The ceremonial part started with the anthems of Slovakia and Israel, followed by a speech by the Slovakian ambassador, who started by thanking the guests for joining the celebration, marking 30 years anniversary of the republic and the relations with Israel.
According to him, an important milestone in this period was 2004, When Slovakia joined the European Union and NATO. It made Slovakia an integral part of the European community and the Trans- Atlantic family, sharing common values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law.
The Ambassador commented that unfortunately, this dream has been denied to Ukraine by the aggressive Russian invasion, and that Slovakia continues its support of the Ukrainian people in their fights for sovereignty, freedom and peace.
The Ambassador continued with congratulating Israel on its 75 years anniversary and the dynamic and bilateral relations with Slovakia, as reflected by the partnership between the two parliaments. He also elaborated on the recent high-profile visits to Israel and Slovakia, which have strengthen the dialogue and have improved the relations between the two countries: in March the Prime-Minister of Slovakia visited Israel, followed by the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs participation at GlobSec forum in Bratislava, and a recent visit of The President of Israel in Slovakia the week before.
The Ambassador emphasized the strong dialogue between the two countries, which doesn’t rely on politics only but also on economy, tech, innovation, science, education, military, and tourism. Another component of the dialogue is social, as reflected by the opening of the Slovak Institute in Jerusalem in 2021, which now has a branch at the embassy in Tel Aviv.
The Ambassador also mentioned that this year marks two years anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which have transformed the region significantly, and that Slovakia is committed to the Middle East peace process.
The Ambassador concluded by thanking the guests again and congratulated Shana nova Umetuka, happy new Jewish year, as Rosh-Hashanah was celebrated the day after.
Next speech was delivered by the guest of honor Rabbi Yizhak Shapira, who spoke on behalf of the Slovak parliament. Rabbi Shapiro shared that standing here today, just before Rosh-Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is an emotional moment for him as his sentiments to the Slovak republic and Israel are both very strong.
He mentioned that his roots are going five generations back, when his great grandfather Chatam Sofer established a long rabbinical dynasty, which has prevailed through World War 2 till this day in Jerusalem. Rabbi Shapira expressed the deep commitment of the Slovak leadership to Jewish history. It is reflected, as he elaborated, by the frequent meetings he holds with ambassadors, diplomats, ministers and prime-ministers, and by the government- supported organization he established- ESJF, which preserves and protects 12,000 abandoned Jewish cemeteries.
The Rabbi also delivered a message from the President of Israel His Excellency Yizhak Herzog, who visited Slovakia the week before, asserting that the relationship has always been very good, and that his recent visit has even “contributed to the relationship a few steps forward”.
Rabbi Shapira mentioned that in light of the upcoming holiday, it is appropriate to pray for God almighty and to point out that despite the challenging national dispute in Israel nowadays, the nation will overcome it. He added that it is time to pray for an internal peace as well as peace with our neighbors and around the world. Rabbi Shapira concluded with “God bless the world, God bless Israel, and God bless Slovakia. Shana nova Umetuka, Gmar Chatima Tova, and a year of peace and unity to Israel and Slovakia.
The ceremony was concluded with a speech by Ms. Erika Shpitz. Ms. Shpitz noted that Hitachdut Yotzei Czechoslovakia, The Association of Czechoslovakian Expatriates in Israel maintains and has always maintained warm contact with the representatives of the Czechoslovak Embassy in the past, and in the wake of the separation - with both embassies.
She shared her satisfaction of using the library in the Embassy, as well as the Slovak Institute in Jerusalem, which presents special exhibitions of contemporary art. Ms. Shpitz thanked the ambassador and his team for visiting the northern branch in Haifa, and mentioned the student exchange programs between the two countries especially in the fields of medicine and veterinary.
Ms, Spitz mentioned the Memorial for Czechoslovak victims of the holocaust earlier this year at the Yaar Hakdoshim, and expressed her hope to gather at the Slovak Forest in the future.
Among the distinguished guests were: Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Jakub Urik, the director of the Slovak Institute in Jerusalem ; Mr. Daniel Meron, Deputy Director General; Mr. Joe Pickel. Honorary Consul Slovakia, Israel Slovakia Chamber of CommerceI; World Diamond Exchange president Boaz Moldavski and his wife Ayala; Ariel Goldshtein - Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister Office; and many foreign Ambassadors, militars, business leaders and members of the Slovak community in Israel
The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of Slovak Republic on the occasion of their National & Army Day
Photos Silvia Golan
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