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A truly glittering gathering of diplomats, celebrities, society leaders and business associates assembled at the ambassadorial residence of his Excellency Shigeo Matsutori, Ambassador of Japan to the State of Israel, and his wife Mrs. Kaori Matsutomi, at their lovely Herzlia Pituach home. The celebration was in honor of the 82nd birthday of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Akihito of Japan. Needless to say, Japanese art and culture were everywhere. For Israelis, the classic formal greetings and bows between the Japanese (and between in-the-know westerners and their Japanese counterparts) are a breath of fresh air. There was much fresh air that evening, which added to the grace and charm.

 

Also adding to the charm was the display of a genuine formal tea ceremony by properly-clad Japanese hostesses; not to mention the wide array of saké, Japanese beers, wines and other beverages at the generous bar. Guests mingled and chatted, renewing old friendships and making news ones as snacks and drinks were served before the formal speeches and dinner. Among the guests were their Excellencies the Ambassadors of Spain, Zambia, Thailand, Georgia, Panama, Myanmar, South Africa and many others; the charges d’affaires and cultural and military attaches of many embassies in Israel; present and former members of the Knesset and other Israeli governmental officials. To mention just three important attendees by name: Eli Lancman, Chairman of the Israel-Japan Friendship Society; Ehud Rassabi, Honorary President of the Society and the Chamber of Commerce; and Ze’ev Lavie, Director of the Israeli Federation of Chambers of Commerce.

 

 

Entertaining the guests during the cocktails were an accomplished flautist and violinist, playing Japanese melodies. The formal segment of the evening began by them playing beautiful renditions of the Japanese national anthem, followed by that of Israel.

 

His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador opened his remarks by thanking everyone for attending, mentioning in particular Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Avi Gabai, and Israel’s Attorney-General, Yehuda Weinstein. Ambassador Matsutori made special mention of, and sent his condolences to the victims of, the “sorrowful incident” of terror in Paris. He added: “In this context, I believe we have a lot to learn from Israel in its spirit and resolution, defying terror, fighting back terror and making progress way forwards for nation building.” He also spoke of Japan’s interest in furthering a possible two-state solution leading to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, noting that Japan also has problems and disputes with some of its neighboring countries and adding that: “I hope both Israel and the Palestine Authority will pedal more vigorously and visibly towards the peace.”

 

 

The Ambassador spoke of the excellent bilateral relations between his country and Israel: “I would like to emphasize that, thanks to mutual visits at the highest level, there has been great progress in the bilateral relationship in the political, economic and cultural arenas, particularly economic and business interaction is coming to a next dimension.” He noted that a Japanese airline began flights to Tel Aviv under a code-share agreement in October; new visa systems have been introduced, first for qualified engineers, with more to come (next for students); Japanese mega businesses have started coming to Israel while their corporate profits reach historic highs; and that a bilateral investment treaty is being negotiated, “the first of the kind Israel ever has with liberalization compacts. We are at a final stage and I hope it will come soon.”

 

On a note of sadness Ambassador Matsutori noted that he has only four more weeks to serve in his post in Israel and that: “My wife Kaori and I are very sorry to leave now just as our bilateral relationship is taking high momentum, and also in private life, my wife and myself, have so much enjoyed staying here in Israel. We’re very sad to be separated from many good friends …. In conclusion, I wish to propose a toast to the continued good health of Their Majesties as well as each one of you present here, and to an even more fruitful friendship between our two countries.”

 

 

Minister Gabai responded on behalf of the Government and the State of Israel and its people. He followed his warm congratulations by noting that although Japan and Israel are geographically at the two extreme opposite ends of Asia, the two countries have very warm and close ties. “Japan is a good friend, a like-minded country. There are mutual interests and investments, and these have led to good and lasting bilateral ties”. The Minister added that he had attended several diplomatic events in the past, but could not recall such a well-attended and beautiful one.

 

“The direct dialogue between our leaderships has allowed us to reach important agreements, mainly in the areas of science, technological innovation, cyber and homeland security. This is why among other things, Israel decided to extend and widen its activities throughout Japan. Just a few days ago, on November 16th, we opened a new Trade Office in Osaka. To add to that, an agreement for encouraging mutual investments will be signed soon and will send a strong signal to both sides. Japan has been for many years at the cutting edge of environmental technology and innovation – an inspiration worldwide. Japan is also at the forefront in moving from waste to sound materials management and I, as the Minister of Environmental Protection, believe we could learn a lot from your knowledge and experience. We are committed to continue and strengthen the good relations which exist between us.”

 

He asked the Ambassador to convey respectful good wishes and congratulations to the Emperor and to the people of Japan.

 

Needless to say, sushi, tempura and yakitori featured on the dinner buffet that followed, but also Spanish paella, Chinese dim-sum and American beef. Not to mention a special section featuring kosher dishes for observant guests. The saké flowed like water, and guests were offered a recipe leaflet to enable them to try the Japanese dishes at home. Maguro namerou, anyone?

 

 Photos : Silvia  G. Golan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 19 July 2017), held a series of bilateral meetings with the heads of government of the Visegard Group: Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. (Prime Minister Netanyahu met yesterday with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.)

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​PM Netanyahu: We face common challenges, the first of which is to defeat the forces of terror that rampage through the world and threaten both our countries. We must stand together in this battle, much as we work together to perfect the future.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this evening (Tuesday, 4 July 2017), at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The EU Delegation in Israel and the Municipality of Tel-Aviv-Yafo presented:  Performance Europa!
Urban celebration of live performances and interactive installations
Tel Aviv’s White Night ,Rothschild 1 Plaza, 29 June 

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Over 60 leading women from across the world joined together last month for a panel discussion showcasing Israeli females in the lead.
Organized by The Israel Project (TIP) and the Embassy of Cyprus in Israel, the event served as a platform to discuss and understand the challenges and opportunities facing women in Israeli society in the modern age.
Among the panelists were popular journalist Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes. Former IDF commander Miri Eisin and Israeli Olympic athlete Maayan Davidovich.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, today (Thursday, 15 June 2017), in Thessaloniki, at the third trilateral summit, signed joint statements for the continued strengthening of relations.

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A senior delegation from Tanzania, headed by Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, Permanent Secretary Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, arrived in Israel for a series of meetings and events designed to increase cooperation with the Israeli tourist industry, and encourage Israeli tourism and investments to enchanted, exotic Tanzania.

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At a festive ceremony attended by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, the Lauder Dormitory Building was inaugurated today at the Technion
state of the art building was donated to the Technion by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole

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09 June 2017 – Jerusalem) The U.S. Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Yad Vashem today. The Ambassador was guided through the Holocaust History Museum by Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of Yad Vashem Libraries, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

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President Reuven Rivlin today (Wednesday) met at his residence in Jerusalem with United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley.

President Rivlin welcomed her and said, “You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”

He continued, “When I spoke at the UN on Holocaust Memorial Day, I said that the UN must learn from the lessons of the past, and stand up against hatred and racism. I said it must end its obsession with targeting Israel. Progress has been made. Israel’s standing at the UN has improved. But sadly, we have a long way to go. Both in holding to account, public statements made by officials, and in supporting regulation to reduce the ridiculous number of discussions and resolutions against Israel. This is also true in the Human Rights Council - which has been hijacked as a weapon against Israel - and in UNESCO, where they seek to rub out the history of the Jewish people.”

The President thanked the Ambassador for her great contribution to the State of Israel, and said, “Ambassador Haley, as the representative the US - Israel’s greatest and strongest ally - we appreciate very much your support of Israel, and all you do to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy which we share. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”

Ambassador Haley thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Thank you Mr. President for taking the time to meet with us, it is an absolute thrill to be here in Israel, I so much appreciate the support we have received from the people of Israel. But I feel somewhat guilty because all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth. I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we are not going to let that happen anymore. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations. We just got back from Geneva, talking about the Human Rights Council and hopefully it will be a new day at the Human Rights Council when it comes to Israel.”

She concluded by saying she was greatly looking forward to her visit to Israel and said, “I am looking forward to taking in the history, the beauty, the tradition, and all that comes with the magic of Israel. Thank you very much for having me it is a pleasure to be here.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

Friday was a beautiful late spring day; the gardens were lovely, the weather was fine; the guests were elegantly attired; the refreshments were generous and delicious; all the makings of a happy celebration marking the National Day of Sweden. H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, hosted the event at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.

The event was attended by many Swedish nationals living in Israel; Swedish music, Swedish food, Swedish sponsors and a generous open bar – all the makings of a happy event.

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A fundamentally agricultural holiday, Shavuot commemorates the custom of bringing offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks.

Shavuot, the Holiday of Weeks, is one of the three pilgrimage holidays, along with Pesach and Sukkot. These are the holidays on which the whole Jewish people would come to Jerusalem​ in ancient times, when the Holy Temple was there, and would offer animal and grain sacrifices.

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Tel Aviv Eat presents three evenings of tastings and workshops featuring the region’s leading restaurants and most prominent chefs. Entrance is free (including the chefs’ demonstrations), and tasting portions range in price from NIS 20-35. Doors open each evening at 18.00. There are several performance stages, live music, and stands selling beer.

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"Only when we remember the families who were torn apart from everyone they loved, who suffered that terrible darkness and evil, who had endured the unbearable horror of the Holocaust, only then can we prevent this agony from ever repeating." President Donald J. Trump

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The Charles Bronfman Auditorium at Habima Square is one of the centerpieces of the Israeli arts and cultural scene, home to the Israel Philharmonic for the last 60 years. On Friday, May 19th, it was home to yet another historic event, with the dedication of the entrance hall to Miri Shitrit of blessed memory.

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President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin today, (Monday), welcomed President of the United States Donald J. Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump on arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport, and then at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

On his arrival at the President’s Residence, President Trump signed the official guest book and wrote, “It is such a great honor to be in Israel and be with all of my great friends”.

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