Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr.  Pavan Kapoor , Ambassador of  India to Israel.


President Rivlin recevies new ambassadors from India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho


President Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) at his residence received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from the India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, included an honor guard, and - after the presentation of the credentials - the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel's national anthem 'Hatikva'.


First to present his credentials was Ambassador of India, H.E Mr. Pavan Kapoor. President Rivlin welcomed the Ambassador, his wife, and delegation and said, "The relationship between our two peoples and our two states is being spoken about all over, and the cooperation between us is not only about innovation where we are trying our best to tackle problems in agriculture and water, energy, but also cyber and the need for security. I know that we can expand this cooperation and your appointment is an opportunity to look at ways we can do so. I convey my best regards to the President and Prime Minister, and I hope that the Prime Minster will be able to visit Israel and that I will be able to visit India in the coming months."


Ambassador Kapoor thanked the President and said, "We are working to take our relationship further. We have received Israel's help in a number of areas including defense, agriculture and water where we suffer a lot - in our country we either have droughts or floods, and we have a lot we can learn from Israel." The Ambassador added, "We are looking forward to your visit and are working on dates for what I believe will be a landmark visit."


President Rivlin thanked him and concluded, "The Indian and Israeli peoples have a lot in common, we know how to respect tradition and to be ready to learn and bring innovation to our lives for the benefit of our peoples and the whole world."




Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mrs. Monica Jimenez De La Jara , Ambassador of Chile to Israel.


Next the newly appointed Ambassador of Chile, H.E Mrs. Monica Jimenez De La Jara presented her credentials. The President welcomed her and showed her a picture of him as Speaker of the Knesset together with former President of the Chilean Senate and daughter of former Chilean president Isabel Allende taken at an international conference in Santiago. The President congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and said, "I know that coming here from having served as Ambassador to the Vatican, you will feel at home in Jerusalem which is the center of the Holy Land. I welcome you also as a former education minister and we know that everything one can bring to our people begins with education. We are doing all we can in Israel; while 90 years ago we had only one university, now we have more than 6 universities and many colleges that are giving the opportunity to every citizen of Israel to study. We believe that the future of all people is together with education." The President spoke of the relationship between the two governments and added, "From time to time we have some differences of opinion but we know that the relationship between our two peoples and governments is strong. We can accept criticism - we do not accept boycott - but we can accept criticism."


The Ambassador of Chile thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, "I am honored to have come from the Holy See to the Holy Land. I greatly appreciate being in a country with so much university activity. We have visited the Weizmann Institute, and the Hebrew University and we have plans to visit many more. We would like to have an academic delegation from Chile to reinforce the academic and research relations."


She added, "I have worked all my life for peace. I know the situation in the Middle East is very difficult but Chile is ready with an open hand to do all it can to advance peace."




Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Maung Maung Lynn , Ambassador of  Myanmar to Israel.


Next, Ambassador of Myanmar, H.E Mr. Maung Maung Lynn arrived to present his credentials. The President welcomed him, his wife and delegation and said, "Mr. Ambassador, I remember as a student in High School when the Prime Minister of your country, U Nu, came to visit Israel, and then as a soldier in the IDF I remember Israel's first Prime Minister Ben Gurion visited your country and brought back a great appreciation for your people and your culture. We are very proud of our connection and our relationship with your people. The Foreign Ministry started the idea of MASHAV in your country, the idea of connecting with other peoples through learning together and sharing our knowledge about water for example. We also know that many Jews found shelter in your country until the outbreak of war. I want to congratulate you on the recent democratic elections in your country, which make Myanmar stronger."

 Ambassador Lynn thanked the President and noted, "It is a great pleasure to be here. I am here with my family and my daughter who will study here, and we have visited much of the country."




Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Sulev Kannike , Ambassador of Estonia to Israel.



Next, Ambassador of Estonia, H.E Mr. Sulev Kannike presented his credentials. The President congratulated him on his appointment and said, "We appreciate the wonderful relationship between our states and governments, and we appreciate your support for Israel in the international arena on so many issues, as well as the participation of Estonia in peace keeping efforts in the region. We appreciate also the understanding of Estonia on Holocaust education in your schools and among your people. In the field of cyber we are working together, in order to keep safe people in the region, and across Europe and the world." The President added, "Please send my special wishes to your Foreign Minister who served as Ambassador of Estonia in Israel."


Ambassador Kannike thanked the President and said, "I am happy to convey the greetings of my President who visited Israel in 2012. Bilateral relations between Israel and Estonia are almost without problems. We understand each other very well, and this is important for us. In July next year Estonia is taking over the Presidency of the European Union and I hope this will help us improve not only our bilateral relations but also our multilateral relations. I also express my appreciation for Israel's work in cyber security and startups – an area in which Estonia is also working hard."




Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Lineo Irene Molisa Mabusela , Ambassador of Lesotho to Israel.


Ambassador of Lesotho, H.E Mrs. Lineo Irene Molisa-Mabusela then presented her credentials as non-resident Ambassador to Israel. President Rivlin congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and stressed, "The relationship between our two nations is very important to us and despite any crises, we have maintained uninterrupted relations." The President spoke of the important cooperation between the peoples in the fields of agriculture and water innovation, he said, "We would like to see more of your students come to study through MASHAV especially here in Israel." The President added, "Israel would be pleased to return to its observer status at the African Union."


Ambassador thanked the President and said "Allow me to pass the warmest wishes of His Majesty and the people of Lesotho. We are appreciative of the wonderful relations between our two countries, and we would like to work to open new channels of communication including in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, water and many others."



Photos   Mark Neuman   / GPO








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PM Netanyahu addresses the Ethiopian parliament


All nations are threatened by the forces of terror. The terrorists see us, all of us, as one. We must fight them as one. And I want to pledge to you one thing: We can defeat them; we will defeat them; but working together we'll defeat them even faster.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 7 July 2016), delivered the following address to the Ethiopian Parliament:

"Salaam. I am so excited to be here. My delegation is excited to be here. My wife is excited to be here. And I want to recognize three outstanding members of our parliament who are also excited to be here, though they've been here before: Member of Knesset Avraham Neguise; former Member of Knesset Pnina Tamano-Shata; and our ambassador here in Addis Ababa, Belaynesh Zevadia.

I am absolutely thrilled to be the first prime minister of Israel to visit Ethiopia ever. Well, what took you so long? And the answer is: I don't know, but I'm already planning the next visit.

Ethiopia is a resplendent land, rich in history, diverse in culture, pregnant with promise. The Prime Minister said today in our meeting, he said something that is so true. He said Israel has a place in the hearts of Ethiopians and Ethiopia has a place in the hearts of Israelis, in the hearts of the Jewish people. I bring you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, the place where I grew up and the place where the Queen of Sheba met King Solomon 3,000 years ago.

One of the most beautiful streets in Jerusalem, in the heart of the city, is a street called Ethiopia Street, and in my youth, I would pass, I would walk past the majestic Ethiopian church on it. And I felt always that it was just one expression of the enduring bonds between our peoples – bonds of history, bonds of values, and increasingly bonds of interests.

Our historical bond continued from the Solomonic era through the rise of Christianity to this day. Our values, I think the bonds of history gave rise to the bonds of values. The birth of the Jewish people is interwoven with the birth of our freedom, the story of the exodus. We were brought from slavery to freedom to our land, the land of Israel.

You in Ethiopia, you fought for your freedom. You maintain your freedom throughout the centuries. For millennia, your nation has proudly fought for and maintained its independence. We respect you for it. We admire you for it. You resisted foreign rule and live as a free people in your ancestral homeland. And we too live as a free and independent people in our ancestral homeland. The struggle for freedom unites our two nations, as does the second value we share, which is nation-building.

Our return to the land of Israel was just the beginning. We then needed to build our state, a dynamic state, a powerful state. We recognized early on that the diversity of our citizens would be a source of great bonding. Today we draw upon the skills and wisdom of all our citizens – Arabs, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews from Ethiopia. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews serve in our army, participate in our politics, take part in our economy, in our culture. They help enrich Israeli society every day and in every way. They act as a human bridge between our two peoples.

On the way here, I spoke to two young flight attendants of Ethiopian descent. They are proud to be Israelis and they're proud of their Ethiopian heritage. And one of them is seeing her family here for the first time in seven years. What excitement! It's the excitement we all feel in coming here and rekindling our friendship.

Our Declaration of Independence guarantees the rights of citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender. And in fact, you know that protecting the access of all in the Middle East to the freedom of faith is a great challenge. Israel today is the only country in the Middle East that fully guarantees the religious freedom for all – for Jews, for Muslims and Christians. You know that Christians are being slaughtered by ISIS and brutally repressed by the Iranian regime. In Israel, as in Ethiopia, Christians thrive, and I am proud that our Christians, the Christian community in both our countries are safe, secure and free. This is something we uphold for all religions – all religions – Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. It's the values we should uphold everywhere in the Middle East and everywhere in the world – in Africa, in Europe, everywhere. Freedom of faith for all.

Ladies and gentlemen,
These common values, these common bonds of history and values, have led to common interests. Our two nations, and every country, are threatened by the forces of terror. I've spoken to African leaders this week in Entebbe, in Kenya, in Rwanda and of course with Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia. I think all Africa's leaders understand this danger well. We've witnessed attacks in countries across the continent and around the world. We've seen fanatics who seek to impose a medieval barbarism on all humanity. They deliberately target civilians. They systematically murder innocent men, women and children, in malls, in universities, in cafes, in hotels.

It's important to understand that the terrorists see us, all of us, as one. And we must fight them as one. And I want to pledge to you one thing: We can defeat them; we will defeat them; but working together we'll defeat them even faster.

My friends,
Ensuring security is our first common interest, but it's certainly not the last. For too long, Africa was treated like an afterthought by much of the world. Many focused on its problems; few saw its opportunities. But no longer. We are clearly, clearly seeing Ethiopia's potential and Africa's potential. And today I'm proud to announce that Israel is coming back to Africa in a big way.

We had extraordinarily productive discussions, the Prime Minister and I and our teams. We see possibilities in every field of endeavor – in agriculture, in water, in energy, in space, in cyber, but in ways that will affect, as the Prime Minister said, the lives of ordinary Ethiopians because you can have more water for your personal use, for crops. If you can make your crops more productive, if you can grow animals to produce – and cows – to produce cows, to produce milk in greater quantities.

This is the question I ask everywhere I go: Which cow produces more milk per cow in the world? You think it's a Dutch cow; you think it's a French cow. It's not; it's an Israeli cow and soon it could be an Ethiopian cow.

This is my vision for our cooperation: to have Ethiopian farmers enjoy the benefits of Israeli know-how, working together with us; to have water channeled to every direction that you want and wasted very little; to have technology; to have communications, education, medicine. Enjoy the fruits of technology, because the future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is an innovation nation, but we are willing and eager to share our experience with you, because we believe in our partnership.

I believe that Ethiopia is on the rise. We believe that your industries are grown and innovative, your influence is spreading. We seek to deepen our ties with you, because when we work together, both of our peoples are better off.

It's been nearly three decades since an Israeli prime minister has visited any country in sub-Saharan Africa, and I can promise you it won't be another three decades before another visits. We are talking about future visits to Ethiopia and to many African countries. I want to see Israeli embassies spread throughout the continent, and I want to see every African country represented in an embassy in Israel. This is a vision that we believe in. It's something that we're working for. It's something that we believe in and it should not surprise you.

The founder of our state, of our modern state, was a young man. He was 36 years old when he began and he died very early, at 44. His name was Theodore Herzl, and Herzl was a modern Moses. He said over 120 years ago, he said that after he would achieve the establishment of a reborn Jewish state, he hoped to help the black people of Africa gain their freedom too. It was that same partnership from King Solomon, that same partnership from long ago, the same idea of the exodus. And Herzl said of the idea of re-founding a Jewish state, he said, "If you will it, it is no dream." And the same applies to our relations with Africa and the same applies to our vision of a shared future with Ethiopia.

If we will this future, it is no dream. Inspired by the bonds of history, by the values and common interests that characterize us, our friendship is ever deepening. Ethiopia is on the rise; Africa is on the rise; and the friendship between us is soaring to new heights.

May God bless Ethiopia. May God bless Israel. May God forever bless our friendship. Thank you all. Thank you very much."




 PM Netanyahu addressing the Ethiopian parliament. Photo: GPO/Kobi Gideon






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President Rivlin hosts state dinner in honor of President Cartes of Paraguay


President Reuven & First Lady Rivlin this evening (Monday) hosted at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, a state dinner in honor of the visit of Paraguayan President Horacia Cartes, who was making the first state visit to Israel by a president of Paraguay.


At the beginning of the evening both presidents delivered addresses. At the dinner were in attendance Julio and Dario Messer, members of the Jewish family from Brazil which 'unofficially adopted' President Cartes in his youth.


At the beginning of his address, President Rivlin welcomed President Cartes and spoke of the strong ties between the two peoples. He said, "While Paraguay is thousands of kilometers away from Israel, its friendship with Israel and the Jewish people is true and enduring. As such, Paraguay absorbed fifteen to twenty thousand Jewish migrants who were fleeing Nazi oppression. Just as you stood by the Jewish people then, you stand today alongside Israel. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this important diplomatic support, and we hope it will continue into the future."


President Rivlin continued on to say, "We must not just praise the past, we must care for the future, for the deepening of the friendship between Israel and Paraguay, the widening of our cooperation, and the growth of bilateral trade and investment. Your visit here is a step of unparalleled importance on this path to the future."


President Cartes of Paraguay thanked President Rivlin for the warm reception and said, "Today I am realizing a dream, I am in Israel. Mr. President, my deep love for Israel and its people is tied also to the Jewish family that supported me during difficult times." He added, "We will expand our cooperation with Israel, one of the most advanced countries in the fields of science and technology. Paraguay and Israel share deep historical bonds. We share values of freedom, dialogue, protecting human rights, and condemnation of all forms of fundamentalism. Together we will continue on this path." 


Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)




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President Rivlin on state visit to Bulgaria


President Rivlin: "We must all stand strong together and say in a loud and clear voice that above all else, we will fight terrorism and its supporters in any place they may try and reach and in every place they will attempt to hide."


President Reuven Rivlin began this morning, (Thursday, 7 July 2016) a state visit to the Republic of Bulgaria. The visit began with an official welcome ceremony by the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, at the Plaza in St. Alexander Nevsky Square. During the ceremony, the national anthems were played and the Presidents together reviewed a guard of honor and watched a military parade. At the end of the ceremony, President Rivlin laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
 Following the ceremony, the Presidents continued onto a lengthy work meeting at the President's Residence, during which the Presidents discussed the strong relations between the two countries, and expanding their cooperation. Among other issues discussed, the Bulgarian President updated President Rivlin on the developments of the investigation into the terror attack in Burgas which took place in 2012. As the meeting concluded the two Presidents gave statements to the press.
 In his opening remarks President Rivlin thanked the President of Bulgaria for his warm welcome and noted the strength of the relationship between the Jewish people and the Bulgarian people over the years.
The President noted Bulgaria's support of Israel upon its establishment and the support of the Bulgarian people to the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation. The President said, "We will not forget the asylum you gave our people during the terrible Holocaust that killed six million of our brothers and sisters, in the darkest period known in Europe. Forty eight thousand Jews survived the Holocaust thanks to the heroism of the Bulgarians, and their stance against the Nazis."
 He continued, "And even more recently, we have been witness to how you stood in front of the flames of hatred and terror which have also hit Bulgaria," and continued, "The flames that have left no nation immune in recent years. We must all stand strong together and say in a loud and clear voice that above all else, we will fight terrorism and its supporters in any place they may try and reach and in every place they will attempt to hide.
 "Mr. President, Israel is proud of our steadfast friendship and fruitful cooperation between the two countries," the President concluded, "The results of years of diplomatic relations are apparent for all to see in many areas. Much more potential for future cooperation awaits us, and I hope that my visit today will help to promote them, and will strengthen our friendship. I wish to thank you for the wonderful hospitality - I am honored to be here today. "
 President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev said, "This visit is a testimony to the special relationship and strong friendship between the two peoples and will help to further deepen ties and cooperation. The relationship between the two countries has only continued and strengthened in recent years, but the friendship and mutual respect between our peoples is rooted deep in history.
 "During this visit we will inaugurate the monument commemorating the rescue of Bulgarian Jews, in the hope of preserving the memory of the heroic deeds of the Bulgarian people for future generations. Unfortunately, our country could not save the Jews who were not citizens of Bulgaria during the Holocaust and lived in areas adjacent to us."
 He added, "In our hearts we will always remember the tragedy of the 2012 attack in Burgas. The two countries are doing their best since then so this tragedy may never to repeat itself. Bulgaria will do its utmost to bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.
"Israel is a strategic partner and there is huge potential for bilateral cooperation in various fields including high-tech, electronics, energy, agriculture and more.  We will continue and develop businesses between the countries and we will establish new projects that will provide many opportunities for Bulgaria and Israel. We welcome the Israeli tourists who come to the country every year.  Thousands of Israelis visited Bulgaria last year, and we will be happy to see more and more Bulgarians visiting Israel. We also see Israel as a potential supplier of gas to our region. In view of our strategic location we can deliver gas to Europe from Israel."
 President Plevneliev stressed the defense cooperation between the two countries and noted that cooperation in this field has never been more successful, and said: "We want to be of help to Israel in Europe, and hope that Bulgaria will be the platform for the realization of Israeli interests. The friendship between me and the President (Rivlin) is strong and it will benefit the two peoples."
Later, President Rivlin met with Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed the political situation in the Middle East and specifically the growing phenomenon of ISIS. The two discussed the absorption of Syrian refuges making their way to Europe and the support of terrorism by states such as Iran.
Later today, the President will inaugurate the monument to commemorate the rescue of Bulgarian Jews by the Bulgarian people during World War II. In the evening, the President will meet with representatives of the Jewish community, and later the President of Bulgaria will hold an official dinner in honor of President and First Lady Rivlin at the President's Residence.
 President Rivlin inaugurates memorial to the rescue of the Jews of Bulgaria by the Bulgarian people during the Holocaust
 President Reuven Rivlin today, (Thursday, 7 July 2016) inaugurated a memorial to the rescue of Bulgarian Jews by the Bulgarian people during the Holocaust. He was accompanied at the ceremony by President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, who both spoke and together unveiled the memorial. Also addressing the event was Alexander Oscar, president of the Jewish community in Bulgaria. The memorial was designed by architect Yitzhak Lipovitsky, and an identical version is due to be inaugurated in Tel Aviv, which is twinned with Sofia.
 President Rivlin and President Plevneliev at the official welcoming ceremony in St. Alexander Nevsky Square
Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach






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