On Thursday evening, July 20th, the Embassy of Colombia in Tel Aviv celebrated Colombia’s National Day, the anniversary of the signing of the country’s declaration of independence. The event was held at the beautiful home of Colombian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Mr. Fernando Alzate Donoso, and wife Mrs.Nancy, in Kfar Shmaryahu.
Guests were met with trays of Colombian delicacies such as arepas, empanadas, and patacones, all prepared by the personal chef of the embassy and by Mabel Jaitt Catering. A good time was had by all, as food and drinks were passed around between guests attending from all over Israel and the world, with Colombian music playing lightly in the background.
The Colombian national anthem, as well as the Israeli national anthem, were sung in their respective languages by Alejandro Escobar. This was followed by performances by Christina Chapagna and Sergio Merletti. All three singers were visiting Israel from Italy.
Following the anthems, Israeli Minister Ayoub Kara addressed the crowd on behalf of the Israeli government and people. Minister Kara congratulated Colombia on 207 years of independence, and touted the 68 years of bilateral relations between the countries. Kara recalled the 2013 visit to Israel by President Juan Manuel Santos, and his own encounter with President Santos at a summit with Latin American world leaders.
Minister Kara discussed the surging trade and cooperation between the two nations, in agriculture, education, medicine, and other fields, facilitated by the MASHAV agency for international aid and development at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Touting recent achievements, including a free trade agreement signed between Colombia and Israel earlier this year, Minister Kara painted a rosy picture for the Israeli-Colombian relationship.
Ambassador Donoso addressed the embassy’s guests, opening in celebration of the sixty-year diplomatic relationship Colombia shares with Israel. He also spoke of another peaceful relationship, one far more difficult to come by: the peace agreement signed last November between the Colombian government and the guerrilla organization FARC.
The ambassador is optimistic about the peace agreement, and spoke of the positive effects of this hard-won peace that are already felt across his home country. He mentioned the almost-7,000 demilitarized FARC members across Colombia, and called the laying down of weapons Colombia’s greatest accomplishment in fifty years.
Alongside news of this groundbreaking peace agreement, the ambassador touched on the importance of another agreement: the free trade agreement signed this month between Colombia and Israel. He spoke of the future expansion of bilateral trade and investment, and his hopes for a continued deepening of political ties between the Republic of Colombia and the State of Israel. In closing, the ambassador led a toast to the well-being of both nations.
Among the guests present at such an important gathering were Meron Reuven, chief of protocol for Israel; Motty Ephraim, Deputy Director-General for Latin America and the Caribbean; Deputy Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Yossi Katribas; David de la Rosa and his wife Grace , former Colombian Ambassador to Israel, Yoed Magen former Israel Ambassador to Colombia and today Director Department for Central America , Mexico and Caribbe, Honorary Consul Mr. Jaime Aron; Head of the Kfar Shmaryahu regional municipality, Mr. Dror Aloni, representatives of the Peres Center for Peace, and Yeruham Scharovsky, Director of the Hod Hasharon Conservatory, who conducts orchestras in Colombia, Israel, and around the world.
Happy Colombia National Day from www diplomacy co il Staff !!!!!
Photos Silvia Golan
Steven Aiello is the founder of Debate for Peace