For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania and Argentina to the State of Israel
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 8 July / 16 Tammuz, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania and Argentina to the State of Israel. The official ceremony was held, for the first time, entirely in the hall of Beit HaNasi in line with the restrictions imposed to fight the spread of coronavirus. As each ambassador arrived, the national anthem of their country was played by the Israel Police Band and they reviewed an IDF honor guard reduced in size because of the restrictions. After presenting their letters of credence to the president, each one signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book and Hatikva was played at the end of the ceremony.
First to present her credentials to the president was the Ambassador of Colombia, Margarita Eliana Manjarrez Herrera, accompanied by her two daughters. The president welcomed her to Israel and said he appreciated the important relations between the two countries in the field of counter-terrorism. The president invited the Colombian president, a friend of Israel, to Jerusalem, and the ambassador replied that the President of Colombia would be delighted to accept the invitation.
“We have 63 years of strong diplomatic relations. My job is to strengthen the unique friendship between our countries,” said the ambassador.
The Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, Panayotis N. Sarris, then presented his credentials. “Last month, we hosted the Greek prime minister and we hope to welcome your president to Jerusalem soon,” said the president. “Our friendship is based on our ancient cultures and our extensive cooperation, particularly in the field of energy – on which regional security and stability in the Mediterranean is based.”
The president remembered fondly his state visit to Greece, saying “It was one of the last visits with Nechama, my late wife, and she very much enjoyed the art and archeology. It helped us understand better the region we live in.” The president also noted Israel’s deep appreciation for Greece’s commitment to fighting antisemitism, and its support for Israel in the European Union and NATO.
The ambassador thanked the president, saying “Israel is very precious to us and we try as far as possible to be on your side. Since I arrived here as an experienced diplomat who has served in different countries, I have never felt as much at home as I do here in Israel. The cooperation between us is amazing.” The ambassador added that Greece is missing Israeli tourists and added his country’s appreciation for the dedication of many Israeli scientists to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The president then received credentials from the Danish ambassador, Anne Dorte Riggelsen, accompanied by her daughter. The president conveyed his best wishes to HM Queen Margarethe II who celebrated her 80th birthday recently.
“We will remember forever the heroic rescue of the Jews of Denmark during the Holocaust,” said the president. He also spoke warmly of the Danish Innovation Center in Tel Aviv which does so much for cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Riggelsen thanked the president, saying “I see great similarities between our two small countries that believe that they are not so small. Denmark aspires to a society that works in times of difficulty. To build a society that works for everyone. If I can be of help in the conversation between our two peoples - not just our two governments - I will leave here with a full heart.”
Next to present his credentials was the new ambassador of Romania to Israel, Radu Ioanid, who takes up his post after decades of service to the fight against antisemitism and for Holocaust memory. The president noted the leading role the ambassador played in the establishment of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. He also noted Romania’s leading role in the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. “We appreciate it very much, as we do Romania’s support for Israel in international fora.”
After thanking the president, the ambassador said that Romania is proud to be at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism, and that he is sure that by working together, the two countries can contribute much to the world. The ambassador spoke of the intention to establish a museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Romania, including the Holocaust.
Finally. Ambassador Sergio Daniel Urribarri of Argentina presented his credentials. The president congratulated the country on celebrating 204 years of independence. The president noted the important role Argentina plays in the international arena and the great potential for cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Urribarri thanked the president, saying “I will work to strengthen relations between our countries even more than before,” said the ambassador and conveyed to the president the personal best wishes of Pope Francis I whom he met recently, and of the President of Argentina.
Photo credits: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)