Israel says soldier stabbed to death in West Bank

Israeli military did not accuse anyone in the killing. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 August 2019

Israel says soldier stabbed to death in West Bank

  • Israeli media said it seems like the soldier was abducted before he was killed
  • The military said the soldier is a Jewish seminary student

JERUSALEM: The body of an Israeli soldier was found with stab wounds near a West Bank settlement south of Jerusalem early on Thursday, the military said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the killing as a terrorist attack and pledged to bring the perpetrator to justice.
According to an army statement, Israeli troops and police officers were searching the area near the Etzion settlement bloc where the body was found in the “early morning hours.” Israeli troops entered the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Fajar as part of the search.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the soldier was a student in a pre-military Jewish seminary program and was neither armed nor in uniform. He said the military was investigating the circumstances of his death.
The soldier was later identified as 19-year-old Dvir Sorek, from the West Bank settlement of Ofra. His remains were found near the military seminary where he studied in the West Bank.
Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, head of the yeshiva where Sorek studied, told Israel Radio that the student had gone to Jerusalem to buy presents for the school’s faculty. Wilk said Sorek had called a friend and said he would return on time.
“When he was late, we started to worry,” Wilk said. “Fairly quickly we understood that something wasn’t right and we got the police involved.”
Netanyahu issued a statement saying that security forces were “in pursuit now in order to capture the despicable terrorist and bring him to account.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin offered his condolences and said the security forces were “pursuing the murderers and will not rest until we find them.”
“Our prayers this morning are with the family of the murdered soldier and our hearts grieve for the life cut short,” Rivlin said. “We fight terrorism without compromise to ensure the security of our people.”
Israel captured the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim the territories as part of a future state.
Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to creating a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel considers the territories “disputed,” and says the fate of the settlements should be determined through negotiations, which have been moribund for years.
Yair Golan, a former army general and a Democratic Union party candidate in the elections next month, said in an interview with Israel’s Kan television that the settlements near where Sorek was found “needed to be encircled ages ago with a security fence that would help to separate between the Jewish population and the Palestinian population.”
He added that a diplomatic solution to the conflict was necessary.
Israel is holding an unprecedented repeat election on September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a government following April’s vote.


Grand Egyptian Museum symbol of Japan cooperation

Updated 20 August 2019

Grand Egyptian Museum symbol of Japan cooperation

  • The museum will house thousands of monuments and artifacts including mummies

CAIRO: The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), set to open in 2022, is already a beacon for future Egyptian prosperity.

Built to showcase Egypt’s civilization and heritage, the museum will house thousands of monuments and artifacts including mummies, as well as housing a very important restoration center which will help in preserving Egyptian Pharaonic heritage.

It is hoped the GEM will boost tourism, and act as beacon of a new, forward-facing nation in the aftermath of several years of political upheaval, and centuries of losing its treasures overseas.

Egypt began work on the museum in 2008 at a cost of approximately $550 million, with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities funding $100 million, with the remainder facilitated through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in addition to local and international donations.

Covering the third phase of the build, Japanese support was not limited to the loan, but extended to the financial and technical support of the museum’s preservation and conservation center. 

Moreover, Japan currently supports the museum’s archaeological database and the team chosen to cultivate and manage it. 

The JICA also organizes a program that holds several restoration training sessions in both Egypt and Japan, in partnership with the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. 

Egypt’s Ambassador to Japan Ayman Kamel talked about the details of Japan’s participation in constructing the GEM.

“This project, which was launched years ago, is a success story in Egyptian-Japanese bilateral relations,” Kamel said.

BACKGROUND

It is hoped the Grand Egyptian Museum will boost tourism, and act as beacon of a new, forward-facing nation in the aftermath of several years of political upheaval, and centuries of losing its treasures overseas.

He added that Japan contributed in supporting one of the Egyptian centers specializing in monument restoration, providing “unmatched” Japanese eco-friendly materials and technology. 

Kamel predicted that following its inauguration, the GEM would be a source of pride not only for Egypt and Japan but also for the whole world.

“The final inauguration will take place in 2022 when all construction operations are completed.”

Japan’s Ambassador to Egypt Masaki Noke said the GEM was a “huge project that transfers heritage to the coming generations” and hailed Egypt for carrying out “this huge archaeological project.” 

Noke added that the Japanese were very happy to participate in this huge achievement which he considered of paramount importance “not only on the economic level but also on the human level in general.”

Around 42,000 Japanese tourists visited Egypt in 2018, adding to an increasingly large community of Japanese residents, and a sizable presence of archaeological missions working in the country.  

Egyptian archaeological expert Ahmed Kadry told Arab News that there are currently 10 Japanese archaeological missions in Egypt with universities and institutions.

Kadry said that the GEM’s inauguration in 2022 will change the perspective of museum tourism the world over, and hailed to work of Japanese and Egyptian archaeologists for their work in the field of diagnostic examination of monuments by using hand-held devices called XRFs, a primary examination machine using X-rays.

He added the results of such examinations provided useful information regarding the preparation of painted layers “which help in not only deepening the understanding of the condition of murals once they are restored but also in conducting more research to gain more knowledge in the field of archaeology.”

In July 2018, Dr. Tadayuki Hara, an associate professor and senior research fellow at the Institute for Tourism Studies, gave a lecture on how to improve the value of touristic assets in Egypt at the Japanese Embassy in Cairo, where he cited the importance of the GEM in Egypt’s future.

“Revenues can be created through great memories,” Dr. Hara said. “That can be achieved through the GEM, the project that Japan is taking part in constructing.”