The Embassy of Nepal held its National Day Celebration at the Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya on Monday evening, The festively lit garden was the stage for an important anniversary--the chance to celebrate 60 years of Israel-Nepal relations.
Guests were delighted to get a taste of Nepali culture, with traditional candles, music, and authentic Nepali dishes. The formal ceremony opened with the candle lighting
Nadav Ben Yehuda, Israel’s most accomplished high altitude mountaineer who serves as Honorary Public Relations Representative of the Nepal Tourism Board, opened the formal ceremony. Mr. Ben Yehuda pointed out that while it was Nepal’s National Day, it was not Independence Day, as Nepal is one of the rare countries to never have been colonized.
Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Arjun Ghimire then took the stage, delighting the guests by walking out singing to traditional Nepali music accompaniment. The national anthems of Nepal and Israel were played, followed by a traditional candle lighting ceremony.
H.E. Dr. Anjan Shakya, the ambassador of Nepal, began her speech with introductions in an impressively fluent Hebrew. The ambassador spoke about the connections between Israel and Nepal, from the lowest point on earth (Dead Sea) to the highest (Mount Everest). The ambassador highlighted the growth of bilateral cooperation in the areas of agriculture, labor, art, culture, education, business and more.
Ambassador Shakya said that with its focus on gender diversity, approximately 40% of Nepal’s political decision makers are female, making it one of the global leaders in that regard. It is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. With ten UNESCO world heritage sites, some of the largest mountains in the world, and best preserved natural areas, Nepal is “the perfect travel destination for a post-Covid vacation” according to the ambassador.
Knesset Member Michal Shir, chairwoman of the Israel-Nepal parliamentary friendship group spoke next, offering congratulations on 61 years of bilateral cooperation, blessings for a successful coming year, and a commitment that the cooperation between the countries would only continue to grow.
Minister Eli Avidar then offered remarks on behalf of the government and people of Israel. Mr. Avidar recalled that Nepal was the first South Asian country to recognize Israel, with then prime minister BP Koirala meeting Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion, in 1960. Among the many areas of bilateral cooperation, the minister cited health, education, tourism, and security, “signs of the true friendship between our people.”
The minister also mentioned critical Mashav agricultural courses with thousands of graduates bringing knowledge and experience back to Nepal. Minister Avidar announced the plans to open a center in Nepal for bringing agricultural technological know-how from Israel to Nepal. Other important links between the countries that the minister mentioned include the many Israelis who choose Nepal as a travel destination, creating “social bridges,” and “friendships that last for generations”, Nepali caregivers providing services for the elderly in Israel, and the presence of troops from Nepal in regional UN peacekeeping missions UNIFIL and UNDOF. Following these remarks, a toast was raised to the success of Nepal and Israel.
In addition to the speeches, there were some memorable moments of recognition. First an award was given to Ms. Adina Gottesman, who served as Nepal’s honorary consul in Israel for 14 years, providing consular support to Israeli and Nepali citizens until the opening of the embassy of Nepal in Tel Aviv in 2007.
This event also served as the book launch for a special anthology overseen by the Embassy of Nepal in honor of the 60th anniversary of Israel-Nepal relations, with articles spanning from tourism to medical and humanitarian aid to Nepali soldiers who fought with the British Army in the region during World War I. Many of the contributing authors were in attendance for the occasion, and all guests received a copy of this unique Diamond Jubilee commemorative book.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Nepal’s first honorary consul Adina Gottesman; Honorary Consul Nimrod Berger; Ambassador Gil Haskel, head of protocol and former director of Mashav; Rafael Harpaz, deputy director general of the Asia Pacific department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. David Freeman, Jerusalem Representative of the Baha'i community; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, president of the Ambassadors’ club; Dr. Michael Oren, former ambassador of Israel to the United States; Major General (Res) Matan Vilnai; Raviv Baron, President of the Israel-India & Nepal Chamber of Commerce; Anat Bernstein-Reich, Chairperson of the Israel-India & Nepal Chamber of Commerce, and many members of the diplomatic corps in Israel.
The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of NEPAL on the occasion of their National Day
Photos Silvia Golan
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