President Rivlin with Ambassador of France H.E. Mr. Eric Danon
President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of France, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Georgia and Slovenia as they began their terms as ambassadors of their countries to Israel
President Rivlin to all the ambassadors:
“I look forward to welcoming you here in January for the ceremony marking 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Your presence will strengthen the important bilateral relations between our countries and is an important part of the fight against anti-Semitism.”
President Rivlin to the French ambassador:
“In recent weeks we have seen evidence of growing Iranian activity in Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon bears sovereign responsibility for all Hezbollah action. We say clearly to the Lebanese government and its allies around the world: Hezbollah’s aggression must be stopped before we find ourselves dragged into a conflict that neither Lebanon nor Israel want. Israel will not tolerate threats to the safety of its citizens.”
New ambassadors from Lithuania, the Netherlands, Georgia, France and Slovenia today, Thursday 12 September / 12 Elul, presented diplomatic credentials to President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin as they took up their posts as ambassadors of their countries to Israel, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Upon arrival, the national anthem of the ambassadors’ home country was played the Israel Police Band and they then reviewed an IDF honor guard. After presenting their credentials, the ambassadors had an audience with the president, at the end of which they each signed the Beit HaNasi guest book. ‘Hatikva’ was played at the end of each ceremony.
President Rivlin with Ambassador of Lithuania H.E. Mrs. Lina Antanavičienė
The first to present her credentials to the president was the new Lithuanian ambassador, Lina Antanavičienė. The president began his remarks by sending his best wishes for a swift recovery to the Prime Minister of Lithuania. He expressed his appreciation for the way Lithuania teaches and commemorates the Holocaust and our shared history. “I see remembering the past as one of the most important elements of my posting, as well as concentrating on the future,” the ambassador said.
President Rivlin with Ambassador of the Netherlands to Israel H.E. Mr. Hans Docter
The new ambassador of the Netherlands to Israel, Hans Docter, was next to present his credentials to the president. The president began by saying, "We are currently marking 70 years of relations between our two countries. Yesterday, our new ambassador presented his credentials to King Willem-Alexander and today you are here to do the same thing.” The president noted the excellent relations between the two countries, based on a long shared history that stretches back to Jewish immigrants to Holland following their expulsion from Spain in the late 15th Century, and during the Holocaust when Anne Frank became a symbol of Dutch Jewry.
Ambassador Docter said, “We are two small, innovative and entrepreneurial nations and together we can work to make the world a better place.”
President Rivlin with Ambassador of Georgia H.E. Mr. Lasha Zhvania
Ambassador of Georgia Lasha Zhvania then presented his credentials to the president, speaking fluent Hebrew. This is the second time he serves as his country’s ambassador to Israel. In his remarks the president spoke about the warm hospitality he I received on his visit to Tbilisi two years ago. He also said, “we are both quite small countries, but the relations between us are big, deep and significant. We must deepen and expand the economic relations between our countries and do more together in the field of agriculture."
Ambassador Zhvania thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “My agenda here is to further deepen our excellent relations, and I hope that my president will visit here soon.”
The president then received the credentials of the new French ambassador, Eric Danon, who was accompanied by his wife and 14-year-old son. The president spoke about his state visit to Paris in January. "I hold special memories of my visit along with my dear late wife Nehama, and of the warm hospitality shown by President Macron and the first lady and send them both my warmest regards. We are marking 70 years of diplomatic relations between our countries, and have always resolved any disagreements that have arisen, as old friends are able to do.”
“We appreciate France’s efforts for regional security,” said the president and continued, “but in recent weeks we have seen evidence of growing Iranian activity in Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon bears sovereign responsibility for all Hezbollah action. We say clearly to the Lebanese government and its allies around the world: Hezbollah’s aggression must be stopped before we find ourselves dragged into a conflict that neither Lebanon nor Israel want. Israel will not tolerate threats to the safety of its citizens. With the Iranians, Hizbollah is building factories to produce missiles to fire on Israel and that is something that Israel cannot afford. The government of Lebanon cannot make excuses that it is not their responsibility. Hizbollah is part of Lebanon, part of the government of Lebanon, part of the people of Lebanon.”
The French ambassador thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, "France tries to improve the situation in the region and bring stability and security to all its inhabitants. Let me assure you that I am here to help in all aspects of our bilateral relations, to maintain the excellent relations between the countries, with particular attention to the security of the State of Israel.”
President Rivlin with Ambassador of Slovenia H.E. Mrs. Andreja Purkrat Martinez
Finally, Ambassador Andreja Purkrat Martinez of Slovenia, accompanied by her daughter, presented her credentials. The president greeted them and thanked the president of Slovenia for accepting his invitation to participate in the event marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. He also noted the good relations between the countries and the wide range of areas where they can cooperate, adding he would be happy to see even more Slovenian tourists visiting Israel. Referring to Slovenia’s membership of the UNESCO Executive Board, the president stressed that on the question of Jerusalem, decisions based on political considerations cannot ignore historical facts.
The ambassador thanked the president for his remarks, saying, “As soon as I arrived here, I felt at home, even though this is my first time in Israel. It is an honor to be my country’s ambassador here, and for this to be my first posting as ambassador. We see great importance in developing the relations between the countries and peoples, and I will be working towards those goals.”
Photo credits: Mark Neiman (GPO)