- Written by Silvia G Golan & Stella Szpira
On October 11, one day before the official date, the Ambassador of Spain in Israel H.E. Manuel Gómez-Acebo and his wife María José Gómez-Acebo hosted a reception celebrating their National Day at the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv.
The official Ceremony of the event took place in the main Hall, which was decorated with the flags of Spain and Israel and with a huge band of flowers with the colors of the Spanish flag.
First, the national anthems of both countries were performed, followed by the speech of the Ambassador of Spain in Israel H.E. Manuel Gómez-Acebo.
Below are some of the highlights of his very important and interesting speech:
“This coming December 2018, the Spanish Constitution will turn 40. In 1978 the Spanish people overwhelmingly chose a social and democratic State, guided by the rule of law. The legal framework that Spaniards gave themselves 40 years ago has laid the ground for a democratic and modern Spain.”
The ambassador highlighted the vibrant, tolerant society in Spain, marked by “plurality, equality, solidarity, progress and democracy”. He noted that Spain has the highest share of women members of Cabinet in the world (60%), and also promotes LGTBI rights, including same-sex marriage.
Moving to the shared history of Spain and Israel, Ambassador Gómez-Acebo observed a renewed interest in Spain’s Jewish roots that led to a 2015 law allowing thousands of Jews of Sephardic descent to obtain Spanish nationality.
The ambassador also mentioned President Rivlin’s visit to Spain, as well as the upcoming 20th International Congress of Hispanists, to be held in Jerusalem, with around 800 participants. In closing, the ambassador welcomed his new colleagues at the Embassy and thanked those who put in the effort to organize the celebration " this splendid Rabin Center who have worked hard to prepare this event, " a special thanks to Dani Danosh and to the director, Ms. Dalia Rabin-Pelosoff."... and the sponsors of the evening: The Spanish Ministry of Defense, SEAT, MobilEye, Air Europa, LaLiga, Inspiralia, CaixaBank and IE University, and business school. Thanks also for the collaboration of Beronia, Freixenet, Tío Pepe, San Miguel, and Ramban.
Deputy Minister Dr. Michael Oren spoke on behalf of the government of Israel, noting that although formal relations between Spain and Israel date to 1986, the connection between the Jewish people and Israel goes back centuries, and includes many of the greatest scholars in Jewish history.
Dr. Oren noted Israeli-Spanish cooperation in diplomacy, counter-terrorism, art and culture, and tourism, with approximately 350,000 Israeli tourists to Spain annually-- almost one out of every 20 Israelis!
Throughout the ceremony, photos of the events of the visit of President Rivlin during his visit to Spain, hosted by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, were shown on large screens.
Following the speeches, the traditional toast was performed and then a group of dancers of the Compas Danzas Flamencas Company’, an Israeli Group, burst into the room to the surprise of the guests.
All those present were invited to the magnificent terrace of the building, where an even greater surprise awaited them: a performance by the famous and beloved Israeli singer and composer David Broza, who sang in Spanish and Hebrew. The flamenco dancers who accompanied him danced among the guests.
Among the distinguished guests were ambassadors, diplomats, Chamber of Commerce members, Israeli and South American business people with personal ties to Spain, including Ambassador Meron Reuven, Chief of Protocol of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Rodica Radian-Gordon, Deputy Director General for Western Europe in the MFA; Rafael Matos, General Consul of Spain in Jerusalem; Professor Aviva Doron, Micha Shitrit and Moshe Shoham of the Chamber of Commerce Israel - Spain; Gabriel Hayoun, President of the Chamber of Commerce Israel-LatAm; Leon Amiras Vice President of the OLEI; Viviane Epstein of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation; representatives of Air Europa, one of the sponsors of the evening, and many other prominent members of the Spanish speaking community
www.diplomacy.co.il salutes Spain on this important day and we wish to continue the close ties of friendship and cooperation with Israel
Photos by Silvia Golan
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, 16 October / 7 Cheshvan, signed the letter of credence of Israel's next Ambassador to Romania, David Saranga.
Over the last four years, Saranga has been the president's Foreign Policy Advisor and he will conclude his term and take up the position of Ambassador towards the beginning of 2019.
The President thanked David for his dedicated and professional service over the years and said: "Saranga is an asset to the Foreign Service of the State of Israel and to the complex diplomacy that we deal with every day." Director-General of the President's Residence Harel Tubi thanked Saranga for his years of service at the President's Residence and said that he "appreciates his contribution to the work of the president in the international arena, and is sure that he will have great success in his next role dealing with the challenges Israel faces."
Photos credited to the President's Spokesperson
- Written by Steven Aiello
On Tuesday evening, October 9, the Korean embassy in Israel celebrated its national day, with a festive reception at the Embassy in Herzliya. The evening celebrated past and present Korean achievements, marking Korea’s national day with traditional Korean food, a display of Samsung innovations, and a dance performance that mixed the past with the contemporary.
Korean singer Lee DamJi opened the evening by performing the national anthems of both Israel and the Republic of Korea.
H.E. Mr. Choi Yong-hwan then welcomed the guests to Embassy, noting that this year marks 70 years for both Israel and Korea as modern states. The ambassador pointed out that during those 70 years, relations between North and South Korea have been up and down. The ambassador expressed his optimism in light of recent diplomatic developments between the governments of North and South Korea and emphasized his hope for a peaceful future for the Korean peninsula, as well as for Israel.
Ambassador Choi Yong-hwan emphasized the link between Israel and Korea in having robust democracies and market economies, which have led both countries to flourish in the last 70 years. This has also led to closer ties since diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in 1962. The ambassador noted that Korean car-producers (Hyundai and Kia) have been the top two in new car sales in Israel for the last three years, along with the popularity of Samsung and LG phones and other appliances. Acknowledging Israeli technological innovation as well, the ambassador recognized the Korea-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (KORIL-RDF) for its success in raising $57 million in joint funding for R&D projects, as well as a Free Trade Agreement, now in its final stage, that is expected to increase Israeli-Korean economic cooperation even more.
Moving to the cultural side, the ambassador mentioned the annual K-pop contest, now in its 7th year, which is attended by Israeli fans of Korean music. He pointed out that Neta Barzilai, Israel’s Eurovision winner this year, had in fact been inspired by K-pop music with her own winning Eurovision entry. Noting many more opportunities for cultural sharing, such as food and cosmetics, the ambassador cited a Korean expression, which translates to “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Minister of Regional Cooperation Tsachi Hanegbi spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. The minister noted that although the countries are geographically far, they are close in many other ways, with shared values and similar stories of perseverance over adversity.
The minister reiterated the success of both Korean and Israeli technological innovation, of free trade between the two nations, and of joint technological research ventures. He also remarked upon the rise in tourism, with a 20% increase in Korean visits to Israel in the last year. Finally, minister Hanegbi noted the cooperation between the two countries in the area of national security and military defense technology. The minister finished his remarks by offering congratulations, and his blessings for peace and prosperity in Korea.
Following the speeches, guests enjoyed a contemporary dance performance, itself a collaboration between an Israeli and Korean dancer, who acted out a traditional Korean fairy tale. Traditional Korean dishes were then served for dinner.
Along with numerous members of the Israeli and international diplomatic corps, the distinguished guests in attendance included Major General (Res.) and former ambassador Matan Vilnai;Honorary Consul of France Nathalie Mimoun; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, head of the Israeli Center for Young Leaders and the Israel School for Young Ambassadors; Ambassador Meron Reuven, Chief of Protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Lihi Yariv-Laor, former head of the department of Asian studies at Hebrew University (which offers Israel’s only BA in Korean studies);Ehud Rassabi, Chairman of the Board of Ilan, the Israel Foundation for Handicapped Children; Samsung Managing Director Koh and business manager Daniel Rhee, and Dan Crivolotti of YONACO - Korea business experts.
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by Silvia Golan & Steven Aiello
On Wednesday evening, October 10, a special celebration was held at the top of the Azrieli towers in Tel Aviv. The Azrieli observatory, on the 49th floor, was the site for this year’s National Day celebration for the Republic of China (Taiwan). Guests enjoyed traditional Chinese food, live music, and some of the best views of the Tel Aviv region.
Ambassador Chang opened his remarks by noting his excitement at celebrating the occasion in Israel for the first time since his appointment. He provided the historical backdrop for the history of the establishment of Taiwan and the national day, with the 1911 revolution ending two millennia of Chinese dynastic rule.
The ambassador noted that Taiwan was proud of its democratic heritage, still the only Chinese speaking democracy, with a human rights and civil liberties record recognized by watchdog NGOs like Freedom House. The ambassador also noted that despite recent tensions, Taiwan was fully committed to maintaining peaceful relations with all of its neighbors.
Ambassador Chang also noted the significant and growing economic cooperation between Israel and Taiwan. He mentioned a recent Knesset delegation to Israel, along with a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation which visited Israel to learn about agricultural techniques.
On the cultural and social levels, the ambassador explained that increasing ties between the countries, and tourism from Taiwan to Israel, has led to a better understanding by Chinese people of what life in Israel is actually alike, as opposed to media coverage, which often focuses on conflicts and violence. The ambassador concluded his remarks with a toast to the success of both Taiwan and Israel.
Knesset Member Dr. Nachman Shai spoke next. Dr. Shai noted the presence of his fellow MKs Lea Fadida and Meir Ben Ari, some of the Knesset members to have visited Taiwan recently as part of the effort to improve bilateral cooperation. Dr. Shai mentioned his own recent visit to Taiwan, including meeting the president. He noted that although he has been to Taiwan many times, each time he sees new aspects of its vibrant economic and democratic ethos. He pointed out that this is a common point which Israel and Taiwan share. As the chair of the Taiwan-Israel parliamentary friendship group, Dr. Shai expressed his hope that relations between Israel and Taiwan would continue to grow.
Following the speeches, guests enjoyed a lavish dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine, prepared kosher with the help of chefs from Taiwan. A band played live music, and guests also received a gift from the embassy at the end of the evening, made with traditional Chinese wooden handicraft.
Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office on its National Day, and best wishes for peace and prosperity.
- Written by Steven Aiello
On Sunday evening, September 16, the sounds and sights of traditional Chinese opera came to Tel Aviv, with an unforgettable performance at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The performance, by the China National Peking Opera Company, was the centerpiece of an evening dedicated to commemorating the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Israeli and international diplomats, business and civil society leaders, met at the Museum of Art for a celebration of Chinese culture. After enjoying dinner in the lower atrium of the museum, guests were ushered into the auditorium for the official ceremony and the anticipated opera performance.
As they entered the hall, guests were shown beautiful messages in Chinese and Hebrew, and images of friendship between the two nations, including photos of Jerusalem with singing in Chinese in the background. Once all of the guests had arrived, the ceremony began with the playing of the national anthems.
H.E. Ambassador Zhan Yongxin welcomed the guests, noting that this was a double celebration--69 years of the People’s Republic of China, and 40 years since China’s economic reform and opening up to outside investment. The ambassador described how the country has developed as a result of the robust economic growth over the last 40 years. He noted specifically China’s annual GDP and foreign trade growing at rates of 9.5% and 14.5% annually, leading to an incredible rise in per capita disposable income by a factor of 100. In total, the ambassador reported that “more than 700 million Chinese people were lifted out of poverty, accounting for over 70 percent of the world's poverty population.”
The ambassador explained that this has also benefited China’s trade partners over the last 40 years, with China contributing 30% of global economic growth in recent years. He informed the audience that the 75 economic and trade cooperation zones that China has built abroad have resulted in 2.2 billion USD taxes revenue and 210 thousand jobs for host countries. This includes China, which is already Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia, and rapidly growing, with bilateral trade volume grew more than 20% in the first half of 2018. Ambassador Zhan also noted that China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai this November, with participation from 140 countries, including Israel.
Observing that Israel-China relations are at a high, the ambassador mentioned the visit by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to China last year and the subsequent establishment of the China-Israel Innovative Comprehensive Partnership. Direct flights between Tel Aviv and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong (and soon Chengdu) serve nearly 200,000 Israeli and Chinese travelers, with the Chinese tourism to Israel almost tripling in two years. Finally, the establishment of the Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation and an Intergovernmental Mechanism of Economic and Technological Cooperation, and the opening of a Chinese Culture Center in Tel Aviv are further evidence of the growing ties between China and Israel. The minister closed with a toast to the friendship and success of the two nations.
Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. Minister Akunis noted that although Israeli-Chinese diplomatic relations formally began only 26 years ago, the history of the two people goes back much farther. He noted a Jewish community in Kaifeng from the 10th century, as well as China serving as a safe haven for Jews from Russian pogroms in the late 19th century, and again during World War II for Jews fleeing the horrors of the Holocaust.
With this backdrop, the minister agreed with Ambassador Zhan that Israel-China relations are on the rise. He cited his own four visits to China, along with a recent visit by his Chinese counterpart, Mr. Wang, Minister of Science and Technology of China, and the upcoming visit by the vice president of China Mr. Wang Qishan, as further proof of the significance of Israeli-Chinese collaboration. This cooperation is particularly strong in the sciences, with researchers, scientists, academics, and government agencies partnering on a range of topics, and the opening of the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology in China. Fittingly, the minister finished his remarks by presenting a book on Israeli innovation to the ambassador.
Following the speeches, the guests enjoyed a remarkable performance by the Peking Opera Company, which performed three short operas: On the Crossroads; The Palace of Eternal Youth, and the Monkey King. The lively sounds and colors of the opera soon enveloped the hall, and the applause after each performance and at the end of the evening was thundering.
Along with numerous members of the Israeli and international diplomatic corps, the distinguished guests in attendance included former Knesset member and minister Orit Noked; Professor Moshe Lewenstein, deputy president of Bar Ilan University; Professor Danielle Gurevich, director of the Asia division at Bar Ilan University; Ofer Dahan-Director of International Division at Bar Ilan University;; Yona Bartal, representative of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation; former basketball player Tal Brody, and Roni Klein, Global Sales Director at IDE technologies.
Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations to the embassy of the People’s Republic of China on this important anniversary, and best wishes for years of prosperity and friendship.