- Written by Steven Aiello
The Italian Embassy in Israel opened its annual Festa Della Repubblica celebration with a gala evening at the Ambassador’s residence in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. World class jazz music by Italian performers and a menu featuring pasta, pizza, gelato, and imported Italian chocolates, cheeses, and wines were enjoyed by a diverse guest list.
The Ambassadors’ residence was adorned in Italy’s national colors, with flags and banners, and as the sun set, red, white and green colored lights. After ample time to enjoy the reception, elegant music, and ambiance, Mr. Massimo Sarti, the Director of the Tel Aviv branch of the Italian Institute, opened the ceremony, welcoming the distinguished guests before calling on the Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Gianluigi Benedetti to make his formal remarks.
Ambassador Benedetti began by noting that both the modern states of Israel and Italy shared the distinction of being founded in the ashes of World War II, and on bedrocks of much older cultural and historical roots. In that regard, this was a joint celebration of 70 years of impressive achievements on a range of fronts: economic; technological; cultural; social.
The ambassador remarked on the contributions of Jewish Italians to the success of Italy. He thanked particularly those who had fought the Nazis as part of the Jewish Brigade, who were recently awarded the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare by the Italian Parliament.
Moving on to modern geopolitics, the ambassador stressed Italy’s role in the European Union, its status as the third largest economy in the Eurozone, and 8th largest in the world. Ambassador Benedetti pointed out that Italy is a great place to live as well, ranked the healthiest in the world by the Bloomberg Global Health Index.
Ambassador Benedetti mentioned that Italy and Italians have also contributed to Israel’s success in a variety of areas, from helping develop drip irrigation technology, to serving in UN missions on Israel’s borders. Israeli-Italian cooperation ranges from trade to culture, to defense, with the most recent high profile example being the Giro d’Italia biking competition that incorporated an Israeli route for the first time.
Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. Offering his congratulations, Minister Steinitz remarked on the long history of the Jewish community in Italy, as well as the current strength of Israeli-Italian relations. He singled out two prominent examples of bilateral cooperation. Firstly, the use of Italian training jets by the Israeli air force shows the great trust that Israel has in Italy and Italian technological innovation. Secondly, the still in the development plan to construct a Mediterranean pipeline transporting gas from Israel to Italy, that would eventually be the world’s longest.
After hearing the national anthems of both countries, guests continued to enjoy the Italian cuisine and live music performed by the Saxophone Ensemble of the National Jazz Orchestra of the Italian conservatories together with guest pianist Danilo Rea. Alitalia, Italy’s national airline and one of the evening’s sponsors, raffled off several airline tickets. On their way out guests also received candy decoratively arranged in the form of a red, white, and green flower. The festivities would continue the next day, with live performances by the Saxophone Ensemble of the National Jazz Orchestra on the Tel Aviv beach, made available to the Israeli public.
The annual Festa Della Reppublica celebration was executed by Yahav Sadan Concept events, and included Italian sponsors such as: Alitalia; Alfa Romeo; Alma Aviva; Arte Glideria; Elt; Ferrero Rocher; Hakerem; Italian Aperol; Iveco; Lualdi; Monini; Nutella; Petti; Piaggio; Rummo; Scavolini; Sparkle, and Torteroloere. The distinguished guest list of diplomats, business, political, civil society, and religious leaders, and Italian expatriates and others with Italian ties included Massimiliano Guido, the head of the Italian Trade Agency; Alon Netah, Alitalia country manager for Israel; Dr. Cinzia Klein, the president of the Israeli branch of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, and Vice Delegate Sabrina Fadlun;
Diplomacy.co.il wishes the Italian Embassy congratulations on Festa Della Reppublica
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
It was 55 years ago (on the 25th May 1963 to be exact) that the then-named Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, at a meeting of African leaders. The OAU subsequently became the African Union (AU), but it is interesting to note that all this was preceded exactly 60 years ago at the First Congress of Independent African States, in Accra, Ghana. That pan-African meeting laid the foundation of the OAU.
Last Thursday evening a gala reception to celebrate Africa Day was held at the Kfar Shmaryahu residence of the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mr. Enoch Pear Duchi. Fifteen countries with diplomatic ties to Israel jointly hosted the lavish event. Flags of all the countries vied for attention, as did the colorful national dress of many of the diplomats and of their spouses. Cocktails and snacks were offered as the arriving guests mingled and chatted in the beautiful garden setting, before the official part of the event began. In attendance were ambassadors and diplomats of many countries, VIPs, Israelis with close business or personal ties to Africa, and of course many local African personalities. We noticed among others,the Head of the Protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Meron Reuben, Yahel Vilan - Director of Department East and Southern Africa , Africa division Israel MFA, the ambassadors of Kenya, Zambia, Ruanda, Kazakhstan, South Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the European Union and Ireland. Also honoring the hosts with their presence were Ms. Nathalie Mimoun (Honorary Consul of France), Kasbian Nuriel Chirich (Tanzanian Honorary Consul), Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy Staffan Jonsäter and Col. Aviezer Segal IDF Defense Attaché to Africa International Cooperation Division.
First, the national anthems of the AU and of Israel were played to the gathering. That was followed by the opening address by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Martin Mwanambale of Zambia, an address that was a fascinating revelation to many. “As you may be aware, the establishment of the OAU led to the liberation of the African continent culminating in the defeat of the apartheid system in Namibia and South Africa, thereby ensuring a continent free from colonialism and apartheid … Africa Day is a time when we collectively celebrate our unity and reconfirm our desire for an integrated, united, prosperous and peaceful Africa, contributing significantly to a global development agenda. Through our continental organization, we also continue to promote unity and maintain fraternal bonds with the African Diaspora”. The ambassador gave a detailed overview of recent (and not so recent events) in African states, with a broad outline of the AU’s “AFRICA 2063” goals, which include a united continent and a major reduction in corruption. “In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Union launched its own strategic framework for socio-economic transformation, “Agenda 2063”, as we aspire to a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development accelerating the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives such as NEPAD, amongst them. In so doing, we also recognize that there can be no meaningful development without peace on the continent. Hence in Agenda 2063 we aspire for a peaceful and secure Africa. We envisage that mechanisms for peaceful prevention and resolution of conflicts will be fully functional at all levels by 2020, to silence all the guns on the continent. We are hopeful that concerted efforts by the AU and its subsidiary bodies, in cooperation with the United Nations, will lead to peaceful and durable solutions to the conflicts in our continent”. His Excellency mentioned that Africa is the world’s richest continent in terms of natural resources, but that much is wasted through poor agricultural methods and again – corruption. He added how much Israel has done in improving Africa, providing resources, training, science, and technology.
He added: “On behalf of the African group, I have the honor to express our warmest and sincerest congratulations to the Government and People of the State of Israel for the milestone marking 70 years of independence this year and for the tremendous developmental achievements Israel has registered in such a short span of time.
We look forward to your Government’s continued support to the African continent. In this regard, we look forward to Israel broadening its footprint on the continent by opening new diplomatic missions in the various capitals”.
In conclusion, the Ambassador added that it was an honor to propose a toast to the good health of “our leaders in Africa and Israel, the growing cooperation between Africa and Israel and the good health of the peoples of Africa and Israel and all distinguished guests here present.”
Ambassador Michael Oren, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister of Israel’s Office, responded on behalf of the State of Israel. He gave a brief overview, recalling that Israel and Africa share a 4000-year old history, specifically in Egypt, Ethiopia and more recently, in North Africa. Israel has always been a supporter of Africa, offering aid, infrastructure, technology and agriculture, both there and by inviting young Africans to study and train in Israel. He noted that Africa and Israel share values of peace and advancement and that the links between African States and Israel have always been mutually beneficial. “Israel’s Prime Minister (Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu) has visited Africa no less than three times in last two years. We share resources, especially in the battle against terror”. Ambassador Oren thanked the diplomats in attendance and on behalf of the government and people of the State of Israel, wished them all sincere congratulation for Africa Day.
His remarks were followed by an address by Knesset Member Dr. Avraham Neguise, Chairman of the Caucus for Israel-Africa Relations, and also Chairman of Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs. He too reviewed Africa-Israel relations, and ended with a call for African nations to “stand on the right side of history” by moving their embassies to Jerusalem; to support Israel at the United Nations where our country is so often unfairly attacked and to enable Israel to regain its observer status at the AU.
The guests were then invited to taste the cuisines of the African countries in attendance. Each country had a space with offerings typical of their homelands. It was a fascinating (and for those without self-control!) a deliciously fattening experience. Extremely unusual, very inviting, and very generous. The bar remained open, ensuring that everyone had a wonderful time.
The management and staff of diplomacy.co.il join in wishing all the embassy diplomats and staffers a wonderful Africa Day and extended success for the future ever-improving relationships between African States and the State of Israel.
Photos by Silvia G Golan
(c) Copyright Jonathan Danilowitz June 2018
- Written by Prime Minister's Media Adviser
Paraguay helped Jews escape Nazi Germany. We will never forget this. You did this before the Holocaust, during the Holocaust, and after the Holocaust. It was an act of benevolence and mercy that is forever etched in our hearts.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Monday, 21 May 2018), along with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, attended the opening of the Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem (Malha Technology Park). Prime Minister Netanyahu and Paraguayan President Cartes unveiled the plaque and signed the guestbook.
PM Netanyahu with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes at the opening of the Paraguayan Embassy in Jerusalem.
Photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)
- Written by Silvia G Golan & Stella Szpira
On May 23 a reception commemorating the May Revolution of 1810 was held in the elegant residence of the new Ambassador of Argentina in Israel, H.E. Mr. Mariano A. Caucino and his wife Mrs. Barbara Caucino. The event commemorated the first successful revolution in the process of independence of the countries of South America, which until then depended on the king of Spain
As is traditional in this festive day, each gift was given an “escarapela” with the Argentinian national symbol - the blue and white colors of the Argentine Flag. The escarapela’s were given to each by members of the Embassy to be worn on the chest. The residence, located in Herzliya Pituach, was also adorned with vases whose interior highlighted blue and white flowers
Argentine musicians, who came especially for the event, Federico Mizrahi and Gustavo (bandoneon), together with the singer Bar Pinto, delighted the audience with their songs, especially tangos and milongas.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis, a member of the Israeli parliament of Argentinean origin Haim Yelin, and the Head of the Protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Meron Reuben, arrived as guests of honor.
Among the guests were Dani Gazit, former Ambassador of Israel in Argentina, the producers Yair Dori and Freddy Zyskrot, the Executive Director of the Israel Latin American Chamber of Commerce Gabriel Hayon, Leon Amiras and Mario Lev, Olei; the businessman Carlos Begas, Superintendent Moti Meiry representative of the Israeli Police, the singer Rachi, psychologist-actress Eleonora Berlante, filmmaker Jorge Gurvich, as well as clerics of Argentinean origin, ambassadors, representatives of the JNF-KKL, business people and other prominent members of the Argentinean and South American community in Israel.
There was plenty of Quilmes beer, exquisite homemade empanadas of meat, corn, cheese and onion and the delicious “alfajores de maicena”.
The ambassador offered a warm welcome to the guests, saying: "Argentina celebrates 70 years of diplomatic relations with Israel, at this moment the relationship between the countries is the best throughout the 70 years, and proof of this is the visit from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Buenos Aires, the first of an Israeli prime minister in all of history, who chose to begin his tour of Latin America in Buenos Aires.
I congratulate the Argentine community in Israel, having already had the opportunity to meet several members of the community who occupy prominent positions in a variety of areas."
The Ambassador expressed that he would like to deepen the bilateral relationship and promoting shared values of respect for human rights, human dignity, and progress, in addition to strengthening the ties of scientific, technological and educational cooperation.
He recalled that Argentina was not exempt from acts of extremism, mentioning the attacks on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the AMIA building in 1994 that were blown up by terrorists, killing more than 100 people and leaving hundreds of wounded.
He expressed that he pleads for the fight against terror highlighting the international effort to strengthen the security of our peoples
He thanked the members of the Jewish community in Argentina, stating that without their talented members, Argentina and the world would not be the same.
Then the Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, Ofir Akunis, addressed a few words congratulating the new Argentine ambassador in Israel in his new administration mentioning the special bonds of friendship of the two countries:
“It is an honor and my pleasure to participate this evening in Argentina’s 208th National Day celebrations, as well as celebrating 69 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Over the years, these relations have been expressed through active, creative and robust cooperation in many different areas. This relationship has also been significantly strengthened through the contributions of the large and warm Jewish community in Argentina, as well as those of the many Argentinian expats living in Israel.
On this occasion, I feel an inevitable obligation to remember and remind us all of the tragic terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Jewish Community Center in 1994, which took the lives of so many and left an open wound in both Argentina and Israel. This year, on the 26th anniversary of the attack on the embassy, an Israeli delegation made up of family members of the victims visited Argentina. The presence of many official representatives in the ceremony that was held at the National Remembrance Museum, demonstrated the commitment of the present government in Argentina to the memory of this tragic event. We are all now full of hope that after so many long years of waiting, the investigation of these attacks will soon be completed and those responsible will finally be brought to justice. Unfortunately, Iran, which was responsible for these attacks in the 90’s, continues until this day to threaten regional stability by means of its use of terrorism and outright military force.
Your Excellency the Ambassador and respected guests, over the past year, following the change in government in Argentina, we have seen a significant continuation in the improvement of relations between our two countries: For the first time, an acting Prime Minister of Israel visited the South American continent and chose to begin his visit in Argentina. At the beginning of this year, the Vice President of Argentina, Gabriela Michetti, visited Israel as the head of an economic delegation. And at the same time, expectations continue to rise over the creation of ever closer and warmer relations between us, an increase in trade, cultural and scientific exchanges and of course a rise in reciprocal tourism.
In conclusion, Your Excellency the Ambassador, again, please convey the best wishes of the Government and the people of Israel to the government and the people of Argentina on this, your National Day. We wish you many years of peace, stability, security, and prosperity.
At the end of the event, some guests talked about the Argentina - Israel friendly football match, which was sold out within hours of opening the sale lines
Israeli fans will have the opportunity to see global stars Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona; Sergio “Kun” Aguero of Manchester City in the United Kingdom; and Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain. The match comes just one week before the start of the World Cup, so the Argentines will fly directly from Israel to Russia. The Israeli event organizer, Cometc, also posted match details on its website.
www.diplomacy.co.il staff congratulates the Argentinian Government together with The Ambassador and his family, the Embassy Staff and the people of Argentina on this festive occasion. .
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Silvia G Golan
The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, has arrived in Israel in order to reinforce the economic relations between the two countries. During the visit, a bilateral free-trade agreement will be signed for the first time between Panama and Israel. This is the first agreement of its kind to be signed by Israel with any country in Latin America.
During his visit, President Varela will be accompanied by the Vice President of Panama, Isabel Saint Malo, Augusto Arosemena, the Minister of Commerce & Industry; the Minister of Agriculture Development, Enrique Charles, as well as a delegation of businessmen.
A special economic event held at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv, at the invitation of the President of Panama, for the purpose of exposing Panama to investments. Panama's Ambassador to Israel, Mrs. Adis Urieta Vega, advised that among the subjects which were presented at the Conference are: cyber protection, tourism, medical devices, clean technology, and water.
The president of Panama, H.E. Mr. Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, visited Israel for several high-level meetings, and to advance diplomatic and economic cooperation between the two nations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Varela at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. They held both a private meeting and an expanded meeting with their entourages. During the meetings, the following were signed:
* A bilateral free trade agreement – The agreement will lift restrictions on trade between Israel and Panama, in both directions, and enable free trade.
* A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on establishing a center for agricultural excellence in Panama. Israel will establish in Panama a center that will combine Israeli technologies and training. This would be the first such center in Latin America and is expected to significantly assist agriculture in Panama.
During his visit, President Varela visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, toured the Holocaust History Museum, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial, and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.
As a guest of the Keren Kayemet Le’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), President Varela planted a tree in the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem as part of his first official visit to Israel. President Varela also requested the help of KKL-JNF in order to plant a forest the size of “one million hectares”in Panama, utilizing the professional knowledge and international experience KKL-JNF holds in the field of forestation.
In addition, President Varela and his wife Mrs. Lorena Castilla de Varela joined Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nehama for a dinner in their honor at the President’s residence.
Panama is located in the center of the American continent, which makes this a strategic location. Panama has a sophisticated banking system, has had a fully-dollarized economy (since 1904), a sympathetic government and extensive trade relations with the entire continent. It is considered to be the Latin investment capital. The expansion of the Canal and the establishment of the Diamond Exchange in the country – are opening up business opportunities in these areas as well. Panama has the second largest free-trade zone in the world.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan