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This month, students from seven cities around Israel traveled to the US to compete in the first ever Debate for Peace delegation to Johns Hopkins MUN. The students competed in one of the largest MUNs in the world, with about 1,500 students in dozens of committees. As a delegation, Debate for Peace represented Egypt in a number of committees, as well as a member of the British Parliament, the Interior Minister of Nigeria, and the Foreign Minister of Egypt during its 1973 war with Israel.


The students spent weeks preparing for the conference, including a study day at Tel Aviv University, before meeting in Iksal for the pre-trip briefing. In addition to the competition, the delegation included several days in NYC and DC, for meetings with NGOs, community leaders, and diplomats.



In NYC, the delegation heard from Sheikh Musa Drammeh, researcher Thomas Christiane, and Columbia University professor Dr. Page Fortna. They also visited the UN headquarters, and met with the US Mission to the UN, UNICEF, and UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). In DC they visited the US State Department, US Institute of Peace, the Project on Extremism, and the Swiss Embassy, as well as enjoying a discussion with members of Muslims for Progressive Values-DC.


The delegation also met with members of the Syrian Jewish community in New Jersey, and attempted to reach an acceptable Israeli-Palestinian framework for peace. In Baltimore, in addition to enjoying a high-level, international MUN conference, the delegation attended Juma’a prayers and a khutba sermon led by Imam Ismaeel Malik, and shabbat prayers and dinner at the historic B’nai Israel synagogue.


Following the conference, the delegation had a layover in Amsterdam, where they visited the Anne Frank House, and then traveled to the Hague, for a discussion on peace negotiations at the foreign ministry of the Netherlands, and then met with Youth Peace Initiative leaders for a discussion on grassroots peace.



Maayan Dahan, from Hadassim school in Even Yehuda, was one of the participants. She told Diplomacy that the trip was “amazing! All the meetings and the people we met were fun and enlightening, and the conference was a blast, despite not winning I learned so much, and the general vibe of the delegation was just so fun, everyone connected really well with the other.” Bashar Shalabi, from Iksal high school, said that this was “a great experience to spend 3 days debating with 84 native speakers.” Nadiv Brenner Ballin, from Sulam Tzur high school added that “due to the significant people and places we visited on the delegation, this experience will stay with me for a long time.”


Debate for Peace thanks the many wonderful individuals and organizations who made this delegation a success, the various NGOs, diplomats and communities who met with the delegation, the JHUMUN staff for the enriching academic experience, Johns Hopkins students for hosting the delegation in Baltimore, and the Abu Odeh family for hosting the pre-trip meeting. A very special thanks to Imam Ismaeel Malik for helping lead the delegation, and to Jake Morris for helping make the delegation happen. For more information please see DebateforPeace.org


Photos by 





Thursday 13 February 2020 / 18 Shevat 5780

President Rivlin met ambassadors from African countries to the State of Israel

President Rivlin on the UN Human Rights Council’s ‘blacklist’ published yesterday:

“When Israeli businesses are under the threat of boycott, we will stand with them. Boycotting Israeli companies does not advance the cause of peace and does not build confidence between the sides. We hope that our friends will oppose this outrageous political decision”

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 13 February / 18 Shevat, met a delegation of ambassadors from African countries to Israel, headed by the Ambassador of Zambia, Martin Mwanambale.

The president commented on the ‘blacklist’ published yesterday by the UNCHR, saying “I am proud to be Israeli. I am proud that these are Israeli businesses, patriots who contribute to Israeli society, to economy and to peace. When Israeli businesses are under the threat of boycott, we will stand with them. Boycotting Israeli companies does not advance the cause of peace and does not build confidence between the sides. We hope that our friends will oppose this outrageous political decision.”

Speaking about the meeting with the ambassadors, which is part of the new Africa-MFA forum launched to strengthen relations with the continent, the president said, “It is a pleasure to welcome you here. I believe that Africa is the continent of the future and I deeply believe that Israel and Africa are natural partners in turning challenges into opportunities. We have so much in common. We are young states but old nations, we have diverse societies, and we share a commitment to democracy.”

The president noted how happy he was with the relations with African states in a range of areas, saying “In the diplomatic arena, we opened last year a new embassy in Kigali, and we have growing relations with Muslim African countries. In this context we would like to resume our observer status at the African Union. In the security area, we both face the threats of terror and cyber-attacks, and we are happy to share our knowledge in the fields of counter-terror and cyber security. In the economic sphere, we recently opened up two new economic offices in Ghana and Kenya. And in the field of development, we have been cooperating almost from the birth of the State of Israel.”

Ambassador of Zambia to Israel Martin Mwanambale thanked the president for the meeting, saying “We are honored to be welcomed here today. This new forum is very important to us. Our main function is to improve cooperation between Israel and Africa. We are aware of the challenges that Africa faces - health, sanitation, energy, slow growth. We appreciate that Israel has the know-how so we are looking to find opportunities for cooperation. It is a two-way relationship and together we can achieve a lot.”

Photo credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)






We have received a message from RABINO CARLOS A. TAPIERO Vice-Director General & Director of Education Macabi World Union, here I transmit them 


" Tu[1] Bishvat, Medinat Israel & The transformation of the Jewish People"

Dear friends,
We are getting closer to Tu Bishvat – the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat: the festivity which celebrates "the New Year of Trees ", meaning the renewal of the natural cycle in the Land of Israel, represented by the flowering of the shkediah - the almond tree during the peak of the Israeli winter. This is a day of great joy in Medinat Israel, when children and young Israelis turn en masse to plant trees throughout the length and breadth of the Land of Israel - the most forested country in the world, with a rate of forestation much above the local wood consumption.

If you would ask most Jewish communities about the meaning of Tu Bishvat a hundred years ago, only a few of the very knowledgeable Jewish scholars could describe some of the characteristics of this celebration, referring basically to the times of the Mishnah, about 2000 years ago: "1st of Shvat is the New Year of the trees, according to the Rabbinical School of Shamai; the Rabbinic School of Hillel says: it is on the 15th of Shvat."[2]
But the establishment first of the Yishuv (pre-Medinat Israel), and then of the State of Israel, brought Tu Bishvat to the central stage of the Jewish people because of the very existence of our renewed National life in our Ancient Homeland. This very, very secondary celebration of the Jewish calendar turned to be crucial to the new-old Jewish State… because it provided with green to a land that had been devastated especially by the Ottoman Empire.

This new-old life, this returning to the Promised Land, posed new challenges to the Jewish leadership. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook[3], the first Chief Rabbi of the First Zionist new City, Tel Aviv, when asked about Tu Bishvat, shared the following anecdote:
During a Tu Bishvat ceremony (1924), Rabbi Kook was at the establishment of Magdiel, a new townlit in the Sharon area. He was so overcome with emotion that tears flowed from his eyes and his face turned red and bright. Rabbi Kook was offered a hoe for planting a tree – and, to the surprise of everybody present at the ceremony, he refused to use it. Instead, he began digging with his bare hands… When asked about that odd decision from someone so admired by the growing Yishuv, Rabbi Kook provided the following explanation: “Since the planting of a tree in the Land of Israel is an act of holiness[4] and not just an agricultural chore, it is preferable not to use a tool which stands between the person doing the planting and the Holy Land he is cultivating”.
Of all the beautiful things the National Jewish life brought to the people of Israel in their Land and in all their Diasporas, Tu Bishvat is an example of resignifying and providing new sense to some forgotten traditions that were relevant as long as we lived in the Land of our Inheritance. It did not lose its holy dimension: on the contrary, it deepened it, and gained, too, the benefit of honoring ecology, establishing forests and glades, and bringing back to life the hills and valleys of the Land of Israel… with our own bare hands!
That was the reason why 450 of our finest future educators – the Bekeff Hadrachah Program coming from FACCMA and all its associates in Argentina – started their one-month educational program in Israel just few weeks ago by planting with their bare hands trees in the State of Israel, a holy and very practical way to reclaim back our Heritage.



May we, in this Tu Bishvat, root our souls with our renewed commitment to the Land of Israel and the State it comprises, for a present filled with a profusion of all manner of fruits and the promise of future growth and development.
Tu BiShvat Sameach!
Chazak ve'ematz!
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union

[1] The name Tu BiShvat is a Hebrew Date: the 15th Day of the month of Shvat. In Hebrew alphabet numerology, the letter Yud stands for 10, so for example 11 is Yud-Aleph; 15, however, is not Yud-Heh because that would form one of the names of HaShem. Thus 15 is formed from Tet (9) & Vav (6).
[2] Mishnah, Rosh Hashana, 1: 1.
[3] 1863-1935.
[4] "When you enter the land [of Israel] and plant a fruit tree ..." - Vaikrah (Leviticus) XIX, 23.


Photos courtesy of MWU





IDWI 2020 Opens to Full House Hosts World Diamond Leaders  

The International Diamond Week in Israel opened today to a packed exhibition hall, with over 300 international buyers from 18 countries in attendance. 

Also participating were diamond leaders from around the world including, Alrosa President Sergei Ivanov, WFDB President Ernie Blom, CIBJO President Dr. Gaetano Cavalieri, Bharat Diamond Bourse VP Mehul Shah, Dubai’s DDMC Executive Chairman and CEO Ahmed Bin Sulayem, London Diamond Exchange President Alan Cohen and Honorary President of the World Diamond Council Eli Izhakoff. 

The ceremony was also attended by Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama Hacohen, and Israeli diamond leaders: Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash, Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association (ISDMA) Jacob Korn, Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) Boaz Moldawsky and Chairman of the IDWI 2020 Ezra Boaron.

 The show, which features more than $1 billion worth of diamonds will continue through February 12, 2020.

Among the 300 buyers from around the world were 110 buyers who arrived in Israel for the first time.



 In his opening remarks IDE President Yoram Dvash said, "I am delighted to see all the distinguished guests who came from Israel and abroad. This year, a record number of buyers and delegations from around the world have arrived here.” He said that the total number of participants would have been larger, but that due to the emergency declared in China, many of the East Asian buyers were not able to attend. “We all hope that the Chinese will soon be able to control the spread of the corona virus and that the entire world will breathe a sigh of relief.”

 Dvash added, "We are at the beginning of 2020 and we very much hope that this year will be one of recovery in the markets. In light of the reductions in rough allocation by some producers, shortages have been created and demand for certain goods has grown. This is certainly a step that will allow an adjustment in the global levels of rough and polished goods. We hope that this trend will continue in the coming months, and will create new opportunities for the world diamond industry. " 

Later in the day Martin Rapaport, President of the Rapaport Group delivered an address entitled "Making Challenges into Opportunities." Rapaport spoke of the importance of upholding values in marketing diamonds, especially to the younger generations who wish to make the world a better place.

He called upon the diamond producers to reduce prices of rough diamonds by 30% to ensure market liquidity and to invest larger sums in generic marketing.

Rapaport also spoke of the power of diamonds, saying “diamonds mean something because they are worth something,” and called on diamantaires to sell value and meaning rather than sparkle. 



The second day of the International Diamond Week in Israel will feature a professional panel entitled “Traceability & Provenance from Supply Chain to Manufacturing and Retail.”

Day three will feature a lecture by Oded Edelman, CEO of R2Net and James Allen about the role of e-commerce in selling diamonds.  


Photos by Silvia G. Golan

More pics at Facebook Israel Diplo  https://www.facebook.com/diplomacy.israel











The 7th Cybertech Global event began today at the Expo Tel Aviv conference center. Thousands of participants from around the world have made their way to Israel setting a new record of 20,000 participants from 94 countries in one of the largest technological events in the history of the nation.


The Cybertech Global events are taking place in booths 1 and 2 at the Expo Tel Aviv. Alongside the conference and as one of many special events taking place during the conference, a large number of international delegations visited the Gav Yam Hi-tech Park and the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva.   


USA is the largest participating delegation and the country with the largest number of representatives in this year's Cybertech event. In addition, large delegations from Canada, India, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Singapore, Panama, Norway and from all over Europe. 



Cybertech will take place for the 7th year, seeing participation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Energy and many more governmental offices. Prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was a keynote speakers in past years, will send forward a message from his visit to Washington DC. Blue and White party chairman Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benjamin (Benny) Gantz will be amongst the main speakers as well as member of Knesset Nir Barkat, who formed a cyber company in the 90's and was one of the first investors with his brother in Check Point. Head of the INCD Yigal Unna will present new findings regarding Israel's cyber state. Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz will be the guest of honor in the launch of the new cooperation between Cybertech Global and the Israeli Electric corporation, led by Yiftah Ron-Tal, Chairman of the Board of the Israel Electric Corporation and CEO Ofer Bloch.


Intelligence organizations from around the world will attend Cybertech in Tel Aviv. Amongst the speakers will be representatives from leading companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte, Lockheed Martin and more. Hundreds of startups will present their product alongside large companies at the conference exhibition. China has created a large national stand at the exhibition but unfortunately some of the Chinese companies will not be able to attend due to the spread of the Corona outbreak. 


During Cybertech, the ministry of Communications will hold a meetup with dozens of communication ministers and international media platforms in order to discuss the 5G cellular topic as well as the IoT implications on the media field.   


The Cybertech event, founded in Israel, is considered the largest cyber event holder in the world with conferences taking place in New York, Indianapolis, Rome, Singapore, Africa, Panama, Tokyo and Bangkok.


Cybertech founder Mr. Amir Rapaport: The quick growth of the cyber industry and the Cybertech event as worldwide event in Tel Aviv show us the cyber field is leading an historic revolution changing the global economy and the entire human race. Israeli companies have a major role in this revolution by developing new cyber technologies, AI, Iot, communications and computers. The new record of international delegations, arriving shortly at Cybertech, shows as the fast rate of the cyber revolution. 


Photos Cybertech .