fsockopen(): unable to connect to ssl://query.yahooapis.com:443 (php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known)


On Monday, March 3, H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Israel, Mr. Dimitar Mihaylov and his wife, Mrs.Nora Mihaylova, held a reception at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya, to celebrate the National Day of the Republic of Bulgaria, following the Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878.


Honorary guest was Mr. Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communications and Home Front Defense, who came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Republic of Bulgaria and Israel.

Then the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Israel presented the Bulgarian Ambassador


The H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria delivered most of his speech in excellent Hebrew, and also spoke in English and Bulgarian. He welcomed all the guests by saying:


"Your Excellency Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communications and Home Front Defense, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,


It is a distinguished honor to welcome you to the National Day of Bulgaria. This is the day when the Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878 ended the Russo-Turkish war and enabled the establishment of an independent Bulgarian State.


Today, Bulgaria, who is a member of the European Union, continues its democratic development within a country that has been able to instill the vision which our founding fathers envisioned: a precious republic of the people, by the people, and for the people in which members of all ethnicities and religious affiliations live together harmoniously; united by a common destiny and common future.


Now as never before, our bilateral relations with the State of Israel are increasingly growing into a partnership of mutual trust, with common aims of turning the adjacent Middle East and Europe into areas of prosperity, development and tolerance. The message that Bulgaria always sends to our Israeli friends is that the binding force between our two nations is rock-solid and it is our actions that lay the strong foundations for lasting bond of our generations to come."


Mr. Gilad Erdan greeted the H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Israel, Mr. Dimitar Mihaylov and Mrs. Mihaylova, the Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel, and the other Honored Guests.


He conveyed the warmest congratulations to Bulgaria on behalf of the government and people of Israel. He said that in Israel we wish peace, prosperity and happiness for the Bulgarian people, and that we are honored to celebrate this day with them. That Bulgaria is one of Israel's most important friends in Europe. That the bonds of collaboration and friendship shared by the two countries are strong, and growing more expansive.


That our nations have formal cooperation in several areas: politics, economics, sciences and culture. That in the past years we have signed new bilateral agreements dealing with homeland security, communications and health.


He continued by mentioning the following facts:

· In 2013, Israel gave hundred of Bulgarians work permits and employed them in construction, which helped them enrich their lives with dignified work.


· 2015 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic ties between Bulgaria and Israel. Since then, our nations have enjoyed high-level official visits, which stand as testimony to our renewed friendship. The peak of this process was the Government-to-Government (G2G) meetings, first in Sofia, then in Jerusalem.

· In the multilateral arena, Israel is grateful for Bulgaria's efforts to strengthen Israel's standing with the EU as well as the rest of the international community. In particular, Israel is grateful for the tremendous effort invested by Bulgaria in helping place Hezbollah in EU's Official List of Terrorist Organizations after the cowardly and despicable attack in Burgas (July, 2012).


· Israel gladly acknowledges Bulgaria's firm stance against anti-Semitism. We deeply appreciated the uncompromising statements across Bulgaria's political spectrum denouncing the infamous Lukov March, and the action taken by Bulgaria's lawmakers to ban the march from taking place. This act underlies the atmosphere of tolerance and humanity in Bulgaria, which the Jews know of all too well.

· Israel will always remember the salvation of the Jews of Bulgaria during WWII and the holocaust. The help of brave Bulgarians, who did not stand idle, marks a proud chapter in Bulgarian's history, which must never be forgotten. We all have the responsibility to learn and teach future generations the history of the holocaust and its lessons.


· The National Day of Bulgaria marks the nation's liberation and its freedom after many years of repression. The Jewish people also share the experience of a national rebirth after ages without political sovereignty.

Mr. Gilad Erdan ended by congratulating the government and people of Bulgaria on their National Day, and wishing Bulgaria a future of peace, economic growth, and continued friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel.


Photos  by Silvia Golan




On Thursday, February 13, the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Israel, Mr. Alexander De La Rosa, held a reception to celebrate the Dominican Republic's 107th Anniversary of the Independence of the Dominican Republic.


Many distinguished guests, including Mr. Silvan Shalom, Minister of National Infrastructures, Water and Energy, Minister for Regional Development and the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Dominican Republic and Israel.


Mr. Silvan Shalom greeted the Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel in name of the Government and People of Israel, and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Dominican Government and Dominican People on the occasion of the 170th Anniversary of their Independence. He wished health, prosperity, and happiness for all of the Dominican Republic's citizens.


Part of the facts pointed out by Mr. Silvan Shalom is listed below:

· The ties and history which link the Dominican Republic with the Jewish People go beyond the modern State of Israel.

· The origin of these relations at the Evian Conference in 1938, which took place before Israel was a sovereign nation.


· During that international conference, the Dominican Republic announced it would provide visas to 100,000 Jews in Europe fleeing from the tyranny of Nazi Germany.



· In doing so, the Dominican Republic saved the lives of thousands of Jews from Europe who moved to the Dominican Republic and established the town of Sosúa, where their descendants continue to live in peace and harmony to this day.

· The Dominican Republic supported the 1947 UN Partition Plan and was among the first nations to officially recognize the new State of Israel.

· The two nations enjoy extensive cooperation in the economy, industry, media, and agriculture.


· The close cooperation and friendship is also evident from the high level visits between our two countries.

· Former Dominican President Leonel Fernández's officially visited Israel in 2009, and participated in President Shimon Peres' 2011 Presidential Conference of Tomorrow.


· Israel's former Minister of Agriculture Orit Noked visited the Dominican Republic in November 2011.

· Israel and the Dominican Republic enjoy a robust cultural exchange.

· In the Dominican Republic, Israel's Embassy participates in the annual Carnival Celebration and is actively working to expand Israeli-Dominican cultural cooperation.


Mr. Silvan Shalom concluded by asking the Dominican Republic's Ambassador, convey the best wishes of the Government and the People of Israel to the Government and the People of the Dominican Republic. He wished the Dominican Republic to enjoy peace, stability, and prosperity, and that the good relations and friendship between the State of Israel and the Dominican Republic grow ever stronger in the years to come.

He ended by saying in Spanish: "Viva La República Dominicana!"


The Ambassador, Mr. Alexander De La Rosa, welcomed all the distinguished guests, including Minister Silvan Shalom, Authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, and Mrs. Ilana Neumann, Mayor of the City of Sosua in the Dominican Republic.

He said that: "This is a most auspicious day for us as Dominicans. It is a great celebration the One Hundred Seventy (170) Anniversary of our Independence"


He mentioned the following important facts:

· That in 1844, the Dominican Republic got the independence from Haiti, and during all these years the Dominicans have been a very solidary country with Haiti. Also, the Dominican Republic supported the partition plan in 1947, and was among the first nations to officially recognize the new state of Israel.

· At the present time, the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Mr. Danilo Medina, has initiated a cooperation dialog with Israel, and the result of it is very important agreements that have already being signed between the two countries due to the historical relations that exist between the State of Israel and the Dominican Republic.


· One of our aims and objectives is to intensify even more the bilateral commercial relations, in the areas of high technology, health, agriculture, energy and tourism. In this last area we are initiating an important promotion to get Israelis to know and visit our beautiful country.

· To achieve this, an important delegation from the Dominican Ministry of Tourism has arrived to Israel. A important member of this delegation is Mrs. Ilana Neumann, Mayor of the city of Sosua, the place were the Jewish refugees settled, after the Dominican Republic gave them one hundred thousand visas for saving them from the holocaust. This year the Jewish community of Sosua is commemorating the seventy fifth anniversary of their historical establishment at the Dominican Republic.


Mr. Alexander De La Rosa concluded by presenting the Dominican Republic's new Honorary Consul in the city of Haifa, Mr. Asaf Touchmaier, wishing him great luck and success in his new position.

He also said that in this occasion, he would like to thank the collaboration of their our sponsors, their honorary consuls and also the attendance of all the guests this evening


He ended by saying in Hebrew: "TODA RABA!"

Brief history of the Jews in the city of Sosua:

The city of Sosua, whose Mayor is Mrs. Ilana Neumann, has a unique and interesting history involving Jews.


About 800 Jews, refugees of the Nazi persecution during the holocaust, arrived to this city.

In 1938, the most important nations of the world to try to solve the problem of the Jewish refugees facing the Nazi invasion in Europe met in Evian, France. One by one, the representatives of these countries denied the entrance of the Jews in their respective countries. By the end of the meeting, when it almost closed, the representative of the Dominican Republic offered 100.000 visas for the Jewish refugees.


The Jewish immigrants received not only visas, but also land to work on agriculture in the area of Sousa.

In the beginning, they lived like in a kibutz, with common education and culture. They developed the whole region, with a factory of cheeses and sausages, as well as the field of tourism.

Today, Sosua is a touristic place with thousands of visitors. It has a little synagogue and a museum that shows the absorption of the refugees.


Photo credit Silvia G Golan

At the photo Rep Dominicana Ambassador Mr. Alexander De La Rosa with Mrs. Ilana Neumann




On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, directed by Dr. Gina Pană, held a Special Piano and Opera Concert in Honor of Romania's National Day. This event took place at Enav Center in Tel Aviv.

The concert was preceded by addresses of Dr. Gina Pană, Ambassador of Romania in Israel, Mrs. Andrea Păstârnac, and Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Culture, Dr. Irina Cajal-Marin.

The concert started with the National Anthems of Romania and Israel sang by soprano Dika Philosoph, accompanied by pianist Sofia Mazar. The concert then included arias composed by Gounod, Verdi and Puccini performed by Dika Philosoph, accompanied by Sofia Mazar, and piano pieces composed by Beethoven, Enescu and Chopin performed by pianist Andrei Licaret.

After the concert, an exhibition of Portraits of People, which displays traditions from ethnic communities in Romania, was opened in Enav's foyer. This exhibition was preceded by introductory words by Dr. Paulina Popoiu, General Director of the NVM, Buchares Cocktail.


  Despite the cold and rainy weather in Tel-Aviv, while snowing in Jerusalem, covering the capital with a thick white "blanket",


A very warm and friendly reception was held in the Dan hotel – Tel-Aviv, by the Kenyan embassy, Thursday evening dec.19 2013.

To this special event, marking the celebration of Independence Day Jubilee: the 50th Anniversary of a free and independent Republic of Kenya, many distinguished gests were invited:

The Israeli Minister Meir Cohen, and some other Israeli officials, Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Mission in Israel, and other Honored Guests.

The special atmosphere of the event, was felt and seen already at the entrance to the ballroom, where some beautiful female Kenyan receptionists, dressed in authentic colorful dresses, were checking the guests list and providing the participants with souvenirs from Kenya.

Entering the ballroom, one could see, feel and taste the hospitality of the Kenyan people, presented by the Kenyan Ambassador and the Kenyan embassy staff.



Excellent food and beverage was served, the room was decorated with flags, flowers, a large video screen, on which a Kenyan tour attractions were shown...

After some delay, caused by waiting for The Minister Meir Cohen, and some other officials, which finally could not leave Jerusalem because the roads were blocked by snow,the official opening  was declared.


Both National anthems: the Kenya an the Israeli, were played, accompanied by singing of the both countries present guests and staff members. Then speeches were made.

His Excellency, Ambassador Augostino Njoroge, accompanied by Mrs. Margaret Njoroge, spoke about the founding of the free and independent Republic of Kenya, fifty years ago, the progress that the Kenyan people have made since then and what Kenya is like today.

The Ambassador mentioned also the firm and special relationship, friendship and cooperation, between Kenya and Israel, since the first days of Kenya's independence in 1963 and until now, hoping for many years of such relationship to come.

After the Ambassadors speech, raising glasses of wine as a toast to both countries, their Presidents and people, a special message of greetings and wishes was presented on the video screen, by the Israeli President Mr. Shimon Peres.
The speech on behalf of the Israeli Minister Meir Cohen and the Government and People of Israel, was red by the representative Mr Avraham(Avi) Granot, Deputy Director General for Africa, MFA ,who congratulated the Republic of Kenya on the occasion of its 50th Independence day "this celebration is special for Israel, as it also marks the a Jubilee year of Israel-Kenya diplomatic relations.

The past 50 years we have witnessed a blossoming friendship between Kenya and Israel based on economic, cultural, strategic and humanitarian ties as well as shared values




After the official part of the event, a fashion show held place, showing Kenya's style designed dresses, shown by beautiful Kenyan models, giving the present guests a taste of a sweet "desert".



Photos Silvia Golan







On Monday, December 2, the Thai Embassy held a festive reception for the King's birthday and for the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand.



The event was held at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv and included a reception overflowing with Thai traditions.


Guests were welcomed with a warm handshake by Thai Ambassador Boon-Long, his wife Kamolrat Boon-Long and embassy staff. Guests were treated to a taste of Thailand with musicians and dancers brought especially for this occasion from Thailand. The band played the Thai and Israeli national anthems with traditional Thai instruments to which the audience sang along.



The Thai Ambassador addressed Yair Shamir, Minister of Agriculture, members of the diplomatic corpsand guests. He said that for the Thai people, the birthday of His Majesty the King is not only a time to celebrate, but also a time to reflect upon His Majesty’s contribution, dedication, and work towards bettering the lives of the Thai people. He said, "His Majesty the King has always been the main pillar in the nation’s stability and in bringing about development in the country. “The Soul of the Nation” as His Majesty the King is referred, does not only relate to the institution of the monarchy but also to the King himself - with his moral integrity, close contact with his people and lifelong devotion to them".



Ambassador Boom-Long discussed Thai trade relations with Israel: "with Thailand’s capacity as a major world supplier of diversified agricultural products and as a member of ASEAN (a combined market of about 600 million people), together with Israel’s agricultural and scientific technologies, we can work together to utilize the resources of both countries in agriculture and industry."  Ambassador Boom-Long also remarked: "I believe that Thailand and Israel share the same vision of improving people’s livelihood, building human capacity and transferring knowledge for agricultural development domestically and internationally. He added, "with our current dialogue between TICA and MASHAV (Israel's agency for international development cooperation) and other governmental and private entities, Thailand is Israel's strategic partner in conducting trilateral and international cooperation in Southeast Asia and beyond". At the end of his speech, Ambassador Boom-Long toasted to everyone's good health and happiness and to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as well as to continued close and cordial relations between Thailand and Israel.



As the representative of the Government of Israel, Yair Shamir wished his Majesty King  Bhumibol good health and happiness and best wishes to the people of Thailand. Minister Shamir mentioned that this year it would be almost 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Thailand. "Thailand was among the first Asian countries to both recognize and maintain diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. Since1954, Thailand and Israel have enjoyed an ever-warming friendship". He continued by saying: "We are particularly proud of Princess Chulabhorn, who has led the cooperation between Rambam and Hadassah Medical Centers in Israel and the Thai Chulabhorn Research Institute in the field of cancer research.



Minister Shamir mentioned that as Thailand enjoys a major economic position in Asia and as the world looks east, Thailand will play an increasingly important economic role in the region.


The economic exchanges between the countries are diverse and vast and cover the communication, agriculture, defense, food and water technologies sectors, among others. He mentioned that apart from trade, Thailand's migrant workers (numbering some 25,000) in Israel play a crucial role in our economic relations. Israel is committed and will remain committed to their welfare and protection. Israel is also proud to have trained thousands of Thai citizens in agriculture and other disciplines through the "Mashav" Agency.



Minister Shamir concluded by asking AmbassadorBoom-Long to "convey our best wishes to His Majesty the King of Thailand, the government and people of Thailand on its National day. "May Thailand continue to prosper and flourish and we wish that the good relations and friendship between Thailand and Israel will continue to grow in the years ahead".


The Thai band then continued to play while guests enjoyed a variety of Thai delicacies served in accordance with Thai tradition and its unique food decorations.  



During the event, I had the chance to meet Dov Kalmann, the representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Israel. I asked him to describe the nature of Israeli tourism to Thailand.Mr. Kalmann said that Israelis "regard Thailand as a kind of second home. The increase in number of Israelis visiting the Kingdom (130,000 = 1.6% of the total population) is almost an international phenomena – only Switzerland produces more visitors to Thailand relative to their population. One item to take note of is the fact that there are 415 weekly flights (direct or indirect) from Switzerland to Thailand compared to only 78 weekly flights from Israel. Our main constraint is therefore the lack of flights. We see 2013 showing another increase (8%) in traffic from Israel to Thailand'.



Mr. Kalmann continued by saying that, "according to official Thai statistics, Israelis spend an average of $134 per day. This is higher than most other groups. Our aim is to retain the high-end profile Israelis have of Thailand by promoting high quality products, family travel, shopping and honeymoon vacations". He mentioned that the fastest growing segment of the Israeli market to Thailand is the family segment. Israelis travel with their three kids (average) for a period of two weeks, mainly during the low season in Thailand (the rainy season). This has been a major target since TAT opened its representative office in Israel. 



Of course it was impossible not to ask him about tourism in light of current internal protests and demonstrations in Thailand.  Mr. Kalmann said that right now there is no reason not to visit Thailand. "The demonstrations are taking place in areas far away from the main tourist areas, shopping malls and nightlife sites. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not issued any new travel advisory – but recommend remaining updated regarding any developments. We have not noticed any change in booking patterns from Israel nor any cancellations".




Here are some interesting facts we found about Thailand:


Thailand (officially the Kingdom of Thailand) was formerly known as Siam. The country is a constitutional monarchy, headed by King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, which has reigned since 1946.  Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area (with an area of approximately 513,000 km2) and is the 20th-most-populous country, with some 64 million people. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% Thai Chinese, and 3% Malay, with the rest belonging to minority groups and various hill tribes. The country's official language is Thai. The primary religion is Buddhism - around 95% of the population.



Regarding their economy, Thailand is an emerging economy and considered a newly industrialized country.Thailand exports over $105 billion of goods and services annually. Major exports include rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewelry, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand is the world's no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tons of milled rice annually.



Industrial products include electrical appliances and components, computer parts and automobiles. Thailand ranks high among the world's automotive exporters as well as in the manufacturing of electronic goods. Tourism in Thailand makes up about 6% of the economy.Thailand has a GDP of $602 billion, putting Thailand as the second largest economy in Southeast Asia. 


According to the Israeli Export Institute, trade between Thailand and Israel has increased steadily in recent years. In 2010, bilateral trade between the countries grew by 40%. Thailand imports mainly diamonds and chemicals from Israel and exports to Israel machinery and electronic equipment.


Photos Silvia G.Golan