Browsing Posts in International

Israel may be the start-up nation, but it isn’t without help. For every great business, every great idea, it takes investors to make them happen. And with Israel quickly gaining a reputation as a “tech mecca” it’s no surprise that over the last few years, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased dramatically. According to the recently released 2012 UN World Investment Report, investment in the Israel totaled $11.37 billion USD  in 2011, which is more than double the 2010 amount of $5.5 billion USD.

The recent numbers for Israel skirts a global trend of FDI increasing only 16% year over year, and expected to level off in 2012.

To see how Israel fares compared to other developed countries, see the chart below.



According to the UN World Investment Report, investment in the State of Israel totaled US$11.37 billion in 2011, 106 percent more than in 2010!

This Tuesday, the Israel Paralympic Committee and the Wingate Institute released the names of the twenty five men and women Paralympians who will participate in the London Olympics! The athletes will compete in cycling, ping pong, rowing, wheelchair tennis, marathon, sharpshooting, equestrian, sailing, and swimming. Israel has had tremendous success in the Paralympics, winning 330 medals, of which 113 were gold. Israel hosted the Games in 1968.

The Paralympics are singularly inspiring and exciting. The Paralympics brings the same competition between nations as the Olympics, but for every amazing story of an Olympian who has “overcome the odds,” there are hundreds of Paralympians who have achieved the seemingly-impossible. For those who have overcome physical or mental disability, to compete at the highest level speaks volumes to their determination, will, and spirit.  There is no doubt that considering its size, Israel is an “underdog” nation. Yet, in many fields, Israelis do not just “keep up” with the larger nations, they exceed them. Whether its high tech or medicine, Israeli contributions to the world are vastly disproportionate considering its size. And when you factor in the part of the world Israel is in, and its truly amazing to see what it has accomplished. If Israel is the proverbial “underdog nation,” then the Paralympics are the “underdog games.”

Tolerance and respect are core values of the Paralympic Games. Tolerance is not a just a word on everyone’s lips, but a creed to live by. While Olympians clearly push their bodies to the limits in attempting extreme feats, Paralympians not only defy any physical disability, but are exceptionally determined, confronting unnerving challenges, and defying the confines of their physical abilities. Undaunted by disabilities, Paralympians meet adversity with courage to achieve rousing triumphs.

On July 9, President Shimon Peres will hold a special ceremony to honor the Olympic and Paralympic delegations before they set out to represent Israel in the Summer Games.


(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman launched the MFA’s new Tourist Information application today (Wednesday, June 13 2012) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. The application was developed over the past year by the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Department for Israelis Abroad, in collaboration with the Bureau for Information Technology and Communication Services. The application, which is in Hebrew, is available for free download on the Apple App Store under the title Tourist Information (מידע למטייל). An Android version will soon be available as well.

FM Lieberman stated that the move is an additional contribution to the strengthening of the relationship and service the MFA provides the public. “I commend the excellent work and cooperation of the Consular Department and the Bureau for Information Technology and Communication Services who developed an application that enables Israeli tourists around the world to utilize the services provided by our diplomatic missions in the countries they visit, and to view all pertinent information regarding the country.  This application is not static; it will continue to develop, and this is an additional layer added to other MFA initiatives designed to improve service to the public.”

With this application, the MFA is able to provide Israeli citizens with an additional means of receiving information on various countries, travel recommendations, contact information of Israeli diplomatic missions around the world and recommended behavior in routine and stressful situations. The information provided is both essential and useful for Israeli citizens abroad, whether they are backpackers, tourists or businessmen interested in basic information about their destination.

The Head of the Consular Affairs Bureau, Yigal Tzarfati, stated that the aim of the Bureau is to improve services to the public by any means possible, and this application represents an additional, important method of doing so.

During the event, FM Lieberman referred to the State Comptroller’s Report regarding the Marmara Flotilla, and stated that after reading the report carefully, the conclusion is that from the publicity standpoint, the entire affair should be dealt with by the MFA so that it will be able to manage similar future events in the international media successfully. Only the MFA, with its accumulated skills and deployment, is able to provide a real-time response and to deal with misrepresentations attempted by hostile entities in the international media. A situation similar to that during the Flotilla, where several entities such as the National Information Directorate, the IDF Spokesperson, the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs all attempted to manage the situation simultaneously, will merely create confusion and problems.

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon released a one-minute video as part of a new campaign, titled “Just One Minute” (#justoneminute), in which he calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to devote a minute of silence during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games in remembrance of the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In response to last week’s refusal of the IOC to formally honor the memory of the murdered athletes at this year’s Olympics, Dep FM Ayalon is working to garner public support for the campaign led by the bereaved families who have been working for an official commemoration for 40 years. “The IOC should recognize the terrible tragedy that happened during the 1972 Olympic Games. The request to hold a minute of silence is reasonable and symbolizes the solidarity of the countries participating in the Olympic Games - it is undeniably the just and moral thing to do,” Ayalon said.

Deputy Minister Ayalon’s call for a minute silence, on behalf of the families, has been joined by many international organizations as well as 20 British MPs and leading U.S. Congressmen like Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

DFM Ayalon stresses that this is not a political issue; it is the basic obligation of the Olympic community towards its athletes. Dozens of articles, organizations and politicians throughout the world in the past few days have called on the IOC to reverse its decision. “I hope that this massive support and sympathy will lead to a change in the decision,” Ayalon said, noting that this is only the first part of a concerted campaign.

In addition, there is a petition that currently has over 60,000 signatures, close to their stated goal of 80,000. One of the top reasons of “Why People Are Signing” was given by the user Ellen Belitsky, who wrote “It doesn’t matter to me what nation the murdered team members were from. They were Olympians, and should be remembered at the Olympics.”


Communicated by MFA Spokesperson’s Bureau

The agricultural exhibition Agritech 2012 will take place in Tel Aviv on 15-17 May. Prominent figures from abroad will be among the thousands expected to visit the exhibition, which showcases innovations, developments and inventions in the fields of agriculture and related technologies.

Israel is a world leader in agro-technology. A big reason for this is the country’s shortage of water and arable land, which has led to the development of methods, technologies and products that address these challenges.

A significant proportion of scientific research in Israel focuses on agro-technology, providing the foundation for start-up companies in this field.

Agritech 2012 offers a window through which the Israeli agro-technology industry may be viewed close up. This is the 18th Agritech exhibition, which is held every three years. The main subjects for this year’s exhibition include irrigation, water management, greenhouses, and the dairy industry. For the first time, one of the pavilions is dedicated to agricultural innovation and will display Israeli innovations and developments in the field.

Agritech has become a tradition for farmers as well as decision-makers in the field of agriculture. At the last Agritech exhibition, held in 2009, about 4,200 visitors came from all over the world.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sees as one of its primary goals the promotion of Israel’s economy through its envoys abroad and its staff at the home office, plays a major part in Agritech 2012. In keeping with its slogan, “diplomacy in the service of the Israeli economy”, the Foreign Ministry takes care of the foreign VIP visitors, including a prime minister, ministers of agriculture, and other government ministers whose jobs are connected to agriculture in some way.

During the exhibition, MASHAV will convene a forum for visiting ministers titled, “Global challenges in agriculture”. In addition, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon will represent the Foreign Ministry at the opening ceremony, which will take place at the Tel Aviv Trade Fairs and Convention Center on Tuesday morning, 15 May, and will meet with senior officials from abroad who have come to see the exhibition.

Exhibition website:


The State of Israel is nothing short of a true miracle: in her 64 years, Israel has achieved more than any other nation on earth, a miracle that was created by a mosaic of different groups.

A wise man once said that Israel is the only country in the world that was founded on a dream: each group had its own — one was hoping to recreate an Eastern European shtetl, another was dreaming of an egalitarian kibbutz; one aspired for an urban Western style of bourgeoisie, and the other was eying the Orient. At times, our various dreams and aspirations collided.

However, Israel’s incredible success proves that much can be achieved in spite of these profound differences, and some would argue because of them. Moreover, the sense of a shared destiny hovered above and made it all possible.

In her 64 years, Israel has been characterized first and foremost by her love of life, and there is nothing more symbolic of life than water, embodying its source and essence. While coping with the water scarcity at home, Israel has become over the years a global leader in the fields of water desalination, management and conservation. Hence, Israel is proud to lead the world in the rate of water re-utilization (76 percent).

Water is also a wonderful example of what can be achieved together: as a rare resource not only in Israel, but in the Middle East as a whole, it constitutes an opportunity for all the peoples of the region to come together and join hands in the struggle to create a better future for our children. It is in this moment, when we are reminded of our basic needs of survival, that we have the opportunity of connecting with each other on the most human level.

Water is only one case in point of what Israel has become over the years: an inspirational source of creative energy, where dreams come true.

Whether in the field of medicine, or theater, modern dance, bird migration, high-tech, bio-technology or filmmaking, nano-technology, religious studies, green energy or emergency preparedness — Israel is a major player, with her strongest skill of all: the human resource and ingenuity.

Israel’s abilities have turned her into a true light unto the nations, bettering the lives of each and every one of us.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day (April 25 this year), is a day in which we can take a moment in our busy lives to marvel at this modern day miracle: Israel’s creative spirit, energy and endurance.

On Independence Day itself, the parks of Jerusalem and the beaches of Tel Aviv are filled with picnics and barbeques and soaring Israeli flags, full of music and dancing, as the nation comes together to celebrate as one big family and community.

Just like in Israel, many communities in New York and all over the United States join together in these celebrations.

New York, as the world’s largest Jewish city, is a special place in this regard as it is home to the largest annual show of support for Israel worldwide: the Celebrate Israel Parade.

On June 3, masses of supporters from the tri-state region and beyond will collectively show their love and unwavering dedication to Israel. It is a united effort put forth by all members of our extended community to come together as one, and show Israel our love and support. It is a unique day on our calendar where once a year we set aside our differences and agree on one major thing: Israel. This coming together is a testament to the strong bond between the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

This year’s creative theme, “Israel Branches Out,” is specifically fitting as it demonstrates just how diverse and large our community has become. When we come together, we become stronger and can better show the world Israel’s many strengths, contributions and accomplishments. The parade gives us a chance to show the positive impact Israel has had and continues to have on each and every one of us around the world, and this in itself is a reason for celebration.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut marks a unique moment in our history that joins us together as a people and as a nation, celebrating the most meaningful miracle of our modern history: the rebirth of an independent Jewish nation in our homeland. It is a realization of a dream and a prayer long sung in the hearts of our people.

Just as water connects people, Yom Ha’Atzmaut gives us the opportunity to come together as one family and tell the whole world: this is the State of Israel, it is there for you and me to celebrate, and we love her with all our hearts.

From ashes to resurrection, from destruction to sovereignty.

Chag atzmaut sameach.

Ambassador Ido Aharoni is consul general of the State of Israel in New York.

First appeared in The Jewish Week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”s Greeting to Diaspora Communities for Israel’s 64th Independence Day

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for us to consider what makes Israel truly unique.

Israel is unique in restoring sovereignty, and the capacity for self-defense, to a people who had been stateless and powerless for 2,000 years.

Israel is unique in ingathering to an ancestral homeland an exiled people who had been scattered around the globe.

Israel is unique in having become a global technological power despite the fact that we face threats faced by no other nation on earth.

Israel is unique in the Middle East for having a vibrant, liberal democracy where women are equal, minorities are free and where all are subject to the rule of law.

But Israel is unique in one other important way: we are unique in having such passionate friends, Jews and non-Jews alike, for whom the well-being, security and future of our country are so important. This passionate support, along with Israel’s strong army, free economy and dynamic society, is the pillar of our national strength.

And this Independence Day, I want to thank the tens of millions of friends of Israel throughout the world for their unwavering support for the one and only Jewish state.

Sincerely,Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Israel


מח’ מידע והפקה – אגף תקשורת


Last week, at the 6th World Water Forum, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water, MK Uzi Landau held an important inter-governmental session on wastewater management. Israel is the world leader in wastewater management, with up to 80 percent of waste being recycled, primarily used for agricultural purposes. Israel presented its findings and innovative technologies at the conference, challenging the 179 other countries in attendance to double their sewage treatment by 2025.

The World Water Forum is held every 3 years since 1997, its goal is to mobilize “creativity, innovation, competence and know-how in favour of water. It gathers all stakeholders around today’s local, regional and global issues that cannot be undertaken without all stakeholders into a common framework of goals and concrete targets to reach.”

Said Minister Landau ahead of the conference, “We will offer Israeli expertise toward improving the water markets of countries around the world, with the goal of opening more and more doors for Israeli companies to create relationships with foreign companies and implement international projects.”

In addition, Israel offered to help Gaza build a desalination plant in Gaza to provide freshwater for its residents. “Our expertise is available to all of our friends, including some of those who don’t accept us there, which is the Palestinians. We would like to see their projects going on” said Minister Landau.

“We have been waiting for such projects for many, many years. It is high time, almost 20 years after (the) Oslo (Accords on Palestinian autonomy), that they will start working and take responsibility for handling their own things, said Minister Landau.

Water security affects both Israelis and Palestinians equally, and Minister Landau noted that the Palestinian Authority has not done enough to tackle sewage problems. The PA lets it “pour down the riverbeds and to our areas on the coastal plains, where at the same time they are not only polluting the rivers but these waters infiltrate to the underground aquifer which is the body of drinking water both for them and for us,” said Landau.

The Gaza desalination plant is estimated to cost as much as $450 million USD. The Palestinian Authority believes that this plant, funded with international aid, would be able to provide fresh water to Palestinians in Gaza by 2020.

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

After the appalling murders in Toulouse, the Israeli Embassy in Paris, as well as the Israeli Consulate in Marseille, have contacted the bereaved families and learned of their desire to bring their loved ones to Israel for burial. The government of Israel has therefore decided to transfer the coffins to Israel as soon as possible, with the cooperation and assistance of Israel’s representatives in France and in coordination with the French authorities.

The names of the victims are: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, Gabriel Sandler (age 4), Arieh Sandler (age 5), Miriam Monsonego (age 7).

* * *

Yesterday, Israel’s leaders expressed their profound shock, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, saying that “Only a person possessed with demonic evil could carry out such a terrible murder of small children at a school.”

In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Today we had a savage crime in France that gunned down French Jews, among them children. It’s too early to say what the precise background for this act of murder is, but I think that we can’t rule out that there was a strong murderous anti-Semitic motive here. I’m sure that Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, and his government will do their utmost to find the killer and we, in Israel will do everything to help them in this task.”

“Today we had a savage crime in France that gunned down French Jews, among them children. It’s too early to say what the precise background for this act of murder is, but I think that we can’t rule out that there was a strong murderous anti-Semitic motive here. I’m sure that Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, and his government will do their utmost to find the killer and we, in Israel will do everything to help them in this task.”

(Communicated by Josh Hantman, International Media Advisor, MOD)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said this afternoon (Tuesday, February 14th) in Singapore that, “The attempted attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies are continuing to perpetrate terrorism.  The recent attacks are yet another example of this.”  The Minister, who spent a few hours in Bangkok on Sunday, also noted that, “Iran and Hezbollah are elements of unrelenting terrorism and are endangering the stability not only of the region, but of the entire world.”