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On Thursday, August 24, the Embassy of Uruguay commemorated in Israel the 198th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a reception that took place at the Sourasky Central Library of Tel Aviv University. The Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, Mr. Manuel Etchevarren, and his wife Mrs. Ana Solivellas, Mrs. Ifigenia Xifre Consul, Mr. Abraham Aman Honorary Consul, and Mr. Julio Lieberman Honorary Consul, received the guests and compatriots.

The evening opened with the hymns of Israel and Uruguay.

Ambassador Etchevarren began his speech by welcoming the Minister of Intelligence Mrs. Gila Gamliel, the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other institutions, diplomats accredited in Israel, the Members of the Foundation for the Promotion of Uruguayan Culture in Israel – who organized the exhibition that accompanied this celebration of the 198th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, to compatriots and other guests. He expressed : “I consider myself very lucky to be here again, since I began my career as consul at the Embassy in Israel a little over three decades ago, and I had the honor and pleasure of being at the first of the national holidays celebrated in this University, which today opens its doors for us again...” He highlighted the opportunity to be participating in key moments, such as the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel, and the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations between Israel and Uruguay, which are much older than those three-quarters of a century, because Uruguay was an important factor in the entire movement that led to the creation of this State, such as the decisive vote in the United Nations, which led to the birth of the modern State of Israel, as you all know. The Head of the Uruguayan Delegation at that time, Enrique Rodríguez Fabregat, has some streets that honor him in Israel (Ramat Gan, Holón) and was described as "a natural friend of our cause"  by Menahem Begin. I was also fortunate to participate in various commemorations such as the inauguration at the end of May of a mural in Zichron Yaakov - the culmination of a process initiated by my predecessor Bernardo Graiver and the aforementioned friends and team - that commemorates the friendship between both countries and called La Radio, because the aforementioned vote was followed by many listeners, especially here in the territory of what was to be the State of Israel, precisely through that means, the radio.» …». By the way, recently, the President of Israel, Mr. Itzhak Herzog, a friend from Uruguay, visited and was able to appreciate the work, as well as I hope the Uruguayan wines from the Garzón winery.”

The ambassador highlighted the recent and very successful visit to Uruguay by Minister Eli Cohen, accompanied by an important delegation, which included Ambassador Jonathan Peled, confirming the excellent state of bilateral relations. And to finish, he mentioned the value of the exhibition, which reflects the experience and experiences of those who made “Aliyah” from Uruguay, expressed from very different perspectives and artistic languages, in an exhibition that invites reflection, highly connected with feelings.

He stated how much there is in common, between the 198 years of the Independence of Uruguay declared on August 25, 1825 and the Independence of the modern State of Israel, expressed that" May 14, 1948, where between very different contexts we can extract a common experience: the awareness that this commitment that gave rise to each of the states can only be fully realized if it is constantly renewed, if beyond all gaps or differences we are capable as a society of feeling integrated into a superior body that contains and identifies, and in which we invest our creative energies and our renewing criticisms.” He expressed his appreciation to the University of Tel Aviv, to those previously mentioned, all that network of collaborators that is sometimes more visible and other times less visible, more or less formal or informal, Embassy staff, honorary consuls in Haifa and Ashdod, Garzón wine importer (AIBBLS) cooperators always very necessary and generous with their time and effort.

The Minister of Intelligence, Mrs. Gila Gamliel, representing the government of Israel expressed: “It is a great pleasure and honor for me to represent the government and the people of Israel, to congratulate the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, on the occasion of its National Holiday. Exactly one week ago, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen, visited Uruguay and met with both President Louis Lacalle Pou and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Bustillo Bonasso. This historic visit is proof of the deep and far-reaching relations that our two nations share. This is a historic moment as both countries celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations. Israel and Uruguay share a long history of friendship. The leadership and participation of the Uruguayan diplomat, Enrique Rodríguez Fabregat, in 1947 in the Special Committee of the United Nations, and the subsequent vote of Uruguay in favor of the UN Partition Plan led to the establishment of the State of Israel. Uruguay was the fourth country to recognize Israel. This was a historic gesture of solidarity and support, and we will never forget it. We are also grateful for the open arms with which Uruguay welcomed Jewish refugees from World War II. The Jewish community in Uruguay today is vibrant, strong, and an integral element of Uruguayan society. Israel and Uruguay can work together to develop new technologies, promote peace and stability in the region, and fight terrorism and other forms of extremism. Dealing with Iran is a critical issue in the current battle against terrorism. The actions of the Ayatollah regime have created a dangerous environment that reaches far beyond the borders of the Middle East and casts a shadow across the world. In this sense, Uruguay has the opportunity to be together with Israel to confront the activities of the ayatollahs' regime, with solidarity and unwavering determination. This collaborative stance would not only serve to protect Uruguay's own interests, but would also contribute significantly to maintaining global security. In recent years, Israel and Uruguay have been working to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, which can be demonstrated by the decision to open an innovation office in Jerusalem. As everyone knows, Israel prides itself on its vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem and is happy to share its knowledge and experience with our friends. Ambassador, it will be an honor for us to receive an official visit from the President of Uruguay here in Israel in the coming months. I am sure that the future of our relationship will be bright."

After the formal part, while the guests toured the exhibition, the Ambassador spoke with the guests and I had the opportunity to ask him personally about the plans to open an Embassy office in Jerusalem. He told me "that a Technological, Commercial and Cultural office is going to be opened that will offer more possibilities to the excellent relations between the two countries."

Among the guests were: Ambassador Gil Haskel, Head of State Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel; Jonathan Peled – Deputy Director General for Latin America of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ariel Goldstein – Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister's Office; Leo Vinovezky, Leo Vinovezky – Director of the Economic Division Department for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; Ms. Sharon Shaviv (Kabalo), Director of the South America Department; Daniel Saban, former Israeli Ambassador to various South American countries; Gabriel Hayon – President of the Diplomatic Institute; Lawyer and notary Leon Amiras; Solomon Esterlis Director of Projects of the Mekorot Water Treatment Company (very active in South America); Perla Angelman Bawnik and many foreign ambassadors especially from South America, military, business leaders and members of the Uruguayan community in Israel.

The collective exhibition of paintings “#what I brought from Uruguay” was held from August 1 to 25, 2023, with the participation of 15 Uruguayan artists living in Israel at the Sourasky Central Library of Tel Aviv University.

The guests were delighted with excellent Uruguayan wines from the Garzón winery, the pleasant Uruguayan music in the background, and typical Uruguayan and South American foods, such as sandwiches de miga and Chajá made by the famous Mabel Jaitt’s catering.

The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the government, people and Embassy of Uruguay on the occasion of the 198th anniversary of its Independence.


Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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