- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin this morning, 25 October / 16 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new Ambassadors of Cameroon, Guatemala, Germany, Hungary, and Japan to the State of Israel at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag, inspecting an IDF guard of honor and the playing of the national anthems of the ambassador’s country and of the State of Israel by the Israel Police Band. The new ambassador presented their credentials to the president and signed the guest book. Later in the morning, the president met the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, who is visiting Israel.
First to present his letter of credence was HE Ambassador Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam of Cameroon. President Rivlin wished him all success in his post and said, “the relations between Israel and Cameroon are strong and important. Israel will continue to offer humanitarian aid to Cameroon, particularly in the fields of agriculture and medicine – building capacity, training, and instruction.”
The Cameroonian ambassador thanked the president and said, “I am delighted to be appointed Cameroon’s ambassador to Israel. The cooperation between our countries in the field of agriculture is very important and I hope we are able to deepen it. I well remember my first visit here in 2002 and am happy to return here as ambassador.”
Following this, HE Ambassador Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores of Guatemala presented his credentials to the president. “Guatemala is one of Israel’s oldest friends,” said President Rivlin, recalling that Guatemala was the second country in the world to recognize Israel’s independence. “Here in Jerusalem, we have a Guatemala Street and a Guatemala School – and now the Guatemalan Embassy. The cooperation between our two countries in agriculture, water and medicine is flourishing and is important to both of us.”
The Ambassador of Guatemala said with emotion that he had come from his country’s embassy in Jerusalem. “Our countries have been friends forever, and you expressed the depth of that friendship when you came to our aid after the eruption of the volcano this year. The first three words I have learned in Hebrew are ‘tachles’ (down-to-earth), ‘pituach’ (development) and ‘shalom’ (peace). Let these three words be with us during our time here.”
Following this, HE Ambassador Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer of Germany presented her credentials. The president welcomed her back to Israel and said, “Our two countries share a painful past but it is the basis for our strong and important relations today. As I said to Chancellor Merkel last week, our people-to-people relations are just as important as our government-to-government links. Our countries share values and a hope for the future based on our shared belief in peace and democracy.”
The German ambassador thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “this is an emotional moment for me. I feel like I am coming home. It is a great privilege to serve both our peoples in this way. The relations between our countries are strong and deep but we can always find new ways to enrich our relations.”
Next to present his letter of credence was HE Ambassador Levente Benko of Hungary. “Hungary was home to the Jews and today has the largest Jewish community in eastern and central Europe, as well as a thousand Israeli students studying there. The bilateral relationship is strong and I want to thank the Hungarian government for its support of Israel in the European and international arena. As we are witness to growing anti-Semitism in Europe, we must be clear that there is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. We will continue to work together with you to ensure that the Jewish community in Hungary is safe and secure.”
The Hungarian ambassador thanked the president and said, “Relations between our countries are at a historical high. Hungary and Israel are like-minded when it comes to the big issues we face – national identity, sovereignty, and security. Hungary stands up for Israel in the European and international arena because we see Israel as an important strategic partner. Be assured, Mr. President, that Hungary will not tolerate anti-Semitism.”
Finally, HE Ambassador of Japan Koichi Aiboshi, presented his letter of credence to President Rivlin. “Welcome to Israel, Mr. Ambassador,” said the president. “This is an exciting time for our two countries, and the sun is indeed rising over Israeli-Japanese relations. We share a deep commitment to the same values – democracy, freedom and the pursuit of peace. I want to thank Japan for its investment in the Japan Agro-Industrial Park in Jericho. It is proof of the importance of doing what can be done, rather than talking about what cannot be done. I was happy to welcome Prime Minister Abe earlier in the year. He brought a large delegation of business leaders and we were delighted to see the cooperation deepen and widen over a large number of sectors.”
The Ambassador of Japan conveyed the good wishes of Emperor Akihito, and said, “The Japanese people thanks to the State of Israel for the medical aid after last year’s earthquake. This exemplifies the deep friendship between the countries. I am proud that over the last ten years Japan has worked with partners in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to establish the Japan Agro-Industrial Park. We will continue to work to develop the excellent relations we have in the field of innovation and technology.”
Photos Mark Newman
- 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 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 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