On Monday evening October 2, Tel Aviv’s Sheraton Hotel transported guests to east Asia, as the Taipei Cultural and Economic Office celebrated the 106th National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan). With an exhibition of works by Taiwanese-Israeli oil painter Ben Wang, and musical performers and cuisine to match the occasion, the festive scene brought Taiwan to Tel Aviv for one night of celebration.
The evening opened with the playing of both Taiwan and Israel’s national anthems. For each, an elaborate video backdrop showed moving symbols and motifs of Israel and Taiwan. After the playing of the anthems, Nico Lin performed the Tamborine Dance, with the song “Shaken, not Stern.”
Representative of Taiwan in Israel H.E. Mr. Yun-Sheng Chi greeted the guests, welcoming everyone to the celebration. Mr. Chi emphasized that as the oldest democracy in Asia, despite the many trials and tribulations of the past century, “the pursuit of democracy and freedom has never died or halted.” He noted that last year a female President, Dr. Tsai Ing-Wen, had been elected for the first time in Taiwan’s history. Mr. Chi also mentioned the stellar ranking of Taiwan by impartial observers like Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders.
Moving to the Israel-Taiwan relationship, Mr. Chi listed parliamentary visits, twinned sisters, and the numerous high-tech and start-up partnership connecting Israeli and Taiwanese innovation and financing as evidence of the strength of bilateral relations. He also mentioned a recent joint effort with El Al Airlines to bring Israeli journalists to Taiwan, Taiwanese youth volunteering in Israel, the Taiwan-Israel Medical Conference to be held in December, and the nearly $1.6 billion in trade between the two nations as signs that Israeli-Taiwanese cooperation was still growing. In closing, Chi offered a toast to the peace and prosperity of the two nations, and to everlasting friendship.
Nava Boker, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, spoke on behalf of the government. She talked of the economic and technological revolutions bringing improvements to the world, and of how both Israel and Taiwan were poised to be leaders in this change via agriculture, medicine, hitech, cyberspace, and other scientic innovations. Boker mentioned how impressed she was on a recent visit to Taiwan, when she led a parliamentary delegation. Boker finished by hoping for future years of collaboration and shared innovative successes.
Lapid Lavi spoke on behalf of Dr. Nachman Shai, the Chairman of the Israel-Taiwan Friendship group. He mentioned the trust and wide-ranging cooperation and thanked Representative Chi for his work to bring the two nations closer together.
Following the speeches, guests were delighted to enjoy a special musical performance featuring traditional Chinese drummers. A giant cake was then cut, and guests were able to wander around the hall, sampling the various dishes. All of the food had been specially prepared in a joint effort between the Cultural and Economic Office and the Sheraton. A special chef, Xiu-Ling Skoropa, was flown in to work with the hotel staff in preparing traditional dishes that would be up to Taiwanese standards, allowing guests a taste of what a visit to Taiwan might be like. The results were excellent, and Chinese, Israeli, and other international guests all benefitted from this latest example of Israeli-Taiwanese cooperation.
In addition at this prestigious event were numerous Knesset members, including several who had been on the parliamentary delegation to Taiwan; Israeli Nobel laureate in Chemistry Professor Dan Schechtman; former deputy Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Asia section) Zvi Gabai; El Al Deputy Director of International Relations Stanley Morais, and Israeli theatrical Director Howard Ripp.
Diplomacy.co.il wishes the Taipei Cultural and Economic Office and all those celebrating a happy and blessed 106th Anniversary celebration!
Photos Silvia Golan
Founder, Debate for Peace