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Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, signed this morning, Thursday, together with French counterpart, Minister of Tourism Frederick Lefevre (Frederic Lefebvre), a new tourism agreement between the countries next to replace the previous agreement of 1989. At the signing ceremony was also attended by Israeli Ambassador to France, Yossi Gal.

The agreement aims to upgrade the bilateral cooperation, including encouraging their mutual tourism, exchanges of experts, creating anchors French investors pull Israeli hotel industry, exchange of knowledge on professional training and development of quality standards of tourism services.

On her first visit to Israel, UNESCO Director-General Bokova met with President Peres and other senior government officials, and discussed joint projects and increased cooperation with Israel

Joint statement, UNESCO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel:

On her first official visit to Israel from 29 to 30 May 2011, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with President Shimon Peres, as well as with other high-level Israeli Government officials such as Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology, Gideon Sa’ar, Minister of Education, Limor Livnat, Minister of Culture and Sport, Yona Yahav, Mayor of Haifa, and Ambassador Eviatar Manor, Head of the Division for the UN and International Organizations of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

During the meeting she held with President Peres, the Director-General evoked the longstanding fruitful cooperation between UNESCO and Israel notably in the fields of Holocaust education, bioethics, and water science and gender equality

Ms. Irina Bokova also underscored her strong commitment to support education and training for women and girls during the opening ceremony of the International Women Leaders Conference On SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION:  Education and Training for Women and Girls, celebrating of the 50th anniversary of the Golda Meir-Mount Carmel Training Centre under UNESCO's auspices and with the cooperation of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation.

In her meeting with the Minister of education, the Director-General congratulated Mr. Gideon Sa'ar, for his ground-breaking reform of the education sector in particular targeting High school in the area of teacher training and also with a view to enhancing technical and vocational education and training. They also discussed joint projects for enhancing the capacities of teachers and teacher training with special emphasis on Africa

Avenues for enhancing UNESCO-Israel cooperation in the field of sciences and technology for Africa were also discussed with Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology, building on Israel's Research and Development centers already established in sub-Saharan Africa, notably harnessing local research and countering brain-drain.

During her visit, the Director-General also paid a visit to the Yad VaShem Memorial to lay a wreath in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. She emphasized that “the duty of History is to remember, to document, to research, and to educate” and that “the importance of Yad VaShem lies in providing testimony of History and in standing witness for the future. During her meeting with Mr. Avner Shalev, the chairman of the Yad VaShem Directorate of the Holocaust Martyrs' & Heroes' Remembrance Authority, the Director General discussed future possibilities to enhancing the cooperation in the field of  Holocaust education with a special focus on curricula development notably foreseeing eventually a cooperation with International Bureau of Education in Geneva.



Polish PM Donald Tusk arrived in Israel on February 23 as the head of a delegation of ministers for a series of inter-governmental consultations.


The Prime Minister of Poland, PM Donald Tusk, arrived in Israel on February 23 as the head of a delegation of ministers for a series of inter-governmental consultations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government.

PM Tusk is accompanied by Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, Education Minister Katarzyna Hall, Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Piotr Żuchowski, Health Minister Ewa Kopacz, Secretary of State, plenipotentiary for International Dialogue, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of the Environment, Bernard Blaszczyk, and Secretary of State, secretary of the Committee for Special and Intelligence Services, Jacek Cichocki.

They will be joined from the Israeli side by, in addition to PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, and Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman.

The consultations between Poland and Israel take place in the context of the close relations between the two governments. They are intended to further strengthen the special connections between the two sides, which are based on the nearly 1,000 year old friendship between the Polish and the Jewish peoples.

Polish-Israel Relations

International Relations: Poland is an important and active friend of Israel in the European Union (EU). It supported and continues to support the upgrading of relations between Israel and the EU.

Poland has stood by Israel in numerous international forums. In the UN General Assembly votes on the Goldstone Commission Report, Poland was among those EU countries which showed support for Israel (opposing the resolution in the first vote and abstaining in the second, which no EU countries opposed.) Along with only five other European countries, Poland refused to participate in the 'Durban II' conference (2009 Durban Review Conference), and absented itself from Iranian President Ahmadinejad's address to the General Assembly. In November 2010, Poland was among the relatively small group of countries which opposed the ratification of the resolutions passed at 'Durban II'.

Culture: Extensive cultural relations exist between Israel and Poland. The "Polish year in Israel" took place in 2008-2009, which included approximately 150 cultural events in Poland and more than 100 in Israel.

Education: More than 27,000 Israeli youth visit Poland annually. Over the last several years, the two countries have undertaken initiatives to include meetings with Polish youth and familiarization with contemporary Poland as part of these visits. A youth exchange agreement has recently been signed.

The two governments will hold consultations regarding the following issues:

Foreign and defense relations:

• Expanding bilateral dialogue in the fields of strategic policy, commercial relations, and research and development.
• The urgent need to advance towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be achieved through negotiations between the sides.
• The terrorist and existential threats facing Israel.
• Strengthening ties between Israel and the EU.

Economics and technology:

• The two governments will hold discussions aimed at establishing low-cost flights between Israel and Poland.
• The two governments will hold discussions towards the goal of signing an Agreement on cooperation in the field of technological research and development.
• Additionally, the governments will explore the possibility of signing a Joint Declaration between the Polish Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor on cooperation in the fields of water provision, energy management and other technologies.

Culture and national heritage:

• The two governments will discuss ways to ensure that future generations will honor and preserve the memory of the Polish Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. They will address initiatives to be taken between 2011-2013 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Poland, and collaboration on specific projects.
• The two governments will discuss the expansion of cooperation between Israeli institutions such as Yad Vashem and Polish institutions in the field of Holocaust education, including ways to counter false stereotypes.
• They will discuss the great importance of preserving authentic buildings and other displays which still stand in the concentration camps set up by Nazi Germany in Poland.
• The two governments will explore ways to further strengthen cultural cooperation and collaboration between Israel and Poland.


• The two governments will discuss a plan to increase cooperation in the field of health, and the expansion of economic ties between companies in the field.

Education and youth exchange programs:

• The two governments will explore ways to strengthen and expand youth exchange programs, out of recognition that such programs are vital for reinforcing the relationship between Israel and Poland. To date, 15,000 young people have taken part in meetings between Israeli and Polish youth.
• They will discuss increasing the participation of Israel in the field of education within the EU, particularly regarding student exchange programs.
• Increased cooperation on the municipal level will be discussed. This will include ways to encourage Israeli and Polish mayors to hold meetings during 2012 for the purpose of increasing economic, technological, cultural and youth cooperation, to the benefit of their cities' residents.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, Hugo Martinez, will be visiting Israel from 28 February to 2 March. This is his first visit in Israel as foreign minister since he took office about 20 months ago.


The visit reflects the special bilateral relations that the two states have enjoyed for many years and is expected to strengthen the diplomatic, economic and MASHAV ties between Israel and El Salvador.

During his visit, FM Martinez will meet with President Peres, Foreign Minister Liberman, and prominent figures in the Israeli economy. He will also speak at a special seminar about El Salvador to be held by Israeli businesspeople.

FM Martinez will visit Yad Vashem and lay a wreath in the Remembrance Hall.  He will also participate in the unveiling of the name of a Salvadorian righteous gentile, Jose Arturo Castellanos who, as Consul General of El Salvador in Geneva during World War II, saved the lives of thousands of Jews by granting them Salvadorian identity papers. These papers helped the Jews escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. Castellanos was the first righteous gentile to be recognized from Central America.


More about Jose Arturo Castellanos
(Communicated by Yad Vashem)

Even before the war began, when he was a Consul in Hamburg, Castellanos urged his government to allow German Jews to emigrate to El Salvador.  In response, he received written instructions forbidding him from providing visas to Jews.  During the war years, Castellanos, as consul in Geneva, along with George Mantello, a Jewish man of Romanian origin who Castellanos appointed first secretary at his Embassy, issued some 10,000 visas and false citizenship papers to more than 20,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, in particular Hungary.  In many cases, the papers issued were good for 2, 3 or 4 people, thus potentially saving the lives of thousands of Jews. Castellanos and Mantello did not take any payment for the papers.  In May 2010, Castellanos was recogznied as the first (and thus far only) Righteous Among the Nations from El Salvador.

Thus far, some 23,700 people have been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations.