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Israel – Russia:  11th Mixed Economic Committee to be convened in Moscow

Tomorrow, Monday 9 December 2013, the Israel-Russia Mixed Economic Committee will convene in Moscow. This will be the Committee’s 11th meeting. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann will head the Israeli delegation, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin. The Russian delegation will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

The Mixed Committee, headed by the Foreign Minister, constitutes the highest level inter-ministerial forum for relations between Russia and Israel. The Committee discusses a number of diplomatic and economic issues of great interest and importance for both sides.

In the past four years, the Economic Committees met annually, alternating between Jerusalem and Moscow.

In the coming meeting discussions will address trade issues including a free trade agreement  with the trilateral customs union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus), customs issues regarding exports of fresh agricultural produce from Israel to Russia, cooperation in technologies and management of water resources, cooperation in the field of oil substitutes for transportation,  renewable energies,   relations between Russian and Israeli companies in the area of investments in natural gas, scientific cooperation, space, foreign trade insurance, and cooperation in tourism. The issue of signing a pensions agreement will also be addressed.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in trade between Israel and Russian, reaching a current  $3 billion a year. A number of agreements will be signed at the end of the talks.






The event, part of the concluding events of the Year of Faith declared last year by Pope Benedict XVI, was led by His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Tual and in the presence of the Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau. Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "We welcome you on this important day. Collaboration between the Catholic church and the Tourism Ministry is important for us."

Latin Patriarch: "Thank you for your presence and your efforts".


This morning, Sunday 17 November 2013, the International Day of Faith celebrations opened on Mount Precipice in Nazareth. The festive mass, attended by thousands of Catholic faithful from Israel, the region and around the world, was led by His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Tual in the presence of the Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau. Also in attendance were His Beatiitude Archbishop Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem for Latins and His Excellency, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel.


The celebrations in Nazareth, which will be followed next week (24 November 2013) by the closing event of the Year of Faith in the Vatican, were led by the Catholic Church with the assistance of the Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry for the Development of the Gailee, Israel Police, the Nazareth Municipality, KKL-JNF and the Nazareth Association for Tourism and Culture. 

During the Mass, a letter from His Excellency Pope Francis was read: "The history of our faith finds its origins in the very land where you celebrate. Before we can understand our own personal history of faith nd our need for God's mercy, we must all turn to that place and time when Jesus himself walked among us"


Pope Benedict XVI opened the Year of Faith, as an opportunity for all Catholics to rediscover a journey of faith, with a declaration in Rome in October 2012. The event at Mount Precipice included an artistic program that featured choirs from Catholic communities around the world, followed by celebration of the Eucharist. Food and souvenir stalls were set up near the site and in the center of Nazareth.

Within the framework of the event, an icon that depicts St. Peter and Jesus in the Galilee was consecrated by a Fransiscan monk from the Holy Land. The icon will be sent to the Vatican where it will be displayed as part of the concluding celenrations for the Year of Faith that will take place next week.


In his address during the Mass, the Latin Patriarch thanked "all those who came from the region and around the world to participate in these cherished moments in the Holy Land." The Patriarch thanked the Tourism Ministry and the Nazareth Municipality and all those who helped in the event production for their collaboration.


According to estimates by the Tourism Ministry and the Israel Police, about 7,000 Catholic faithful attended the event, including pilgrims from Italy, Brazil, Spain, UK , Japan Poland, the Palestinian Authority and neighboring countries. The event attracted significant international media coverage, with representatives from many foreign media outlets coming to Nazareth to cover the festivities.


In 2012, over two million Christian tourists and pilgrims arrived in Israel, representing about 60% of all incoming tourism. According to estimates, the event is expected to contribute to the marketing of Israel around the world as a preferred Christian tourism destination. The Tourism Ministry's dedicated website for the Catholic world: www.holyland-pilgrimage.org


Photo Credit: Nitzan Schorer


Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 8 am – 2 pm  Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Jerusalem

The conference will be conducted in English

The Taub Center is hosting a unique symposium with two of the leading researchers worldwide in the area of income inequality. The speakers will present cutting edge research – in a non-academic language – on the reasons for the recent surge in income inequality in most advanced economies, and on its economic and social consequences. The findings will be presented to senior Israeli policymakers and to the general public, followed by a high-level discussion pertaining directly to Israel.

8:00 am     Registration and refreshments

8:30 am     Introduction

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

Dr. Shula Recanati, Chairperson, Educating for Excellence, Taub Center Board Member

9:00 am     First Session

Causes and Consequences of Inequality among Industrial Economies

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Increasing Income Inequality and its Impacts: Evidence from 30 Countries over 30 Years

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College, Dublin

10:30 am   Break

11:00 am   Second Session

Israeli Poverty and Inequality Trends in an International Perspective

Prof. Dan Ben-David, Taub Center Executive Director and Tel-Aviv University

Trends of Labor Income Inequality in Israel

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

12:00 pm   Roundtable: Implications for Israel

Chair: Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel


MK Isaac Herzog, Chairman, Labor Party Parliamentary Group

Prof. David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Prof. Brian Nolan, University College Dublin

Prof. Ayal Kimhi, Taub Center Deputy Director and Hebrew University

Prof. Haya Stier, Chair, Taub Center Social Welfare Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Eran Yashiv, Chair, Taub Center Economic Policy Program and Tel-Aviv University

1:50 pm     Honoring Ralph I. Goldman  

                  Founding Board Member, Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel

                  Honorary Executive Vice President, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Mr. Jay H. Sandak, President, Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation

To register by phone 02-567-1818









Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "The Tourism Ministry is very active in promoting the Open Skies agreement which is expected to reduce the cost of flights into Israel and increase incoming tourism. We are committed to reducing vacation costs for Israeli and foreign tourists and within this framework we are working to encourage the operation of low-cost airlines from Europe into Israel" The Minister told exhibitors at the Israel booth: "We must work hard to market Israel as an attractive tourism destination from Europe and beyond".  


The four dayWorld Travel Market (WTM), the second largest tourism fair in the world, opened yesterday in London (10.11.13), with about 5,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and is expected to attract over 50,000 people.


During his visit to WTM, Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau met with the General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) Dr. Taleb D. Rifai and with the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Mr. Alexander Radkov. The Director-General of the Tourism Ministry Amir Halevi met with representatives of Ryanair to discuss their request to lower the landing fees in order to open up new low-cost routes into Israel.


Halevi also met with Hugh Aitken, the UK Commercial Manager of low-cost airline easyJet, to discuss increasing their flights into Israel from additional destinations in Europe. Halevi congratulated Aitken for being among the first in the low-cost sector to realize the significant potential of operating cheaper flights into Israel and added that the ministry will continue to work to strengthen this cooperation. The ministry estimates that, thanks to the recent implementation of the Open Skies agreement, the number of new destinations for low-cost flights will gradually increase, leading to a breakthrough in increased tourist traffic to the benefit of the economy.


The Israeli booth - which is smaller this year due to increased efficiency, spreads over 420 square meters and hosts activities related to the Open Skies agreement, including highlighting the openings of new hotels belonging to international hotel chains such as the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem and locating new tourism wholesalers interested in marketing Israel as a tourism product.


In addition to Tourism Ministry representatives, about 40 commercial tourism enterprises are taking part in the fair, including hotel chains, airline companies, incoming tour operators, commercial entrepreneurs, local authority representatives etc


More than 130,000 tourists have visited Israel from England since the beginning of the year through September, an increase of 3% over the same period last year.





The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company  hosted these days a special cultural tourism event, hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and encourage tourism traffic from Israel to Panama 8th, 2013 in Tel Aviv

 At the event, Panama City and Tel Aviv pronounced Sister Cities, and a special dress (Pollera) embroidered with pearls and diamonds was presented. One of the most expensive dresses in the world, the Pollera is Panama’s traditional garb, presented mostly at special celebrations




The embassy of Panama in Israel and Polaris Company host these daysa special cultural tourism event in Tel Aviv hoping to tighten the tourism relations between the two countries and reveal Panama’s wonderful tourist attractions. Among the participants in the colorful upbeat traditional Panama cocktail party were Panama’s ambassador in Israel, Hector Aparicio, head of the marketing administration at the Panama Tourism Authority and senior officials in both countries’ tourism industries.



As part of the event, Tel Aviv and Panama were pronounced Sister Cities. Additionally, a special dress (a Pollera - Panama’s traditional garb) embroidered with diamonds and pearls and valued at tens of thousands of dollars, making it one of the world’s most expensive dresses, was presented at the event. The Pollera dress takes roughly one year to make. Its glorious history dating all the way back to the 16th century, today, the Pollera is only used on special celebratory occasions.

Located in Central America, The Republic of Panama borders on the Caribbean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, Colombia to the east and Costa Rica to the west. Its territory is approximately 78,000 square kilometers and it is home to approximately 3.6 million residents. The name Panama  means "abundance of fish and butterflies". Ethnically, most of the country’s citizens are of mixed origins: the most predominant group is “Mestizos” – people whose ancestors were both European and Amerindian, counting 69% of the population. Most of the population is catholic (roughly 80%). The climate in Panama is tropical and hospitable all year round. There are 7 autonomous communities of indigenous Amerindian peoples in Panama, all living an authentic lifestyle.


Panama offers a huge variety of scenery: sandy, white Caribbean beaches dotted with palm trees; tropical rain forests, cold, high mountaintops; enormous swamps and dormant volcanoes. Over 25% of Panama’s territory is dedicated to national parks and nature reserves, home to over 1,000 species of birds, 220 species of mammals and over 10,000 different species of vegetation. Panama offers about 2,000 islands and beautiful, exotic beaches. A visit to the beaches to the west and east of Panama would provide an opportunity to see sea turtles in large numbers. Considered one of the world’s richest places in birds, Panama is blessed with hundreds of species of colorful, beautiful avian creatures. Adjacent to Panama’s beaches are hundreds of islands. The main two groups of islands are San Blas and Bocas del Toro, a stunningly beautiful archipelago in the Caribbean with amazing coral reefs, home to a large variety of fish. Additionally, visitors can observe dolphins on the open ocean and tour the Beach of Red Frogs. An autonomous district run by the Kuna tribe, San Blas is a cluster of 400 tiny, picturesque islands that look as if they were taken straight out of a postcard. Living mostly on fishing, the members of the Kuna tribe travel between the islands in narrow canoes. Surprisingly, the locals have successfully preserved their economy, language, customs and culture. It is an ideal place for swimming in the midst of shawls of tiny silver fish, with dozens of brown albatrosses soaring above and diving into the water.


Other good diving, snorkeling and deep water fishing options are available at the beaches of the Pacific, near the islands of Coiba and Pearl. Here, one can go kayaking in stormy waters, visit national parks teeming with wildlife, go snorkeling in the Caribbean and swimming in the Pacific.

The capital of Panama, Panama City, is a cosmopolitan city filled with skyscrapers that resembles New York from afar. The city boasts a large variety of national museums and a rich history. The 5.25 billion dollar Panama Canal expansion project is due to be completed next year – 100 years after the opening of the first canal. 33.5 meters wide, the canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is one of the largest and most difficult engineering challenges in world history. The canal’s construction has had a great effect on travel between the two oceans. 4% of all the world’s goods pass through the canal, making it Panama’s main source of income. Over 14,000 ships sail through the canal each year.


Another exotic tourist attraction is Golfo de Chiriqui: a bay enclosing beautiful islands, surrounded by beaches, hot springs and fertile valleys. Most of the area has been pronounced a nature reserve and it offers plenty of options for diving, surfing, bird watching and fishing. Most of Panama’s eastern region is taken up by the Darien district; its virginal rainforests pronounced a biosphere reserve and a world asset by UNESCO.


Photo Silvia Golan






 Photo Silvia Golan