- Written by Diplomacy
In her first appearance at an Israeli university, Brazilian Ambassador to Israel - H.E. Maria Elisa Berenguer - addressed guests at Tel Aviv University and discussed the special relationship between Israel and Brazil as well as Brazil's newly accelerated diplomatic efforts across the Middle East.
Assuming the post as ambassador only four months ago, Ambassador Berenguer expressed her amazement at both the fast paced environment in Israel and how regional events themselves are rapidly changing on a day to day basis. Mixed with its surging economy, it is these rapid developments that have motivated Brazil in undertaking a new diplomatic track as opposed to the country's previously held strategy of 'quiet diplomacy'.
Those familiar with the latest current events in Brazil know that Latin America's most populated and largest country has become a thriving economic force as it has established itself as one of the top ten economic giants across the globe (as measured by GDP). With this, Brazil can only assume a greater role in world diplomacy while trying to expand its "friendly neighbor" policy worldwide and with special attention to the Middle East.
In specifically addressing Brazil's foreign policy efforts towards Iran, Ambassador Berenguer explained that Brazil is adamant in its belief that all nation's have the right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and that her country is attempting a new strategy in approaching the Iranian government with regards to its nuclear program.
Referring to the recent meeting between Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ms. Berenguer explained that, "He [President da Silva] had long conversations with Ahmadinejad about the Jewish people and stressed the importance in not denying the Holocaust."
As Dilma Rousseff is set to assume the Brazilian presidency on January 1st (she will be the first woman to fill that role), Ambassador Berenguer stressed the importance in continuing to pursue a similar diplomatic policy towards the region. "Brazil has been a long time friend of Israel and worked very hard behind the scenes in favor of the UN's resolution, which lead to the establishment of the State of Israel," stated Ms. Berenguer.
And although many Israelis may feel uncomfortable with Brazil's extended hand towards the Iranian regime, Ambassador Berenguer made it clear that Brazil will continue to pursue an agenda that publicly stresses the importance of Israel's security.
Ms. Berenguer said she is looking forward to her stay in Israel and expressed her commitment to maintaining and strengthening the overall ties between her country and Israel.
For more on the Brazilian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, visit http://www.brazilianembassy.org.il/
Photo Jose Cruz
Romania's rich musical traditions were on display Wednesday night at the Givatayim Theatre as some of the Eastern European nation's finest young talent performed before hundreds of guests in attendance in celebration of Romanian National Day.
In honor of the country's reunification of Transylvania into 'Greater Romania' (December 1, 1918), Romanian National Day glorifies the storied cultural achievements throughout the nation's intriguing history. Undoubtedly, Romania's global contributions to the Arts is something that cannot be overlooked; rather, it is these contributions that have helped place the country amongst the world's most sophisticated centers for both the composition and performance of classical music.
Thus, it was quite a privilege for those who attended the Romanian Cultural Institute's - in conjunction with the Embassy of Romania - sponsored orchestral performance honoring the country's heralded musical traditions of both past and present while also getting a glimpse at the the next generation of Romanian prodigies whom have gracefully begun to carry-on those traditions.
The cultural evening commenced with the playing of both the Romanian and Israeli national anthems and was followed by speeches from Gina Pana, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, and the Romanian Ambassador to Israel himself, H.E. Edward Iosiper.
In his speech, Mr. Iosiper discussed the already strong bilateral ties between Israel and Romania while also stressing the desire to see even greater cooperation between the two nation's. Iosiper, who has been posted in Tel Aviv since 2007 said that he was proud of the achievements garnered by both countries and that each can benefit greatly through the continued strengthening of those familial bonds.
Romania, which has a large contingent of foreign workers in Israel, has also recently become a prime destination for Israeli travelers and is growing each year in regards to its tourism industry.
As the evening continued, the young musicians - all students of Romania's finest conservatories - performed pieces by George Enescu and Paul Constantinescu, two of Romania's most celebrated composers, as well as works by Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Robert Schumann. The focus of the concert was to honor both Romania's finest composers and a few of the more recognized Jewish ones.
All of musicians - members of the "Dinu Lipatti" Group for Musical Excellence (Daria Ioana Tudor, piano (13 years old); Georgeta Ioana Iordache, violin (16 years old); Stefan Cazacu, violoncello (17 years old); Arthur Bocaneanu, piano (19 years old) ) - are well known both within Romanian philharmonic circles as well as those worldwide as they have taken their talents across the globe. They were accompanied on piano by Verona Maier, from the National University of Music in Bucharest. Producing classical music talent is definitely something of which Romania excels.
So, as the festivities of Romania's National Day officially commence, diplomacy.co.il offers a special congratulations to the Romanian mission to Tel Aviv as well as all Romanian citizens currently residing in Israel.
For more information on the Romanian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, click here
- Written by Diplomacy
Guests of the Latvian Embassy in Tel Aviv gathered at the Einav Cultural Center to celebrate the nation's Independence Day as well as its cultural contributions to the world and its storied Jewish past.
The Republic of Latvia has faced insurmountable obstacles in establishing itself as a contributing member within the European community as well as on the world stage. Despite the obstacles throughout the Baltic nation's history however, the resilience of the Latvian people in their pursuit of self-determination and global success has remained persistently strong as the republic embarks on 92 years of independence - an independence represented in two stages: 1918-1940 and 1940-1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Amidst a large gathering of guests and close friends within the diplomatic community, Latvian Ambassador to Israel, the Honorary Mārtiņš Perts, highlighted the global vision for his country going into 2011 as well as his desire to see larger strides taken between Israel and Latvia in fortifying the already strong relations between the two nations.
The 2010 celebration in Tel Aviv - normally Latvian Independence day is celebrated on the December 18th - was purposely pushed forward as to coincide with a special exhibit on Latvian philosopher Isaiah Berlin, being displayed at the Einav Cultural Center in central Tel Aviv. The exhibition, 'Isaiah Berlin and the Riga of His Time' - in cooperation with the National Library of Lativa - portrays the intellectual culture and history of Riga at the beginning of the 20th century with a focus on the city's Jewish community - a community that all but perished during the Holocaust.
"Such remarkable persons as Isaiah Berlin show the importance of the Jewish community in Latvia who have contributed and benefited the multicultural society inherent in Latvia nowadays," noted Mr. Perts, adding that the Latvian people would neither be who they are nor where they are today without the achievements of its Jewish past.
In regards to bilateral relations between Israel and Lativa, Ambassador Perts made note of key state visits between officials of each nation's foreign ministry as well as the importance of the scheduled visit of Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade & Labor, David Ben-Eliezer, to Latvia in the coming year. The ambassador also stressed his desire for Israeli President Shimon Peres to incorporate Latvia into his list of upcoming state visits while noting that he expected 2011 to be a "intense" year regarding the levels of Israeli-Latvian economic cooperation.
"Latvia highly values the active political dialogue with the State of Israel," explained Perts. "I am convinced that Israel and Latvia will continue to enjoy an open and constructive exchange of views regarding our common interests - both bilateral, regional and in regards to the global agenda."
Among the notable guests was Executive Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pinchas Avivi. Avivi spoke on behalf of the Foreign Ministiry and the Israeli people, recognizing the accomplishments of Latvian society, despite having to endure near centuries of foreign rule throughout its history.
He further noted the extensive 'Aliya' [Jewish immigration to Israel] of Latvia's remaining Jewish community after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 as well as Israel's immediate recognition and establishment of diplomatic ties upon Latvia's "regained" independence.
For more information on Latvia and its diplomatic missions worldwide:
[photos courtesy of Carmel Skutelsky]
- Written by MFA
Appearing before dozens of guests at the IBCA Balfour Dinner, the recently appointed British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, addressed the question of "loyalty" in regards to to being the United Kingdom's first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv.
"I am a Londoner through and through, and my heart beats a litle faster when England gets within striking distance of the World Cup.
My identity as a proud Jew does not detract one iota from my loyalty as a British citizen. These loyalties operate on different levels, and they do not conflict."
The ambassador invoked references of Chaim Weizman and Walter Rothschild in explaining the phenomenon of dual loyalties as he himself shares between his allegiances to Britain as a citizen and representative abroad and his strong ties to the State of Israel.
"There is absolutely nothing incompatible in this with the most thoroughgoing British patriotism," Gould commented, directly quoting Lord Alfred Milner, a member of former British Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet at the time the Balfour Declaration was created.
In terms of strides being made since assuming his post in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Gould discussed the quick developments being made in further strengthening the economic bonds between Israel and Britain with particular regards to the high-tech sector while also building on the already strong scientific collaboration enjoyed between the two countries.
The ambassador described his agenda as 'long, ambitious and immensely positive'. "This is a country [Israel] of great intensity," commented Gould. "In two months, I have had a crash course in Israeli culture, into Israeli politics, on the Israeli economy. I have made more friends, met more people, visited more places than I ever though possible," he added, saying that his understanding of "the country in which I now live" has expanded greatly.
Among other issues, including the current situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, Gould promised the attendees that his country would "amend the legal anomaly" regarding universal jurisdiction so that Israeli politicians would have no doubts on their legal security when visiting the UK.
Many of the guests in attendance were new olim (new Israeli citizens) from England as they themselves must now deal with the issue of "dual loyalties".
Identifying with the new immigrants and their allegiances, Gould stated, "As a British Jew, sent to the State of Israel to represent my country, I am a personification of this issue [dual loyalty]. I am a patriotic and loyal citizen of Britain and a proud Jew. I love Israel and yearn for her security.
I hold these together without shame and without contradiction".
Clearly, Gould's kippah (Jewish skullcap) of the British flag illustrated the entirety of his speech.
(Photo by Andres Lacko)
For a full copy of the speech, click here
- Written by Diplomacy
This Thursday, 11 November 2010, the Republic of Angola will commemorate 35-years of nationhood upon which it gained full independence from Portugal.
To kick-off the celebration, guests of the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv gathered for a night of festivities at the Givatayim Theatre, which included a fashion show displaying the latest Angolan trends and styles as well as a crowd arousing dance and music performance by the world renowned Kilandukilo Ballet.
The dance troupe was founded in 1984 by a group of young Angolans looking to express the various styles inherent in the country’s rich historical culture of rhythm and dance.
Kilandukilo – the style of performance as it is known - showcases a wide range of both modern and traditional dances accompanied by percussion beats representing the mood portrayed within the dancing itself. The ‘ballet’ group itself has performed across the globe and was welcomed enthusiastically by the large group of attendees.
Ambassador João Manuel – head of the Angolan mission in Tel Aviv – warmly welcomed guests and expressed his gratitude for the large turnout. In attendance were representatives of various diplomatic corps, those from the business and higher-education communities as well as officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
One of the more notable guests at the event was the former Colombian Ambassador to Israel, David De La Rosa.
After a long career representing Colombian interests in Israel, Mr. De La Rosa immigrated to Israel where he is now the head of Resource Development for the Our Children Foundation, in association with the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel.
Although Angolan Independence Day is celebrated on the 25th of December, the 11th of November represents the country’s National Day as that was the official date in which the Southwestern African nation won its independence after nearly 500 years of Portuguese rule.
As a side note, it must be noted that Angola’s National Day coincides with All Souls Day, which commemorates families’ loved ones of generations past.
Congratulations to the Republic of Angola and all of its representatives in Israel on celebrating 35-years of Independence.
For more information on Angola and its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv:
For more information on the Our Children Foundation:
Photos Silvia Golan