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 President Isaac Herzog and the First Lady host their first annual Rosh HaShanah toast for the foreign diplomatic corps, call on the world to shun the Durban IV Conference: "surely another hate-fest full of antisemitism and Israel-bashing."

 Thursday 2 September 2021 / 25 Elul 5781

 

 

In honor of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog hosted their first annual toast at the President's Residence in Jerusalem for the foreign diplomatic corps stationed in Israel. The reception was attended by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Zambian ambassador Martin Mwanambale. In attendance were around 100 ambassadors, including the new envoys of Bahrain and Morocco, as well as representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Egypt and more.

 

Photo : Zambian ambassador Martin Mwanambale

 

During the ceremony, the diplomats were treated to a stunning rendition of "Hallelujah" in Arabic and English by the singer Valerie Hamati.

In his speech, President Herzog thanked the foreign diplomats for their work strengthening the ties of peace and friendship between Israel and their nations.

President Herzog called on the assembled ambassadors to join the nations that have already announced a boycott of the Durban IV Conference, which will mark the twentieth anniversary of the infamous Durban Conference of 2001, the U.N.-sponsored "World Conference Against Racism" that descended into manifestations of anti-Israel bigotry and antisemitism.

"Antisemitism is rearing its ugly head, and we find ourselves facing this ancient hate, which should itself have turned into a ‘fossilized relic’ long ago," said President Herzog. "Instead the United Nations is summoning another 'Durban conference' which will surely be another hate-fest full of antisemitism and Israel-bashing. I call on all your nations and governments to publicly denounce this conference and not participate in it."

President Herzog spoke of the urgency of international cooperation and diplomacy, especially in the context of the fight against climate change, and called for "courageous and sometimes painful steps to mitigate this danger with a universal, global approach."

President Herzog praised Arab-Israeli normalization accords and told the diplomats: "This is a paradigm shift that advocates of peace would be wise to leverage." He added: "A core theme of the Jewish New Year is the ability afforded to each of us to choose between good and evil, between a sweet new year—and a bitter one. In the coming year, the Middle East will face two these two alternatives, of good or evil. The first choice, represented by the courageous leaders of the countries of the Abraham Accords, is the path of peace, of people-to-people ties, and of cooperation. The State of Israel will always be a willing partner for all countries in the region that choose the path of peace.

"The second choice, that of evil, which continues to plague our region, is that of hatred, incitement, and terror. And the State of Israel will always stand firm against those in the region that choose the path of war."

Finally, in the spirit of Rosh HaShanah, President Herzog added: "On Rosh Hashanah, Jewish families around the world will recite a special blessing over a pomegranate, hoping that their good deeds may be as plentiful as the seeds of this fruit. If I might offer an Israeli variation on this theme—May the State of Israel and your countries find as many avenues for cooperation as the seeds of the pomegranate. May we find as many shared solutions for our challenges as the seeds of the pomegranate. And may our friendship remain as sweet as the apple we dip in honey."

 

Photos Silvia G. Golan

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