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On Monday November 4, the Panama Embassy held a reception in honor of the 110th anniversary of its Independence. The reception was held at the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv and was sponsored by COPA Airlines (the Panamanian national air carrier), which is represented in Israel by the Open Sky Group.


Hundreds of guests came to congratulate the Ambassador, embassy staff and the Panamanian people on this special day. Guests enjoyed a festive Latin atmosphere with a band playing Latin tunes, as well as large variety of Panamanian cuisine.


Among the guests were Ofir Akunis, Deputy Minister of Israel's Prime Minister office, Einat Kranz Meiger, Director of the Department of Mexico Central America and the Caribbean and Shlomo Morgan, Protocol Department from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and members of the foreign diplomatic corps.

In attendance were also Israeli businessmen, among them the Presidents of Israel's Bi National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gad Proper, Dudi Simcha and Amnon Dotan; Kobi Zussman, the General Manager IATA /BSP Israel; Avi Friedman, Chairman of the Israeli Panel of Foreign Airlines and the General Manager of United Airlines in Israel and many others.


After playing the national anthems of Panama and Israel, the Ambassador of the Republic of Panama in Israel, Hector Aparicio, opened the ceremony by welcoming all the guests. He praised the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Panama and described how Panama received its independence from Colombia after many failed attempts, until finally the Panamanian people managed to win independence without war or bloodshed.  


The Ambassador noted that Panama was among the first countries in the UN that voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel. Panama attaches great value to the friendship and goodwill between the nations, and respects all religions and sects who live in the region. Panama is now a modern and dynamic country, hospitable, and one which encourages the development and attracting of business and investment from around the world. After 110 years, there are still many challenges and social issues to resolve, yet Panama is proud of its democracy and respect for human rights.



Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, spoke on behalf of the government and people of Israel, saying: "The relations between Panama and Israel are very close, reflecting a deep friendship and cooperation in a wide range of areas. Indeed, Panama has stood by Israel since our country's rebirth". "We very much appreciate Panama's support for Israel in multilateral forums. Panama was one of the few countries that voted against bringing the Palestinians into UNESCO and also was one of the few countries that voted against giving the Palestinians Non-Member State status in the UN General Assembly".


Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis noted that in the past Panama has made clear that it would not support any one-sided moves and would not recognize a Palestinian state unless it was part of an agreement reached between both the Palestinians and Israel. He continued by saying that the strength of the ties between both countries was also reflected in mutual high-level visits. Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli, who is a very good friend of Israel, visited our country in 2010, followed by the visits of a number of Panama's top Ministers. Israel's former Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, visited Panama in August 2012. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Panama visited Israel in November 2012 and headed Panama's delegation in the very first round of bilateral talks between the Foreign Ministries of both countries. In this dialogue, an agreement on avoiding double taxation was signed.  He also noted that during the next few weeks both countries would begin negotiations on a free trade area agreement with Panama.  


Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis mentioned that there is a large and important Jewish community in Panama, which has worked tirelessly to build bridges of friendship between our two countries.  He concluded, on behalf of the government and people of Israel, by congratulating the government and people of Panama and said that he hopes that the cordial relations between our two nations will continue to grow in the years ahead.


Ephraim Fortis, CEO of the Open Sky Group, greeted everyone on behalf of COPA Airlines top management and shared Open Sky's appreciation for promoting Panama as a preferred tourist destination and as a hub to Central and South America using COPA Airlines' international network. He mentioned that COPA Airlines has been flying for more than 65 years in Latin America, operating from the "Hub of the Americas" in Panama to 66 destinations in 29 countries in North, Center and South America and the Caribbean. COPA Airlines has a strategic alliance with United Airlines and is a Star Alliance member.


At the end of the evening, guests were invited to partake in the excellent food, beverages, and enjoy music played by the Latin band - "Latin Power". The warm atmosphere and lively music inspired many guests to get up and dance to the Latin rhythms.

Photo Silvia Golan




On Monday, October 28, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Israel, Mr. Tomáš Pojar, held a reception at his beautiful residence in Herzliya, to celebrate the Czech Republic's 95th Anniversary (Creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918).


Many distinguished guests, including Minister of Strategic and International Affairs, Mr. Yuval Steinitz, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Czech Republic and Israel, beautifully played by violinist Marie Matlova.


The Ambassador welcomed all the guests, and started by mentioning that Czechs say that deeds are more important than long speeches, and so, he would try to stick to it.


He said that a many good deeds took place in the Czech-Israeli relations in the last 12 months, and mentioned a few of them:


  • The vote of the Czech Republic in the UN GeneralAssembly in November.

  • Israeli Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu's third visit to Prague in three years.

  • Czech President Miloš Zeman'svisit to Israel - his first trip outside of Central Europe after his recent election.

  • The Days of Jerusalem in Prague, which followed the Days of Prague in Jerusalem.

He pointed out the steady continuation and strengthening of the Czech-Israeli mutual cooperation in several fields: culture, business, education, science, tourism…. And that we can always do more.


He reminded us of two people who have passed away in the last 24 hours, who were of great inspiration for the Czech struggle for our freedom in the 1980s: the rock musician, composer, guitar player, New Yorker of Jewish descent Lou Reed, and the representative of the Polish Solidarity movement and later Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowietzky. He said that the Czech people owe them a lot and should remember them.


He said that we shall also remember all Israelis of Czechoslovak origin who tirelessly worked for strengthening our relations, who were here with us last year, and are not with us anymore. He named Chanan Rosen, Norik Harel and Marta Marom, and said that we should not forget others, that we also owe a lot.


Mr. Yuval Steinitz greeted the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in name of the Government and People of Israel and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Czech Government and Czech People on the occasion of its 95th Anniversary, the Creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.


He said that it is a special pleasure for him to greet the people of a country that is a close, loyal and strong friend of Israel. That we appreciate, cherish and attribute great importance to the close friendship between the two countries and peoples.


He mentioned the following facts:

  • The last visit of Czech President Miloš Zemanto Israel, two weeks ago, was an additional expression of the close friendship between the two countries. President Zeman proved again that that this friendship withstands a serious test even when it is not popular to support Israel.

  • Israel will never forget the toughest moments when the Czech Republic(then Czechoslovakia) stood by Israel since the first days of its establishment, provided us with weapons for our defense, and trained our pilots when the Arab armies invaded our land to destroy the newly born Jewish State.

  • The relations between the two countries are not limited to military and political fields. Along with President Zeman's visit, a delegation of businessmen also visited Israel in order to increase furthermore the commerce relations between the countries. In the cultural field, we are proud of the department established this year in the Thomas Garryk Massaryk University in Brno. This, in addition to the long list of relations and cooperation in a wide variety of areas, which truly express the tight relationship between the two countries.

  • Two days ago took place the elections in the Czech Parliament. Soon a new government will be established. We are sure that the close friendship between the two countries and the deepening dialog will continue regardless of the changes in the Czech and Israeli governments. The mutual friendship is deeply rooted.

  • This ceremony is a good opportunity to express our appreciation to your personal contribution, Mr. Ambassador to the advancement and deepening of the Czech-Israeli relations. Your contribution has led these relations to new territories.

Other distinguished guests that took part in the ceremony were:

  • Mr. Dan Propper, Chairman of OSEM Group, who received the Go4Europe Achievement Prize in the same morningof October 28.

  • David Herdcy, Chairman of the Israel-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Shaul Lifshitz, CEO of the Israel-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Gidon Thaler,representative of leading airlines, such as Czech Airlines.

  • Yaakov Levy, Ex-Ambassador of Israel to the Czech Republic.


Photo Silvia Golan







On Thursday, October 15, the Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel Mr. Dimitris Hatziargyrou held a reception at his residence in Herzliya, to mark the Cyprus' 53rd Anniversary.

Many distinguished guests, including Minister of Strategic and International Affairs, Mr. Yuval Steinitz, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


Mr. Petros Eftychiou, Ex-Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel, was also present. He has come to Israel to attend several courses in Tel-Aviv University and deliver lectures on Diplomacy.

The Ambassador welcomed all the guests and expressed his thanks for the generous contribution of the sponsors that made the event possible – Delek and Avner, Hallmark Properties and KPMG Cyprus.

He mentioned a number of important events that took place in Cyprus since the last national reception almost a year ago. In February, the new Government of President Nicos Anastasiades, a good friend of Israel, was elected for a five-year term. The new President paid a visit to Israel last May, preceded by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy. Energy Minister Silvan Shalom visited Cyprus in August and the Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Yuli Edelstein, paid an official visit last month. A friendship group in the two Parliaments was formed and announced during the visit.


He also said the cooperation between representative in our societies is also expanding, whether between universities (the first Hebrew studies program was inaugurated last month in the University of Cyprus), and medical centres and R&D facilities. Israeli and Cypriot companies are venturing into all kinds of cooperation, and Israeli tourists have been flooding Cyprus. There are also big prospects for cooperation in the energy sector.

Mr. Yuval Steinitz greeted the Ambassador of Cyprus in name of the Government and People of Israel and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Republic of Cyprus on the occasion of its 53rd Independence Day.


He said that “ in recent years, we are witness to growth of relations, preceded by strong historical roots that strengthen current ties. The history of our two peoples has crossed path many times. We appreciate the Cypriot people's support when Jewish survivors from the Holocaust were placed in detention camps there by the British, and many succeeded in escaping and entering into Israel.

Today's relations between Israel and Cyprus are much more than joint historical and regional ties between two small nations. We share similar interests and challenges. Both are western democratic nations in a region of instability, revolutionary turbulence, and monarchies”.


 Photos Silvia Golan









Speaking ahead of tomorrow's annual "Hamsa" event which celebrates Israeli participation in EU research programmes, EU Ambassador-designate Lars Faaborg – Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel, said that he was looking forward to welcoming some 400 Israeli researchers to his residence.  


"It will be an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome so many distinguished Israeli researchers, all of whom have received grants under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development," he said  


"It is now 17 years since Israel was first associated to the EU's Framework Programmes. Israel's association to the programme has been a tremendous success both for the EU and for Israel. The hundreds of new grantees who attend the Hamsa event each year attest to this success."


"We are at an important juncture in Israeli-EU cooperation in science and technology. The EU is launching a new science and technology programme, named Horizon 2020, to the tune of close to 80 billion euro over the next seven years and has again invited Israel to participate as it has since the 4th Framework Programme in 1996. This is a tremendous opportunity for both Israel and Europe to develop key, cutting edge technologies and partnerships, a real win-win situation for both of us. We are currently negotiating modalities for Israeli participation in the programme. Both sides are striving for a pragmatic and mutually acceptable arrangement which would allow Israel to join by the time Horizon 2020 starts on the 1st of January 2014."

Note to the editor :  As of June 2013, there were 1,584 Israeli participations in 1,310 FP7 projects which amounted together will receive about 636.9 million euros.


Photo provided by EU  Press section




On Thursday, October 17, the Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping held a reception at the Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv, to mark the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.


Many distinguished guests, including Israeli President Shimon Peres, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


President Shimon Peres  greeted, on behalf of the State of Israel, the Chinese People and Chinese Central Leadership for this special day.President Peres said that China is a good example to a country that arose from deep poverty and became the world's growth engine. China has the second largest economy and influence. Israel attributes great importance to the strengthening of the strategic relations with China, and said “ I am proud of the deepening relations between our two countries. Many countries around Israel in the Middle East have a lot to learn from China”.


Israeli Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu was not present, but sent a video recording where he greeted the Chinese Ambassador.


The Chinese Ambassador, Gao Yanping,started expressing her thanks to President Shimon Peres. She said that his presence was of great importance for the friendship and good relations between China and Israel. She also thanked the other friends present in the event for their cooperation to China's development.
She described the important achievements that have taken place in China since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, including fast economic growth, social progress and closer relationships with countries around the world. She expressed the love for peace and harmony of China and the Chinese people, and their commitment to take the path of peaceful developments and independent foreign policy of peace.

She said that 2013 has been a special year in China's history, in which the Chinese New Central Leadership has put forward the renewal of the Chinese Nation in the new era, leading the Chinese People and the fulfillment of its major goals, mainly, to finish building a society of prosperity in all aspects by 2020, making China a modern country in the 21st century. China plays an increasingly larger role and is ready to fulfill its international obligations. Its economy is the second largest in the world. It is also a key member of the UN Security Council.
She said that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-Israel relations. Our relations are geared in the right direction. Prime Minister Netanyahu made a successful visit to China and had important meetings with our leaders. We will deepen our mutual relationships, and our activities will broaden and deepen in all areas. Our governments shear the same goals of friendship, mutual understanding and determination to push forward our relations.


She said that mutual honor and trust are the bases of the relations between countries, and that we continue to work and bring the relations to a larger and brighter future.


Mr. Neil Bush (son of US Ex-President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, and George W. Bush's brother), who is visiting Israel for business purposes, was also present in the reception.

The guests of the special event enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and the beautiful performance of artists from the southwest China's Sichuan Province with chinese classical dance , costumes and traditional musical instruments, .

Photos Silvia Golan