On Monday October 31st, the Hungarian Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mr. Andor Nagy and his wife Mariann Bercsenyi hosted a celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian RevolutionGuests enjoyed authentic Hungarian delicacies and a display detailing Hungary’s courageous 1956 uprising against Soviet-Communist oppression following World War II. 

 

 

Ambassador Nagy opened the evening by mentioning two things that Hungary is well-known for—football player Ferenc Puskas, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In fact, the ambassador explained, the two share a link. On October 23, 1956, Hungarian students began a Solidarity March which would trigger an open rebellion against the Soviet Union.

When the public opposition to Soviet control grew, the Communist authorities opened fire on unarmed protesters, triggering a spontaneous two-week uprising that engulfed Hungary. Despite the valiant efforts of the Hungarian youth, when the Soviet Union sent in 60,000 soldiers backed by 2,500 tanks, they crushed the revolutionaries. Among the more than 200,000 Hungarians who fled the country at the end of the war was one Ferenc Puskas.

Puskas may have become famous playing for Real Madrid, but he is also a symbol of the suffering that Hungarians went through before regaining freedom and their courageous stand for independence. The Ambassador stressed that for all of his international success, Puskas, like so many Hungarian expatriates, longed to be able to return home. Ambassador Nagy closed by thanking those who had come to commemorate this historic day and celebrate Israeli-Hungarian relations.

 

 

 

 

Following the Ambassador’s speech, the Hungarian and Israeli national anthems were sung. Afterwards, Hungary’s Minister of Education   Professor Laszlo Palkovics,  addressed the crowd. The minister, in Israel to further bolstering the educational cooperation between the two countries, compared Hungary with Israel as two countries without who compensate for a lack of natural resources with human ingenuity and intellectual achievement. His words highlighted Hungarian-Israeli educational cooperatives, like an initiative to reserve spots for Israeli students at Hungarian universities, and opportunities to learn from one another, for example regarding supporting scholastic achievement for students from lower socio-economic demographics.

He also discussed Hungary’s robust economic growth relative to other European Union countries, the opportunities for shared commercial interests with Israeli businesses, and the desire to learn from the entrepreneurial success of Israel’s startup industry. 

 

Following The Education Minister’s remarks he called for a toast to both nations. The guests were then invited to sample a variety of Hungarian delicacies, including Gulash, Pogacsa (a unique Hungarian dessert) and Palinka (a traditional beverage). 

 

 

 

 

The guest list was similarly diverse, including ambassadors, members of various diplomatic missions, officials of both governments, representatives of the IDF and Israel Police, business leaders and other guests from both nations. Among the distinguished guests were Ms. Vered Pear Swid, Director General of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women at the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. and Mrs. Josef Weiss, owners of Adria Airways, Rotary International Israel District Governor Avner Fuchs, and advocate Gad Weissfeld . Of course the youngest members of the parties were hostesses—the Ambassador’s daughters Franciska and Julia. While the evening commemorated Hungarian and global history, the young girls and the promises of the Education Minister both spoke to the present and future of Hungarian-Israeli partnerships.

 

Article wirtten by  Steven Aiello  founder and director of the "Debate for Peace program"

 

 Photos  Silvia G  Golan

 

 

 

 

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On September 27, 2016, the diplomatic mission in Israel of the People’s Republic of China celebrated the 67th anniversary of Chinese independence by hosting a reception at the Smolarz Auditorium of Tel Aviv University for the diplomatic corps, Israeli political leaders and distinguished guests.

 

 

Following a buffet of Western and Chinese delicacies and the singing of the national anthems of the PRC and Israel, guests were addressed by the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Zhan Yongxin. The full text of the remarks by Ambassador Zhan appears below.

 

 

The State of Israel was represented by Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who congratulated the PRC on the anniversary of its independence on behalf of the government of Israel.  

 

 

Among the many VIP guests in attendance were Tourism Minister Yariv Levin; former Ambassador and Minister Moshe Arens; Commander of the IDF Search and Rescue Brigade Colonel Yoram Laredo; Ms. Vered Pear Swid, Director General, Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women at the Prime Minister's Office; Asher Ben Artzi, former Chief Superintendent of the Israel Police; Tal Brody, Goodwill Ambassador and former Captain of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Team and Mrs. Brody.

 

 

 

 

 

The program for the evening was organized by the Chinese People"s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and featured the Beijing Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Yang Hongnian and Yang Li and accompanied by pianist Wang Tianyang. The children’s choir performed Chinese and Israeli songs.

 

 

The evening concluded with drinks and desserts.

 

The portal www.Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the People’s Republic of China on its National Day.

 

 

 

 

 

Remarks by H. E. Ambassador Zhan Yongxin:

 

Your Excellency Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Minister Yariv Levin, Respected Mr. Alex Gilady, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Good Evening! Erev Tov!

I am more than happy to have all of you with us here to celebrate the 67th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Sixty-seven years of the establishment of new China have witnessed profound developments. 1.37 billion Chinese people have changed their lives and fates through hard work. Thanks to Chinese people’s perseverance, resolve and dedication, we have succeeded in turning China into the world’s second largest economy, the biggest trader of goods, the third largest direct overseas investor, and lifted over 700 million people out of poverty, and pushed China’s per capita GDP up to 8,000 US dollars. My generation is the direct witness of this dramatic change. When I was young, I could only have peanuts on Chinese new year. But now, younger generation avoid eating peanuts to keep fit.

 

Dear friends,

As China’s economy grows in size and influence and its interaction with the rest of the world deepens, the prospect of China’s economy has drawn international attention. Many people wonder whether China can keep steady growth? How will China’s economy continue to act as a pushing force for the world economy?

China’s economy, after 38 years of reform and opening-up, has entered a new normal, a stage China cannot bypass if we are to upgrade its economy and make it better structured. The way of growth, speed and quality of development have entered transitional period which is quite similar to a person's growing process, a rapid growing before the age of 18 and a gradually mature progress after.

 

Judging from this year’s performance, China’s economic development has done a good job. Its GDP grew by 6.7%, the final consumption expenditure contributed 73.4% to GDP, and the added value of the tertiary industry took up 54.1% of GDP. We have reasons to believe that China will embrace even better prospects and make still greater contribution to the world. We shall not be overly excited about some rebounding indexes, nor should we be overly panicking about some falling ones. All in all, Chinese economy is great in foundation, strong in toughness and large in leeway. We have faith and ability in keeping our economy developing in medium-to-high speed growth.

 

As we are living in a global village, each country should rely on one-another to pursue sustainable growth. During the G20 Summit, China came up with an initiative of jointly building an innovative, open, interconnected and inclusive world economy. The essence is to take innovation as the driving force, uphold the spirit of openness and interconnection and pursue the goal of inclusiveness, so as to let growth and development benefit all countries and peoples.  

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Let me move onto China’s diplomacy. Foreign Affairs are the extension of domestic affairs. We have already set out goals, and are uniting all our people in a common effort to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Chinese diplomacy is to serve this overriding domestic objective. We are committed to the path of peaceful development. It is rooted in China’s long and profound historical and cultural tradition and is crucial to our development. We’d like to maintain friendship with all countries and peoples, on the basis of Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We are also ready to provide more public goods to the international community. The Belt and Road Initiatives and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are just a few examples. Here, I’d like to stress that China’s opening drive is not a one-man show. Rather, it is an invitation open to all. It is not a pursuit to establish China’s own sphere of influence, but to support common development of all countries. It is not meant to build China’s own backyard garden, but a garden shared by all countries. As an old Chinese saying goes:“Joy shared with others are more enjoyed.”

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Thanks to joint efforts made by Chinese and Israeli governments and our two peoples, the friendly and cooperative bilateral relations between China and Israel have been maintaining a strong momentum. Frequent political exchanges and dynamic mutual visits take place at all levels. Last week, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress H.E. Mr. ZHANG Dejiang visited Israel, the highest level visit in the past 16 years. Your Speaker of Knesset H.E. Mr. Yuli Yoel Edelstein paid an official visit to China in April. Besides, our Vice Premier of State Council Mme. LIU Yandong visited Israel last March and co-chaired with PM Netanyahu the second meeting of China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation.

 

While our political mutual trust is strengthening, the economic and trade links are also expanding. China is now Israel's largest trading partner in Asia, third largest trading partner in the world, and largest goods supplier. China and Israel have also carried out extensive people-to-people exchange. Hainan Airlines opened a route between Beijing and Tel Aviv in April, the mutual issuing of Ten Years Visa will come into effect soon. In the first half of this year, the growth rate of Chinese tourists coming to Israel reached around 50% compared with last year. It is also worth mentioning that Israeli football star Mr. Eran Zahavi has been recently awarded by H.E. Mr. Shimon Peres the Ambassador of Peace and Good Relations with China for his outstanding achievement in promoting the friendship between the two peoples through sport.

 

Mr. Shimon Peres is a dear friend of Chinese People. He is highly respected in China for his resolute commitment in the pursuit of regional peace and his tireless effort in promoting Israel-China relations. We are very much concerned with his current health situation. During the visit by our NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang last week, Chairman Zhang sent the accompanying Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming to pay a good-will visit to Sheba Medical Center and meet with Mr. Peres’s family. We wish him a speedy recovery.

 

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel. In the past 25 years, we respected each other and enhanced our friendship persistently. Looking into the future, we have every reason to believe that our efforts to build a multifaceted partnership will get substantial achievements.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Younger generation is the hope to the future of our two countries and the China-Israel relations. Tonight, lovely kids from China will present their wishes for the prosperity, development and better friendship between the two countries. Wish you a pleasant evening.

 

In conclusion, I would like to propose a toast,

For the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China!

For the friendship between the Chinese and the Israeli peoples!

For your good health!

 

Cheers! Le Haim!

 

Photo Silvia Golan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Thursday night, October 13th, the Tel Aviv municipality building overlooking Rabin Square glowed red and yellow in honor of Fiesta Nacional de España—Spain’s national holiday and Armed Forces Day. At the Spanish Embassy’s annual party, Israeli, Spanish and international diplomats, military attaches, and local political and business leaders enjoyed an evening of wine, cheese, and authentic Spanish musical performances.

 

Ambassador Fernando Carderera opened the evening, which also commemorated 30 years of Israeli-Spanish diplomatic relations, by listing the educational and cultural events that had been planned as part of the celebration, culminating with a Goya exhibition opening in December at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Ambassador mentioned the recent visit to Israel by the King of Spain to attend the funeral of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, as a sign of the strong ties between the two nations. Ambassador Carderera stressed Spain’s opposition to any boycotts of Israel, and then offered a toast to the heads of state of both countries, Spain’s King Felipe VI and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and to the continued friendship of Israel and Spain.

 

Israeli Knesset member Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs spoke next and mentioned the long legacy of Jews in Spain, including the many scholars like Maimonides. He praised Spain’s recent efforts to address the damage caused during the Inquisition and expulsion of Jews from Iberia in the 15th century by recent legislature allowing descendants of Spanish Jews to gain Spanish citizenship. Erdan also talked about Spain’s role in promoting peace talks, especially during the Madrid Accords. Finally he mentioned the cultural bonds that Israelis and Spaniards share, including the many Israelis supporting Real Madrid, Barcelona, and other Spanish football clubs. 

 

Following Mr. Erdan’s speech, a representative of the Tel Aviv municipality spoke on behalf of Mayor Ron Huldai and the municipality. The guests were then shown a short film highlighting Spanish achievements, before enjoying live music and dance performances by Spanish performers, to ensure that the evening was a true Fiesta

 

 

Article wirtten by  Steven Aiello  founder and director of the "Debate for Peace program"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Central American Nations Celebrate Their National Day

 

On September 15, 2016, the diplomatic missions in Israel of the  Republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica, celebrated the 195th anniversary of the independence of Central America at a reception they hosted in Tel Aviv at King David Hall , at Dan Tel Aviv Hotel , for the diplomatic corps accredited to Israel, leaders of the business community and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, and citizens of Central America residing in Israel.

 

 

Guests were welcomed in an address by the Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador, Mr. Werner Matias Romero, on behalf of the Ambassadors of Central America ( HE José Isaías Barahona, Ambassador of Honduras, HE Alfredo Vásquez, Ambassador of Guatemala, and HE Esteban Penrod, Ambassador of Costa Rica) . The full text of the remarks by Ambassador Romero appears below.

 

The State of Israel was represented by Mrs. Galit Sashó, the Director of  Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and Mr. Modi Ephraim, head of the Latin American and Caribbean desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her message of congratulations on behalf of the State of Israel, Mrs. Sashó recalled with gratitude the role the nations of Central America played in supporting the United Nations resolution creating the State of Israel and praised the activities of Israel’s Agency for International Development Corporation (Mashav) in Central America.  

 

The official ceremony commenced with the playing of the national anthems of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Israel.

 

 

 During the course of the evening, Mr. Hernán Felman, KKL World Vice President, was presented with a plaque by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala, Mr. Alfredo Vásquez, for the organization's generous support and close relations with the Central American countries. Mr. Felman expressed his gratitude for this honor.

 
 
The final address of the evening was delivered by the ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica, Mr. Esteban Penrod.
 

The evening commenced with a buffet of Central American foods and concluded with a buffet of desserts representing the cuisines of the four host countries.

 

The portal www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the four countries on on the occasion of their national day.

 

Remarks of the Ambassador of the Republic of El Salvador, Mr. Werner Matias Romero, on the occasion of the 195th anniversary of the independence of Central America:

 

Dear friends, Queridos amigos, Erev tov, buenas noches, good evening. I’m Werner Matías Romero, Ambassador of El Salvador to Israel. It is an honour for me to address you tonight on behalf of my colleagues (HE José Isaías Barahona, Ambassador of Honduras, HE Alfredo Vásquez, Ambassador of Guatemala, and HE Esteban Penrod, Ambassador of Costa Rica) on the occasion of the 195th anniversary of our independence. First, I want to acknowledge the presence of the Honourable Galit Wahba Shasho, Director of Culture, representing the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miri Regev. Let me also thank KKL-JNF, in particular Hernan Felman, its Vice Chairman here with us, and Ariel Goldgewicht, a fellow Central American, for their generosity in making this celebration possible. Dear members of the Knesset, Israeli government officials, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives, friends of Central America and fellow Central Americans, to all of you, my colleagues and I offer a warm welcome. Let me start by wishing a speedy recovery for Shimon Peres, who is in hospital tonight, a titan of this great democracy, Israel. President Peres, we hope you can return home soon to be with your family.

 

A nuestros compatriotas centroamericanos: costarricenses, guatemaltecos, hondureños y salvadoreños, en esta ocasión en la que celebramos el centésimo nonagésimo quinto aniversario de la independencia de Centroamérica, permítanme invitarles a que reflexionemos sobre el sueño de la Gran Patria Centroamericana. Y recordemos todos juntos lo que nos une, nuestra historia, nuestra geografía, nuestras costas bañadas por dos océanos, ríos majestuosos, apacibles lagos y soberbios volcanes, pero sobre todo nuestra raza, nuestra gente, nuestro mestizaje. One hundred ninety-five years ago, the original five Central American lands (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) declared their independence from Spain and were born as the “Provincias Unidas del Centro de América” (the United Provinces of the Central America).

 

That federation lasted only 16 years, and those provinces became the countries we are today, four of which have diplomatic representations here in Israel. Yet since that day in 1821, we Central Americans have known that we remain part of the same fatherland -- our narrow, beautiful, at times troubled isthmus. And we know that our prosperity depends on us remaining at peace and strengthening our ties of economic cooperation and integration. We Central Americans have been integrating our economies since the 1960s. Today our main multilateral forum is the Central American Integration System, or SICA in Spanish. Launched in 1991, SICA now includes the sister nations of Panama, Belize and the Dominican Republic. Our eight countries work together to pursue regional political dialogue, meet climate and environmental challenges, and share expertise in improving social programmes, with the goal of helping our people lead healthier and more secure lives.

 

Perhaps the area in which we have advanced the most is trade. We have negotiated joint trade agreements with all our most important partners, including the United States, the European Union, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, and we are currently engaged in negotiations with South Korea. These agreements guarantee access for our products to those markets and facilitate investment in our countries. At the same time, we continue to deepen economic integration amongst ourselves and are well underway toward completing a Customs Union, so products can move from one country to another without barriers. Central America is a geographically strategic region. We are blessed with rich biodiversity and long coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific. With a combined population of more than 50 million, we offer investors a large market. But we also face challenges together. Our region faces serious issues of violence due to gang activity, organized crime and drug trafficking. We are committed to tackling these problems jointly.

 

That is why we have created the Central American Security Strategy, or ESCA, a comprehensive effort for better sharing of information, strengthening judicial and police institutions, and intervention at the community level to prevent violence. A big part of ESCA’s work has also been to apply cooperation from friendly countries that have faced problems similar to ours. We have created a group known as the Friends of ESCA, made up of governments and international financial agencies that are bringing expertise and aid to help us face these unprecedented security challenges. Israel is not part of that group, and those of us here tonight, and my government in particular, would very much like it to be. For that to happen, Israel would have to first become an extra-regional observer to SICA, and we will continue to support that aspiration very strongly, both in our contacts with Israeli authorities and within the Central American group itself.

 

Israel has been a good friend of Central America over the years, and Central America has been a good friend to Israel since its establishment in 1948, the year all our nations recognized the newly born State of Israel. Moreover, all our countries have thriving Jewish communities that have played important roles in government, the arts and business. In the context of this shared history of cooperation and friendship, we have seen a constant stream of high-level delegations from Central America to Israel in the last 12 months, all with practical agendas for strengthening ties. Last October, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, a MASHAV alumnus, led an official delegation whose visit concluded with commitments to expand cooperation in agriculture and water management, areas important not only to Honduras but to Central America as a whole. Currently Guatemala is preparing for a visit to Israel in the next few months by President Jimmy Morales, who took office this year and will lead a delegation of key officials. Costa Rica is organizing a visit by its Trade Minister, which will surely advance trade and investment in both directions. As for El Salvador, we are working with Israel on a third round of consultations to review our bilateral agenda, which will include political dialogue, enhanced cooperation and trade and investment possibilities.

 

Our governments see great opportunities in the “Start-up Nation”. And Israelis are increasingly discovering the investment opportunities offered by our countries individually and as a region. We, Central American and Israeli officials, have to work together to develop this potential. In this endeavour, not only the exchange of visits by officials, but the enhancement of our diplomatic presence, ours in Israel and Israel’s in Central America, is fundamental. That is why we have been surprised by the withdrawal of Israel’s diplomatic presence in our region. Israel this year has closed two embassies, both of them in our region, one in my own country El Salvador and the other the elimination of a roving Israeli ambassador to the Caribbean nations based in New York. As a friend of Israel, it pains my country and me personally to see the Israeli flag coming down anywhere in the world. This is particularly unfortunate in a region that has gained so much from cooperation with Israel in the past and could benefit from Israel’s good sense and expertise now more than ever.

 

Our region has suffered the scourges of war and forced migration. But we have worked hard to create better institutions, more prosperous economies, and democratic systems that allow all interests to have a voice and a stake in society. All of us, whatever our differences, understand that dialogue is the only means to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation. It is for this reason, and informed by our own experiences, that our countries continue to support a negotiated, two-state solution that will bring peace to Israel and Palestine, two nations that deserve no less. We Central Americans understand better than anybody that peace comes through dialogue - - not imposition – and that negotiated solutions take time and good faith. We trust that, despite all the setbacks to the peace process, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and peoples will not lose sight of this reality. [pause] When we Central Americans get together, as we do tonight, you might hear us talking about football -- in which we have some epic rivalries -- or politics back home. But you may also hear us mentioning a figure from our independence struggle, Francisco Morazán, who fought the Spaniards and then spent his life fighting to keep Central America together as a single country, unsuccessfully. He was a liberal reformer, born in Honduras, died in Costa Rica and buried in El Salvador, and still a controversial figure today. You’ll still hear people mention el sueño de Morazán, the dream of Morazán, that is, the dream of a unified Central America. We are still working towards the dream of Morazán, although not exactly in the way he envisioned. By integrating our economies and building cooperation in every field, we are working towards realizing his dream of a united, modern and prosperous Central America. We hope Israel will continue to support and be part of that dream. Thank you, toda raba, muchas gracias.

  

 
Photo  Silvia Golan
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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