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About twenty ambassadors and diplomats from foreign countries enjoyed a joint tour in the Tzippori National Park and the region earlier this week. This, as part of a special initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), designed to allow them to experience, close up, Israel’s unique beauty and heritage.

Among the ambassadors who took part in the tour of Tzippori National Park were the ambassadors of the countries: Sri Lanka, Colombia, Thailand, Nepal and Vietnam, as well as senior diplomats from El Salvador, Austria, Uruguay and Ukraine.


The tour was initiated by the Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi, and guided by Tzipori-born Etti Koriat Aharon, a longtime INPA employee in charge of information and community in the northern district and an expert in Tzipori's archeology. The group visited, among others, the Nile Festival House, the Roman villa with the beautiful mosaic floor of the Galilee, the Crusader castle and the remains of a synagogue from the Byzantine period. The diplomats ended the day with wine-tasting and lunch at the Kitron winery.


This tour was the first in a series of special tours organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority for ambassadors. Subsequent tours are expected to take place in Caesarea National Park, the INPA Sea Turtle Rescue Center and the Apollonia National Park, with the participation, among others, of the ambassadors of Panama and Ireland and senior diplomats from Russia, Britain, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands and Canada.


According to Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi: “Having run a successful cycling project in which dozens of ambassadors from foreign countries enjoyed breath-taking routes around Israel, we decided to offer ambassadors to take advantage of this corona period and visit the national parks, in joint cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. To our delight, registration immediately filled up and the ambassadors were enthusiastic about discovering another piece of archaeology and history in the Galilee. Given the absence of advertising and marketing campaigns overseas featuring Israel’s unique sites as a result of the corona crisis, these ambassador tours provide another type of exposure to Israel among the diplomatic corps living in Israel."


According to Raya Shuraki, Director, INPA Public and Community Division: “The corona crisis is still ongoing and the tourism industry is currently based solely on domestic tourism. At the same time, it is important to look ahead and establish and cultivate contacts with key figures in other countries, such as ambassadors, with a view to leveraging incoming tourism when it will become possible. These tours are part of a welcome initiative designed to establish a fruitful relationship with the representatives of the various countries. They also serve to expose them to both the beauty and uniqueness of our nature and heritage sites as well as the tourist and recreation sites located near Israel Nature and Parks Authority sites.”


Photo  Ministry of Tourism




Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Colombian President Ivan Duque, today (Monday, 10 August 2020), in a joint videoconference, launched the free trade agreement between Israel and Colombia. Prime Minister Netanyahu also commended Colombian President Duque for opening an innovation office in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"This is a historic moment in the relationship between the State of Israel and the Republic of Colombia because we celebrate two important events today. The first is the final ratification of the agreement on a free trade zone between, a free trade agreement between our two countries, and in addition, the Colombian announcement that you've just made, to open an innovation representative office in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

These decisions create a platform of cooperation between us that will bring our partnership, our friendship, our brotherhood—as you said—to new political and economic levels.

Israel is a hub of global innovation. Colombia is one of the strongest economies in Latin America. It has a strong academic base, a strong scientific base, and I think that cooperating, the cooperation between us will make both of us stronger. We also have a strong partnership on security as well. Ivan, your leadership in the fight against terrorism sets an example for the rest of Latin America."

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Colombian President Duque declared the end of the ratification process for the free trade agreement between Israel and Colombia. This is a pioneering agreement with the third largest economy in Latin America. Signing the agreement will create opportunities for the Israeli economy in various fields including agriculture, technology and medicine.

Colombian President Duque emphasized that he would open an innovation office in Jerusalem, close to the Israel Innovation Authority, and stressed that Colombia aspires to develop innovation at home inspired by the Israeli experience.

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the ratification of the free trade agreement and the fact that Colombia was joining a series of nations that – since the US decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem – have decided to open official offices in the capital.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will continue to work toward the goal of encouraging additional countries to open representations in Jerusalem.

Photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)




The embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan celebrated Capital City Day and the 80th anniversary of the founding President of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, with a panel featuring multiple former prime ministers of Israel. Despite the Covid-19 challenges, a limited audience of VIPs joined in marking the momentous occasion of the octocententenial of one of the world’s most influential world leaders with a roundtable of panelists, live music, and tasty lunch at the Dan Accadia hotel in Herzliya. 

The afternoon opened with a short video highlighting the splendors of Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan, named for H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, one of the world’s longest serving presidents, who presided over Kazakhstan’s growth and success for nearly 30 years, including the remarkable transfer of Kazakhstan’s capital city from Almaty to Astana, then renamed Nursultan.


H.E. Satybaldy Burshakov , the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Israel, opened his remarks by recalling the fateful decision in 1994 to move the capital of Kazakhstan to then-Astana, which had a mere 300,000 residents at the time. The ambassador noted that while initial reactions within Kazakhstan and abroad were mixed, the decision was both calculated and prescient -- a deliberate effort to bolster Kazakhstan’s diplomatic and commercial ties in the new post-Soviet Union Eurasian order, and a bold investment in bringing Kazakhstan into the future with a modern city. Today the undeniable success of Nur-Sultan is a testament to the vision of its namesake




Former Israeli prime minister Mr. Ehud Barak noted that in addition to being a personal friend and a good friend of Israel, President Nazarbayev must be credited for his historic role in shaping the future of his nation. He remarked that with the important position as the first president of Kazakhstan following independence, President Nazarbayev acted with courage as a true leader in making untold decisions critical to the direction of his country. Having visited Kazakhstan himself, Mr. Barak described the success in creating a capital city that is both innovative and quintessentially Kazakhstani. He recalled meeting American students at the molecular biology department of Nazarbayev university who had come to do research in the cutting-edge labs. In closing, the former prime minister described President Nazarbayev as a true friend of Israel and wished him, his family and his nation many years of health and success.

Former Ambassador of Israel to Kazakhstan H.E. Ambassador called President Nazarbayev “one of the most significant and influential political leaders of our times,” contributing to the formation of the new world order in Central Asia and Eurasia generally, and laying the ground for Kazakhstan’s economic, diplomatic, and political development.

Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov spoke in both Hebrew and Russian. He spoke about the flourishing people to people ties between Kazakhstan and Israel. Dr. Ben Yaakov informed the audience that Kazakhstan, as a Muslim nation and led by President Nazarbayev, played an important role in exemplifying the warm ties possible between Jews and Muslims, as it has throughout the history of the Kazakhi people. Several meetings of Jewish and Muslim religious leaders have been held in Kazakhstan to this effect.

Professor Victor Raditsky, who has met President Nazarbayev numerous times in his role as a translator, seconded this point. Recalling numerous meetings of important Jewish and Muslim leaders to which he had been personally witness, he noted that they were reviving a historical tradition of religious pluralism and Jewish-Muslim dialogue. This includes such illustrious Jewish sages as Maimonides and his son Abraham, who incorporated Islamic philosophical and mystical approaches into Jewish texts and practice, and also reflects the moderate ethos of Kazakhstan and Central Asian heritage.

The final panelist was former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Mr. Olmert, who also visited Kazakhstan numerous times during his political career, described the broad influence of President Nazerbayev on Kazakhstan and Central Asia. He commended the president for successfully navigating the post-USSR world and establishing good relations with both Russia and the United States and their respective allies. Mr. Olmert said that he considered it a privilege to have signed the first trade cooperation between Israel and Kazakhstan, as a minister back in 2003, and noted that both he and his Kazakhstani counterpart ended up becoming prime ministers of their respective countries. In closing, Mr. Olmert offered his own blessing to President Nazarbayev to enjoy health and happiness “until 120 years of age” as per Jewish tradition.



Following the panel, guests were invited to a sumptuous catered lunch in the outdoor garden. There they also enjoyed live music performed by Expessia Show, with electric violins, and a photo montage showcasing vivid images of the city of Nursultan. Numerous books about Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev were available for guests to take home to read, as well as a special newspaper insert in Hebrew dedicated to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstani handicrafts added to the vibrant atmosphere, and the hotel staff did an excellent job providing a luxurious experience while maintaining Ministry of Health regulations.

The distinguished guests included former prime ministers of Israel Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church in Jerusalem, Ambassador Michael Brodsky, Minister-Counsellor of the Eurasia and Balkans division of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Alexander Tsinker, president of the International Center for Electoral Systems, Professor Victor Raditsky, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov, CEO of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Tony Levy, External Relations, R&D Support - HIT – Holon Institute of Technology and other diplomats and civil society leaders.

Diplomacy.co.il congratulates President Nazarbayev, Ambassador Satybaldy Burshakov and the nation of Kazakhstan on this momentous occasion, and offers best wishes for future success and bilateral cooperation.

Steven Aiello



For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania and Argentina to the State of Israel

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 8 July / 16 Tammuz, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania and Argentina to the State of Israel. The official ceremony was held, for the first time, entirely in the hall of Beit HaNasi in line with the restrictions imposed to fight the spread of coronavirus. As each ambassador arrived, the national anthem of their country was played by the Israel Police Band and they reviewed an IDF honor guard reduced in size because of the restrictions. After presenting their letters of credence to the president, each one signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book and Hatikva was played at the end of the ceremony.

First to present her credentials to the president was the Ambassador of Colombia, Margarita Eliana Manjarrez Herrera, accompanied by her two daughters. The president welcomed her to Israel and said he appreciated the important relations between the two countries in the field of counter-terrorism.  The president invited the Colombian president, a friend of Israel, to Jerusalem, and the ambassador replied that the President of Colombia would be delighted to accept the invitation.

“We have 63 years of strong diplomatic relations. My job is to strengthen the unique friendship between our countries,” said the ambassador.




The Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic, Panayotis N. Sarris, then presented his credentials. “Last month, we hosted the Greek prime minister and we hope to welcome your president to Jerusalem soon,” said the president. “Our friendship is based on our ancient cultures and our extensive cooperation, particularly in the field of energy – on which regional security and stability in the Mediterranean is based.”

The president remembered fondly his state visit to Greece, saying “It was one of the last visits with Nechama, my late wife, and she very much enjoyed the art and archeology. It helped us understand better the region we live in.” The president also noted Israel’s deep appreciation for Greece’s commitment to fighting antisemitism, and its support for Israel in the European Union and NATO.

The ambassador thanked the president, saying “Israel is very precious to us and we try as far as possible to be on your side. Since I arrived here as an experienced diplomat who has served in different countries, I have never felt as much at home as I do here in Israel. The cooperation between us is amazing.” The ambassador added that Greece is missing Israeli tourists and added his country’s appreciation for the dedication of many Israeli scientists to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.




The president then received credentials from the Danish ambassador, Anne Dorte Riggelsen, accompanied by her daughter. The president conveyed his best wishes to HM Queen Margarethe II who celebrated her 80th birthday recently.

“We will remember forever the heroic rescue of the Jews of Denmark during the Holocaust,” said the president. He also spoke warmly of the Danish Innovation Center in Tel Aviv which does so much for cooperation between the two countries.

Ambassador Riggelsen thanked the president, saying “I see great similarities between our two small countries that believe that they are not so small. Denmark aspires to a society that works in times of difficulty. To build a society that works for everyone. If I can be of help in the conversation between our two peoples - not just our two governments - I will leave here with a full heart.”




Next to present his credentials was the new ambassador of Romania to Israel, Radu Ioanid, who takes up his post after decades of service to the fight against antisemitism and for Holocaust memory. The president noted the leading role the ambassador played in the establishment of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. He also noted Romania’s leading role in the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. “We appreciate it very much, as we do Romania’s support for Israel in international fora.”

After thanking the president, the ambassador said that Romania is proud to be at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism, and that he is sure that by working together, the two countries can contribute much to the world. The ambassador spoke of the intention to establish a museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Romania, including the Holocaust.



Finally. Ambassador Sergio Daniel Urribarri of Argentina presented his credentials. The president congratulated the country on celebrating 204 years of independence. The president noted the important role Argentina plays in the international arena and the great potential for cooperation between the two countries.

Ambassador Urribarri thanked the president, saying “I will work to strengthen relations between our countries even more than before,” said the ambassador and conveyed to the president the personal best wishes of Pope Francis I whom he met recently, and of the President of Argentina.

Photo credits: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)





The Embassies of Colombia in Belgium, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and the Holy See


invite to the Conversation on the documentary Chiribiquete from the Series Colombia Bio 


Guests Patricio Von Hildebrand 

Explorer, expert in Chiribiquete 


Carlos Arturo Ramírez Director of the documentary Chiribiquete

Juan Lucas Restrepo Director General, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Sebastian Fajardo Ph D – Researcher at Delft University of Technology

Language: English Date: June 23rd, 2020

Time: 15:00h BE, IT, NL y VA - 16:00h IL 


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