Israel says thanks for boats

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 5

The Taipei City Government has donated two dragon boats to Haifa, Israel, to help promote cultural and sports exchanges between the two cities, officials said yesterday.

The donation came after a dragon boat team from Haifa participated in the annual Taipei International Dragon Boat Championship in June last year.

Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Representative Simona Halperin met with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to thank the city for the boats.

The boats arrived in the port city of Haifa late last month, Israel’s representative office said.

Hau invited Israel to send a team to participate in this year’s dragon boat race in Taipei.

“Now you have two boats to practice with,” he said.

Halperin said she believes an Israeli team will give a better performance this year, now that they have authentic dragon boats to practice with.

The paddlers in Haifa were also happy to receive the boats, Halperin said.

Hau and Halperin also expressed hope for further cultural and sports exchanges between Taipei and Israel.

Halperin, who has rowed in a dragon boat race in the past, said the races are an important part of the Dragon Boat Festival traditions.

This year’s Taipei International Dragon Boat Championship is scheduled to be held from May 31 to June 2, the Taipei City Government said.

Dragon Boat Festival takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and is a public holiday in Taiwan.