corona crisis provides an opportunity of strengthening the connection between Israel and the Diaspora.  
The "Confederation of General Zionists" is a faction in the World Zionist Congress that deals with Zionism on a macro scale with an emphasis on strengthening the connections and ties between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry. The Confederation faction has set its focus and goals to expand the connections between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, and is not affiliated with any political party or any religious sect. It puts Zionism at the center and connects with Zionist bodies in the Diaspora who believe in Israel as the home for the Jewish people. In the run-up to the upcoming congress, the Confederation faction submitted several proposals to the Congress to establish a special committee to combat anti-Semitism, strengthen ties with Diaspora Jewry and more.
Photo World Zionist Congress



President Rivlin:

“I’m running, too – running with you in body, heart and thought. Every woman who deals with breast cancer, every woman who gets better, is a whole world. A world of dreams, desires, loves, fears – of life! And anyone who saves a single life, a single woman like this – saves the entire world.”


“Please, go and get checked. Even now. Convince your partners to get checked. Your mothers, daughters, friends. Don’t let corona beat cancer. It isn’t just a check-up, not just another doctor’s appointment, it is a life-saver!”


President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Monday 26 October / 8 Cheshvan, started the last kilometer of the “Gam Ani Ratza/I’m Running Too” race to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The president set the runners on their way – women who have and are recovering from breast cancer, for a run that marks the end of the “Running Around The World” awareness campaign for breast cancer. The runners set of for a celebratory run from the gates of Beit HaNasi with pink shirts to thank the thousands of Israelis who participated and ran over the last month to raise awareness of early screening for the disease.


To mark the occasion, the president wore a pink face mask and greeted the runners with pink ribbon on his lapel. The security guards of Beit HaNasi also wore pink masks and the walls of Beit HaNasi’s reception hall were lit with pink lighting.


“Gam Ani Ratza/I’m Running Too” is a national volunteer initiative of women’s running groups made up of those with and recovering from breast cancer.


Photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)





BORACAY — The reopening of Boracay, the Philippines’ top destination, to new market sources signals the safe and gradual revival of the country’s tourism industry amid the pandemic, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Thursday (Oct. 1).
She said the island’s reopening “is a crucial first step” to domestic tourism recovery, providing the momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. This, she added, gives the country’s tourism industry a glimmer of hope, especially for those counting on tourism to survive.
“What could be a better way to herald the revival of Philippine tourism than the reopening of the world-renowned Boracay Island?” she said.
Puyat noted that there were no reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the island and promised government support in ensuring that health and safety protocols are in place. She stressed that the safety and well-being of tourists and residents remain the top priority of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
She said: “The DOT, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano, the province of Aklan and the municipality of Malay have implemented enhanced hygiene and safety protocols in entry points, accommodations and activities. We advise all tourists to be on strict quarantine immediately after the PCR test and until the time of travel to the island. This is to help ensure that they will remain free of COVID-19 before they visit Boracay.”
After accepting visitors from Western Visayas in June, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force has now allowed visitors from other regions under a general community quarantine (GCQ) classification to enter Boracay.
In a press conference Thursday, Puyat reiterated that while the age restriction has been relaxed to allow travelers below 21 and above 60 years old, only those without underlying medical conditions and those with negative RT-PCR results will be allowed to enter the island through the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan. The test should be taken at least 48 hours before travel to the island.
A confirmed booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, air tickets, and the negative test results should be submitted online, through http://aklan.gov.ph, for the approval of the Aklan provincial government. Each visitor who is cleared to travel to the island will then be issued a unique personal QR code for monitoring.
The tourism chief added that while health and safety protocols have been put in place, the success of Boracay reopening will largely depend on one important factor: the compliance and cooperation of the island’s guests. “We urge our visitors to be responsible tourists. Follow the guidelines, respect the rules. We can never be too complacent, even on vacation, we must adhere to the minimum health protocols. Let’s wear our mask when possible,” said Puyat.
Meanwhile, DOT- accredited hotels will each have a designated health and safety officer who will call the Boracay COVID Hotline number 152 should any of the guests exhibit symptoms of the virus. The data from the QR code system will be used to identify the close contacts, should a guest test positive for the coronavirus while on the island.
The DOT facilitated the turnover of essential medical equipment to ensure the readiness of the destination in handling COVID-related concerns. Among these were the donations from the Makati Medical Center group, which included training for the local medical staff at the Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital and Boracay Clinic. In addition to this, the Filinvest City Foundation, in partnership with Crimson Hotel Boracay’s RT-PCR machine donations, were turned over to the Covid-19 Laboratory being completed at the Dr. Rafael Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo.
Pictures Courtesy: PDOT.