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Embassy of the Netherlands Hosts a Koningsday Celebration in Herzliya at the Ambassador’s Residence

On Wednesday evening, the Ambassador of the Netherlands H.E. Mr. Gilles Arnout Beschoor Plug and his wife Lousite hosted a reception at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya to celebrate Koningsdag. Koningsdag or King’s Day is the birthday of King Willem-Alexander and a National Holiday.

Ambassador Plug opened the evening with a few sentences of Hebrew, before switching to English. Peppering his remarks with humor, the ambassador pointed out that the out of season rainy weather reminds him of Dutch weather. Remarking on the Israeli-Dutch relationship, Ambassador Plug emphasized that it was a strong and improving relationship, including multilateral and comprehensive cooperation, as well as the ability to have an open and free dialogue and resolve any political issues.

The ambassador focused his remarks on environmentalism. Noting the agricultural and water conservation achievements of Israel, Ambassador Plug mentioned a conference planned to showcase environmental concerns and other areas of bilateral cooperation on environmental issues. As an example of those efforts, he cited the orange flowers used to decorate the event, pointing out that they had chosen to use Israeli flowers rather than importing Dutch flowers, thereby reducing the environmental footprint.

The ambassador also noted that many Dutch products, like cheese and ale, didn’t need to be imported exclusively, since they’re already readily available in Israeli supermarkets. In concluding his remarks, Ambassador Plus called on other embassies to join the efforts to celebrate in an environmentally friendly manner and read a short message of congratulations to King Willem-Alexander on his birthday.


Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan addressed the audience next, offering an official birthday greeting from the government of Israel to King Willem-Alexander. Minister Dahan acknowledged the long history between the Jewish people and Holland, including a successful community-based in Amsterdam and great thinkers like Baruch Spinoza, as well as the darkest moments during the Nazi occupation, immortalized by Anne Frank.

Ben-Dahan pointed out that this connection led to a close relationship between the two nations from Israel’s founding, at both the diplomatic and the people to people level. He noted the high-level of trade cooperation between the countries as further proof of their strong relationship: the Netherlands ranks in the top 7 countries in the world for both imports to and exports from Israel.

The anthems of both countries were performed, and then a toast was raised to the King and the best wishes of the people of the Netherlands. The guests were then able to enjoy a spread including traditional Dutch cheeses, and appetizers such as dumplings savored with jam, herring with onions, and mushrooms, with the Dutch beer Heineken as a beverage. Among the distinguished guests were Ambassador Meron Reuven, chief of protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Rodica Radian-Gordon, head of the Europe Division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Tamar Manor, owner of a Dutch Farm is located in the Northern Negev at Moshav Sde Tzvi, run by Uzi and Tamar Manor, as well as numerous Israeli and foreign diplomats, business leaders, members of the Dutch community in Israel and members of the diplomatic corps.  

www.diplomacy.co.il  staff congratulates the King and Queen of the Netherlands together with The Ambassador and his family, the Embassy Staff and the people of Netherlands on this festive occasion.


Photos by Silvia G. Golan

Ms. Zohar Yaron is a member of Debate for Peace ( founded by Steven Aiello)


 "Welcome to the world of LGBT (usually the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). This time the “T” in the acronym stands for both Transgender and Tech (short for technology). 


British Ambassador to Israel, H.E.  David Quarry, together with his partner Mr. Aldo Henriquez, generously opened their official residence and threw a party attended by some 300 guests, celebrating the LGBTech side of computing, IT, artificial intelligence, Nano technology and more. Among the guests were several diplomats (we spotted El Salvador’s Ambassador Werner Romero), movers & shakers of the LGBT community and of course, technocrats of all stripes and colors. This was the evening to have your cellphone or laptop tuned up instantly!LGBTech is an organization that opens the technical world to everyone, but especially encourages open diversity in the techno workplace. It seems that many LGBT people are afraid to come out as such, and that many employers are afraid (or unaware) of the need for employee equality and diversity. LGBTech covers all the bases.



The event was held in the beautiful garden on a delightful spring evening last week. Guests mingled, chatted, networked, met old friends and made new ones. Buffet serving tables offered a range of dishes, while the bar, needless to say, was a popular meeting place. The hosts greeted everyone on arrival, and afterward mingled in the crowd, making for a fine relaxing evening before the start of the “official” ceremony.


Ambassador Quarry addressed the guests, reminding them that that was the third time the British Embassy has hosted such a reception (together with the main sponsor of the evening, Mercedes Benz). He especially welcomed the guest of honor and keynote speaker, Lord Browne of Madingley, British business leader and former CEO of BP. Mr. Shachar Grembek, the main organizer, and president of LGBTech also spoke briefly, introduced a short video (The “Israel Diversity Standard” - 7 reasons for workplace diversity) and then handed over to Lord Browne, who presented the awards (the main reason for the gathering).


Lord Browne recalled his first visit to Israel, 20 years ago, for the half-century anniversary of the State of Israel. “We’re the same age, “he said and I wanted be here for our mutual 70thbirthday too”. Much applause. He shared his experiences of his own coming out in the very conservative British business community.


The awards, for dedication and commitment to the needs and ideals of Israel’s LGBT community, including small businesses and start-ups, were presented to Mr. Avi Sofer and to Ms. Nina Halevy. Each made a short thank-you speech, acknowledging the honor and recognizing the importance of LGBTech even - or especially - in 2018).


It was a joyous event. Kudos to the Ambassador and Mr. Henriquez and to the British Embassy, for their initiative and generosity. The event was also a launch for another fine LGBTech initiative - raising money to support the Senior LBTQ+ community. An admirable and thoughtful task.


Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/lgbtech/

Photo  Credit: Ben Kelmer





Nawruz -- saying goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring -- Is a Persian Holiday marking the New Year.


On Wednesday evening March 21 the Baha’i community in Israel held its annual Nawruz celebration in the heart of Jerusalem. The Baha’i faith, with its emphasis on unity and equality among people, has millions of followers worldwide, with its global center in Israel. However, its origins are in present-day Iran, and thus Nawruz, the Persian New Year, is celebrated by the Baha’i community as well.


The Baha’i World Centre in Israel includes the shrines of Baha’ullah and the Bab in Acre and Haifa respectively, the renowned Baha’i gardens, and other sites including a new Pilgrim Reception area. The center receives a million visitors a year, including Baha’i religious pilgrims, as well as international tourists.


As is its tradition, the Baha’i community in Israel held a festive celebration to commemorate the Persian New Year, or Nawruz. Painstaking efforts were undertaken to recreate a miniature version of the Baha’i gardens in the David Citadel hotel, bringing a taste of the Baha’i shrines to Jerusalem. The Baha’i leaders stood at the entrance greeting guests warmly. Coming from all over the world, they wore the traditional attire of their respective countries of origin. Live music further added to the relaxing ambience of the evening.

 Ms. Sarah Vader, Deputy Secretary of the Bahai International Community Secretariat, opened the evening and welcomed the distinguished guests. Mrs. Vader read greetings from President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu on behalf of the government and people of Israel. Ms. Tahereh Pourshafie from Australia, then sang a beautiful prayer in Farsi.

 The Secretary General of the Baha’i International community, Mr. Joshua Lincoln, talked about the significance of Naw-Rúz. He mentioned that “To the Baha’i, Naw-Rúz is not just the arrival of spring. The renewal in the world of nature is in fact a symbol of spiritual renewal, and an occasion for the individual to explore how to contribute to the material and spiritual welfare of others. Therefore it is an opportunity to reinvigorate the powers of the spirit and to re-examine matters of the heart and conscience.” He then spoke about the various events that the Baha’i International Community organized, including:

-          The Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh in October 2017 – and the way it was celebrated and marked around the world including through the arts;

-          The upcoming International Bahá'í Convention;

-          The 150th anniversary of the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh in the Holy Land



Followed Mr. Lincoln’s speech, Ms. Vader introduced  a group of colorful artists from the Pacific Island on stage. The guests enjoyed the performers, live music, and a lavish buffet, as they celebrated Nawruz with the Baha’i community.


Diplomacy.co.il wish the global Baha"i community Happy Baha"i New Year


Photos By  Silvia G. Golan





Following : Excerpt from PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the 70th Independence Reception for the Diplomatic Corps

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Israeli Independence Day, Thursday, 19 April 2018 / 4 Iyar 5778
President Rivlin hosts 70th Independence Day reception for foreign ambassadors and diplomats from around the world
President Rivlin: “We may have to build fences to stop terrorists, or to act in different ways to assure the safety of our people, but we will never close the door on peace. I know you all see this as a priority. So do we. And while there are no shortcuts in the Middle East, we can work together to show the Palestinians that we can live together side by side in peace.”
“The Iranian regime continues to support terror and hatred and to endanger world’s security. This is a challenge for the whole world, and the whole world must face it together. We all must do everything we can to stop these evil regime.” 
“The heart breaks when we look at the pictures in Syria. We took care of thousands injured that have arrived at our gates. The next generation will ask us all, what did we do to stop the tragedy in Syria? What did we do to stop these crimes; crimes against humanity, crimes against innocent children, women, civilians.”
Israel’s President and First Lady, Reuven and Nechama Rivlin, today, (Thursday,) welcomed ambassadors, diplomats, and military attachés from around the world to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day. Also participating in the event were Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Mrs. Sara Netanyahu.
In his address, President Rivlin noted that the uniqueness of the event marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, “Today we are marking history, we are marking 70 years of the State of Israel. We are marking 70 years of Jewish independence. We are marking 70 years of a vibrant democracy, 70 years of strong and independent civil society, 70 years that this nation has held high the torch of freedom and equality in a difficult region.”
The President spoke of the country’s many achievements in many fields, and said, “For 70 years, Israel has been reaching out around our region, and around the world, to share our knowledge and our experience. From food security, to cyber security, Israel is making a better tomorrow for millions of people, today. And over the last 70 years, we have managed to make peace with many who used to be enemies. In all of these achievements, we are never alone. And we have never been alone. Israel was created thanks to a wide international support, and we continue to do good, with the help of all of you, dear friends and allies.” He added, “And today more than ever, international cooperation is the key to a better, safer, more peaceful future. Our friendships are not just between governments, not between companies or business, they are between peoples. And I know that all of your peoples, along with us, hope that we won’t have to wait another 70 years for peace in this region. We will not stop trying. Yes, we will do everything to defend ourselves. We may have to build fences to stop terrorists, or to act in different ways to assure the safety of our people, but we will never close the door on peace. I know you all see this as a priority. So do we. And while there are no shortcuts in the Middle East, we can work together to show the Palestinians that we can live together side by side in peace.”
The President went on to stress, “Of course there are others who do not want peace, and added, “The Iranian regime - not the Iranian people - continues to support terror and hatred and to endanger world’s security. This is a challenge for the whole world, and the whole world must face it together. We all must do everything we can to stop these evil regime.”
He added, “The heart breaks when we look at the pictures in Syria. We took care of thousands injured that have arrived at our gates, but the atrocities by Assad’s regime and by Assad himself are of the worst in the history of the world and of this ancient region. The next generation will ask us all, what did we do to stop the tragedy in Syria? What did we do to stop these crimes; crimes against humanity, crimes against innocent children, women, civilians.”
The President concluded by saying, “Thank you for coming to celebrate with us today, in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and today, the capital of the State of Israel.”

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks today (Thursday, 19 April 2018), Independence Day, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem:

"There are two things that you can do to help Israel celebrate this great Independence Day. The first thing is – speak out against Iran. Iran is the enemy of us all – of Israel, the Arab world, Civilization. It openly speaks today, 2018, the 21st century, it openly speaks about liquidating Israel, openly! It encircles the whole Middle East which it wants to conquer, it fires rockets into Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, it is occupying Lebanon effectively, it’s trying to inflame Gaza again, it is in Iraq, and it is trying to establish a military base in Syria, which all peace- loving nations should resist, speak out against Iran. If history has taught us anything, it is that a murderous tyranny must be opposed in the beginning. Stop bad things in the beginning.

The second thing you can do to advance peace is to move your embassy here. We are delighted with President Trump’s decision to move the embassy here. It says a simple thing: Peace must be based on truth.

Recognizing reality is the way you build peace. You cannot build peace on a foundation of lies because it crashes on the rocks of reality. It’s important to establish those principles that will ultimately guide peace: that Israel has a capital, that the Jewish people have had a capital for 3,000 years and that it’s called Jerusalem - is uncontestable. It’s time to recognize that fact. I’m delighted to say that there are at least half a dozen countries that are now seriously discussing with us, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and thank you Guatemala for doing that. There will be others to follow.

So please, there’s a simple principle, you’re familiar with it: First come, first served. I’ve decided that the first ten embassies to come here will get preferential treatment. We’ll help you! All of you should do that. And I want to say how delighted we are here to see you at the President’s house, in our capital Jerusalem on this day, but we want to see you every day. So 'This year in Jerusalem.' Thank you for coming here, thank you for celebrating our independence and our rebirth here in the Jewish state."

 Photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)


On Wednesday March 21, Central Asia came to central Israel, with a spectacular Nowruz (New Year) celebration. The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Israel, together with the municipality of Rishon Lezion and the Association of immigrants from Kazakhstan in Israel, hosted a festive celebration which connected Israeli and Kazkhstani culture, and marked both the traditional Persian New Year, as well as the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover.


Rishon Lezion Park was set up to look like a village from Kazakhstan, with elaborately decorated huts, tapestries, and adorned tables. Guests enjoyed refreshments, and boxes of chocolate with a Kazakhstani label.



The Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Israel H.E. Mr. Doulat Kuanyshe welcomed the guests. He remarked on the similarities between the two holidays of Nowruz and Passover, with both being holidays of the spring, leading to cleaning homes, and of course tables filled with food and family celebrations.


Yossi Nahmani, the deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion spoke on behalf of the municipality. Mr. Nahmani greeted the guests in Russian, before reverting to English. He explained that fittingly, the park was on the site of a former school that had been used to teach Hebrew immigrants. Mr. Nahmani also remarked on the similarities between Passover and Nowruz, and emphasized the friendship between Israel and Kazakhstan. In closing, he invited everyone to attend future events in Rishon Lezion.


Sofa Landver, the Minister of Immigration and Integration and herself an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, spoke on behalf of the government of Israel, wishing the guests a joyous holiday--for both Passover and the Nowruz. Additional speakers addressed the audience in Russian, further highlighting the poly-lingual and multicultural component of Kazakhstan and the celebration.



In closing, guests were reminded of how Nowruz is a holiday which brings people together--uniting Turkic people from Iran, Turkey, and all of Central Asia, led by Kazakhstan.


Following the speeches, four different singers performed in English, Hebrew, French, and Russian. The guests enjoyed a lavish buffet lunch with traditional Kazakhstani cuisine, along with some Israeli dishes.


Diplomacy.co.il wishes a Happy Nowruz and Passover to all those celebrating.


 By Nicholas Levy  /  Photo credit: Lea Sarsour