President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Tuesday), at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, received the diplomatic credentials of the new Ambassadors to Israel, from Nepal, Honduras, Brazil, and Tanzania. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, and - after the presentation of the credentials - the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel's national anthem 'Hatikva'.
First to present her credentials was the new Ambassador of Nepal, H.E. Mr. Niranjan Kumar Thapa. President Rivlin welcomed him and said, “I would like to send my congratulations to the newly elected Prime Minister, we hope he will have a very successful term once again to lead his people. I would like to also say, that democracy is not too easy, but nevertheless democracy is the only way that people can live along with each other, sometimes with differences of opinion, and I congratulate the democracy of Nepal.”
The President noted, “We have here a large community of students from Nepal, sharing ideas, together with the MASHAV program, they are learning and then return to your country and use what they have learned here, and we hope we can strengthen the ties between our students and our universities. We have connections also between Israeli companies between Israeli and Nepalese companies, and I would like to see the relationship between our two countries grow. I am sure with you here as ambassador we can achieve this.”
He concluded, “We know that you help a lot the many Israelis who visit your country and we hope you will also feel at home here.”
Ambassador Thapa thanked the President and noted, “I am extremely happy to present my credentials here as Ambassador of Nepal to the State of Israel. Our countries are good friends and we are working together.” Speaking of the Israeli aid efforts to his country following the devastating earthquake in Nepal in2015, the Ambassador said, “I remember the 264 Israelis and 95 tons of equipment and the temporary hospital they set up, and the wonderful work they did in rescue and relief. So many Nepalese people benefited, and survived because of this. The Nepalese people will never forget this help, and will always be grateful to Israel.”
He added, “Our country is an agriculturally based country, and we want to know your agricultural know-how,” and said that he was proud of the many Israelis who visited Nepal each year, and expressed his desire to see that number grow.
He concluded, “Our relations have a long history, we will always support Israel in international forums.”
Next, new Ambassador of Honduras, H.E. Mr. Mario Edgardo Castillo Mendoza who had served for many years in his country’s military, presented the President with his credentials. The President thanked him and said, “We know very well how you have dedicated your life to the security of your people, and the ability of your people to live in peace, and we appreciate this very much.” He added, “I want to send my best regards to the President, who visited us twice recently. We are proud that he is the first graduate of the MASHAV program to have become a head of state. He is a great friend of Israel.”
He added, “We have recently signed an MOU, and we have many connections not only in security, but in agriculture, in water, in innovation. We are looking to increase this cooperation.”
Ambassador Mendoza said, “It is an honor to be here, we appreciate the kindness we have received from Israeli people. I bring my President’s warm regards, and we hope that in the future you will be able to visit Honduras.”
Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Mr. Paulo Cesar Meira De Vasconcellos then arrived to present President Rivlin with his credentials. President Rivlin congratulated him and said, “The relationship between us and Brazil is very important.” President Rivlin asked the Ambassador to convey his warm wishes to the President of Brazil, who he noted was a great friend of the historic and important Brazilian Jewish community. He added, “We are extending our relationships. I believe that we can cooperate, and know that the economic relationship between is enjoying high levels and we can extend this even further with our abilities in innovation. We are both dealing with food security, and all around the world we are trying to help around the world. This can help bring prosperity to the whole world. We are looking forward.”
He said, “There is not even one Brazilian who does not know the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. Even UNESCO cannot change that. The decision should be forgotten, it should really be changed, and I would urge the Brazilian Government to reconsider their vote. There are sometimes between friends times to agree to disagree, but to say that Jerusalem is not part of Jewish history is just not a fact.”
The Brazilian Ambassador thanked President Rivlin and said, “Our friendship dates to the creation of the State of Israel. As far as bilateral relations we have many fields of cooperation, science and technology, defense, and trade, and we have to improve that, and I will devote myself to that positive agenda between our countries.”
Finally, H.E. Mr. Job Daudi Masima, new Ambassador of Tanzania, who had for the first time opened an embassy in Israel, presented his credentials to the President.
The President noted the importance of the occasion and said, “We are making history. We are very honored to welcome you in friendship. I know how our Prime Minister was welcomed, and your President participated in the convention that took place in Africa. We see Africa as the future. We see Africa as the people and the ideas of tomorrow, and pay great attention to cooperation with Africa, and the relationship with your people is very important to us.”
Ambassador Masima placed a traditional skullcap on his head and recited the Hebrew blessing for new and good tidings, Shecheyanu. He thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “It is a privilege to be appointed as the first resident Ambassador of Tanzania to the State of Israel.” He added, “Tanzania and Israel are separated by great distances, but our strong bond of affection, mutual confidence, common interests and a similar outlook remain inextricably linked. Therefore, I assure Your Excellency of the Government of Tanzania’s continued and unshakable desire to broaden, deepen, and consolidate those excellent relations between our nations.”
Photo credit: Mark Neiman / GPO