President Rivlin hosts Rosh Hashanah reception for foreign ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps serving in Israel




President Reuven & First Lady Nechama Rivlin today (Thursday) held a festive reception at his residence for foreign ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps serving in Israel, to honor the upcoming festival of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Attending were 90 ambassadors and diplomats representing countries from around the world, including Israel’s neighboring countries Egypt and Jordan.


“Thank you for joining us to raise a toast and celebrate the new Jewish year,” began the President, and added, “I want to start by saying that Israel is proud of our cooperation with each of your nations; we are proud of the friendships that we are building, between us, and between our peoples. In the past year we have worked hard to build networks, and strengthen our ties and cooperation.” He stressed, “We are especially happy with the growing partnerships and friendships with our neighbors in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. I see these opportunities as a way to build a better future for all the people in our region.”


The President noted that in the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, “We say that it is decided, ‘Who will live and who will die, who by water and who by fire, who will rest and who will wander, who will have calm, and who will be troubled’.” He observed that “This last year in our region we have seen many die by fire, and when trying to find safety many have died by water. We have seen many people wander, and many people face troubles. These terrible facts are not the actions of God, they are the evil deeds of man pretending to speak in the name of God,” and told the ambassadors and diplomats attending, “to stand up to this terrible threat needs the brave actions of man. This is a duty for all of us.”


The President said, “I don’t believe we have forgotten our values, but if this were to be true the whole free world would be in danger of sacrificing everything that we sacrificed for: freedom, liberty, and democracy.”


He concluded, “This year, on Rosh Hashanah, it will be my prayer that the world will focus on the politics of values on which our society was built. That we will remember, that beneath the politics are people; men, women and children, of all faiths, and all nations. I hope that all their voices will be heard fairly, equal before the law, and equal in society.”


Dean of the Diplomatic Corps a.i, Ambassador of Dominican Republic, H.E. Mr. Alexander de la Rosa also addressed the event, and thanked the President and First Lady for their warm welcome and hospitality. He said, “On behalf of the Diplomatic Corps, I wish to the State of Israel, its Government, and all the Jewish people a happy New Year.”


He added that he hoped this year, “The negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians will be a reality, and the two sides will solve all the differences that exist between them.” He added, that the world today faced the challenge of “terrorism, which targets the social democracy, and human rights,” and added that there should be “condemnation of terrorism in all its manifestations”. He concluded, “I wish that the progress and flourishing of the Israeli economy will continue to rise,” and that, “Israel will continue its high standard in all the medical, scientific, and technological cooperation projects, providing knowledge and solutions for the world.”


Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)







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Nathalie Mimoun, new Honorary French Consul


The words sound better in French than in English: “Chavalier de L’Ordre National du Mérite”. (Freely translated into English: Knight of the National Order of Merit).


This highly-regarded honor from the French Government (it was established by General De Gaulle in 1963) was recently bestowed on Ms. Nathalie Mimoun. At a sparkling reception last month at the residence of the Ambassador of France to Israel, his Excellency Patrick Maisonnave, Ms. Mimoun was feted for her social welfare and consular work in Israel and her fortitude in representing France as Honorary Consul for Netanya and the Sharon Area.

In a separate ceremony in Jerusalem, Ms. Mimoun was also awarded the official title of Honorary Consul of the French Republic in Netanya. This Mediterranean resort city has the highest concentration of French people in Israel – more that 10,000 – making it Israel’s most “French” city.


To be perfectly accurate, Ms. Mimoun should be addressed as Dr. Mimoun. She arrived in Israel from Paris (where she was born and raised) as a young medical student, some 30 years ago. Practicing medicine has been swept away by her career in politics, social welfare activism and her family life with her husband and four children. The Order of Merit award is in recognition of her boundless and devoted efforts to help new immigrants to Israel to adapt to their new country but also for her work for the welfare of Holocaust survivors. Nathalie: “I often tell new immigrants: ‘Don’t be fixated on your past life, studies or career. You’ve come to a new country, a new culture, a new world. You can start a new life as well’ ”.






In an address to the gathering at the Ambassadorial ceremony, Nathalie spoke of her experiences as an immigrant to a new country; she recalled her culture shock, but also how Israelis “opened their hearts” to her and helped her to settle in. She spoke of her own wish now, as a seasoned Israeli, to help others, in particular new immigrants from France, to feel welcome in the country that is now so close to her heart. “When political, cultural or religious conflicts rear their ugly head we must always remember how such conflicts have always been resolved throughout history: by listening, understanding and learning from the ‘other’. A lesson I never forget.”


Her route from doctor to honorary consul is long and interesting, and includes her present career, in partnership with her husband, in the diamond and jewelry industry. “I have never abandoned my French roots and culture”, she says, “but I have put down roots here in my adopted land and want to help others do the same with ease and equanimity.”


One would assume that her career, family, consular tasks and social welfare efforts leave little time for other issues. Not so for Nathalie. She plays golf, tennis and chess and is a gourmet chef. (She’s French, so gastronomy is in her genes). On life in Israel: “I love the friendship, the mix of cultures, the action … nobody agrees with others, we’re always arguing ... the day and night life in non-stop Tel Aviv ... my freedom to express myself ... I feel secure”.


There is an old saying: “Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter”. In Nathalie’s case, the opposite is also true: Making someone else’s candle glow, makes your own shine even brighter. The light she casts on those whose life she helps brighten certainly adds shine to the world about her.


Thanks Nathalie, Chavalier de L’Ordre National du Mérite and Honorary Consul of France


 Photo 1  by MFA Protocol Appartment


Photo 2  Silvia G Golan






















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Ukraine Celebrates 25 Years of Independence


The Republic of Ukraine held a gala evening on September 14, 2016, to mark the occasion of 25 years of the country’s independence. Held in Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum, the event was attended by Minister Sofa Landver representing the State of Israel, Members of Knesset, ambassadors and members of Israel’s diplomatic and business communities, and many Ukrainian nationals residing in Israel.

In his remarks to attendees, Ukrainian Ambassador H.O. Nadolenka    recalled that Israel was one of the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991, and the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations ever since. His complete address appears below.

Speaking on behalf of Israel, Minister Landver, recalling that some of the state’s founding fathers hailed from Ukraine, congratulated that country on the anniversary of its independence.



Following the speeches, attendees enjoyed a concert of folk dances by the troupe Colors of Rainbow; songs performed by soloist Felix Livshits; and musical numbers performed by the band Tapuah Bedvash, together with the singers Elen Karelin, Lyudmila Lasinska, and Svetlana and Mikhail Bendikovs.  

The evening concluded with a light buffet.

The address of Ukrainian Ambassador H.O. Nadolenka on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Ukraine:

Dear Minister of Immigrant Absorption of Israel, Mrs. Sofa Landver,

Dear Members of Knesset, Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, Dear friends,

I would like to welcome all of you in this famous historical and ethnographic center of Israel, the “Eretz Israel Museum”, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of independence of Ukraine.

For centuries Ukrainian people struggled for its independence. But, last 25 years, after gaining its independence in 1991, were also not easy. At a certain time, optimism and inspiration of Ukrainians dashed against indifference and callousness of those who had been at power and who had served only their own interests.

The “Revolution of Dignity” marked a new stage in the life of our state and proved its right to take a worthy place among the European nations.

Having obtained a huge credibility of the Ukrainian people, the President and the Government of Ukraine declared real, not declarative course to ensure a decent standard of living for our citizens.

The current Ukrainian government priorities are the protection of human rights and freedoms, to ensure the guaranteed participation of every citizen in the socio-political life. I am convinced that we will meet all these tasks in nearest future.

We understand that under Russian occupation of Ukrainian Crimea and lasting aggression of the Eastern part of Ukraine and a real threat to our independence, it is not easy at all to achieve all those goals very fast, but we will do our best and we are already on the right track.  

Dear friends, in this context I would like to thank all Israeli people, specially volunteers and everyone who supports Ukraine. We really need that support today and we are very grateful to all of you for that.

It is also my great pleasure and honor, as a representative of Ukraine, to thank authorities of the State of Israel for the lasting support of Ukrainian territorial integrity. Last December, during the state visit of the President of Ukraine Mr. Petro Poroshenko to Israel, the President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin confirmed the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, and also pushed for the immediate de-occupation of the Crimea and restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty on the peninsula.

I want to express the hope that the mutual support of the Israeli and Ukrainian people will become more and more considerable.

I am convinced that we will win. We will win with faith in a better future of our nation.

In this regard I cannot but mention that Israel was among the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence and established diplomatic relations with our country on December 26, 1991. In this historically short period the development of bilateral Ukrainian-Israeli cooperation reached a new level.

During these 25 years of Ukrainian independence and diplomatic relations between the two countries an active and regular political dialogue on the actual bilateral and international issues has been established; mutually beneficial trade and economic ties and cooperation in culture, education and science have been developed.

In political sphere we appreciate the reliability and transparency of our Israeli partners who repeatedly gave us the necessary support both on bilateral level and on multilateral fora.


Only last year Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko paid a State visit to Israel and in two weeks Ukraine will welcome the President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin on his state visit to Kyiv. He will also take part in official ceremony of commemoration a tragic event in the history of Ukrainian and Jewish peoples – 75th anniversary of the Baby Yar tragedy. A delegation of the Members of the Knesset, representatives of state institutions and NGOs will also take part in this ceremony. In November this year we will meet the Speaker of the Knesset with his official visit in Ukraine. There are only few recent developments that are taking place in our political relations in nearest future, which shows how active they are today and I hope they will continue to develop for the prosperity of our nations.


Taking this great opportunity, I would like to thank once again everyone here tonight for your support of Ukrainian people, your love to our country and its culture, your assistance in development of friendly relations between Ukraine and Israel.

I am particularly grateful to the Israeli volunteers who over the past two years, which were marked by the tragic events in eastern Ukraine, helped Ukrainians to survive and win. I would like to thanks personally my very good friend David Levin, the Head of the Israeli Association of Immigrants from Ukraine, and every member of this association for their great support. And, of course, I am grateful to everyone in Israel who openly supports Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, who loves Ukraine and believe in its bright future.

I believe that Ukrainian people by its own efforts and with the support of our foreign friends will build a strong and prosperous state, which will live in peace and harmony.

Thank you! Toda Raba!

Photo  Silvia G Golan
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Switzerland Celebrates 725 Years of the Swiss Confederation 


On August 2, the Embassy of Switzerland in Israel marked the occasion of its national day, August 1, commemorating the formation of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. The reception honoring the 725th Anniversary of the Swiss Confederation was also the occasion of the official farewell of the Ambassador of Switzerland to Israel, Dr. Andreas Baum, as he leaves for his next post in India, following four years as envoy to Israel. 
The reception, held in the lush green garden of the residence of the Swiss ambassador in Ramat Gan, was attended by ambassadors and representatives of many diplomatic missions, officials of the government of Israel,  Swiss nationals residing in Israel, leaders of the business community, and a cross-section of Israeli society. Among the guests were Ambassador Meron Reuben - FM Protocol Chief

and Itzhak Eldan – former Israel’s head of ceremony.



Guests were treated to a variety of traditional Swiss foods, especially raclette, as well as Swiss wines. The musical program of the evening included a yodeling performance by Miss Helvetia, Barbara Klossner and entretainment bu the local band Shmemel


 The ambassador himself announced the playing of the national anthems of Switzerland and Israel.




Following is Ambassador Baum's address

Honoured guests, dear friends and colleagues,

Thank you for joining us to celebrate Switzerland’s 725th anniversary. We will now hear the national anthem of our host country Israel, interpreted by members of the band Shmemel, followed by the Swiss Psalm, sung by Barbara Klossner.


This is my fourth and last National Day in Israel. Our motto for tonight was: keep some well-established things the same, such as the combination of intense summer heat with warm raclette cheese, while bringing in a few new elements. We are partnering with Swiss International Airlines, a unique bridge builder between Switzerland and Israel. We are also showcasing three charitable projects, Kuchinate, CEC Collection and UNITAF, which the embassy has been supporting. Their collections and books are being sold inside. We are also innovating musically, with the participation of Barbara Klossner, a prominent ambassador of Swiss traditional music, who flew in a few hours ago especially to join us, and the Israeli funk rock band Shmemel, bringing in their own brand of energy. This is planned as an experiment in creative fusion and I hope you’ll enjoy it.


What can an ambassador achieve in four years? Our work is so difficult to quantify. Together with our Israeli partners, we have been pushing into new fields, projects and collaborations, such as promoting the Swiss dual vocational training system, which is currently being piloted in several Israeli enterprises, or celebrating, around this country, the avant-garde art movement Dada, born 100 years ago in Zurich. We have intensified and diversified our bilateral political dialogue, to reach into the multilateral, strategic and development aid areas. For all this I wish to thank my wonderful team as well as our many partners, be they Israeli officials, academics, scientists or civil society activists, the members of our vibrant Swiss community, the Chambers of commerce, the Israel-Switzerland Friendship Association. With this mix, everything was possible and even more is to come. I am of course delighted that in these four years, overall trade between the two countries grew by 15 % and that a high birth rate enriched the Swisscommunity in Israel by over 20%, to almost reach the milestone of 20’000 members. But, you’ll agree with me, I can claim no responsibility.


I’ve been cleaning up my office these last few days. How easy it becomes to throw away paper, when you wait long enough! This in no way diminishes the energy and passion that flowed into those papers, always trying to better understand the events of what have been four turbulent years: we witnessed two wars around Gaza, two early elections, the failure of peace efforts, the current wave of violence. While I have learned a lot, I must say that I am leaving with many more interrogations than certainties. I remain challenged by the contradictions posed by Israel, which is at the same time the vibrant startup nation, with which we cooperate so closely, and the author of a persistent, internationally unrecognized occupation. While I trust that you see clearer perspectives, I keep searching for the answer to a basic question found in a Haaretz article: what’s the plan?


Israel unquestioningly belongs to the Western, democratic family of nations. Because we are family, we worry, we criticize, and we even may sometimes – as some will say - meddle in its internal affairs. We thus did not understand the necessity for a so-called NGO transparency bill, we consistently oppose settlement expansion and ask for better protection of vulnerable populations in Area C. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we remain strong supporters of the only rational solution, the two States solution, as admirably sketched out by my friends of the Geneva Initiative. When I arrived, I was sure that this rational solution is more or less pre-ordained, that the parties, with support from the international community, will just have to find the - difficult - way to get there. I now rather more modestly believe that the outcome is open. Who wants what, how much, and with what means - this will determine the future. Israel, despite its many strategic challenges, chose to construct and realize a democratic, prosperous nation. This country, in spite of its fears and legitimate security concerns, can equally choose to concretely invest in peace. It is both a risk and a conscious choice. The environment and the present are a given, but the future is in your hands.


Around the world, these violent, uncomfortable times have robbed us of many certainties. We are being painfully reminded that history is not linear. Peace and prosperity through ever closer cooperation are being questioned even in Europe. The specter of new barriers, a revival of nationalism and even racism must alert us, in Europe of all places; yes, our security, our way of life are being challenged, but fear, anger, distrust and hate must not be allowed to dictate our future. As citizens, as members of civil society, we must fight, together, for our ideals and values, for a future of tolerance, of hope and opportunity. Fight democratically and peacefully, in politics, in schools, at the ballot box, if necessary on the streets. I trust in the well informed, enlightened European, Swiss and Israeli citizens.


How do you like Israel? How does it compare with your other postings? How often have I heard these questions! They are simple, honest, legitimate queries, but also tricky questions - because of the highly politicized, polarized Israeli environment, because of ongoing conflicts in the region, because of the weight of history. For a diplomat, this is a posting rich in banana peels, where the way from the high chair to the low chair can be very short. So we tend to avoid straightforward answers, fleeing into empty phrases such as “never a dull moment”. And I shall not forget the words of an experienced colleague, who said: in Israel, never give advice, never compare. But today, almost at the last minute, I feel I owe you an answer, by telling you all the things I will miss here. I will miss the people, their creativity, warmth and passion, the stimulating, high level conversations, the challenging work environment. I will miss my trusted embassy colleagues and residence staff. I will miss the culture, the beautiful classical concerts and the original works of art, of which I can take only a very small sample with me. I will miss the balmy climate, the seashore, the road trips to the North and South, the incomparable food and wine. I will miss my garden and my rapidly growing family of wild cats. In short, I am leaving with much nostalgia.


In a few days, my successor Ambassador Jean-Daniel Ruch will take up his mission. I know he can count on your trust and warm welcome. The Indian capital New Delhi will soon be my new temporary home. I look forward to this exciting, challenging, high-energy posting. I’m following in the footsteps and the quests of so many Israelis, though they’re usually a bit younger than me when they go there. One day, should I ever find serenity and wisdom, I may come back to the shores of the Mediterranean to watch the olive trees grow. Good bye, thank you and let’s keep in touch.





 The team wishes the ambassador the best of luck at his new posting.



















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