On Sunday night, the magnificent new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was the venue of a double celebration hosted by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Zhan Yongxin, and the embassy staff.
A glittering event in a glittering setting. The occasion was the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Republic, plus 25 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and China. The guest list included ambassadors of many countries (amongst others, we noted those of Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Zambia, Germany, Georgia, Holland, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Nepal), many other diplomats from various diplomatic missions, the cream of Israeli Chinese society, business people and other VIPS. One of the special guests was Israel’s basketball hero Tal Brody, who, with his wife, will be leaving for China soon where he will be awarded honorary citizenship and receive a goodwill award. Tal has long been an active volunteer on behalf of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, successfully promoting business agreements between the two countries. China’s appreciation is about to materialize – and justifiably so.
The evening’s event began with a generous reception that included a fine buffet meal. Guests mingled in the lovely hall, enjoying the atmosphere and renewing old friendships. Besides the diplomatic presence, guests included Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Sheraton Tel Aviv’s General Manager, Franco Vella, Adv. Hassoon Tayser (Assistant to the President of the Arab Academic College of Education), Architect Rami Wimmer, Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nitza Raz-Silbiger - Director of the Israel Protocol Department (and several other Ministers and government officials), Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan – head of the Israeli Center for Young Leaders and the Israel School for Young Ambassadors, and many others.
The celebrations continued in the museum’s Asian Hall, with the formal opening ceremony, where the national anthems of China and Israel were played, followed by the address by H.E. Zhan Yongxin. The ambassador welcomed the guests and thanked them for their attendance. He gave an interesting summary of China’s 68 years of successful integration into the family of nations, steered by the Chinese Communist party. The economic and financial statistics are indeed impressive, and he added: “China’s economic development will bring more and better opportunities for win-win cooperation for the whole world, including Israel”. He did not fail to mention China’s hopes and aspirations for playing a positive and constructive role in bringing peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and he referred warmly to the 25 years of successful bi-lateral diplomatic friendship between Israel and China.
China is Israel’s third largest trading partner. In the first half of this year Israel’s imports from the People’s Republic grew by nearly 17%, while her exports there by about 33%. He ended by again expressing his warm thanks and extending good wishes on the occasion of the upcoming Jewish New Year.
Responding on behalf of the State of Israel and its people, Minister Uri Ariel opened by warmly thanking the Ambassador for his generous words. He too spoke of the major trade between the countries, pointing out that Israel views China as major trading partner. He mentioned the giant increases in bi-lateral tourism between the two countries, especially now that multi-entry visa agreements are in force. Minister Uriel also rightly touched on the dark history of World War 2, when China opened its borders to the desperate European Jewry who sought escape from the ravages of the war, and at least 20,000 found refuge in China. “We will never forget that”.
Before returning to the main lobby for desserts and cocktails, the guests were entertained – brilliantly – by dancers and singers of the Nanjing National Orchestra and the Nanjing Song & Dance Ensemble, all specially arranged by the Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting, TV, Press & Publication.
A fitting end to the beautiful celebrations.
Happy China National Day from www diplomacy co il Staff !!!!!
Photos By Silvia Golan