- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
The usual locations that embassies use to celebrate events are hotels, event halls, the actual embassy or the official ambassadorial residence.
The Guatemalan Ambassador, H.E. Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores chose an unusual but highly appropriate spot to host guests to celebrate the country’s 198th anniversary of her independence – plus one year since the embassy moved back to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem: the celebrations were held at Jerusalem’s Friends of Zion (FOZ) Museum; Guatemala has long and illustrious record of being a solid and dependable friend of Israel.
It began in 1947 when Guatemala voted at the United Nations, at the end of the British mandate over then-Palestine, to divide the Mandate territory into two states, one Arab, one Jewish. Then in 1948, when Israel was re-established, Guatemala quickly recognized the nascent state. In 1957 she opened her first Israel embassy, in Jerusalem. Even though the embassy subsequently moved to Tel Aviv, Guatemala and Israel maintained excellent relations. And one year ago, President Morales ordered the embassy and the ambassador to restore the embassy to Jerusalem. The second country to do so (after the USA).
A glittering guest list that included the Ambassadors of several countries, including H.E. David Friedman of the USA and H.E. Mario Edgardo Castillo Mendoza of Honduras, Israeli government officials, the Mayor of Jerusalem (who also gave a short address), consuls, commercial attaches, VIPs and Guatemalan citizens in Israel.
First to address the audience was MK Amir Ohana, Israel’s Minister of Justice. “Today we celebrate the shared values of two long-time friends - the people of Guatemala and the people of Israel”. Mr. Ohana spoke of Guatemala’s history, and of its ongoing support of Israel and the Jewish people. He called on Guatemala (and at the same time, on leaders of other free countries) to recognize and to declare that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. He congratulated Guatemala on the anniversary and asked the ambassador to extend best wishes from the Israeli government and people of Israel to the Guatemalan government and people.
Ambassador Búcaro Flores responded in a warm and praiseworthy address. He thanked MK Ohana and the State of Israel, calling Israel “a true friend”. He mentioned the symbolism of holding the event at the FOZ Museum, as Guatemala is indeed a “friend of Zion”. “Together we are building a better, tighter diplomatic relationship between our two countries.” He noted with gratitude the training that Israel had given in Guatemala in agriculture, science, education, medicine, conservation, security and more, and that Guatemala aimed to be the largest exporter of agricultural products to Israel in 2021 – the upcoming shmita year.
An excellent and moving address by Dr. Mike Evans followed. Dr. Evans has authored 71 books and has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He also established the FOZ Museum. He spoke generously of Israel-Guatemala relations, praised Guatemalan president Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, USA President Trump and Ambassador David Friedman; each for their part in the successes being celebrated that day in Jerusalem. He ended his address with a rousing call: “God bless Guatemala”, to much applause.
Ambassador Friedman opened his remarks with warm recognition of Jason Greenblatt, special envoy to Pres. Trump, who had just announced his retirement. He went on to talk of “giant” USA’s close ties with “little” Guatemala, but of their joint appreciation and friendship and support for Israel. “Although the USA was the first country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Guatemala will always be recognized as the second. No one can take that away.” He congratulated the Guatemalan ambassador and the people on their brave move, and on their 198th anniversary.
Finally, two awards were made: Dr. Evans awarded Ambassador Búcaro Flores the prestigious FOZ “Lion of Judah” award; the Honduran ambassador Castillo Mendoza awarded him. Both ambassadors responded briefly, in gratitude for the awards. Ambassador Búcaro Flores took the opportunity to announce that his country will be establishing 84 libraries in Israel, a gift to the country.
After beautiful renderings of the national anthems of both states, guests were then invited to mingle, to renew old friendships, to make new ones, and to enjoy a buffet supper at the museum.
The director and staff of www.diplomacy.co.il join in wishing Guatemala many many more years of success and liberty as a sovereign state.
Photos Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Silvia G Golan
An exhibition of outstanding Uruguayan jewelry and scarfs by Denise Lasnier Jewels, Textil Jewelry Cantarelli and Satka was displayed, last week the same exhibits were displayed at the Jerusalem Arts and Crafts Fair.
Brochures of various destinations in Uruguay were available to guests with the intention of promoting Uruguayan tourism.
Uriel Kohn, an Israeli who hails from Argentina and owner of"Tesha Neshamot" which publishes Hebrew translations of foreign writers( a few months launched "Mafalda" in Hebrew) explain that Levrero's book " Leave everything In My Hands" (in Hebrew as “Smoj alái” ) was enthusiastically launched. Uriel mentioned that 4-5 years ago his publishing house printed Levrero's acclaimed trilogy that included three essays, The Place, The City and Paris, this Hebrew edition being the first translation of the book into a foreign language.
"Tesha Neshamot" has in the past published books by Ecole Lissardy, also translated into Hebrew, in total,4 Uruguayan books the past three years.
"The reception was extraordinary," he said, giving some numbers. Lissardi's books were sold between 6 and 7 thousand copies each and those of Levrero between 3 and 4 thousand copies each. "For Israel, that is extraordinary," he said.
Other important public figures present were.H.E. Mr Meron Reuben,Chief of State Protocol, Ambassador Mr. Modi Ephraim, Deputy Director-General for Latin America and the Caribbean MFA, Mrs. Nitza Raz-Silbiger, Director of State Protocol,Yehuda Meshi Zahav,founder and director of ZAKA-Israel’s rescue and recovery volunteer organization, Nadav Tamir - Director of International Affairs of The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation ,Roy Roznek, member of the international committee of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, Superintendent Moti Meiry representing Israel's Police Force , Editor Uriel Kohn, journalist Jana Beris and more...
Catering was exotic with Latin American delicacies, not forgetting traditional alfajores.
Diplomacy.co.il offers it's sincere congratulations to the State of Uruguay including the ambassador and all relevant diplomats based at the Embassy in Israel.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
More pics at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/diplomacy.israel
- Written by Steven Aiello
The Embassy of Peru in Israel celebrated 198 years of independence with its annual celebration at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv, with Peruvian cuisine, music, and a traditional dance performance.
After hearing the national anthems, H.E. Ambassador Carlos Daniel Chávez-Taffur Schmidt began his opening remarks. The ambassador pointed out the common values and industrious nature shared by Israelis and Peruvians. The Ambassador noted 20 years of continuous economic growth at an average of 4 percent of GDP as the results of that industriousness and macroeconomic planning in Peru. He thanked the government of Israel for the four thousand scholars from Peru who have participated in various Mashav training programs, further strengthening the economic capacity of Peru.
Looking forward, the ambassador expressed confidence that the bilateral cooperation between the countries could be further increased, in sectors as wide-ranging as health, education, security, and of course finance. The ambassador highlighted that the Peruvian Embassy has promoted the signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Lima Chamber of Commerce and the Israel Latin American Chamber of Commerce” to boost trade relations, and hoped to sign it soon. He also thanked Israel for supporting Peru’s application to join the OECD.
Noting the proximity of the Eighteen Pan American Games and the Sixth Para Panamerican Games, set to be held in Lima, the ambassador explained that this is the most important sporting event in America, with the participation of 7 thousand athletes. He suggested a Panamerican Maccabi Games in the near future. In concluding his remarks, the ambassador welcomed a very unique group of guests: Peruvian students in different Israeli academic institutions, as well as Israeli students who participated in a special one year course about Peru which exposed Israeli students to different fields of Peruvian reality and its challenges. These students will then conduct research projects proposing possible solutions to improve the quality of life of Peruvians in deprived and rural areas.
Foreign Minister of Israel Mr. Yisrael Katz spoke next. The minister noted the long history between the countries, with Peru supporting the creation of Israel over 70 years ago as part of UNSCOP. The Minister also noted the success for the Mashav Program, as well as a seminar that Israel conducted on the subject of innovation for the countries of the Pacific Alliance, and in particular Peru. The minister stressed the shared the values of the two countries and the appeal that Peru’s rich and unique culture offers to Israeli tourists, with tens of thousands of tourists annually.
Minister Katz congratulated Peru for hosting the recent Summit for Pacific Alliance countries and expressed interest in upgrading Israel’s status at this international forum. He also offered congratulations on Peru’s impressive performance of Peru in America’s Cup finals. In closing his remarks, the minister offered a toast to the best wishes and continued success of the people and nation of Peru.
Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed Peruvian delicacies. The Consul, Victor Alejandro Reinosor, wore traditional clothing and performed a traditional dance with Mrs Leisly Reyes Escalante. A cake ornately decorated in the colors of the Peruvian flag further added to the festive atmosphere.
Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz; Ambassador Meron Reuben, Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, president of the Ambassador’s Club; Tzachi Braverman the secretary of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister; Ambassador Modi Eprahim, Deputy Director-General for Latin America and the Caribbean MFA; Roberto Spindel the President of the Israel Latin American Chamber of Commerce; Gabriel Hayon- President of The Diplomatic Institute, Superintendent Moti Meiry as representative of the Israeli Police; Vered Swid, former Director of the Authority for Advancing Women’s Rights; Roy Roznek, member of the international committee of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce; Drs. Ronit and Shmulik Lewinger, and many additional diplomats, business leaders, and members of the Peruvian community residing in Israel
Diplomacy.co.il extends best wishes to the Embassy of Peru on the occasion of its national day
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
President Rivlin to the British Ambassador:
"Let me assure you - there will be no Isra-exit from our bilateral relations.
Holocaust and anti-Semitism education are not only important for the Jewish community in Britain, but for everyone and all communities, and appreciate the work your government is doing in this field."
President Rivlin to the Irish Ambassador:
"Israel and Ireland are both strong democracies, but even when we disagree, as we sometimes do, we cannot accept boycotts as a valid response."
Ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Equatorial Guinea and Bulgaria presented their credentials today, Wednesday 7 August / 6 Av, to President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin at an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi as they take up their posts in Israel. As each ambassador arrived, their national anthem was played by the IDF Band, their national flag was raised and they reviewed an honor guard of IDF soldiers. After presenting their letters of credence to the president and an audience with him, they signed the visitors’ book and Hatikva was played.
The first to present their credentials to the president was Ambassador Dusko Kovacevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who did so in Hebrew. He then shook hands with the president and asked if he had pronounced everything correctly. The president replied with a smile, “you said it perfectly, and within a week, you’ll speak the language fluently.” The president welcomed the ambassador to Israel and said, “your country is an example that it is possible to bridge conflicts and to seek peace. I believe that we can deepen the relations in a range of fields and hope that with you here as ambassador, we will do so.”
The ambassador expressed his condolences to the president on the death of Nechama ז"ל and said he was proud to serve his country in Israel. He added that the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security and economy were very important and expressed his hope that the relations would extend to additional fields. “Let me express my sincere gratitude for the assistance that Israel immediately sent in 2014 when we experienced massive floods. You were among the first countries to send assistance and we will never forget it,” said the ambassador, who ended his remarks by saying in Hebrew, “toda raba - thank you very much - Mr. President.”
The president requested the ambassador’s help in returning the Sarajevo Haggada to Israel. The Haggada, the story of the Exodus from Egypt read on the Pesach festival, was apparently written and illustrated in Spain in the 14th Century, and over the years found its way to the Sarajevo Museum. During the Holocaust and the civil war that followed it, the book was hidden by the museum’s librarians in a mosque and other places. “The Haggada is dear to our hearts and we would deeply appreciate it if we could return it to the Jewish people.”
Next the ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, Luciano Ncogo Ndong Ayecaba, presented his credentials to the president. He will be his country’s first resident ambassador in Israel, and the president said, “I have no doubt that this will help strengthen the relations between our countries. It is an exceptional opportunity and I hope that you and your family will feel at home here.” The president also mentioned that he hoped Israel would resume its observer status at the African Union. The ambassador thanked the president for his warm reception on behalf of himself and his family. “As a Catholic, I am deeply moved to be here. We are two small countries and we have much in common. I am sure that we will be able to do a great deal together,” he said.
The next to present his credentials was Ambassador Neil Wigan of the United Kingdom, accompanied by his wife Yael and two children. Ambassador Wigan presented his credentials in fluent Hebrew, saying “It is a great honor and a deep personal pleasure to be here again, Mr. President, and to present you with my letters of credence as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Israel.” The president, with a smile on his face, said that he was sure that his wife and children would feel at home, shook hands with the children warmly and said that he was delighted they had come back.
The president welcomed the ambassador and quoted the famous Liverpool FC song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. “Our relations are strong and strategic, including in the field of counter-terrorism, and that is how they will remain, said the president. “We see you as very good friends and let me assure you there will be no Isra-exit from our bilateral relations. Please send my warmest congratulations to Prime Minister Johnson, my dear friend, and of course to Her Majesty the Queen.” The president stressed the importance of fighting anti-Semitism together, saying “we see Holocaust and anti-Semitism education not only as important for the Jewish community in Britain, but for everyone and all communities, and appreciate the work your government is doing in this field.”
The president recalled the visit of Prince William to Israel warmly as someone who does much to bring people around the world together and spoke about the Land of the Monasteries project that Israel is leading in the Jordan valley. “This area is so important to Christians and is significant to the whole region as a place where working together could bring millions of pilgrims and create prosperity and economic growth. I invite you, together with representatives of the Royal Family and the Pope, to come to the opening of the project when the restoration work is completed.”
The British Ambassador told the president how excited he was to return to Israel, where he met his wife Yael on his first posting here in 2002. “It is a great honor and a huge personal pleasure to come back here as ambassador. The Royal Family feels a strong connection to Israel, particularly Prince Philip. The relations between our two countries are close, the prime minister volunteered on a kibbutz, and there is no doubt that this says something about the quality of our relations. After Brexit, we very much want to deepen and extend the relations even further. Israel has a great deal to offer those who visit, and as a historian, the Land of the Monasteries project interests me very much. On the question of anti-Semitism, our government is committed to working with the Jewish community to ensure that they are able to live their lives safely. We see Israel as a friend and even when there are disagreements, that friendship is very important to us.”
The president extended an invitation to a British representative to participate in the ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau that will take place at Yad Vashem in January 2020. “Britain played a crucial role in the Second World War,” said the president and the ambassador replied, “my grandfather was the commander of the forces that liberated Bergen-Belsen and the issue is important to me personally.” At the end of his remarks, the president said, “I wish you all success and I am sure you will feel at home here.”
Ambassador Rumiana Bachvarova of Bulgaria was the next to present her credentials to the president, who said, “I remember my visit to Bulgaria in 2016 very well, during which we unveiled the memorial to the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews. The links between the Bulgarian people and Israel are good and warm and I am sure that through government-to-government relations we will be able to strengthen the links in a range of areas.”
The ambassador thanked the president for his remarks and noted the importance her government attaches to the relations between the peoples, the governments and the business sectors. “It would be a great honor for me in my new position to realize the great potential of our relations,” she said.
The final ambassador to present his credentials was Ambassador Kyle O’Sullivan of Ireland. The president welcomed the new ambassador and said, “Israel and Ireland are both strong democracies, but even when we disagree, as we sometimes do, we cannot accept boycotts as a valid response. Our bilateral relations are important and we have a wide range of links, not only at the governmental level but also between the peoples. The fifth president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, was born in Ireland and his son is now the Chair of the Jewish Agency.” The president added, “we are making efforts to rebuild confidence between Israel and the Palestinians but we are only one side of the equation. The Palestinians must also understand that they need to make an effort. It would be helpful if you tell them that they must also be part of such efforts. Thank you for the Irish contribution to UNIFIL who play an important role in keeping the peace on our northern border. With a smile at the end of his remarks, the president said “We are known more for our wine than our beer, and I hope you will enjoy our Israeli wine. Welcome to Israel, and I hope you feel at home.” The president spoke to the ambassador’s wife and said, “we may be a little loud, but I hear that Irish people also know how to make a noise when necessary.” Laughing, the ambassador’s wife said, “I have three sons…”
The Irish ambassador thanked the president for his remarks, saying “I listened very carefully to what you said and I agree on many issues. We appreciate the importance you attach to defending democracy and its values, and Israel’s democracy is indeed famous – vibrant and lively. This is something we share. You face many challenges, and we are aware of that. I am glad to see that we can listen to each other and discuss matters, even if we do not always agree. Of course, on the question of the quality of Irish beer, we are in absolute agreement,” he said with a smile, thanking the president for his warm reception.
Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)
- Written by Steven Aiello
Embassy of Colombia Celebrates 209 Years of Independence with Colombian Performers in Kfar Shmaryahu
The embassy of Colombia celebrated 209 years of independence on Wednesday evening July 17 with a reception and ceremony. H.E. Ambassador Carlos Morales and Mrs. Betty Morales hosted the celebration at the ambassador’s residence in Kfar Shmaryahu.
The residence was elegantly decorated with the Colombian flag, and even the Tel Aviv municipality building in Tel Aviv was lit in yellow, blue and red. Guests enjoyed authentic, freshly brewed Colombian coffee, as well as a live musical performance from Alvaro Meza and Omar Lopez, who came especially from Colombia to perform at the celebration.
Following the national anthems of both countries, Ambassador Morales welcomed the guests. The ambassador emphasized Colombia’s vibrant democracy, multicultural society, and a strong economy, as part of the Colombia-Israel relationship.
The ambassador noted the coming Mechanism of Political Consultations, and the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2013 as evidence of the close connection between the countries, and opportunities for increased cooperation going forward. Another example is a joint program promoting innovative technologies in the field of Smart Cities. The ambassador also thanked the Mashav agency and director Ambassador Gil Haskel for the cooperation in promoting development.
Ambassador Morales mentioned the well-received efforts to promote Colombian culture through music, dance, and food, as well as Spanish language education together with bodies like the Cervantes Institute. In closing, he announced that he and his family would be leaving Israel in a few months, and thanked his embassy staff for their hard work and assistance.
Israeli Minister of Communications Mr. David Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and people of Israel. Minister Amsalem noted the shared values and challenges between the two countries and the vibrant cooperation. He mentioned that a visit by the President of Colombia, Mr. Ivan Duque is expected in the near future.
Minister Amsalem thanked Colombia for providing forces in the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai as part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords and wished Colombia success in implementing its own peace agreement with the FARC, and entering the “post-conflict” period.
In closing, the minister congratulated Colombia on a strong performance in America’s Cup and called for a toast to the warm relations between the countries and blessings and prosperity for Colombia.
The evening was delighted with a performance that represents the cultural diversity of Colombia.
Álvaro Meza, who performs some pieces of his repertoire of Vallenato music, traditional rhythm from the Caribbean region in Colombia.
Vallenato music has its origins in the farmers who used to travel with their musical instruments to entertain themselves on their journeys. Since then Vallenato became a symbol of Colombian diversity
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Ambassador Meron Reuben, Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Jaime Aron, Honorary Consul of Colombia; Mr. David de la Rosa, former ambassador of Colombia to Israel and Mrs. Grace de la Rosa, and Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Gilinski former ambassador of Colombia to Israel
Diplomacy.co.il extends best wishes to Colombia on the occasion of its national day
Photo Silvia G. Golan