Diplomacy can be a challenging, albeit rewarding, career choice, especially when you serve in a country as dynamic as Israel. At this year’s Diplomat of the Year ceremony, The Ambassadors’ Club of Israel, led by Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, recognized Ambassador H.E. Ms. Thessalia  Salina Shambos and Honorary Consul of New Zealand Mr. Gad Propper, for their dedication and tireless efforts to promote bilateral relations, and promote goodwill and cooperation between their respective nations.


Israeli and foreign diplomats, political, commercial and cultural leaders, all gathered at the Yacht Club in Herzliya on Wednesday evening July 12th for the awards ceremony. The evening opened with a reception. Mr. Moshe Fadlon, the Mayor of Herzliya, and Mr. Jonathan Jacobovitz, Chairman of the Herzliya Municipal Tourism Development Corporation, welcomed guests to the city, and applauded the Ambassadors’ Club for its work in strengthening diplomatic connections in Israel. A short video was shown highlighting the features of the port city which have made it a desirable destination for so many ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps in Israel to call home.

Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan spoke next. Speaking from his own experience having been a part of Israel’s diplomatic corps for more than 40 years, Ambassador Eldan coined a new phrase --Diplonation--to describe the prominence of diplomacy in Israel. Touting the work that Israeli and international diplomats do in Israel, the ambassador portended a bright future built on continued hard work and success.

Ambassador of the Dominican Republic H.E. Mr. Alexander de la Rosa, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, spoke next, offering his own congratulations to the deserving recipients of this year’s awards. Apropos the occasions, Ambassador de la Rosa reminded the guests that Israel and the Dominican Republic are closing in on 40 years of diplomatic ties.

It was then time for the awards ceremony, but the Ambassadors’ Club had a surprise up its sleeve. A special commemorative stamp collection had been printed in honor of the occasion, with Ambassador of the Year Salina Shambos imprinted onto the Israeli flag background.

Ambassador Shambos was called up next to receive her award. The ambassador’s diligence and hard work, in addition to credentials, were highlighted in the decision to award Ambassador Shambos as the Ambassador of the Year in her first ambassadorial post. Letters from the head of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as from Israel’s Deputy Foreign Ministry were also read, congratulating the ambassador on her achievement.

In her acceptance speech, Ambassador Shambos noted the presence of the many diplomats and leaders, including former Israeli ambassadors to Cyprus, and descendants of the more than 50,000 Jews who reached Cyprus as refugees following the Holocaust. The ambassador gave a long list of areas in which Israeli-Cypriot cooperation has improved in recent years, and pointed out the importance of having good neighbors, such as when both countries have aided one another in combatting massive fires in recent years.

Mr. Gad Propper, the Honorary Consul of New Zealand, was awarded with the Honorary Consul of the Year award, presented to him by Ambassadors’ Club Vice President Sarah Alalouf, and the Honorary Consul of Uruguay.

In closing, Knesset Member Nurit Koren spoke about the importance of diplomacy in helping Israel improve its standing, and called on foreign diplomats serving in Israel to bring a positive image of Israel home to their nations. After the awards ceremony was formally called to a close, guests were invited to have refreshments and enjoy music and dancing by the sea.

Diplomacy.co.il congratulates this year’s award winners, and thanks the Ambassadors’ Club for organizing this important event.

Steven Aiello
Founder, Debate for Peace

Photos Silvia G Golan