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Saturday, 26 April 2008
Russia and Israel: A Romance Aborted? 18-11-2007 12:34
Topic: Russia in Global Affairs



Mutual mistrust has irrevocably complicated interaction between official agencies of the two countries. Here are just two examples of the multitude of cases of distrust. 


Currently, four Israelis who traded in diamonds and received long jail terms are being held in a Russian jail. Two Israeli Justice Ministers asked Moscow to pardon these individuals, but there are no signs at the moment that the issue is proceeding anywhere.


In November 2006, the Israeli side publicly refused to extend accreditation to Dr. Alexander Kryukov, a well-known professor of the Hebrew language and literature, whom the Russians requested to receive as the director of a Russian Cultural Center, which was set up under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry. The Israelis offered no explanations for the rejection. Even though eventually the professor did receive the necessary documents, the scandal that dragged on for several months did no good to bilateral relations.


It would be highly advisable for the numerous Jewish organizations in Russia to set themselves down to the task of helping the Russian Federation and Israel to improve their relationship. The leaders of Russian Jews who live in Russia and regularly visit Israel understand the mentality and considerations of both the Russian and Israeli top government officials. Hence, it is only they who can build the bridges between the two nations
©2002-2007 Russia in Global Affairs. Programming & design - Rosbalt News Agency



Posted by russian-heritage at 1:30 PM
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Friday, 18 January 2008
Israel willing to return Russia's Holy City property - FM Lavrov
Topic: Russian Compound - JRS

Israel willing to return Russia's Holy City property - FM Lavrov

Israel has agreed in principle to return historical Russian church assets in Jerusalem that it bought from Soviet authorities in a mock deal 40 years ago, Russia's foreign minister said Thursday.

"Israel has tentatively given its consent to have the church of St. Sergius and the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission re-registered as Russian property, and particulars are now being discussed," Sergei Lavrov said.

The two buildings are part of Jerusalem's so-called Russian Compound, built in the final decades of Tsarist rule and partly sold to Israel by the Nikita Khrushchev government in 1964. Israel paid for the assets with a batch of citrus fruit in what went down in history as the "orange deal."

The premises of St. Sergius' church are currently occupied by Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and government agencies for environmental protection, whereas the Ecclesiastical Mission houses the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

Lavrov said that the matter had been under negotiation for some three years now and that Israel is finally showing the political will to hand the property back.

The minister spoke to reporters after a congress of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which was established by Emperor Alexander III in 1882 to facilitate Orthodox Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land and to promote Palestinian studies and humanitarian cooperation with the peoples of the biblical region.

The society's newly elected chair, Auditing Chamber President Sergei Stepashin, said he would concentrate his efforts on recovering Russian property in the Holy Land while also working to promote Russian culture and the language in Palestinian-administered territories.

"We could make substantial progress this year toward solving the issue [of property return]," Stepashin said.

In the Soviet era, the society was restructured as part of the National Academy of Sciences. With all religious activity in the country suppressed in those years, it could no longer arrange pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and focused entirely on Palestine-related research, holding regular symposiums and publishing an almanac.

Posted by russian-heritage at 11:37 AM
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Saturday, 7 October 2006
New $60 million - 9000 sq.m.Bezalel Campus in the Russian Compound - Jerusalem
Topic: Russian Compound - JRS
Int’l competition to design new Bezalel campus
The $60 million 9,000-sq.m. campus in the Russian Compound will take 6-10 years to build.
Hagit Peleg-Rotem 10 Sep 06   15:29 - GLOBES online :
The centenary celebrations of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design will be completed with an international architectural competition for the design of Bezalel’s new 9,000-sq.m. campus in the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem. The $60 million project will take 6-10 years to build.

The ministerial committee for Jerusalem decided to allocate the site to Bezalel a year ago. The Jerusalem municipality welcomes and supports the project. The move to a new campus is part of plans to expand Bezalel, increase its student body and add new departments.

Participants in the competition will be required to design one or more buildings intended to promote a creative atmosphere and maximize interaction between Bezalel’s departments. The campus will include extensive public spaces by utilizing an open design to encourage movement and 24-hour activity.

The first stage of the competition will be open, from which three to five proposals will be selected for the second stage. Four architect firms will be invited in advance: Rosenfeld Arens Architects Ltd., Ada Karmi-Melamede Architects, London firm Foreign Office Architects, a fourth firm that has not yet been chosen.

The winners of the first stage are due to be announced in January 2007, and the second stage in June. For further details: Bezalel Competition.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 10, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

Posted by russian-heritage at 9:25 AM
Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006 9:26 AM
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Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design aims at Russian Compound in the heart of Jerusalem
Topic: Holy Land News
Bezalel Competition

The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is conducting an international architecture competition for the design of its new campus in the center of Jerusalem, and invites architects from around the world to participate.
About Bezalel
Established in 1906 as the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, Bezalel is celebrating its centenary as Israel’s leading academy in its field. Bezalel incorporates both traditional crafts and state-of-the-art technologies throughout its 10 departments: Fine Arts, Architecture, Industrial Design, Visual Communications, Photography, Video, Animation, Ceramic and Glass Design, Jewelry and Fashion, and History and Theory. The Academy is home to 1,765 students and 400 teachers, and is spread over three campuses – Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, the Historic Building of Bezalel in Jerusalem City Center, and the Bezalel Gallery in Tel Aviv.
About the New Campus
The main campus of the Academy on Mount Scopus is distant and isolated from the city center, disconnected from any social or public association. The relocation of the campus to the center of Jerusalem presents not merely a physical move, but a cultural shift through which Bezalel aims to continue to grow as an active and dynamic hub in the city, participating in Jerusalem’s urban life, allowing students and teachers to form unconstrained relationships and to cultivate mutual inspiration with the diverse inhabitants of the city.
About the Site
The vacant building site is approximately 9,182m2 and is in the center of the City of Jerusalem, about 300m from the historic Old City and within the area known as the ‘Russian Compound’. It sits on a small hill located on a prominent North-South ridge, with Northern and Easter views overlooking the city. In 1858, the compound had been sold to the Russian Empire who developed it as a pilgrimage center with hospices, a hospital, the Russian Mission building and the Holy Trinity Cathedral as its centerpiece. With the rise of communist rule in the Soviet Union, the stream of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem ceased almost entirely. The British Mandate then converted the Compound into one of their military bases in Jerusalem. Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, most of the buildings in the Compound were sold by the Soviet Union to the Israeli government, who used them as part of the government center. Rehabilitation and preservation of the Compound is part of the scheme for the development of the city center as a business, cultural and public district.
The competition will be conducted in two phases and is open to all architects. The official language of the competition is English.

Posted by russian-heritage at 9:16 AM
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Vatican ends absorption center's lease
Topic: Israeli Press

Vatican ends absorption center's lease

A landmark Jerusalem absorption center which served as one of the pillars of North American immigration since the establishment of the State of Israel is losing its main dormitory building after the Vatican terminated its half-century-old lease, the Jewish Agency said Wednesday.

The three-story building, which served as the chief dormitory and club room at Jerusalem's prominent Ulpan Etzion in the city's upscale Baka neighborhood, was recently sold by the Carmelite Church to a private developer, a Jewish Agency spokesman, Michael Jankelowitz, said.

The Carmelite Church, which is connected to the Vatican, had previously leased the lucrative property out to the Jewish Agency for the last half century, he added.

The absorption center, which was established in 1949 as Israel's first ulpan, will likely have to vacate the building in question within the next three years.

Jewish Agency officials, who are battling concomitant economic difficulties, are considering where to house students when they will have to vacate the building. But the officials are not inclined to leave the compound altogether.

"The future of Ulpan Etzion is not at stake here," Jankelowitz said.

Some 165 students from 20 countries around the world are currently studying at the ulpan, of whom 103 live there.

Some of the students studying at what is considered the Jewish Agency's flagship ulpan are already housed at an alternative site in southern Jerusalem known as Beit Canada, while others live in rented apartments.

In the past, students have complained about the condition of the rooms in the old building, as well as heating problems over the winter. The rest of the buildings at the site belong to the Jewish Agency.

The quasi-governmental organization which promotes Jewish immigration to Israel has been going through a period of economic turmoil and change.

The economic decision by the Church to terminate the group's lease on the building comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be pushing ahead with claims on a couple of buildings in the city's historic Russian Compound which are owned by the Russian Orthodox Church, including the landmark city building housing the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

Israel is concerned over the precedent such claims may have on other Church properties in the city, including the prime minister's official residence.

Posted by russian-heritage at 8:54 AM
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