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Sunday, 21 June 2009

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Israel donates medical supplies to Northern IDPs



Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific Region of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Ruth Kahanoff hands over documentation relating to medical supplies to the Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona in Colombo .

The Deputy Director General for the Asia and the Pacific region of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel Ruth Kahanoff, was in Sri Lanka last week. She was in Sri Lanka to oversee the handing over of 230 boxes of medical supplies to the government of Sri Lanka to be distributed among those in the IDP camps in the Northern Province.

"It is a modest contribution from our country to help people in the North in the time of need," she said. Ruth Kahanoff was accompanied by the Eli Belotsercovsky, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi. She said she was happy that terrorism has been eliminated and peace would soon dawn in Sri Lanka. "When you deal with terrorists you cannot compromise with your basic security needs," she said.

Ms Kahanoff said her visit will enable her to learn more about the developments in Sri Lanka and ways and means of promoting bilateral trade and co-operation between the two countries in different fields. "Israel was one of the first countries to come shortly after the tsunami struck Sri Lanka with a team of doctors and medical supplies at the request of the Ministry of Health." The Israeli medical teams worked in the coastal areas struck by the tsunami and had conducted several training courses and seminars. Six or more ambulances with medical supplies were also gifted to the Sri Lanka government, she said. "This was one field that we want to continue. We also work with the Sarvodaya organisation to develop rural projects.

Referring to agriculture she said growing vegetables, flowers and developing the dairy industry were some of the key projects undertaken by them. "Where dairy was concerned our cows give the highest yield of milk in the world." She said during the past 2-3 years around 70 Sri Lankan professionals were trained in Israel in various courses.

"Israel has lot to offer in telecommunication and homeland security which is becoming a major issue all over the world. Other areas include water management, water treatment and water re-cycling and water conservation."

Referring to tourism she said Israelis were keen to visit Sri Lanka to enjoy the beauty, wildlife and its rich cultural heritage. "We have had a meeting with the Tourism Secretary to increase tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. We are organising joint visits of tour operators to facilitate this move. During the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's visit to Israel two years ago several agreements relating to cultural exchanges were signed," she said.

The Sunday Observer met Ruth Kahanoff in Colombo last week. In an exclusive interview she said she has nostalgic memories of her grandfather who was born in Vienna and who later worked as a violinist for an orchestra at the Galle Face Hotel in

Colombo in the late thirties. "It happened during the period when the Nazis invaded Austria. He left Austria with his family and was looking out for a job. He had nowhere to go but found a job as a violinist in Colombo. He found Ceylon, a peaceful and a pleasant place for him and his family. Whilst in Austria he worked as a violinist for an orchestra. To comeback to the very hotel brings me nostalgic memories of my paternal grandfather," she said.

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