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 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Australia H.E. Mr. Paul Griffiths


President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 11 November / 24 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of of Australia, Guatemala, Malta, Cyprus and Turkmenistan to Israel as they begin their postings, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Each ambassador was welcomed with the playing of their national anthem by the Israel Police Band and then reviewed an IDF honor guard, smaller in size than normal because of the coronavirus restrictions. After presenting their letters of credence, the ambassadors signed the Beit HaNasi guest book.


Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Malta  H.E. Mr. Patrick Cole


Ambassador Patrick Cole of Malta was the first to present his credentials to the president.  The president welcomed him to Israel and spoke about the deep connections between the two countries. “I hope you feel at home here. We are neighbors. You know the Middle East very well, and the conflicts between peoples, tribes and states. With the national conflict between Israel and the Arab countries, there has never been a conflict between Judaism and Islam,” said the president.

The ambassador thanked the president, saying “I would like to congratulate you on your moving speech marking Kristallnacht. It left a profound impression on me and will stay in my heart. I congratulate the State of Israel on its normalization agreements with the Gulf states. This is a real change and I hope it is signals more to come. It is important for the region as a whole.”

The next to present his credentials was the Australian ambassador, Paul Griffiths. The president said he was still deeply affected by the warm reception he received when he visited Australia last February, and spoke about how much he was impressed by the Australian people.

Speaking about the Malka Leifer affair, the president said, “I would like to be clear that Israeli law will be respected as well as Australian law, and that both countries respect international law. I believe the matter will be resolved in a matter of months and I am in contact with the minister of justice and all other parties involved in the case. The whole process is transparent and you can also follow events as they happen.”


 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Guatemala H.E. Mrs. Olga Julissa Anzueto Aguilar 


Ambassador Olga Julissa Anzueto Aguilar of Guatemala then presented her credentials. The president welcomed her, and sheh thanked the president saying that since the official residence has now moved to Jerusalem, she has “the privilege of living in this wonderful city.”



 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Cyprus H.E. Mrs. Theodora Constantinidou


After that, Theodora Constantinidou, the new Cypriot ambassador was received by the president and presented her credentials. The president asked to send his warmest wishes to his old friend the president of Cyprus, saying “The trilateral relations between Cyprus, Greece and Israel are very important to us. We are not just neighbors, we are good friends who work together in a wide range of fields, and will continue to do so.” The ambassador thanked the president, saying “In Cyprus and at the Cypriot embassy, you and your country will always have an open ear and a hand stretched out in friendship. You can count on it.”



 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of   H.E. Mr. Turkmenistan  Komekov Toyly Babayevich


Finally, the Ambassador of Turkmenistan, Komekov Toyly Babayevich, presented his credentials. The president extended an invitation to the President of Turkmenistan, through the new ambassador, to visit Jerusalem, and the ambassador thanked him and said that his president attaches great importance to relations with Israel.


Photo credit: Mark Neyman (GPO) 






 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Belgium H.E. Mr. Jean-Luc Bodson


President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia to the State of Israel

President of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 4 November / 17 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan and Latvia as they begin their posting to the State of Israel in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. Each ambassador was received with the playing of their country’s national anthem and Hatikva, and they then reviewed an IDF honor guard which was smaller in size than normal because of the coronavirus restrictions. The ambassadors presented their letters of credence to the president and signed the Beit HaNasi visitors’ book.

The first to present his credentials was Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson of Belgium. The president welcomed him to Israel and expressed his appreciation for King Phillippe’s participation in the events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January. The president also spoke about the ambassador’s grandmother, Elisabeth Dereymaeker, who was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Dereymaker saved two Jewish children in her home after their mother and sister were sent to Auschwitz. Because of the hiding place that she gave them, their lives were saved. “We will never forget your grandmother’s noble act. Too few did so, and the Jewish people will be grateful to her for thousands of years,” said the president. He also noted the importance of fighting antisemitism and racism of all kinds that are now raising their heads. The president said that there is no place for crude antisemitism such as that on display in the annual Carnival of Aalst.



 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Uzbekistan  H.E. Mrs. Feruza Makmudova


Ambassador Feruza Makmudova of Uzbekistan then presented her credentials to the president, the first female ambassador in the Uzbek foreign service. “Uzbekistan proves to the whole world that there is no conflict between Christians and Moslems,” said the president. “We hope to prove that we canlive together in peace, as Jews, Moslems and Christians, and members of all faiths, do in Israel.” The ambassador responded, “Thank you for your warm welcome. I bring greetings from the president and government of Uzbekistan. Since our countries established diplomatic relations, we have a dialogue of mutual understanding and respect. Now, we can develop new projects and initiatives,” she said.



Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Sweden H.E. Mr. Erik Ullenhag


Next to present his credentials to the president was Ambassador Erik Ullenhag of Sweden. The president welcomed him, saying “our two countries enjoy excellent relations across a range of fields. It is important to say that we welcome different opinions regarding the future of our region, but boycotts and pressure will not help any of the parties.” The ambassador thanked the president for his welcome and said “we attach great importance to our work together in fighting antisemitism. Antisemitism is poison.”



 Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Norway H.E. Mr. Kare Reider Aas


 The president then welcomed Ambassador Kare Reider Aas of Norway, congratulating him on Norway’s election to serve on the United Nations Security Council. “The discourse at the UN on Israel must change, particularly given the new opportunities that peace between Israel and Arab countries presents,” he said. The ambassador thanked the president and spoke about the good relations between the countries and the importance of deepening them between the peoples and not just between governments. The ambassador also noted Norway’s appreciation for Israel’s support regarding its election to the Security Council.


Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Latvia H.E. Mr.  Aivars Groza 


Finally, the president received the credentials of Ambassador Aivars Groza of Latvia. He noted his hopes that the good relations between the countries would be reflected in Latvia’s votes at the UN. At the end of their meeting, the president invited the Latvian president to visit Israel, saying that he would be delighted to host him here in Jerusalem. The ambassador thanked the president for the invitation and said that Latvia takes racism and antisemitism very seriously and does much to fight them.  


Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO







The Embassy of Hungary in Israel marked the occasion of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with a screening of the film Trezor, by Peter Bergendy. To enable everyone to enjoy the film and share the experience safely, the film was provided to view online via a password protected link.

During the 1956 Revolution, citizens took to the street to protest the government and its support from and influence of Soviet forces. During the ensuing conflict, 2,500 Hungarian citizens were killed and 200,000 internally displaced persons or refugees. While it took another 35 years for Hungary to leave the Soviet Union, the events of 1956 remain poignant and prominent in both Hungarian and global history.

Trezor dramatizes the story and brings it to life, with an exciting plot line: “The keys to Trezor, the vault of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are lost in the confusion of the 1956 Revolution. And so, only a few days after the battle for independence is violently put down, the police pull a former bank robber out of prison and ask him to open their own uncrackable safe. The convict, however, finds something very different behind the vault’s door than what he expected. An exciting plot unfolds, full of unexpected twists, where nothing and no one is what they seem to be.”  


As the description promises, the film captures the excitement and tension of this important event, bringing viewers back in time while also exploring an intriguing personal narrative. While we look forward to meeting in person once again, it’s a good reminder of the many challenges and kinds of adversity that nations have overcome throughout history.

www.diplomacy.co.il thanks to the Embassy of Hungary for this thoughtful initiative to share the moment and experience even when we cannot meet in person.

Steven Aiello



 Embassy of Austria Celebrates National Day by Donating to Israelis in Need


Given the health, travel and safety restrictions facing citizens in Israel, diplomatic events have also had to innovate. At the same time, many are suffering economically, especially the elderly and sick, for whom traveling outside their homes is particularly risky. The Embassy of Austria celebrated Austrian National Day on Monday, October 26, and to mark the occasion it addressed both needs. Rather than hold a virtual event, the embassy marked the national day by sending gift packages to Holocaust survivors and other Israelis in need. 


Friends of the embassy received messages telling them that food package had been sponsored in their honor. The packages contained food provisions for a month. They were distributed by LATET, an Israeli non-governmental aid organization that is the largest NGO addressing poverty and food insecurity in Israel. As its website declares, LATET was established in order to reduce poverty, for a better and just society, by providing assistance to needy populations, mobilizing Israeli civil society towards mutual responsibility, and leading change in the national priorities.


The decision to sponsor the food packages, transforming a disappointing situation into an opportunity to help others, was the initiative of the Ambassador of Austria to Israel, Dr. Hannah Liko. Having been in Israel less than a year, the ambassador has wasted no time in taking creative steps to strengthen ties between Austria and Israel despite these challenging circumstances. The Austrian Embassy explained to Diplomacy that Ambassador Liko wanted “to express her bond with the Israeli society, whose guest she is and to support, in these times, those parts of society most heavily affected,” and moreover, that “the Ambassador and the Austrian Embassy as a whole were delighted by the positive responses.”


Diplomacy.co.il congratulations the Embassy of Austria on its national day, and thanks Ambassador Liko for the generous initiative.

Photo : President Rivlin with Ambassador of  Austria H.E. Dr. Hannah Liko  Mark Neiman (GPO) December 2019
Steven Aiello



On Monday, October 12, the Spanish Embassy in Israel celebrated Fiesta Nacional de España, the National Day of Spain. The Embassy partnered with the Spanish Tourist Office in Rome, and the Spanish Cultural Center in Montevideo, Uruguay. The celebration was held virtually. As the Zoom was soon full, the concert was also broadcast on Youtube, and Twitter, enabling guests from all over the world, including Israel, Spain, Argentina, the United Kingdom and the United States, to enjoy the music and join the festivities.

Diplomats, executives of organizations and people related to Spain or the Sephardic tradition joined this exciting event

Ms. Rocio Royo, director of a company dedicated to the management of cultural projects and events, opened the evening from Madrid and introduced Ambassador of Spain in Israel H.E. Manuel Gómez-Acebo. The ambassador welcomed the guests in Hebrew, Spanish and English:

"Shalom lekulam, welcome, welcome.

We commemorate the National Day of Spain from Tel Aviv, for all Spaniards and friends of Spain in this land and wherever you are.

Thank you for joining us on this special day in these difficult circumstances. Our thoughts are with all those who are suffering the effects of the pandemic, especially those who have lost loved ones.

I want to thank the many people and institutions who expressed their solidarity during the tough months of last spring.”



The ambassador further emphasized the importance of international cooperation to overcome global conflicts. He added that although the circumstances prevented meeting in person, the choice of a virtual music event was intended to bring people together through this important cultural medium. For that purpose the rich Sephardic musical heritage was chosen, as something that binds the Jewish and Spanish people.

The ambassador offered thanks to the Sephardic community in Uruguay and to the Spanish Cultural Center of Montevideo, for helping arrange the concert. 



The guests then enjoyed the rich, moving music of two members of the Spanish music group EVOEH. EVOEH is the initiative of two outstanding musicians, Ariana Barrabés and Jesús Olivares, who perform songs and music from the Mediterranean, Spanish and Jewish traditions. Evoeh means a hymn to life, and their works revives the Sephardic oral legacy. Evoeh sang songs in Ladino using various indigenous string and percussion instruments, and the joy on the faces of participants was clear. After the concert it was possible to ask questions, and many asked questions in English or Spanish, leading to a fruitful dialogue with the artists.

In the end the very emotional audience gave EVOEH a standing ovation and thanked the duo for recalling the many songs they heard in their countries of origin, within their family and that were passed down from generation to generation.

The concert was made possible thanks to the Culture Service of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the ¨Ventana¨ program.

www.diplomacy.com staff congratulates the Embassy of Spain, the Spanish Tourism Office in Rome and the Spanish people on their national day, and wishes a year of health, success, and strong ties.





Photo of the King of Spain with the President of Israel, courtesy of the Embassy of Spain in Israel  

Photos Silvia Golan

 Steven Aiello