Israel Briefs: Israel Wins European Fencing Championships and More

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A side view of a fencer holding a sword
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Israeli Wins European Fencing Championships

Israeli fencer Yuval Freilich won the European Fencing Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, on June 18, JNS.org reported.

Freilich, 24, was ranked 40th in the world entering the competition and beat 13th-ranked Andrea Santarelli of Italy to win the gold medal.

“It’s the most incredible feeling,” the 24-year-old said in an interview posted to Facebook. “Really a fantastic day. Everything connected, the fencing, the energy, the feeling. It just all came together and this is what came out. Amazing, really unbelievable feeling.”

Freilich is the son of Australian Jewish immigrants and grew up in Neve Daniel.

He has fenced since he was 5. He won gold medals in teen championships in 2014 and 2015 and a silver medal a year later in the under-23 category.

Arrests Made in Smuggling Ring Investigation

Israel Police Lahav 433 arrested six people and detained eight others on June 17 as part of a smuggling ring investigation, JNS.org reported.

Police say the Rishon Letzion-based network brought in more than a thousand Georgian nationals into the country since 2017. Those arrested include Israel Airports Authority contract workers who allegedly bypassed Ben-Gurion International Airport passport control and security mechanisms.

The suspects may have received up to $10,000 per person smuggled into the country. Some of the Georgians came to work in Israel.

Number of Businesses in West Bank Doubles

The number of small- and medium-sized businesses in Judea and Samaria is just under 2,000 — and represents a doubling in the past decade, JNS.org reported, citing data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statics and the MATI Jerusalem Business Development Center in Judea and Samaria.

The data, which tallied 1,982 businesses, was presented at a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurial conference in Samaria. The numbers show that the average rate of entrepreneurship there is, relative to population size, 20% higher than in Tel Aviv.

The service industry is the most prominent commercial field in Judea and Samaria, especially as it relates to food and hospitality. Industry, health services and skin care also are prominent fields.

At the conference, attendees learned that the Tourism Ministry was incentivizing entrepreneurs to build hotels in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley via grants equal to one-fifth of the investment.

Six Israeli Universities Among Top 1,000 Worldwide, According to Survey

Six Israeli universities rank among the world’s top 1,000 higher education institutions, JTA reported, citing the QS World University Rankings for 2020.

As it did a year earlier, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was Israel’s top-ranked institution, placing 162nd, a drop of eight spots.

Tel Aviv University rose 11 places to finished at 219th, while The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology fell 10 spots to rank 257th.

In addition, Ben-Gurion University fell from 407th to 419th, while Bar-Ilan University placed in the 551-560 range, up from 601-650, and the University of Haifa repeated its 651-700 ranking.

Rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio, according to the QS website.

The top three universities are all in the United States — Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Harvard University.

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