- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Steven Aiello
The long awaited Europe Day celebration was held at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, as art, collaboration, and the perseverance of human spirit took center stage.
The ceremony began with a video presentation highlighting European Union achievements in overcoming the challenges of Covid-19. Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret then began his remarks with greetings in Hebrew and Arabic, to applause from the guests. Ambassador Giaufret noted that the 12 million vaccines produced in the EU that have been administered in Israel have sparked Israel’s emergence from the shadow of Covid-19. In European Union countries he noted, 1/3d of adults have now been vaccinated.
As the situation stabilizes, Europe is now pivoting to economic recovery, and Ambassador Giaufret emphasized that this would take the form of sustainable, environmentally friendly economic progress, as the EU Green Deal aims for climate neutrality by 2050. The EU and Israeli economies are themselves intertwined, with 34% of imports to Israel coming from the EU and 22% of exports headed there. Among the many other areas of cooperation between the countries, the ambassador noted tourism, education, and transportation, where there is shared interest in safer and cleaner seas, and the Open Skies agreement nearly doubled tourism levels.
The EU mission works with the national government, local municipalities, and civil society representatives, and Ambassador Giaufret gave a special thank you to the NGOs represented at the celebration, for their contributions to Israeli society. In the fields of research and innovation, this year marks 25 years of Israeli-EU collaboration, including 1.36 billion Euros allocated to Israeli-based projects through the Horizon2020 program.
Turning to security, the ambassador stressed the EU’s commitment to Israel’s right to self-defense, with a clear condemnation from the EU towards Hamas and other militant groups for attacking Israel. Moreover, the EU would now be implementing its first strategic plan on combatting anti-semitism.
Reflecting on the 1950 Schuman declaration which led to the creation of the EU, the ambassador explained that it sparked a revolution turning “battlefields into negotiating tables, and misery into prosperity”. Israelis and Palestinians, he noted, could also undergo such a transformation, and recent peace deals with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the UAE give further credence to the potential in such peace, with full support from the EU.
As the ambassador is concluding his four year tenure in Israel, he gave a heartfelt goodbye and thanked his staff at the EU mission, as well as colleagues and friends in Israel. Ambassador Giaufret revealed that one of his children was actually born at Sheba hospital during a prior assignment in Israel, and promised that the country would always have a special place in his heart.
Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. Congratulating the EU mission, she stated that the European Union itself is the greatest achievement of human peace and prosperity in history. The post-World War II transformation from manufacturing weapons into manufacturing life was nothing short of a miracle, said Minister Michaeli, and it serves as an inspiration and hope for Israelis and Palestinians. It presents a path of peace and prosperity that Israel and its neighbors must aspire to, the minister said.
Pointing out that a new Israeli government means a new direction for the country, she stressed that there would be opportunities for increased Israeli-EU cooperation, and that the government of Israel is dedicated to that goal. Concluding her remarks, she stressed the importance of addressing anti-semitism, and applauded the EU decision on that front. The anthems of the EU and Israel were then played, and a toast raised to the success of the EU and EU-Israeli cooperation.
Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed refreshments in the museum’s garden, with EU flags and floral arrangements decorating the garden and the interior of the museum. In addition, guests were invited to see “Towards a New Community”, a video art installation from top European and Israeli artists that has been displayed in Eilat, Haifa, and now Tel Aviv, on display at the Museum of Art. ”
Among the many distinguished guests were Merav Michaeli, Minister of Transportation; H.E. Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Nathalie Mimoun, Honorary Consul of France; Gad Propper, Honorary Consul of New Zealand; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassador’s Club; Dan Catarivas, Director General – Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers Association of Israel; Nadav Tamir Director of International Affairs of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation; Rav Menahem ShemTov, chairman of the Rabbis Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue on behalf of the United Nations (UN), Khadra Alsanah from the Sidreh association, and many more.
The diplomatic portal in Israel, www.diplomacy.co.il, congratulates the EU mission and thanks Ambassador Giaufret for his work promoting Israeli-EU relations
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
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- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Steven Aiello
Embassy of Slovenia Celebrates National Day in Style at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design
The Embassy of Slovenia held its national day celebration at the inimitable Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan on Thursday. The celebration commemorated 30 years of Slovenian independence, as well as the upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. In honor of the event, a special exhibition, “The Future of Living” was displayed, highlighting innovation, environmentalism, and Israeli-Slovenian cooperation.
The anthems of Slovenia, the European Union, and Israel were played by a band, and then Ambassador Andreja Purkart Martinez welcomed the guests. The ambassador recalled her memories as a law student during when Slovenia gained independence. Noting that Israeli-Slovenian cooperation predates Slovenian independence, Ambassador Martinez highlighted specifically trade, education, science and research, tourism, and innovation and artificial intelligence. She thanked honorary consuls Adi Rosenfeld and Eival Gilady for their dedication to strengthening Israeli-Slovenian relations.
Ambassador Martinez also discussed the significance of Slovenia assuming the European Union presidency for the first time since 2008, noting that while Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, becoming a member had been a goal for Slovenia since independence. Among Slovenia’s focal points as incoming president will be pandemic preparedness, economic recovery, environmentalism, in line with Slovenia’s motto of “green, smart, creative.”
Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej addressed the audience on behalf of the government of Israel, and offered warm congratulations to Slovenia. Minister Frej pointed out that while geographically the largely desert Israel and green Slovenia are quite different, they have core values in common, like democratic principles of freedom. From sports and culture to academics to trade, the minister listed a wide range of areas where cooperation between the two nations is thriving. In particular, the Port of Koper is a transit hub for Israeli goods to enter the European market. Moreover, Israeli tourism to Slovenia has been on the rise, which the minister noted was not surprising given the natural beauty of Slovenia and its value as a tourist destination.
Both Ambassador Martinez and Minister Frej highlighted Prime Minister Janez Janša’s visit to Israel last year as important for advancing bilateral relations. Minister Frej expressed his hope that an Israeli embassy in Ljubljana would be opened soon. In closing he thanked Slovenia for its support for Israel during both prosperous and challenging times, and noted the importance for Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in peace and security in the region.
Professor Sheizaf Rafaeli, the President of Shenkar College, also took the podium to congratulate Slovenia on its national day. Professor Rafaeli addressed the shared interests of creativity and sustainability. He pointed out that as small countries, both Slovenia and Israel aspire for greatness, and the exhibition highlighted the ingenuity and innovation emphasized in Shenkar. Noting that the land Shenkar college is on began as a swamp which was turned into an orange grove, then an IDF headquarter, then a high school, then a textile industry college, and eventually into the current Shenkar College for Engineering and Design, which is now half a century old. Reflecting on his own experiences partnering with Israeli and Slovenian academics, Professor Rafaeli noted the potential for synergy in collaborating to promote creativity, innovation and sustainability.
“The Future of Living” exhibition is composed of sustainable design artwork from Slovenia for lifestyle and leisure, showcasing the need to use local resources and focus on minimalism as a way to ensure continued prosperity into the future. After the speeches, guests were able to enjoy the exhibition at their own pace.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Professor Dan Shechtman, Nobel laureate in Chemistry; Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej, President of Shenkar College Professor Sheizaf Rafaeli, H.E. Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Eyal Sela, Ambassador of Israel to Slovenia; Honorary Consul Adi Rosenfeld, Honorary Consul Eival Gilady, Chairman of the Western Galilee College; Tzachi Braverman, Adi Barouh: Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassador’s Club; Members of the UPC organization; Stanley Morais, El Al Acting Director of International Affairs; Eli Hazan Director of International Relations, Likud Party, and many foreign Ambassadors and business leaders.
The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of Slovenia on the occasion of their National Day, 30 years of independence, and the upcoming EU Presidency.
Photos Silvia Golan
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- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Adam Kremer
Russian Federation celebrates Russia Day at the Dan Accadia Herzliya hotel
On June 10th the Embassy of the Russian Federation hosted a celebration on the occasion of Russia Day. Celebrated annually on June 12th, this day commemorates the adoption of the Sovereignty Declaration of Russia in 1990.
The celebration was held in the luxurious gardens of the five star Dan Accadia hotel in Herzliya. The ambassador of the Russian Federation to the state of Israel, H. E. Anatoly Viktorov hosted Israeli and international ambassadors and other diplomats, Israeli officials, businessmen, visitors from Russia, and Israeli-Russian citizens for the celebration.
The main event began with the national anthems of Russia and Israel. The honorary guest was Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Gila Gamliel. Among the many distinguished guests were: Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich, cabinet secretary of the Israeli government Tzahi Braverman, Knesset members Oded Forer, Evgeny Sova, Yoel Razvozov, Ze'ev Elkin, former Knesset member Leon Litinetsky, Ambassador Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi; Adi Barouh from the Prime Minister’s Office; executive director of the World Jewish Congress Israel section Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, Mrs. Tony Duchev-Levy, Director External Relations Manager of the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT); Moshe Mano Honorary Consul of Russia, representatives of the International Cooperation Unit of the IDF and many others.
Ambassador Viktorov welcomed and thanked all the guests, expressing the importance of Russia Day to the Russian people: “The twelfth of June 1990 became a turning point in the development pattern of our country, marking pivotal changes. The path that has been passed was full of thorns”. The ambassador made remarks on the Israeli-Russian relations: “Israel, with whom we have very good, close ties, is an important partner of Russia in the region. A large number of descendants from the former Soviet Union, who now live in Israel, are a significant factor in Russian-Israeli relations. It is fundamentally important for us that comprehensive solutions to regional problems clearly reflect Israel's legitimate security interests.”
Ambassador Viktorov emphasised that “Russia has had traditionally friendly relations with the Arab world and with Palestinian people as well. Russia is ready, together with all the participants in this process, to work actively and make feasible contribution to the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… This year marks the 30th anniversary of the renewal of full-fledged diplomatic relations between our countries. On the 18th of October 1991, we started a new chapter in our shared history.”
Minister Gamliel, as the representative of the Israeli government, congratulated Ambassador Viktorov and his wife, President Putin, and the Russian people on the occasion of Russia day. The minister shared information about her close ties with Mikhail Bogdanov, deputy minister of foreign affairs of Russia and the special representative of the president of Russia for the Middle East since 2011. “Moscow and Jerusalem cooperate to combat terrorism and share common understanding on many political issues that pose a challenge on global security today. Dialogues are being made on a routine basis between our most senior levels” said Minister Gamliel.
Also at the event, the embassy showed a photo exhibition of the Russian geographical society in addition to music played by the Impressive Flight Orchestra led by Elena Vinitsky. Traditional Russian food was served alongside products from Russian companies like the Beluga vodka brand.
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Russian Embassy and the people of Russia on its national day and offers best wishes for future prosperity and bilateral success.
Photo Silvia G. Golan
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- Written by Spokesperson of the President's Office
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Canada H.E. Mrs. Lisa Anne Stadelbauer
For the last time in his presidency, President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the incoming ambassadors of Chile, Canada and Nigeria
For the last time in his presidency, President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Monday 21 June / 11 Tammuz, received diplomatic credentials from the incoming ambassadors of Chile, Canada and Nigeria in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Over the seven years of his presidency, he has received letters of credence from 173 new ambassadors representing countries around the world.
During the ceremony, the IDF Band played the national anthems of both nations, and the ambassadors reviewed an IDF honor guard. After presenting their credentials to the president, each ambassador signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Chile H.E. Mr. Jorge A. Carvajal San Martin
The first to present his credentials to the president was Ambassador Jorge A. Carvajal San Martin of Chile. The president said, ”We are worried about Iranian activity in Latin America, including in Chile. The Iranians are trying to increase their presence here in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean. We are also concerned about rising antisemitism, and are sure that your regional expertise will help you in your mission here.”
Ambassador Lisa Anne Stadelbauer of Canada arrived next, presenting her letters of credence to the president. He expressed his deep appreciation for Canada’s support for Israel and the steps its has taken to fight antisemitism, saying, “We would like to thank Canada for its support of Israel in the international arena. We have heard about recent antisemitic incidents in Canada, and we appreciate Canada’s commitment to combat antisemitism. The appointment of a special envoy on the subject, Prof. Irwin Cotler, is evidence of that commitment.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Nigeria H.E. Mr. Nart Augustine Kolo
The last ambassador to visit Beit HaNasi was Nart Augustine Kolo of Nigeria. The president spoke of the special relationship between Israel and Africa and his wish to extend them. “The ties between Israel and Africa stretch over centuries. We are working to deepen our strategic relationship with Africa, including restoring Israel’s observer status at the African Union. This is a shared interest that could bring great advantages to the State of Israel and to African states.”
The ambassador thanked the president and noted that it was a great honor for him to be the last ambassador to present his credentials to the president.
Photo credits: Mark Neyman (GPO)
- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Steven Aiello
The Embassy of Italy in Israel held a National Day celebration Wednesday night in honor of Festa Della Reppublica, the anniversary of Italy reforming as a republic in 1946. The event was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Gianluigi Benedetti, and his wife Mrs. Sabina D'Antonio Benedetti at the ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan. As Israel has gradually emerged from Covid-19 restrictions, this was one of the first celebrations to be held, and the atmosphere was understandably joyful.
Opening the evening, Ambassador Benedetti paid tribute to the medical staff and researchers who worked tirelessly to keep people healthy, and develop a vaccine in unprecedented time. He quoted the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, about the importance of unity during these challenging times. In that regard, the ambassador noted specifically the medical and scientific cooperation between Israeli and Italian hospitals and scientific researchers.
Ambassador Benedetti talked about the strong relationship between Israel and Italy on a range of topics, and a shared commitment to safety, stability, and economic prosperity in the Mediterranean region. The ambassador talked about Italy’s strong support for building peace, in particular after the recent conflict with Hamas. Ambassador Benedetti also highlighted the East Mediterranean Gas Forum and EastMed projects, and the overall complementarity of the Israeli and Italian economies. He also mentioned cultural cooperation such as art exhibitions, and the contributions of the Jewish community in Italy.
The ambassador made a point to highlight the fight against global anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination. He also congratulated the newly elected President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, and spoke warmly of the outgoing president Reuven Rivlin. The ambassador then acknowledged the recent tragedy of the Jewish family who died in a cable car crash in Italy, calling each victim by name. As this will be the last celebration held before Ambassador Benedetti leaves his position, he finished his remarks by thanking embassy staff, diplomatic peers and Israeli counterparts for the warm hospitality and support over the last four years.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. Minister Steinitz talked about the beauty of Italy, in his mind the top tourist destination in all of Europe. Noting the historical Israel-Italy ties, including the San Remo conference that played a key role in the founding of Israel. Minister Steinitz then highlighted the energy cooperation between the nations. Thanking the ambassador for his service, he wished him well in his next placement, and promised that “you won’t forget us and we won’t forget you.”
Following the speeches, the anthems of Italy, the European Union, and Israel were played, and a toast was raised. Food stands offered guests fresh pasta, piping hot Pizza Margherita, and chocolates from the renowned Ferrero confectionery company, with Pellegrino sparkling water and Aperol Spritz as imported beverages of choice. The residence grounds were decorated in Italy’s national colors of green, white and red, with a trio of Vespa motorcycles adding to the ambience.
Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were H.E. Ms. Colette Avital, former Israeli Ambassador to Portugal, and the first woman to run for president of Israel; H.E. Mr. Dan Gillerman, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN;H.E. Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Mr. Oded Ben Hur, former Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican; Msgr. Tomasz Grysa, First Counsellor at the Apostolic Nunciature in Israel; Tzachi Braverman, cabinet secretary in the , Adi Barouh Prime Minister’s Office, Eliav Blizowsky, Director of International Relations at the Tel Aviv Municipality; Dr. Roberto Della Rocca, Vice Presidente of the Israel-Italy Chamber of Commerce; Superintendent Moti Meiry of the Israeli Police, and Dr. Cinzia Klein, Ms. Sabrina G. Fadlun, Delegate and Vice Delegate of the Italian Academy of Cuisine in Israel. Among the companies and businesses supporting the celebration were Cafe Landwer, Ferrero Rocher, and Pasta Rummo.
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Italy, the Government and the people of Italy on this anniversary and thanks Ambassador Benedetti for his hard work strengthening the Israeli-Italian relationship over the last four years.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
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