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Influential women from all walks of life met at an International Women’s Day summit at the residence of the Ambassador of Ireland, H.E. Alison Kelly on Monday evening March 19. In addition to networking and exchanging ideas, the group heard from Ambassador Kelly, Major General Kristin Lund, Head of Mission at UNTSO, and representatives from the Women Wage Peace movement.

Ambassador Kelly opened the evening by expressing her support and appreciation for the Women Wage Peace initiative. She also welcomed fellow ambassadors, and the guest of honor, Major General Kristin Lund, the Head of Mission at United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Pascal Chen spoke on behalf of Women Wage Peace. She explained the enthusiasm that has come with remarkable growth over the last year, and the movement’s rise to over 30,000 registered members, from all walks of life. Chen thanked the diplomats for supporting the initiative and for their empowerment of local women activists. Chen closed by thanking Ambassador Kelly for helping to facilitate training of Women Wage Peace members.


Major General Lund discussed the challenges facing gender equality globally, based on international economic and socio-economic reports, such as more than a billion women worldwide lacking legal protection, and estimates that gender pay gaps will only be fully eradicated in 200 years. She contrasted those challenges with groundbreaking successes in facing and addressing discrimination and oppression, citing the #MeToo movement as one example.

Major General Lund highlighted recent efforts within the UN, led by Secretary General  Antonio Guterres, including achieving gender parity of UN senior leadership for the first time in history. Listing various challenges facing women around the world, the general stated that empowerment of women and protection of their rights are part of the UN’s mission. Emphasizing that women can play a key role in peacebuilding, Major General Lund called for action, saying that “the time is now.”

Following the speeches, there was a poetry reading by a woman writer and activist. The guests then enjoyed a musical performance, with songs sung in Arabic, English and Hebrew. International Women’s Day is March 8, but events promoting women’s rights and empowerment may be held throughout March.


By Reut Rivlin, Debate for Peace
Photos Stella Szpira



St. Patrick’s Day came early to Israel, with the annual celebration by the Irish Embassy held on Thursday March 15. Dignitaries and guests, many in green-themed outfits, enjoyed live music and Irish beer in a gala celebration in Tel Aviv.


H.E. Ambassador Alison Kelly opened her remarks by thanking the evening’s co-sponsors, including well-known Irish brands like Guinness. The Ambassador also noted the presence of Irish UN peacekeepers and thanked them for their contributions to peacekeeping around the world. Ambassador mentioned that the municipality building in Tel Aviv, as well as a soccer stadium in Haifa, were lit up green for the evening, showing Israel’s love for Ireland. In closing her remarks, Ambassador Kelly thanked her assistant Alyssa for all her work over the last few years, in anticipation of the latter leaving her post.


Irish Minister of State Mr. Paul Kehoe addressed the audience next, and joined Ambassador Kelly in thanking her assistant, as well as the Irish peacekeepers stationed in Israel. Mr. Kehoe talked about the burgeoning economic and commercial cooperation between Ireland and Israel. The minister expressed his hope that even more areas for business cooperation would open up in coming years. Moving to cultural ties, Mr. Kehoe mentioned Irish authors visiting Israel, and Irish art exhibitions in Israel as examples of the intercultural diplomacy at work bringing the two nations together.


Finally, Mr. Kehoe cited the close cooperation in security and defense matters between Ireland and Israel, as well as the Irish peacekeepers stationed in the Golan Heights. Expressing his satisfaction that the two nations had developed such close and positive ties, he concluded by explaining that on St. Patrick’s Day, “everyone is Irish,” and wishing all the guests a festive celebration.


Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Dr. Michael Oren addressed the crowd on behalf of the government of Israel. In addition to expressing the satisfaction of his own government and nation with their ties and cooperation with Ireland, the deputy minister also talked about his own personal ties. He mentioned his first visit to Ireland and love of the country, as well as an Irish drum that he still plays today. Deputy Minister Oren concluded by wishing all of the guests a happy St. Patrick’s Day.



The national anthems of both countries were then sung, concluding the formal portion of the evening. The band resumed playing Irish music, and many people joined in traditional dancing, including some professional dancers. Throughout the evening photos and information about St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world were broadcast onto a screen on the wall, while guests also had the opportunity to create an Irish-themed gif at a photo station.



The distinguished guests included ambassadors and various diplomats, business and cultural leaders, and those with a unique Irish connection, including negotiations expert Lior Frankiensztajn, Vered Swid,  former

Director of the Authority for Advancing Women’s Rights, Liel Maghen, Co-Director of the Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives (IPCRI), and Brian Maccaba, an Irish Jew based in Jerusalem who works in the cybersecurity and high-tech field.

Diplomacy.co.il wishes Happy St. Patrick’s Day to the Embassy and the people of Ireland.

Steven Aiello
Photos Silvia G. Golan


On Thursday March 1 the Embassy of Bulgaria in Tel Aviv marked its National Day with an especially festive celebration coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Purim. Diplomats and those with personal and commercial ties to Bulgaria convened at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv to mark the occasion.

After the singing of both countries’ anthems, Honorary Consul Moni Bar opened the formal portion of the event by talking about the success of the Bulgarian aliya, which included Bar himself along with his family. Bar also served as the emcee for the event.


H.E. Ambassador Dimitar Mihaylov then addressed the crowd in his impeccable Hebrew, quoting Theodor Herzl and applying Herzl’s words to the diplomatic ties between Bulgaria and Israel today. Ambassador Mihaylov cited upcoming high-level diplomatic visits, including the first by Bulgarian President Radev since becoming president, who is expected to meet the president and prime minister of Israel, as well as visiting Yad Vashem, and delivering a speech at the 6th international conference to combat anti-Semitism.


In June the prime minister of Bulgaria is expected to arrive for a series of meetings with Israeli political leaders regarding cooperation and bilateral ties. Prime Minister Borissov will attend the dedication of a monument to the saving of Bulgarian Jewry during the Holocaust. The monument will be placed in Tel Aviv, and matches one recently installed in Bulgaria. During his visit the prime minister is also expected to meet with 3,000 Israelis of Bulgarian heritage at the Cultural Hall in Tel Aviv. Ambassador Mihaylov also noted that more than 5 Bulgarian ministers have visited or are expected to visit Israel during the year, and he also cited an upcoming Israeli delegation to Bulgaria, led by Knesset member Eitan Broshy, as well as a delegation of Bulgarian Israelis, which will take part in the events planned to celebrate the saving of Bulgarian Jewry during World War II, while also commemorating the murder of more than 11, 300 Jews from Macedonia and Thrace in the Treblinka concentration camp.


Member of Knesset and deputy minister of public diplomacy Dr. Michael Oren addressed the crowd on behalf of the Israeli government, noting Ambassador Mihaylov’s fluent Hebrew skills. Dr. Oren spoke of the past, present and future ties between Bulgaria and Israel. Regarding the past, he noted how Bulgarian Jews were saved during the Holocaust, and then the emigration to Israel of approximately 90% of the Jewish community shortly after the founding of the state. Dr. Oren mentioned the present, citing excellent cooperation between the two countries in a range of fields, including economics, trade, and tourism, and the various high-level political and diplomatic visits. Finally Dr. Oren turned to the future, detailing potentials for Bulgarian-Israeli cooperation in the hi-tech industry, and mutual concerns for stability in the face of a rise in far-right neo-Nazi support across Europe, Bulgaria’s upcoming role as president of the European Union


Member of Knesset Eitan Broshi spoke next. He talked of the treaty of peace and cooperation between Israel and Bulgaria that Bulgarian emigrants to Israel helped to create. Mr. Broshi talked of the shared interests and cooperation between the two nations, noting that in two years they would mark 70 years of diplomatic ties. Mr. Broshi listed trade and security as some of the areas for strong binational partnerships, and expressed his hope for increased cooperation in the field of agriculture and water conservation. Mr. Broshi explained that as the Knesset member in charge of the parliamentary friendship association between Bulgaria and Israel, he would be traveling to Bulgaria shortly to represent Israel and participate in the commemorative events there.




Following the speeches, guests enjoyed catered dinner at the hotel. The distinguished guests at the celebration included many diplomats and military attaches, as well as former Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria David Cohen; former Ambassador of Israel to Bulgaria Avraham (Avi) Sharon; Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, head of the Israeli School for Young Ambassadors; Itzhak Lipovetzky, President of the Israel-Bulgaria Friendship association; Philippe Guillien, French language attache and course director at the Institut Francais; Stephen Abrahams, from the Ministry of National Infrastructures Energy and Water Resources, and Yona Bartal, Representative of The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

In the beginning of February, the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, visited Israel to participated in the annual IMTM tourism exhibition. Minister Angelkova’s visit also included meeting with the relevant Israeli counterparts and offices.

Diplomacy.co.il wishes congratulations to the Embassy of Bulgaria on its national day celebration and upcoming events.

 Photos Silvia G Golan

Steven Aiello





 Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Mariano A. Caucino , Ambassador of Argentina to Israel.

 The new ambassadors to Israel of Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Malawi, and South Korea presented their credentials to President of Israel Reuven Rivlin in a formal ceremony at the President's Residence on Monday. The police orchestra played the national anthems of the countries, followed by an IDF honor guard. After each ambassador presented their formal letter to the President, they signed the guest book of the President's Residence. At the closing of the ceremony, Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, was played.


Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Ms. Hanna Ama Nyarko,  Ambassador of  Ghana to Israel.


The first to present her credentials was H.E. Mrs. Hanna Ama Nyarko, Ghana's incoming ambassador. President Rivlin remarked that "The ties between our countries is excellent, as are the ties between the governments, and I am happy to see them growing even stronger in recent years.” Ambassador Nyarko responded “our ties with Israel are important, and during my time here, I hope to work hard to further strengthen them.”


Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr Choi Yonghwan ,  Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Israel.


H.E. Mr. Choi Yonghwan, the incoming ambassador of the Republic of Korea, presented his credentials next. President Rivlin told Ambassador Yonghwan “These are historic days, which may help all those living in conflicts around the world to recognize that the time has come for dialogue,” noting that each country faced its own unique conflict.


The incoming South Korean ambassador thanked the president and said, "I have dreamed of visiting Jerusalem and Israel since,” making the current position “a realization of a dream, and a great honor.”


Referring to future talks between North and South Korea, as well as with the United States, Ambassador Yonghwan remarked that “this year is critical for us” and that “the future talks raise hopes of peace, and we will do our best to achieve success in that regard.”


President Rivlin then greeted H.E. Mr. Mariano A. Caucino, the incoming ambassador of Argentina, extending warm wishes to the Argentinean President. The president said: "We greatly appreciate the present government in Argentina and the current president. We can never forget the terrible attacks that took place in the 1990s against the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy in Argentina, but we must move on and bring the perpetrators to justice, and we appreciate the work of the current government to seek the truth and achieve justice. "

Ambassador Caucino thanked the president for the warm words, and announced that the President of Argentina is hoping to visit Israel as soon as possible, and that they were working on finding a suitable date for the visit.


Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr  John Newton Guiliani Valenzuela  ,  Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Israel.


H.E. Mr. John Newton Guiliani Valenzuela presented his credentials as the incoming ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Israel. President Rivlin welcomed Ambassador Valenzuela, pointing out that ties between their nations predated the vote of the Dominican Republic for Israel’s recognition in 1947. "The Dominican Republic also assisted some 1,000 Jewish refugees during one of the darkest periods of our history, and we will never forget it. For this reason we have a street in Jerusalem named after the Dominican Republic." The President noted that Israel would be happy to deepen cooperation and mutual understanding between the two countries.


The ambassador thanked President Rivlin, adding that the long history of cooperation and support was a testament to the friendship between Israel and the Dominican Republic, and that he hoped to further advance trade agreements and cooperation between the two countries.


 Photo : President Rivlin welcoming H.E  Ms Agrina Mussa ,  Ambassador of Malawi  to Israel.


Finally, H.E. Mrs. Agrina Mussa, the incoming ambassador of Malawi to Israel, presented her credentials. President Rivlin welcomed Ambassador Mussa, and extended an invitation to the president of Malawi to come to Israel for an agro-tech conference planned for May. The President noted that food security and water are also key global issues, and Israel was proud to be working productively with Malawi on these important issues.


Ambassador Mussa thanked President Rivlin, stating that the two countries have enjoyed strong relations for half a century, and that she hoped to see fair treatment of Israel in various international bodies and forums. President Rivlin in turn thanked the ambassador for her important words, and added that Israel sees the future in Africa, and would love to once again participate in the African Union as an observer state.


Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the incoming ambassadors of Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Malawi, and the Republic of Korea and wishes them success in the coming years.

 Photos Mark Neumann / GPO
Steven Aiello



February 2018 – The Philippines once again participated in the 24th International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) held at the Tel Aviv Convention Center on 06-07 February 2018. This year’s delegation from the Department of Tourism was headed by Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo. Twelve Philippine tour operators and hotel representatives joined the DOT delegation in promoting Philippine tourism in Israel.

This year, the Philippines was a silver sponsor of the IMTM with one of the largest and most attractive pavilions in the annual tourism fair, considered the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Israeli tourist arrivals to the Philippines grew by 98% from a mere figure of 8,776 in 2014 to 17,446 in 2017. Israel continues to be a valued market for Philippine tourism,” said Ambassador Imperial.

The DOT has been participating in the IMTM since 2016 and has conducted two Familiarization tours for major Israeli tour operators. “Total tourist arrivals to the Philippines reached 6.6million in 2017, and Israel is a growing tourism market for the Philippines in the Middle East,” according to Secretary Teo.



Secretary Teo also met with Israel Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin and discussed ways to further promote two-way tourism.

Secretary Teo hosted a Philippine Tourism Gala Night on 08 February 2018 at the Grand Ballroom of Hilton Tel Aviv which was attended by the diplomatic corps, Israeli travel and tour operators, businessmen, PR/media outfits and the Filipino community.

Guests in the IMTM and Philippine Tourism night were wowed by the performance of multi-awarded Sindaw performers with their rendition of original Filipino music and the traditional dance of the members of the Association of Igorot Migrant Workers in Israel.

Ambassador Neal Imperial and Department of Tourism’s Head of Strategic Development Unit, Mr.  Francisco Lardizabal, with DOT and Embassy officials, Israeli participants to the Familiarization Tour to the Philippines and tour operators from the Philippines, formally open the Philippine pavilion at the 2018 IMTM.



Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo with Ambassador Neal Imperial at the Philippine booth during the 24th International Mediterranean Tourism Market.

Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo met with Israel’s Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin.

Internationally-awarded Sindaw performers impressed the guests in the IMTM and Philippine Tourism Night with their rendition of original Filipino music

The Department of Tourism in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a Philippine Tourism Night attended by Israeli tour operators and media, members of the diplomatic corps, businessmen, PR/media outfits and the Filipino community. 


Photos provided by Philippine Embassy in Israel