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PM Netanyahu: Israel is making inroads into the Islamic world. This is the result of considerable effort in recent years. We are making history and we are turning Israel into a rising global power.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chad President Idriss Deby, today (Sunday, 20 January 2019), at the Presidential Palace in Ndjamena, the capital of Chad, announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between Chad and Israel. The two sides will presently sign an official memorandum on the resumption of relations between the two countries.

 
The announcement was made in the framework of Prime Minister Netanyahu's historic visit to Chad.
 
The two sides view the resumption of relations as the key to future cooperation for the benefit of both countries.
Following are Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks at the joint statements: 
 
"The first and most important thing is to thank you for your warm welcome to me and my delegation. I’m honored to be the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit your beautiful country.
 
This is a historic visit that follows another historic visit: your visit two months ago to Israel. Now I’m visiting Chad for the first time. I’m here to formally re-establish our diplomatic relations. Chad is a very important country and a very important country for Israel.
 
The future of Africa depends on the future of the Sahel. What happens here could affect the entire world. We understand, you understand. We have to make sure that critical allies understand this. And so we have a partnership in trying to forge a prosperous and secure future for our countries and in a larger sense for Africa and beyond.
 
This is what we discussed today in great detail. There is a lot that we can do together and we discussed how to deepen our cooperation in every field beginning with security, but also agriculture, food, water, energy, health and many more. And I believe that this cooperation will build a better, safer and more prosperous future for both our peoples.
 
President Déby, you have a vision, of how to raise the possibilities for your people, for your country and for your region and I’m your partner in that. It’s significant for us that Chad is a country with a Muslim majority that seeks the friendship of Israel. There are many such countries, but in Africa this is particularly significant. And we seek the friendship of other countries in Africa and I’m glad to see that this process that others are following in your footsteps.
 
My visit to Africa comes after a horrendous terror attack in Kenya, and there have been terrorist attacks of Boko Haram in this region as well. I agree with you, Mr. President, that we have to band together to fight this evil and we are ready to do so in full cooperation with you as we cooperate with other countries that want to stamp out terrorism.
 
I believe that the battle is far from being lost, that we can defeat these forces if we join hands.
 
And we believe in the future of Chad and the future of Africa. This is my fourth visit to Africa in four years. I think it says something, and indeed, we are committed to making every effort to help alongside with the United States with the program Power Africa to help light up African countries. And thanks to a recent government resolution, more Israeli countries will soon join development efforts in Africa. In March, we’re going to have a special delegation of Israeli companies come to Chad to see the various possibilities that the President and the Government of Chad are opening up for Israeli companies and I think the opportunities are vast.
 
So I believe in your future, I believe in our future, I believe in the future of our friendship. But let me add something else that I discovered today: President Déby likes to read history. I like to read history. We were talking about that you cannot have a vision of the future if you don’t understand the past. We were talking about WWII. President Déby told me about the deep impression that his visit in Yad Vashem and previous contacts with the Holocaust made on him. But I learned today about the fate of African fighters, soldiers, in WWII, prisoners of war who were murdered by the Nazis, specifically because they were black. This is a story that has to be told. You suffered because you were black; we suffered because we were Jews. We refuse to accept this fate and we raised ourselves from defeat to create a new future for ourselves and for each other. This is a triumph of the human spirit and this is what we seek to accomplish in these historic visits.
 
We are making history, and indeed, thank you for this visit and thank you for enabling us to do historic things for our peoples."
 
Video: Itai Beit-On, GPO
Sound: Nir Sherf, GPO
 

Photo PM Netanyahu and Chad President Idriss Deby at the Presidential Palace in Ndjamena .   Photo: GPO/Kobi Gideon.

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific Group of Ambassadors call on Supreme Court President

 

13 January 2019, Jerusalem - The Asia Pacific group of Ambassadors called on Supreme Court President Ester Hayut last Sunday, 13 January. The group was comprised of the Ambassadors of Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Justice Hayut was accompanied by four Supreme Court Justices.

 

The call was part of the Asia Pacific group of Ambassadors' efforts to engage with the leadership of different branches of the Israeli government and explore ways to deepen cooperation between Israel and the Asia Pacific region.

 

Seated, L to R: Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, Supreme Court Justice George Karra, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, Supreme Court Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, and Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein.

 

Standing, L to R: Ambassador Penprapa Vongkovit (Thailand), Ambassador Maung Maung Lynn (Myanmar), Ambassador Christopher Cannan (Australia), Ambassador Periyasamy Pillai Selvaraj (Sri Lanka), Ambassador Choi Yonghwan (Republic of Korea), Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi (Japan), Ambassador Neal Imperial (Philippines), and Ambassador Zhan Yongxin (China).

 

Photo provided by Philippine Embassy

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Rivlin: “We must not show any tolerance for expressions of anti-Semitism. We reject anti-Semitism, even if it takes on different guises, hiding behind the fig-leaf of supporting and loving the State of Israel.”

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, (Thursday 20 December) welcomed Israeli ambassadors from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific regions to Beit HaNasi and addressed them.
The president began by thanking the ambassadors: “this meeting is an opportunity to thank you all for your efforts and your dedication. The relations you create, your diplomatic efforts, the partnerships, the links with science, arts and culture, the economic bridges you build, make Israel more open and make Israel safer. To a great extent, thanks to you, the State of Israel is known in the world and enjoys recognition and legitimacy.”
The president spoke about the growing problem of anti-Semitism in Europe and the calls to fight it: “European national discourse is often accompanied by anti-Semitism and xenophobia and that poses problems for Jewish communities and the State of Israel. I have said before and I will say it again: we must not show any tolerance for expressions of anti-Semitism. We reject anti-Semitism, even if it takes on different guises, hiding behind the fig-leaf of supporting and loving the State of Israel.”
 
 
 
The president added, “The State of Israel is an extremely impressive success story of a developing country that turned into a great power. Much of Israel’s industry grew out of our experience as a developing country. We became experts in finding solutions because we depended on those solutions. What the world expects of Israel, and what we expect of ourselves deep down, is to help other developing countries and societies to make the same leap that we did. We have gone from absolute dependence to full sustainability, particularly in the fields of agriculture, water, food, energy, education and health.”
 
Photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)
 
 
 
 

 

 

President Rivlin:

“Our sovereignty over Jerusalem will never compromise the freedom of worship and religion of all peoples of faith in Jerusalem and in all of Israel”

On the ‘Land of Monasteries’ project:

“Just recently I met with Pope Francis about this project and I hope that very soon we can go there together with you. We hope that when this project is complete, every Christian will be able to safely follow the route from Jerusalem to Nazareth via Jericho, and bathe in the waters of the River Jordan.:

On the legislation dealing with Church properties:

"The State of Israel has no intention of harming the property rights of the churches or their ability to realize their assets. We will never do that. I hope that discussion and dialogue will produce a solution."

  

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 27 December / 19 Tevet hosted leaders of the Christian communities at the traditional New Year’s reception at Beit HaNasi. Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, the acting Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the representative of the Armenian Patriarch,  Custos of the Holy Land, head of the Franciscan Order in Israel and the head of the Greek Catholic Church in Haifa and the Galil also participated in the event. The Ala’a brothers entertained the audience with Christmas songs.

The president began by saying, “We meet in this period of holidays, in a gathering that has become a tradition. We meet in Jerusalem at this time when so many people from all around the world are focused on this holy city. I was born in Jerusalem; I have lived here all of my life. For me, Jerusalem is a holy city, but also, it is much more than that. I cannot imagine any other home, outside of Jerusalem. I know that you all share my love of Jerusalem, and I know, that you – like me – understand how delicate, the balance in this city is. You – like me – know that for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, living together in this city is not always simple. You – like me – believe that living together in this city, is the most moral thing to do. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this understanding. Like you, I see the role of the State of Israel, as guardians of this city. As guardians, our sovereignty over Jerusalem will never compromise the freedom of worship and religion of all peoples of faith in Jerusalem and in all of Israel.”

 

 

The president added, “Israel’s respect for freedom of religion and worship is also what stands at the very heart of our initiative to develop Qasr-el-Yahud, ‘The Land of Monasteries’. Today it is a place of pilgrimage for growing numbers of Christians from all over the world. As you know, the State of Israel is working to clear the landmines that are still in the area, and to return the monasteries nearby to their owners. Just recently, I met with Pope Francis about this project, And I hope that very soon we can go there together with you. We hope that when this project is complete, every Christian will be able to safely follow the route from Jerusalem to Nazareth via Jericho, and bathe in the waters of the River Jordan. Making this dream into a reality will allow us all, Christians, Muslims and Jews, to express our faith in humanity, and in our ability to work together. Even more, this project allows us -Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians, to express our faith that we are not doomed to live together we are destined to live together.

At the end of his remarks, President Rivlin referred to the legal question concerning church properties, saying “The State of Israel has no intention of harming the property rights of the churches or their ability to realize their assets to support their activities. We will never do that. The churches’ legal representatives were invited to take part in the legal process and to make sure that the agreement under discussion will not harm the churches later on. I hope that discussion and dialogue will produce a solution.”

Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri: “I am committed to freedom of religion and worship in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. It is no exaggeration to say that there has never been a time when Jerusalem enjoyed more religious freedom than it does under the State of Israel. We hope for peace in this small country, holier than any other. Peace is not an extravagance, it is a requirement. We need to work hard for it. We pave the way to peace in daily life with small steps."

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III wished the president a happy new year, and also related to the question of the legislation regarding church properties: “We are concerned that attempts to bring this discriminatory bill, that threatens the churches humanitarian mission, will continue. We are grateful for your wise intervention, and I reiterate our willingness for dialogue, but remind you that we stand united in our opposition.”

Photo credits: Mark Neiman (GPO)

 

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador  Vhangha Patrice Koffi, the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire

 

President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new Ambassadors of Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Uganda and Iceland to the State of Israel

New ambassadors from Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Uganda and Iceland presented their credentials to President Rivlin today, Monday 17 November / 9 Tevet, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi, as they began their terms as ambassadors of their countries to the State of Israel. Each ceremony began with the raising of their national flag, inspecting a IDF guard of honor and the playing of the national anthem of their country by the Israel Police Band. The new ambassadors presented their credentials to the president and were then received in the Jerusalem Room for a meeting with the president. At the end of the ceremony they signed the guest book and ‘Hatikva’, the national anthem of the State of Israel, was played.

The first to present his credentials was Vhangha Patrice Koffi, the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire. The president welcomed the ambassador, saying “the relations between Israel and Cote d’Ivoire go back many years, to your independence. Recently relations have become stronger, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber warfare.” The president said, “I know you toured the northern border recently and saw for yourself the attack tunnels built by Hizbollah and funded by Iran. We hope that you will speak out in international organizations against their terrorist policies. We also hope that our friends in Africa, including Cote d’Ivoire, will support the return of Israel as an observer to the African Union.”

Ambassador Koffi thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “the cooperation between our two countries began when we gained independence and today we are benefiting from Israel’s technological advances. You are flourishing in many fields and we hope to learn from you and your knowledge. Our cooperation is based on agreements from the 1960s, and I believe we need to modernize and update them so that we can work more effectively together.”

 

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador Carlos Wahnon Veiga, the ambassador of Cape Verde

 

The next to present his credentials to the president was Carlos Wahnon Veiga, the ambassador of Cape Verde. The president welcomed him and remarked that he was the first ambassador of his country to Israel for 12 years. “Our peoples are old friends,” said the president, “and there were Jews on Cape Verde for hundreds of years.” President Rivlin thanked the ambassador for his country’s vote in favor of condemning Hamas terrorism at the UN, for the restoration of the Jewish cemetery on Sao Antao and for protecting Jewish heritage in the country. He also expressed his hopes of strengthened relations between the countries, greater cooperation and cultural exchanges.

The ambassador of Cape Verde presented his credentials to the president and said, “thank you , Mr President, for your warm welcome. It is a great honor to be my country’s ambassador to the State of Israel. I will fight for my country to have a resident ambassador here, because it is what the relations between our two peoples deserve. I will do my utmost to strengthen and deepen the relations between us. We have much to learn from you, and much in common. It is our duty to ensure we have good relations with Israel.”

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador of Uganda, Sam Sebuliba Male

 

The president received the credentials of ambassador of Uganda, Sam Sebuliba Male, and said, “the links between our two countries are wide and deep and go back many years.” The president noted that each year some 220 Ugandan agricultural students come to Israel and emphasized “Africa is the youngest continent and the future of humanity. The key to our relations is people-to-people contact, not just government-to-government. I believe that the return of Israel to the African Union as an observer can bring great benefit to all parties.” The president noted the ambassador’s contacts across the Middle East and asked him to promote regional discussions to limit the influence of Iran.

The Ugandan ambassador thanked the president for his remarks and said, “I bring warm regards, Mr President, from the President of Uganda. The relations between our two countries are flourishing, despite ups and downs in the past. Yesterday, I visited Yad Vashem and I want to express our sadness and sympathy. We will never let it happen again. Thank you for the warm reception.”

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador Oskarsson of Iceland

 

Finally, Thordur Aegir Oskarsson, presented his credentials to President Rivlin. “I want to thank your government and the people of Iceland for their decision to vote for the resolution condemning Hamas terrorism at the United Nations,” said the president. “We value your support greatly. I would also like to congratulate Iceland on becoming deputy chair of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next year. We hope that with Iceland’s leadership the flood of anti-Israel resolutions and double standards will stop. Deepening our relations means developing contacts between peoples, not just governments,” he added. “I hope that we can work together on innovation, bringing young leaders together in the fields of technology, health and education.”

Ambassador Oskarsson thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “thank you, Mr President, for your kind welcome. It is true that we do not always agree on everything, but we are proud that Iceland supported Israel’s independence in 1947. The current government seeks balanced and sensible relations with Israel. The new “open skies” agreement and the opening of direct flights between our countries will help a great deal and is key to closer relations between the countries and the people. I hope we are able to develop our economic relations, which are very limited at present. I bring greetings from the president of Iceland and from the whole government.”

Photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)