Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, leads 'Mission for Growth' to Israel


"Mission for Growth" includes 65 EU companies and organizations for B2B meetings at WATEC. VP Tajani to hold talks and sign letters of intent with key Israeli ministers setting the basis for future bilateral cooperation


Strengthening already flourishing business relations and exploring further opportunities for cooperation between European and Israeli SMEs will be the main focus of a visit to Israel by Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. During the visit, which will take place on October 21-22, VP Tajani will be accompanied by some 65 industry associations and companies from 17 EU member states which will hold B2B meetings at WATEC - Water Technology and Environmental Control Conference


In meetings with President Peres and key Israeli ministers, the European Commission Vice-President will also discuss and sign letters of intent on strengthening cooperation on industrial policy, in the field of satellite navigation research and on SME cooperation.


Following similar visits to Russian and China, this "Mission for Growth" to Israel reflects the EU's belief that there remains untapped potential in bilateral relations and this visit aims at finding new synergies. It also recognizes Israel's world class capacity for innovation which rests on its highly innovative businesses that benefit from the presence of excellent research institutions geared towards the needs of the business sector.


On the evening of Monday, October 21, VP Tajani will meetMinister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Perryandsign an administrative arrangement on cooperation in the field of satellite Navigation with the ministry and the Israel Space Agency.


On the morning of Tuesday, October 22, he will discuss expanding tourism cooperation with Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau. Following this, at the WATEC conference, he will meet with Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, with whom he will open an EU-Israel Business Round Table and sign a "letter of intent" on industrial cooperation and on Small and Medium Enterprises. This will be followed by a meeting with Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom and the delivery of a keynote speech at the WATEC conference

On Tuesday, 22.10.13 at 12.30 Vice President Tajani will hold a press conference at WATEC, Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds, Building 10, Room A1


In the afternoon Vice President Tajani will meet with President Shimon Peres at the President's Residence in Jerusalem


Silva Mediterranea officials with KKL-JNF professionals at Sataf. Photo: Tania Susskind

"Although Israel is a small country, KKL-JNF has unprecedented experience in the field of afforestation in semi-arid and desert regions."
Key officials of the Silva Mediterranea Forum on Mediterranean Forestry (which is supported by FAO) arrive in Israel for a five day visit, to learn about KKL-JNF's method of afforestation in arid and semi-arid regions. The delegation is visiting KKL-JNF forests all over the country, including the Carmel Forest in the north, Ambassador's Forest in the south, and the Sataf Springs site near Jerusalem.
On Monday, September 30, a delegation of three key officials of the Silva Mediterranea Forum on Mediterranean Forestry and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) arrived in Israel as guests of KKL-JNF for an intensive five-day visit. The delegation included the president of FAO-Silva Mediterranea, Mr. Ismail Belen, who is also the Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion in the Turkish Ministry of Forest and Water Issues; Christophe Besacier, Forestry Officer of the Forest Resources Management Team of the FAO Forestry Department; andTakayuki Hagiwara, FAO Senior Natural Resources Management Officer. During their stay, the guests will be visiting KKL-JNF forests in northern, southern and central Israel, including the Carmel Forest in the north and Ambassadors Forest in the south, accompanied by KKL-JNF professionals. The visit was organized by Karine Bolton of KKL-JNF's International Relations Department. 
According to KKL-JNF Chief ForesterDavid Brand, the visit signifies the beginning of a close and fruitful collaboration between KKL-JNF and Silva Mediterranea, for the benefit of both sides. "Although Israel is a small country," Mr. Brand said, "KKL-JNF has unprecedented experience in the field ofafforestation in semi-arid and desert regions. It is KKL-JNF policy to share our knowledge and expertise with other countries that have similar climates, and of course we have a lot to learn from them. I would add that initiatives like this are not just for KKL-JNF's benefit. We also serve as goodwill ambassadors and a bridge for the State of Israel, since cooperating on a scientific level exposes our colleagues to a positive side of Israel that is often overlooked amidst all the political turmoil."
The delegation's visit began with a dinner meeting on Monday evening in Jerusalem with KKL-JNF World Chairman, Mr. Efi Stenzler. The next morning, Tuesday, the guests were at the KKL-JNF World Headquarters in Jerusalem, where KKL-JNF Chief Forester Brand presented a comprehensive and enlightening description of KKL-JNF's afforestation work in Israel. He was followed by Christophe Besacier, who detailed the goals and mission of Silva Mediterranea. 
Mr Besacier noted that Silva Mediterraneawas created since Mediterranean forests share many common and unique features. As far back as 1911, countries in the region recognized the need to work together on shared forestry problems and to create Silva Mediterranea, which became an FAO statutory body in 1948. It remains the only international forum dedicated to Mediterranean forest issues in which the Mediterranean countries from the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, the European Forestry Commission and the Near East Forestry Commission can meet, share experiences and establish cooperative programs. Twenty-six countries and the European Community are members of the committee, but non-member countries are frequently invited to the sessions as observers. 

Silva Mediterranea hosts working groups on diverse topics such as forest fires, forest products, Mediterranean forests and sustainable development, genetic diversity, climate change, desertification, arid zone forestry, and urban and peri-urban forestry. Mr. Besacier noted that KKL-JNF can contribute to many of these subjects, particularly in the fields ofdesertification, arid zone forestry and urban forestry. "I am certain that in spite of the political difficulties that might exist between Israel and some of the Mediterranean countries, Silva Mediterranea can provide a forum for shared research and exchange of knowledge between KKL-JNF and many of our members. I very much look forward to seeing what KKL-JNF has accomplished in Israel over such a short period of time," Mr. Bescacier concluded. 
Later the same day, the delegation traveled to KKL-JNF's Sataf Springs site in the Jerusalem Mountains to see how the theories they had heard about were implemented in the field. They were greeted by KKL-JNF forester Hanoch Tzoref, who said that Sataf is a good example of KKL-JNF's new approach to forest management policy, which is to define the purpose of each area of the forest. "It's not about managing individual trees, but about relating to an ecosystem. Here in Sataf, our main goal is actually recreation and conservation of heritage. People come here to learn about what agriculture and nature was like two thousand years ago and even during the time of King David." 

Mr. Besacier asked what the entrance fee to Sataf is. "KKL-JNF policy is that all its sites are open to the public free of charge," Hanoch surprised his guests. "We believe that nature should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. For me personally, this is a very important principle, and I very much hope that our financial circumstances will allow us to continue with this policy," Hanoch said. 
For Takayuki Hagiwara, this is his first visit to Israel. "I am based in Rome, and I travel at least six months every year to many different regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean and East Asia. I work for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which supports Silva Mediterranea. When I heard that a delegation to Israel was being organized, I asked to join. I am very interested to see what Israel is doing in terms of water conversation policies, natural resource management and of course your country's forestry methods. Looking at our schedule, it seems we'll be quite busy." 

"It's true that Israel is a very small country," said Ismail Belen, "but I know that we have a lot to learn from you, because I visited here in 2008. Of course the scale is different, for example, in Turkey, we plant 500,000,000 seedlings a year. However, KKL-JNF has a worldwide reputation as a pioneer in desert forestry, and that is one of the main reasons I organized the delegation. Many Mediterranean countries have similar climatic conditions, and your achievements here are important both in terms of combating desertification and also carbon sequestration at a time of climate change. I look forward to cooperating with you in the future," Mr. Belen concluded.

President Peres:

"Anne Frank's message should especially resonate today. It serves as a warning to us all against a tyrant who uses chemical weapons to murder children and against attempts to develop nuclear weapons for mass destruction"


"I doubt whether Assad read Anne Frank's diary"


Especially for the visit a previously unseen letter written by the sole survivor of the Frank family immediately upon his liberation from Auschwitz was shown to President Peres and made available to the public


The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, began his visit in the Netherlands with an historic visit to Anne Frank's house, a symbol of Holocaust remembrance in the Netherlands and across the world. During the visit President Peres examined unique original pages from Anne Frank's diary and was presented with an original photo album Anne Frank compiled during her time hiding in the annex.

In a rare moment President Peres was shown original pages from Anne Frank's diary, the photo album and the first letter written by her father upon his release from Auschwitz – items usually kept under strict control in the archives. President Peres, who wore special protective gloves, held the photo album in his hands, looked through the photographs and said, "Anne Frank's message should especially resonate today. Her legacy is not just remembrance of the Holocaust but a living testimony that no-one in the world can ignore  - a ray of light and an honest voice in a darkened world."

President Peres continued and said, "As I begin my visit to the Netherlands today I cannot ignore what is happening around us and say in a clear voice that Anne Frank's warning stands before us today. I doubt whether Assad read Anne Frank's diary, when he didn't hesitate to use chemical weapons to murder innocent women and children. It serves as a warning to us all against a tyrant who uses chemical weapons to murder children and against attempts to develop nuclear weapons for mass destruction." President Peres concluded and said, "Anne, your voice which rings in our ears today, will forever remind the Jewish people and the world of the victory of light over darkness."

During the visit by President Peres, Anne Frank's house unveiled, for the first time to the public, original copies of two letters in German sent by the sole survivor of the Frank family, Otto Frank, who was rescued from Auschwitz. The letters, written in February 1945, are to his mother and were sent only a month after his liberation from the death camp by the Russians. The letter shows that even in the final days of the war Mr. Frank continued to do everything he could to protect his family and to believe that they will survive despite the tragic situation. The letters are part of a collection given to Anne Frank's house by the American actor, Joseph Schildkraut.



President Peres called upon European leaders to continue to apply pressure against Iran's nuclear program

President Shimon Peres, today (Tuesday, 1 October 2013), began the third day of his visit to the Netherlands with a visit to the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague where he was received by King Willem-Alexander. The two inspected an honor guard, saluted the national anthems and then held a private meeting. At the start of the meeting, King Willem-Alexander welcomed President Peres to the Netherlands and said that it was a great honor to host the President of the State of Israel as his first official guest at the Palace and added that he had visited Israel on a number of occasions and was always impressed by the country and its people and that he looked forward to strengthening the relations between the two countries.

President Peres also held a diplomatic working meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, during which the two discussed the Iranian nuclear threat, the situation in Syria and bilateral relations between the two countries in light of recent steps taken by the Dutch government to isolate products from settlements from Israel's trade agreement with the European Union. At the end of the meeting the two leaders held a joint press conference which Prime Minister Rutte opened by welcoming President Peres to the Netherlands and thanking him for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. Prime Minister Rutte detailed the close and historic relationship between Israel and the Netherlands and said he welcomed the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He added that the Netherlands hoped to continue to play a positive and central role in the process to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Rutte addressed the issue of boycotting goods from settlements and stressed that the Netherlands is opposed to boycotting goods from Israel and that the issue had not even been considered within in the country. With respect to the recent decision by the European Union the Prime Minister said that the Netherlands was working within the European Union, as an inseparable part of it, to reach a consensus and find a solution which does not harm the peace process.

President Peres thanked the Prime Minister and said, "Europe, like Israel, understands that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be solved through negotiations and dialogue, not through sanctions. A day after the European announcement, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of talks for nine months – if a deal is reached between the sides there will be no need for the European sanctions, they will be irrelevant. I am sure Europe did not plan to make the negotiations more difficult but if the sanctions are implemented that will be the effect."

President Peres continued and called upon the Netherlands, as a central member of the European Union, and to other European countries to oppose the Iranian nuclear threat and not to allow Iran to complete its race to [achieve] long range missiles with nuclear warheads, "Europe's support is important to preventing the Iranian threat. I hope that the new voices will bring a new reality in Iran – but nuclear weapons for mass destruction are a threat to the entire world and we must work to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons."

President Peres is scheduled to deliver a speech before the Dutch parliament later this afternoon (18:00 Jerusalem time); an embargoed copy will be made available before the speech. The speech will be shown live on the website of the Dutch parliament. At 21:00 President Peres will be the guest of honor at a state dinner hosted by King Willem-Alexander.




FM Liberman condemned the attack yesterday on the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and conveyed the Israeli government's regret over the incident.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman met today (9 October 2012) with Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.