- Written by Diplomacy
On Thursday, December 2nd, the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a gala honoring the King of Thailand on his 83rd birthday. The extravagant celebration coincided with the country's National Day.
The event, celebrated simultaneously throughout many countries, brought together ambassadors and an array of representatives from the diplomatic community as they took part in the festivities, which also recognized the healthy relationship between Israel and Thailand themselves.
Ambassador of Thailand to Israel, H.E Chatchawed Chartsuwan commenced the evening with a brief speech in which he expressed his gratitude to the government of Israel, poignantly describing the strong ties that have united both countries over several years. Ambassador Chartsuwan said he was proud in acknowledging the fact that Thailand was one of the first Asiatic countries to recognize the State of Israel.
Chartsuwanmade it clear that Israeli tourism to Thailand has had and continues to have a huge economic impact on his nation. According to the Thai Ministry of Tourism, roughly 140,000 Israelis visited the Southeast Asian nation thus far as 2010 comes to an end.
Another key point Ambassador Chartsuwan touched upon was the mutual benefit that both nations have been afforded from their scientific and technological cooperation as well as the artistic and cultural events presented by the Thai community in Israel, such as the Thai Festival in Haifa. These events, as explained by Chartsuwan have "consolidated a strong sense of pride and a future filled with unity between the two countries".
In culminating his speech, Ambassador Chartsuwan discussed his intentions in deepening the cohesiveness between both countries, expressing that "in these times, one can neither ignore nor reject globalization." He also expressed his admiration for Israeli President Shimon Peres and the contributions that he has made to both the State of Israel and the global diplomatic community.
Following the Thai Ambassador, Israeli Minister of Infrastructure and Development, Dr. Uzi Landau, expressed his warm regards for both Thailand's diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv as well as the entire Thai nation.
"I came to speak as a representative of the people of Israel, wishing the best to your Majesty, the King of Thailand and all of his people."
Dr. Landau also focused on the vast cultural and economic ties, most notably referring to the strong links over the past couple of years specifically.
The majority of Landau's speech was dedicated to the impact that Thai immigrants and workers have had on the Israeli state itself. Referring to the agricultural contribution and influence, Landau made clear that "Thai immigrants in Israel have made enormous strides in furthering Israel's Agricultural landscape, and we cannot thank them enough."
Not only did Landau express his desire for maintaining the strong commercial ties between the two nations; rather, he expressed the need for further cooperation in building a common agenda with mutual goals across many sectors – an agenda that will carry both nations towards future successes.
Above all else, the evening was a great way to celebrate the strong achievements between Israel and Thailand while also honoring the rich traditions of the Thai Kingdom and its nation's history.
- Written by Diplomacy
In her first appearance at an Israeli university, Brazilian Ambassador to Israel - H.E. Maria Elisa Berenguer - addressed guests at Tel Aviv University and discussed the special relationship between Israel and Brazil as well as Brazil's newly accelerated diplomatic efforts across the Middle East.
Assuming the post as ambassador only four months ago, Ambassador Berenguer expressed her amazement at both the fast paced environment in Israel and how regional events themselves are rapidly changing on a day to day basis. Mixed with its surging economy, it is these rapid developments that have motivated Brazil in undertaking a new diplomatic track as opposed to the country's previously held strategy of 'quiet diplomacy'.
Those familiar with the latest current events in Brazil know that Latin America's most populated and largest country has become a thriving economic force as it has established itself as one of the top ten economic giants across the globe (as measured by GDP). With this, Brazil can only assume a greater role in world diplomacy while trying to expand its "friendly neighbor" policy worldwide and with special attention to the Middle East.
In specifically addressing Brazil's foreign policy efforts towards Iran, Ambassador Berenguer explained that Brazil is adamant in its belief that all nation's have the right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and that her country is attempting a new strategy in approaching the Iranian government with regards to its nuclear program.
Referring to the recent meeting between Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ms. Berenguer explained that, "He [President da Silva] had long conversations with Ahmadinejad about the Jewish people and stressed the importance in not denying the Holocaust."
As Dilma Rousseff is set to assume the Brazilian presidency on January 1st (she will be the first woman to fill that role), Ambassador Berenguer stressed the importance in continuing to pursue a similar diplomatic policy towards the region. "Brazil has been a long time friend of Israel and worked very hard behind the scenes in favor of the UN's resolution, which lead to the establishment of the State of Israel," stated Ms. Berenguer.
And although many Israelis may feel uncomfortable with Brazil's extended hand towards the Iranian regime, Ambassador Berenguer made it clear that Brazil will continue to pursue an agenda that publicly stresses the importance of Israel's security.
Ms. Berenguer said she is looking forward to her stay in Israel and expressed her commitment to maintaining and strengthening the overall ties between her country and Israel.
For more on the Brazilian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, visit http://www.brazilianembassy.org.il/
Photo Jose Cruz
- Written by MFA
Appearing before dozens of guests at the IBCA Balfour Dinner, the recently appointed British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, addressed the question of "loyalty" in regards to to being the United Kingdom's first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv.
"I am a Londoner through and through, and my heart beats a litle faster when England gets within striking distance of the World Cup.
My identity as a proud Jew does not detract one iota from my loyalty as a British citizen. These loyalties operate on different levels, and they do not conflict."
The ambassador invoked references of Chaim Weizman and Walter Rothschild in explaining the phenomenon of dual loyalties as he himself shares between his allegiances to Britain as a citizen and representative abroad and his strong ties to the State of Israel.
"There is absolutely nothing incompatible in this with the most thoroughgoing British patriotism," Gould commented, directly quoting Lord Alfred Milner, a member of former British Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet at the time the Balfour Declaration was created.
In terms of strides being made since assuming his post in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Gould discussed the quick developments being made in further strengthening the economic bonds between Israel and Britain with particular regards to the high-tech sector while also building on the already strong scientific collaboration enjoyed between the two countries.
The ambassador described his agenda as 'long, ambitious and immensely positive'. "This is a country [Israel] of great intensity," commented Gould. "In two months, I have had a crash course in Israeli culture, into Israeli politics, on the Israeli economy. I have made more friends, met more people, visited more places than I ever though possible," he added, saying that his understanding of "the country in which I now live" has expanded greatly.
Among other issues, including the current situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, Gould promised the attendees that his country would "amend the legal anomaly" regarding universal jurisdiction so that Israeli politicians would have no doubts on their legal security when visiting the UK.
Many of the guests in attendance were new olim (new Israeli citizens) from England as they themselves must now deal with the issue of "dual loyalties".
Identifying with the new immigrants and their allegiances, Gould stated, "As a British Jew, sent to the State of Israel to represent my country, I am a personification of this issue [dual loyalty]. I am a patriotic and loyal citizen of Britain and a proud Jew. I love Israel and yearn for her security.
I hold these together without shame and without contradiction".
Clearly, Gould's kippah (Jewish skullcap) of the British flag illustrated the entirety of his speech.
(Photo by Andres Lacko)
For a full copy of the speech, click here
Romania's rich musical traditions were on display Wednesday night at the Givatayim Theatre as some of the Eastern European nation's finest young talent performed before hundreds of guests in attendance in celebration of Romanian National Day.
In honor of the country's reunification of Transylvania into 'Greater Romania' (December 1, 1918), Romanian National Day glorifies the storied cultural achievements throughout the nation's intriguing history. Undoubtedly, Romania's global contributions to the Arts is something that cannot be overlooked; rather, it is these contributions that have helped place the country amongst the world's most sophisticated centers for both the composition and performance of classical music.
Thus, it was quite a privilege for those who attended the Romanian Cultural Institute's - in conjunction with the Embassy of Romania - sponsored orchestral performance honoring the country's heralded musical traditions of both past and present while also getting a glimpse at the the next generation of Romanian prodigies whom have gracefully begun to carry-on those traditions.
The cultural evening commenced with the playing of both the Romanian and Israeli national anthems and was followed by speeches from Gina Pana, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, and the Romanian Ambassador to Israel himself, H.E. Edward Iosiper.
In his speech, Mr. Iosiper discussed the already strong bilateral ties between Israel and Romania while also stressing the desire to see even greater cooperation between the two nation's. Iosiper, who has been posted in Tel Aviv since 2007 said that he was proud of the achievements garnered by both countries and that each can benefit greatly through the continued strengthening of those familial bonds.
Romania, which has a large contingent of foreign workers in Israel, has also recently become a prime destination for Israeli travelers and is growing each year in regards to its tourism industry.
As the evening continued, the young musicians - all students of Romania's finest conservatories - performed pieces by George Enescu and Paul Constantinescu, two of Romania's most celebrated composers, as well as works by Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Robert Schumann. The focus of the concert was to honor both Romania's finest composers and a few of the more recognized Jewish ones.
All of musicians - members of the "Dinu Lipatti" Group for Musical Excellence (Daria Ioana Tudor, piano (13 years old); Georgeta Ioana Iordache, violin (16 years old); Stefan Cazacu, violoncello (17 years old); Arthur Bocaneanu, piano (19 years old) ) - are well known both within Romanian philharmonic circles as well as those worldwide as they have taken their talents across the globe. They were accompanied on piano by Verona Maier, from the National University of Music in Bucharest. Producing classical music talent is definitely something of which Romania excels.
So, as the festivities of Romania's National Day officially commence, diplomacy.co.il offers a special congratulations to the Romanian mission to Tel Aviv as well as all Romanian citizens currently residing in Israel.
For more information on the Romanian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, click here
- Written by Diplomacy
Guests of the Latvian Embassy in Tel Aviv gathered at the Einav Cultural Center to celebrate the nation's Independence Day as well as its cultural contributions to the world and its storied Jewish past.
The Republic of Latvia has faced insurmountable obstacles in establishing itself as a contributing member within the European community as well as on the world stage. Despite the obstacles throughout the Baltic nation's history however, the resilience of the Latvian people in their pursuit of self-determination and global success has remained persistently strong as the republic embarks on 92 years of independence - an independence represented in two stages: 1918-1940 and 1940-1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Amidst a large gathering of guests and close friends within the diplomatic community, Latvian Ambassador to Israel, the Honorary Mārtiņš Perts, highlighted the global vision for his country going into 2011 as well as his desire to see larger strides taken between Israel and Latvia in fortifying the already strong relations between the two nations.
The 2010 celebration in Tel Aviv - normally Latvian Independence day is celebrated on the December 18th - was purposely pushed forward as to coincide with a special exhibit on Latvian philosopher Isaiah Berlin, being displayed at the Einav Cultural Center in central Tel Aviv. The exhibition, 'Isaiah Berlin and the Riga of His Time' - in cooperation with the National Library of Lativa - portrays the intellectual culture and history of Riga at the beginning of the 20th century with a focus on the city's Jewish community - a community that all but perished during the Holocaust.
"Such remarkable persons as Isaiah Berlin show the importance of the Jewish community in Latvia who have contributed and benefited the multicultural society inherent in Latvia nowadays," noted Mr. Perts, adding that the Latvian people would neither be who they are nor where they are today without the achievements of its Jewish past.
In regards to bilateral relations between Israel and Lativa, Ambassador Perts made note of key state visits between officials of each nation's foreign ministry as well as the importance of the scheduled visit of Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade & Labor, David Ben-Eliezer, to Latvia in the coming year. The ambassador also stressed his desire for Israeli President Shimon Peres to incorporate Latvia into his list of upcoming state visits while noting that he expected 2011 to be a "intense" year regarding the levels of Israeli-Latvian economic cooperation.
"Latvia highly values the active political dialogue with the State of Israel," explained Perts. "I am convinced that Israel and Latvia will continue to enjoy an open and constructive exchange of views regarding our common interests - both bilateral, regional and in regards to the global agenda."
Among the notable guests was Executive Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pinchas Avivi. Avivi spoke on behalf of the Foreign Ministiry and the Israeli people, recognizing the accomplishments of Latvian society, despite having to endure near centuries of foreign rule throughout its history.
He further noted the extensive 'Aliya' [Jewish immigration to Israel] of Latvia's remaining Jewish community after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 as well as Israel's immediate recognition and establishment of diplomatic ties upon Latvia's "regained" independence.
For more information on Latvia and its diplomatic missions worldwide:
[photos courtesy of Carmel Skutelsky]