St. Patrick’s Day came early to Israel, with the annual celebration by the Irish Embassy held on Thursday March 15. Dignitaries and guests, many in green-themed outfits, enjoyed live music and Irish beer in a gala celebration in Tel Aviv.
H.E. Ambassador Alison Kelly opened her remarks by thanking the evening’s co-sponsors, including well-known Irish brands like Guinness. The Ambassador also noted the presence of Irish UN peacekeepers and thanked them for their contributions to peacekeeping around the world. Ambassador mentioned that the municipality building in Tel Aviv, as well as a soccer stadium in Haifa, were lit up green for the evening, showing Israel’s love for Ireland. In closing her remarks, Ambassador Kelly thanked her assistant Alyssa for all her work over the last few years, in anticipation of the latter leaving her post.
Irish Minister of State Mr. Paul Kehoe addressed the audience next, and joined Ambassador Kelly in thanking her assistant, as well as the Irish peacekeepers stationed in Israel. Mr. Kehoe talked about the burgeoning economic and commercial cooperation between Ireland and Israel. The minister expressed his hope that even more areas for business cooperation would open up in coming years. Moving to cultural ties, Mr. Kehoe mentioned Irish authors visiting Israel, and Irish art exhibitions in Israel as examples of the intercultural diplomacy at work bringing the two nations together.
Finally, Mr. Kehoe cited the close cooperation in security and defense matters between Ireland and Israel, as well as the Irish peacekeepers stationed in the Golan Heights. Expressing his satisfaction that the two nations had developed such close and positive ties, he concluded by explaining that on St. Patrick’s Day, “everyone is Irish,” and wishing all the guests a festive celebration.
Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Dr. Michael Oren addressed the crowd on behalf of the government of Israel. In addition to expressing the satisfaction of his own government and nation with their ties and cooperation with Ireland, the deputy minister also talked about his own personal ties. He mentioned his first visit to Ireland and love of the country, as well as an Irish drum that he still plays today. Deputy Minister Oren concluded by wishing all of the guests a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The national anthems of both countries were then sung, concluding the formal portion of the evening. The band resumed playing Irish music, and many people joined in traditional dancing, including some professional dancers. Throughout the evening photos and information about St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world were broadcast onto a screen on the wall, while guests also had the opportunity to create an Irish-themed gif at a photo station.
The distinguished guests included ambassadors and various diplomats, business and cultural leaders, and those with a unique Irish connection, including negotiations expert Lior Frankiensztajn, Vered Swid, former
Director of the Authority for Advancing Women’s Rights, Liel Maghen, Co-Director of the Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI), and Brian Maccaba, an Irish Jew based in Jerusalem who works in the cybersecurity and high-tech field.
Diplomacy.co.il wishes Happy St. Patrick’s Day to the Embassy and the people of Ireland.