- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
The elegance of Tel Aviv University’s glittering Smolarz Auditorium was the appropriate site when the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Israel celebrated the country’s 70th anniversary. A glittering location for a glittering party hosting the glittering guests. It would be easier to list who wasn’t there from Israel’s diplomatic corps, government officials, Chinese residents and visitors, and Israeli VIP society members, but it’s impossible not to mention Ron Prosor, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry - Meron Reuben, Gilad Cohen, (deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific in the Foreign Ministry) , Tzachi Braverman the secretary of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister;Nitza Raz-Silbiger, Director of State Protocol, Yona Bartal, representative of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, Asher Ben Artzi, former chief superintendent of the Israeli Police and Superintendent Moti Meiry representative of the Israeli Police.
His Excellency Ambassador Zhan Yongxin and other embassy staffers greeted arriving guests and welcomed them to the lovely reception in the glass auditorium lobby. Guests mingled happily, partaking of the generous buffet dinner and open bar (including beer from China with special labels to mark the occasion), greeting old friends and making new ones. The mix of languages was exciting, with Hebrew speakers almost outnumbered by Chinese and English – and many other tongues. It was a fine mix of cultures, an indication of China’s importance on Israeli the diplomatic scene.
Guests were then invited into the main auditorium for the evening’s entertainment. The Shanghai Chinese Orchestra (SHCO), founded in 1952, was brought to Israel especially for this event, for this one performance.
The Ambassador opened the proceedings with a memorable address, first welcoming the guests, and then with a fascinating outline of China’s amazing economic, diplomatic, technological, scientific and cultural advances over the years. The Chinese statistics are mind-boggling; perhaps the number that amazed your correspondent most was the fact that China is Israel’s second largest trading partner in the world, and that in 2018 alone, trade between the two states amounted to almost $14 billion. Tourism is growing quickly too, with multi-airline direct flights being added between Israel and China at an unprecedented rate. By the end of the first half of 2019, 80,000 tourists from China had already entered Israel.
In conclusion, H.E. congratulated Israel and her people once again, and raised a glass in a toast to prosperity for the host country.
MK Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Minister of Absorption & Immigration, responded on behalf of the State of Israel. After thanking the Ambassador for his kind words, and after congratulating the People’s Republic of China on reaching her 70th anniversary, he noted that with China at 70, and Israel at 71: “ …neither of our nations are young, since they represent civilizations that have existed for thousands of years with rich histories and cultures that contributed much to humanity as a whole in so many ways. While we each sit at opposite ends of the Asian continent - China in the East, Israel in the west - we share between us many values, such as the sanctity of family, education and excellence. These values serve as a basis for the understanding, friendship and trust between our people.”
Mr. Gallant spoke of expanding multi-lateral ties, of expanding trade and of further understanding and dialog between the nations, for the mutual benefit of both countries. “To conclude, on this special day, I would like to warmly wish you, Mr. Ambassador, and the government and the people of the People's Republic of China, peace, security, prosperity and success. May the friendship and the good relations between our two countries continue to flourish”.
A beautiful rendering of the national anthems of China and Israel ended the evening’s formalities. The SHCO performers, in national dress, took to the stage, together with their strange (to western eyes) musical instruments. The music was strange too (again, to western ears) but hauntingly beautiful. We were treated to pieces with dramatic names that included, amongst others, “The Silk Road”, “Dancing Bees”, “Butterfly Lovers” and the erotic “Farewell to My Concubine”. The words of the SHCO Director, in the program, summed it up beautifully: “Let the audience … have understanding and love of Chinese folk music … build a solid bridge of cultural communication between China and Israel”. How true.
To end the evening guests were invited back to the lobby for deserts and liqueurs, a delightful culmination to a very special diplomatic event.
The Director and staff of www.diplomacy.co.il share their good wishes to the Ambassador and to the People’s Republic of China on this auspicious occasion.
Photos By Silvia G. Golan
© Copyright, Jonathan Danilowitz 2019.
- Written by Hassan Hassan
The Embassy of Switzerland in Israel celebrated 70 years of great diplomatic friendship in a VIP event for officials at Pastel Restaurant in Tel Aviv.
H.E. Jean-Daniel Ruch, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Israel; Andreas Guth, chairman of Dreyfus Söhne & Cie, Banquiers- Swiss Private bank; Ofer Kiesh, CEO of Lufthansa Airline company; Gad Proper, Chairman of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce : government members, businessmen, journalists, and others participated as well. The national day for Switzerland also featured events open to the public next to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where Swiss traditions, culture, and costumes were shared with the Israeli public.
The Swiss Ambassador Jean-Daniel Ruch addressed those that attended the event, stating that Switzerland celebrates “70 years of friendship, partnership, and striving relationship in all fields: cultural, economic, and innovation”. He added that it is also “an occasion to celebrate two cities: Basel and Tel Aviv, two cities that help change the world”. The Ambassador also praised the generous efforts of those who aim to forge the relationships between Israel and Switzerland by their contributions. These included Andreas Guth, chairman of Dreyfus Söhne & Cie, Banquiers- Swiss Private bank; Gideon Hamburger, the president of Harel Insurance and Finance Group; Ofer Kiesh, CEO of Lufthansa Airline Company; Richard Wherlock, and those in charge of the ballet performance that evening. Richard Wherlock, from the cultural field of Switzerland, stated that it is a privilege to “make things from the impossible into possible” and to share with Israel “love, passion, honesty, and sincerity”.
The warm atmosphere of the VIP event paved the way for other members to share points of view in different fields such as politics, technology, culture, and economic purposes. Both sides, Israeli and Swiss officials, shared their knowledge and their passion to further develop the relations between the two nations.
As for the public event, Israelis flooded in for Swiss cultural music, performances, and food.
The Swiss carnival was an outstanding performance that caught the public's attention. The Embassy of Switzerland gave away many gifts for the public. This joyful and rich event turned all the evening into an outstanding experience for both nations.
Happy Swiss National Day from www.diplomacy.co.il Staff !!!!!
Hassan Hassan is a member of Debate for Peace
Photos by Silvia Golan
- Written by Steven Aiello
Mexico Comes to Tel Aviv with Mexican Embassy Celebration at the Tel Aviv Municipality
On Monday September 16th, Tel Aviv municipality was transported to Latin America, with the annual Mexican Independence Day Festival. The Mexican Embassy in Israel celebrated 199 years of independence, with Mexican music, cuisine, and decor in the heart of Tel Aviv.
Guests entering the municipality building were immediately greeted with decorations in the Mexican colors, as they waited to congratulate the ambassador, H.E. Mr. Pablo Macedo. The finest imported Mexican beverages were served, along with Mexican delicacies prepared specially by the embassy. Mexican handcrafted clothing were on display as well.
Ambassador Macedo thanked the many sponsors of the event, and the municipality of Tel Aviv for helping with the event, and promised guests that together they had “brought Mexico to the heart of Tel Aviv.” The ambassador noted the importance of disruptive networks in contemporary business, and the role of the Mexican-Israeli community in connecting Mexico and Israel. He thanked all those who help to strengthen the ties between the two nations.
The real treat came when Ambassador Macedo himself led the traditional independence day reenactment, with guests chanting “Viva” after each stanza. A band then played the anthems of Mexico and Israel. The Mariachis band, with musicians wearing traditional clothing, then played lively Mexican songs, to a very enthusiastic audience. Ambassador Macedo delighted the guests by staying on stage and leading the singing of several songs.
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Mexico on its Independence Day!
- Written by Omri Weinstock
The Embassy of Nepal in Israel celebrated four years of the new Constitution of Nepal at the Herods Hotel in Tel Aviv, with traditional clothing, cuisine and artifacts.
After hearing the Nepali and Israeli anthems, the Nepali ambassador Dr. Anjan Shakya began her opening speech. She started by explaining how happy she is to be representing Nepal in Israel, thanks to the friendly attitude of people in Israel. The ambassador also praised Israeli democracy following the latest elections. Ambassador Shakya mentioned some interesting points about the history of Israeli-Nepali relations, such as the fact that Nepal was the first country in south Asia to recognize Israel. The ambassador noted that those relations have now existed for 60 years.
Dr. Shakya thanked the Israeli government and Mashav's assistance in training and educating Nepali students and therefore strengthening different sectors of the country. The newly introduced techniques, methods and technologies contribute to Nepal by boosting the agriculture and production. Later on, the ambassador emphasized how progressive Nepal's constitution is. She explained how it addresses ethnic diversity and promotes gender balance. Thanks to legislation, around 40% of the members of the parliament are women and the president and vice president of Nepal should represent different communities of Nepali society.
Ambassador Shakya added that Nepal HAS marked the year 2020 as "Visit Nepal Year"- the Nepali government will put extra effort in enhancing tourism in Nepal in order to reach the 2 million tourists mark. Tourism is growing and successfully boosting the Nepali economy according to the ambassador, by contributing 7.9% to the national GDP. Dr. Shakya finished her remarks by noting the vast tourism possibilities in Nepal.
Gilad Cohen., deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific in the Foreign Ministry , spoke next. Mr. Cohen. started by recalling the history of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Israel. From the first visit of Prime Minister B. P. Koirala in Israel who met Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, to the terrible earthquake that occurred in April 2015 when an Israeli delegation consisting of hundreds of professionals assisted the Nepalese authorities in their rescue operations and medical needs.
Gilad Cohen then explained MASHAV's contribution to the people of Nepal by noting the passage of knowledge through courses in Israel and abroad. He praised the "Learn and Earn" agricultural training program for successfully training 3000 students in farming technology. These students then returned to Nepal with knowledge and experience that has "opened for them a world of entrepreneurial opportunities that will guarantee progress and modernizations of the farming community in Nepal”. According to the ambassador, this will improve the agriculture-based economy of Nepal.Mr. Cohen finished by thanking the government of Nepal for sending troops to UN peacekeeping forces UNIFIL and UNDOF to ensure stability in the region.
www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the embassy of Nepal on this important day.
Omri Weinstock is a member of Debate for Peace
Photos Silvia Golan
- Written by Steven Aiello
The sights, sounds, and flavors of Central America were brought to Tel Aviv on September 12th, 2019, when the Central American embassies of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras celebrated 198 years of independence at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv.
Each country had a stand adorned with flags, flowers, and other items representing the country, along with brochures offering more information. Embassy representatives were on hand to explain more about the country. There was also an exhibition of paintings to enjoy, as well as typical Latin American cuisine to taste.
After guests received by all four ambassadors and enjoyed the opening reception, the official ceremony commenced with the playing of the national anthems of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Israel. Each ambassador sang his own country’s anthem, but the Ambassador of Guatemala delighted the audience by singing the national anthem of Israel in Hebrew. The master of ceremonies, Emma Maor, opened the evening by calling up the ambassadors, together with former Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel.
On behalf of the Ambassadors of Central America, H.E Mario E. Castillo, the ambassador of Honduras, welcomed and thanked all the guests on this historic occasion. The ambassador mentioned the importance of the values of “courtesy, tolerance, and understanding” in the region, and how democracy has led to political, economic, and social development. He noted the success of agriculture, including world-renowned coffee, and tourism, and also emphasized the importance of looking forward to future opportunities for growth and cooperation.
Ambassador Castillo mentioned the Central American Integration System (SICA) which has facilitated trade between the member countries and promoted regional growth, along with the 17th Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Dialogue and Concerting Mechanism, and the first Mesoamerican Business Meeting, held in Honduras; with the participation of nine regional countries. This meeting was a farther step in advancing “inclusive and sustainable economic growth”, as well as “logistical mobility and commercial facilitation, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In concluding his remarks, the ambassador thanked Kerem Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Mashav, and Gina art gallery, and wished everyone a happy Jewish New Year.
Former Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel spoke on behalf of the government of Israel, emphasizing the deep and historic bonds between Central America and the Jewish people. Mr. Ariel noted the shared values, as well as vibrant cooperation between Israel and the Central American countries, in finding solutions to challenges ranging from climate change and resource depletion; global food security to technological threats and border defense. He finished his remarks with a toast to a future of peace, security, and prosperity for Central America.
Hernán Feldman, Vice President of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL)-Jewish National Fund, also addressed the audience. Mr. Felman noted the successful partnership between the KKL and Central American countries on agricultural issues and expressed pride in the status of the KKL as one of the NGOs recognized by the United Nations for its work on the international scale.
Following the speeches, a toast was held for the independence and success of Central America, and continued bilateral relations with Israel. A video showed the beautiful sights of the four countries, and guests enjoyed live music and a wonderful dinner with traditional cuisine from Central America.
Among the distinguished guests were: Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry Meron Reuben; Modi Ephraim, head of the Latin American and Caribbean desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; David Cohen former Ambassador of Israel to El Salvador; Deputy Chairman of the Jewish National Fund and former Member of the Knesset Yigal Yasinov, and the Honorary consul of Costa Rica, Nathan Allalouf, and his wife, the owners of owner of Allalouf & Co. Shipping Ltd.
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the embassies of Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala and Honduras, and offers best wishes on the momentous occasion.
Steven Aiello Founder--DebateforPeace
Photos by Silvia Golan