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On July 20, 2021, Her Excellency,Ambassador  of The Republic of Colombia to the State of IsraelMargarita E. Manjarrez Herrera, hosted in her exquisite new home in Kfar Shmaryahu the celebration of Colombia's 211th Independence Day. 
 
At the residence, decorated by posters and flags, and around the blue pool overlooking a green valley, the event was a festive salutation to the history, culture, music, dance and food of Colombia, in conjunction with the solid friendship between the two countries: Colombia and Israel.
The guests were greeted by the traditional row of dignitaries headed by the Ambassador and military officers, while live piano music filled the air with relaxing and cheerful melodies.
 
Colombian coffee was served to the arriving guests.
The official segment of the evening opened with the national anthem of Colombia, followed by the Hatikva - the Israeli national anthem.
 
 Ambassador  Margarita Manjarrez  welcomed the guests. In her speech, she told the story of the Llorente Vase that symbolizes the inception of the Republic of Colombia 211 years ago, when changing forces and events in Europe made it possible. The Ambassador listed some facts about COVID-19 in South America, near and in Colombia, where the pandemic hit hard, creating a combined health and economic crisis. Nevertheless, Colombia, headed by president Iván Duque, generously accepted two million refugees from Venezuela.
 
The cooperation with Israel and study of Israeli health and old-age programs has been thriving in Israel, with Colombian delegations present in Israel. In the activities to disseminate the Colombian culture, Colombia Symphony and Israel Symphony orchestras are having a fruitful dialog. Also in sports, language, environment and architecture, the cultural exchange continues.
 
Technology and commerce are also items of exchange, cross-pollination and synergy between the two countries. Special events were held by the Colombian contingency in Israel, such as a presentation of the incredibly rich flora and fauna of Colombia to Israeli children. The Ambassador also mentioned the Colombian military troops serving in the Sinai Peninsula, as a peace force maintaining the agreement between Israel and Egypt. In closing, the Ambassador told the story of the Jewish community in Colombia: "The Jewish people have been part of life in Colombia, and with approximately  6,000 Jews currently residing in Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla and Santa  Marta whose ancestors came from countries such as Russia, Lithuania,  Romania, Syria, and Poland. And in turn, many Colombians have made Israel their home".
 
Minister Oded Forer addressed the audience on behalf of the government of Israel with a  heartfelt speech. He spoke about the first fruitful phone call between President Duque and Prime Minister Bennett in which they discussed the recently signed Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, the importance of Colombia’s Innovation Office in Jerusalem soon to open and the cooperation in the struggle against covid-19.
 
With regard to the pandemic, the minister said "I want to express our condolences to the Colombian government and people for your human losses during this horrific period". The minister offered cooperation on the matter, stating that "Colombia is both a friend and an ally, and we would be happy to join forces in trying to cope with this common enemy". 
 
The Minister pointed out that the Free Trade Agreement is the only one of this kind signed by President Duque. Also in his speech, Minister Forer  pointed the significance of him being the Minister of Agriculture and the potential for cooperation in innovations related to growing food. A special point that the Minister highlighted is "the positive change in the Colombia’s voting pattern concerning Palestinian issues in the U.N.".  The speech ended with raising a glass, celebrating the warm relations between the two countries.
 
 
 
 
The entertainment and food and wine were constant and generouss, catered by Mabel JaittAn endless stream of Colombian delicious hors-d'oeuvres, mini-sandwiches and empanadas constituted a full hefty meal, served with various wines.  A spectacular performance by  MAX Dance Group in carnival-style costumes captivated everyone's attention and hearts, with two children part of the dance company.
 
The Colombian Cumbia and Salsa music, enhanced by live singer David Leon, swept the Ambassador with many guests onto the dance floor for hours, till the end of the joyous evening
Among the distinguished guests were Oded Forer, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Minister for the development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee, Modi Ephraim, head of the Latin American and Caribbean desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassador’s Club;  Haim Aaron Honorary Consul of Colombia in Israel; Members of the UPC organization, Tzachi Braverman , 
 
MonsignorTomasz Grysa from the Apostolic Nunciature representing the Holy See in IsraelYona Bartal, Executive Director of the Peres Circle at the Peres Center for Peace and InnovationShmulik BassDirector of South America Ministry of Foreign AffairsAmit Titelman CEO Israel-Latin America Chamber of Commerce, Dotan Smith - Administration of Border Crossings, Population and ImmigrationDaneil Werner of Foreign Contact and Cooperation at Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, Amir Yehezkeli,
 
Consular Liaison, Roni Kaplan  former IDF spokesperson in spanishMatias and Yuliana Schapiro -  prominent business entrepreneur and many foreign Ambassadors and business leaders.
The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il  congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of Colombia on the occasion of his National Day
 
Photos by Silvia Golan
     More pics at Facebook Israel Diplo &  Silvia G. Golan