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 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Belgium H.E. Mr. Jean-Luc Bodson

 

President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia to the State of Israel

President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 4 November / 17 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia as they begin their posting to the State of Israel in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Each ambassador was received with the playing of their country’s national anthem and Hatikva, and they then reviewed an IDF honor guard which was smaller in size than normal because of the coronavirus restrictions. The ambassadors presented their letters of credence to the president and signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book.

The first to present his credentials was Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson of Belgium. The president welcomed him to Israel and expressed his appreciation for King Phillippe’s participation in the events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January. The president also spoke about the ambassador’s grandmother, Elisabeth Dereymaeker, who was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Dereymaker saved two Jewish children in her home after their mother and sister were sent to Auschwitz. Because of the hiding place that she gave them, their lives were saved. “We will never forget your grandmother’s noble act. Too few did so, and the Jewish people will be grateful to her for thousands of years,” said the president. He also noted the importance of fighting antisemitism and racism of all kinds that are now raising their heads. The president said that there is no place for crude antisemitism such as that on display in the annual Carnival of Aalst.

 

 

 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Uzbekistan  H.E. Mrs. Feruza Makmudova

 

Ambassador Feruza Makmudova of Uzbekistan then presented her credentials to the president, the first female ambassador in the Uzbek foreign service. “Uzbekistan proves to the whole world that there is no conflict between Christians and Moslems,” said the president. “We hope to prove that we canlive together in peace, as Jews, Moslems and Christians, and members of all faiths, do in Israel.” The ambassador responded, “Thank you for your warm welcome. I bring greetings from the president and government of Uzbekistan. Since our countries established diplomatic relations, we have a dialogue of mutual understanding and respect. Now, we can develop new projects and initiatives,” she said.

 

 

Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Sweden H.E. Mr. Erik Ullenhag

 

Next to present his credentials to the president was Ambassador Erik Ullenhag of Sweden. The president welcomed him, saying “our two countries enjoy excellent relations across a range of fields. It is important to say that we welcome different opinions regarding the future of our region, but boycotts and pressure will not help any of the parties.” The ambassador thanked the president for his welcome and said “we attach great importance to our work together in fighting antisemitism. Antisemitism is poison.”

 

 

 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Norway H.E. Mr. Kare Reider Aas

 

 The president then welcomed Ambassador Kare Reider Aas of Norway, congratulating him on Norway’s election to serve on the United Nations Security Council. “The discourse at the UN on Israel must change, particularly given the new opportunities that peace between Israel and Arab countries presents,” he said. The ambassador thanked the president and spoke about the good relations between the countries and the importance of deepening them between the peoples and not just between governments. The ambassador also noted Norway’s appreciation for Israel’s support regarding its election to the Security Council.

 

Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Latvia H.E. Mr.  Aivars Groza 

 

Finally, the president received the credentials of Ambassador Aivars Groza of Latvia. He noted his hopes that the good relations between the countries would be reflected in Latvia’s votes at the UN. At the end of their meeting, the president invited the Latvian president to visit Israel, saying that he would be delighted to host him here in Jerusalem. The ambassador thanked the president for the invitation and said that Latvia takes racism and antisemitism very seriously and does much to fight them.  

 

Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO