- Written by Silvia G. Golan
At the Balai Quezon (Quezon house) at the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv today, senior leaders of The "Confederation of General Zionists" faction presented a special certificate to the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., of the Philippine Embassy in Israel, Ms. Reichel Quinones.
The Certificate expressed gratitude for the Republic's vote in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947, which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel as well as for the Open Doors policy of President Quezon,
which saved the lives of over 1,300 Jews from Europe in the years 1937-1941.
David Yaari, Vice Chairman of the Confederation of General Zionists said: "The Jewish people have a long memory and President Quezon deserves to be remembered for his brave act of kindness during such a dark period of Jewish History. As leaders of the General Zionist faction of the World Zionist Organization, we deeply appreciate the consideration of the Philippine's to vote in favor of Resolution 181 (the partition plan) on November 29, 1947".
Dov Lipman, former MK and Secretary General of the Confederation of General Zionists: "In a world filled with enemies of Israel and the Jewish people we cannot take it for granted when a country saves Jews and supports Israel.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Philippine government and people, and today was just the beginning of showing our appreciation".
Ms. Raichel Quinones, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., of the Philippine Embassy in Israel, thanked the Confederation of General Zionists for the certificate, pointing out that President Quezon’s humanitarian act has become the foundation for the strong relations that the Philippines and Israel continue to enjoy to this day. “President Quezon’s rare act of compassion continues to open doors between our two countries and inspire us to find ways to deepen the relations between our countries and peoples,” she said. “Through the Balai Quezon, we hope to generate awareness of this unique part of history that forged a lasting friendship between two peoples during such a difficult period of time.”
The Balai Quezon, the Philippine Embassy's cultural center, was inaugurated on 29 October 2019. It serves to promote greater awareness and recognition of the story, history, and meaning of President Manuel L. Quezon’s Open Door policy.
The "Confederation of General Zionists" is a faction in the World Zionist Congress that deals with Zionism on a macro scale with an emphasis on strengthening the connections and ties between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry.
The Confederation faction has set its focus and goals to strengthen the connections between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, and is not affiliated with any political party or any religious sect. The Chairman is Jesse Sultanik, whose grandfather Kalman Sultanik z”l previously
served as Vice President of the World Jewish Congress.
From right to left (171 KB):Ms Katheryne Wendy Cruz, Political Attach`e of the Philippine Embassy in Israel, David Yaari, Vice Chairman of the Confederation of General Zionists, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the Philippine Embassy in Israel, Ms. Reichel Quinones, and former MK and Secretary General of the Confederation of General Zionists, Dov Lipman. Courtesy: YOSSIFON PR.
- Written by Spokesperson of the President's Office
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Australia H.E. Mr. Paul Griffiths
President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 11 November / 24 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of of Australia, Guatemala, Malta, Cyprus and Turkmenistan to Israel as they begin their postings, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Each ambassador was welcomed with the playing of their national anthem by the Israel Police Band and then reviewed an IDF honor guard, smaller in size than normal because of the coronavirus restrictions. After presenting their letters of credence, the ambassadors signed the Beit HaNasi guest book.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Malta H.E. Mr. Patrick Cole
Ambassador Patrick Cole of Malta was the first to present his credentials to the president. The president welcomed him to Israel and spoke about the deep connections between the two countries. “I hope you feel at home here. We are neighbors. You know the Middle East very well, and the conflicts between peoples, tribes and states. With the national conflict between Israel and the Arab countries, there has never been a conflict between Judaism and Islam,” said the president.
The ambassador thanked the president, saying “I would like to congratulate you on your moving speech marking Kristallnacht. It left a profound impression on me and will stay in my heart. I congratulate the State of Israel on its normalization agreements with the Gulf states. This is a real change and I hope it is signals more to come. It is important for the region as a whole.”
The next to present his credentials was the Australian ambassador, Paul Griffiths. The president said he was still deeply affected by the warm reception he received when he visited Australia last February, and spoke about how much he was impressed by the Australian people.
Speaking about the Malka Leifer affair, the president said, “I would like to be clear that Israeli law will be respected as well as Australian law, and that both countries respect international law. I believe the matter will be resolved in a matter of months and I am in contact with the minister of justice and all other parties involved in the case. The whole process is transparent and you can also follow events as they happen.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Guatemala H.E. Mrs. Olga Julissa Anzueto Aguilar
Ambassador Olga Julissa Anzueto Aguilar of Guatemala then presented her credentials. The president welcomed her, and sheh thanked the president saying that since the official residence has now moved to Jerusalem, she has “the privilege of living in this wonderful city.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Cyprus H.E. Mrs. Theodora Constantinidou
After that, Theodora Constantinidou, the new Cypriot ambassador was received by the president and presented her credentials. The president asked to send his warmest wishes to his old friend the president of Cyprus, saying “The trilateral relations between Cyprus, Greece and Israel are very important to us. We are not just neighbors, we are good friends who work together in a wide range of fields, and will continue to do so.” The ambassador thanked the president, saying “In Cyprus and at the Cypriot embassy, you and your country will always have an open ear and a hand stretched out in friendship. You can count on it.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of H.E. Mr. Turkmenistan Komekov Toyly Babayevich
Finally, the Ambassador of Turkmenistan, Komekov Toyly Babayevich, presented his credentials. The president extended an invitation to the President of Turkmenistan, through the new ambassador, to visit Jerusalem, and the ambassador thanked him and said that his president attaches great importance to relations with Israel.
Photo credit: Mark Neyman (GPO)
- Written by Steven Aiello
Embassy of Austria Celebrates National Day by Donating to Israelis in Need
Given the health, travel and safety restrictions facing citizens in Israel, diplomatic events have also had to innovate. At the same time, many are suffering economically, especially the elderly and sick, for whom traveling outside their homes is particularly risky. The Embassy of Austria celebrated Austrian National Day on Monday, October 26, and to mark the occasion it addressed both needs. Rather than hold a virtual event, the embassy marked the national day by sending gift packages to Holocaust survivors and other Israelis in need.
Friends of the embassy received messages telling them that food package had been sponsored in their honor. The packages contained food provisions for a month. They were distributed by LATET, an Israeli non-governmental aid organization that is the largest NGO addressing poverty and food insecurity in Israel. As its website declares, LATET was established in order to reduce poverty, for a better and just society, by providing assistance to needy populations, mobilizing Israeli civil society towards mutual responsibility, and leading change in the national priorities.
The decision to sponsor the food packages, transforming a disappointing situation into an opportunity to help others, was the initiative of the Ambassador of Austria to Israel, Dr. Hannah Liko. Having been in Israel less than a year, the ambassador has wasted no time in taking creative steps to strengthen ties between Austria and Israel despite these challenging circumstances. The Austrian Embassy explained to Diplomacy that Ambassador Liko wanted “to express her bond with the Israeli society, whose guest she is and to support, in these times, those parts of society most heavily affected,” and moreover, that “the Ambassador and the Austrian Embassy as a whole were delighted by the positive responses.”
Diplomacy.co.il congratulations the Embassy of Austria on its national day, and thanks Ambassador Liko for the generous initiative.
- Written by Spokesperson of the President's Office
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Belgium H.E. Mr. Jean-Luc Bodson
President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia to the State of Israel
President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 4 November / 17 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia as they begin their posting to the State of Israel in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Each ambassador was received with the playing of their country’s national anthem and Hatikva, and they then reviewed an IDF honor guard which was smaller in size than normal because of the coronavirus restrictions. The ambassadors presented their letters of credence to the president and signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book.
The first to present his credentials was Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson of Belgium. The president welcomed him to Israel and expressed his appreciation for King Phillippe’s participation in the events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January. The president also spoke about the ambassador’s grandmother, Elisabeth Dereymaeker, who was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Dereymaker saved two Jewish children in her home after their mother and sister were sent to Auschwitz. Because of the hiding place that she gave them, their lives were saved. “We will never forget your grandmother’s noble act. Too few did so, and the Jewish people will be grateful to her for thousands of years,” said the president. He also noted the importance of fighting antisemitism and racism of all kinds that are now raising their heads. The president said that there is no place for crude antisemitism such as that on display in the annual Carnival of Aalst.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Uzbekistan H.E. Mrs. Feruza Makmudova
Ambassador Feruza Makmudova of Uzbekistan then presented her credentials to the president, the first female ambassador in the Uzbek foreign service. “Uzbekistan proves to the whole world that there is no conflict between Christians and Moslems,” said the president. “We hope to prove that we canlive together in peace, as Jews, Moslems and Christians, and members of all faiths, do in Israel.” The ambassador responded, “Thank you for your warm welcome. I bring greetings from the president and government of Uzbekistan. Since our countries established diplomatic relations, we have a dialogue of mutual understanding and respect. Now, we can develop new projects and initiatives,” she said.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Mr. Erik Ullenhag
Next to present his credentials to the president was Ambassador Erik Ullenhag of Sweden. The president welcomed him, saying “our two countries enjoy excellent relations across a range of fields. It is important to say that we welcome different opinions regarding the future of our region, but boycotts and pressure will not help any of the parties.” The ambassador thanked the president for his welcome and said “we attach great importance to our work together in fighting antisemitism. Antisemitism is poison.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Norway H.E. Mr. Kare Reider Aas
The president then welcomed Ambassador Kare Reider Aas of Norway, congratulating him on Norway’s election to serve on the United Nations Security Council. “The discourse at the UN on Israel must change, particularly given the new opportunities that peace between Israel and Arab countries presents,” he said. The ambassador thanked the president and spoke about the good relations between the countries and the importance of deepening them between the peoples and not just between governments. The ambassador also noted Norway’s appreciation for Israel’s support regarding its election to the Security Council.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Latvia H.E. Mr. Aivars Groza
Finally, the president received the credentials of Ambassador Aivars Groza of Latvia. He noted his hopes that the good relations between the countries would be reflected in Latvia’s votes at the UN. At the end of their meeting, the president invited the Latvian president to visit Israel, saying that he would be delighted to host him here in Jerusalem. The ambassador thanked the president for the invitation and said that Latvia takes racism and antisemitism very seriously and does much to fight them.
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
- Written by Steven Aiello
The Embassy of Hungary in Israel marked the occasion of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with a screening of the film Trezor, by Peter Bergendy. To enable everyone to enjoy the film and share the experience safely, the film was provided to view online via a password protected link.
During the 1956 Revolution, citizens took to the street to protest the government and its support from and influence of Soviet forces. During the ensuing conflict, 2,500 Hungarian citizens were killed and 200,000 internally displaced persons or refugees. While it took another 35 years for Hungary to leave the Soviet Union, the events of 1956 remain poignant and prominent in both Hungarian and global history.
Trezor dramatizes the story and brings it to life, with an exciting plot line: “The keys to Trezor, the vault of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are lost in the confusion of the 1956 Revolution. And so, only a few days after the battle for independence is violently put down, the police pull a former bank robber out of prison and ask him to open their own uncrackable safe. The convict, however, finds something very different behind the vault’s door than what he expected. An exciting plot unfolds, full of unexpected twists, where nothing and no one is what they seem to be.”
As the description promises, the film captures the excitement and tension of this important event, bringing viewers back in time while also exploring an intriguing personal narrative. While we look forward to meeting in person once again, it’s a good reminder of the many challenges and kinds of adversity that nations have overcome throughout history.
www.diplomacy.co.il thanks to the Embassy of Hungary for this thoughtful initiative to share the moment and experience even when we cannot meet in person.