Romania Celebrates its National Day in Israel
The grand lobby of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was the scene of an elegant gathering of the Israeli Diplomatic corps and other VIPs on Monday evening on the occasion of the National Day of Romania. The event was hosted by her Excellency Ambassador Andreea Păstârnac, the Romanian Embassy and the Romanian Cultural Institute. “Bine aţi venit” (welcome) was the heading on the video above the podium, and indeed, the large Romanian-society presence plus Ambassadors, diplomats and other VIPs felt warmly welcomed. Among the guests were Shlomo Keidar, board member, and Micha Harish, chairman, of A.M.I.R. – the roof organization of Romanian immigrants to Israel; Knesset member Prof. Yossie Yonah; Dr. Rosalie Sitman, head of Tel Aviv University’s Foreign Languages Division; Michail Terzimpasis, Director of the Greek National Tourism Organization in Israel; Nico Nitai, Manager & Artistic Director of Tel Aviv’s Karov Theater; Meron Reuben, Israel’s Chief of State Protocol; Ambassador Shlomo Morgan of the Israeli Foreign Ministry; and Baldi Olier, Romanian-born flamenco guitarist described by “The Jerusalem Post” as Israel's undisputed king of flamenco.
Guests enjoyed a buffet of snacks while mingling and renewing friendships and making new ones. Besides soft and other drinks, a range of fine Romanian wines was on offer, including Nomad Feteasca Neagra 2009 and several crisp whites. Large companies, Romanian and Israeli, added their cache to the event, proving sponsorships and support, TAROM being the major sponsor. Others included the Ben Haim and Carmel Wineries, Sixt, Sano, Elbit Systems, Bank Leumi, Ophir Tours and more.
After a brief introduction, the Romanian singer, actor and entertainer Sofia Vicoveanca presented haunting Romanian folklore songs. Ambassador Andreea Păstârnac then addressed the gathering, as usual, in her fluent Hebrew. She welcomed the guests who had joined in to celebrate her country’s National Day. “On December 1st 1918, in the aftermath of the Great War, the Great Union was accomplished. This year, today, on this occasion, I would like to mention the role of the Jewish soldiers, who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Romanian soldiers, in order to fulfil the national dream… their courage will be always remembered.”
“Terrorism has no borders and creates victims all over the world, here, in Europe, in France, Belgium and in other countries. Unfortunately, terrorism strikes in Israel too, and I convey my condolences to the families, friends and relatives of the victims. Since its inception as a state, Israel paid and will continue to pay a heavy price in the fight against terrorism. Romania too faces difficult times. We are all aware of the tragedy that occurred during the concert in the “Colectiv” club, where 60 young people died. There were debates about the way the Romanian society responds to this kind of challenge.” The gathering then responded to her call for a minute’s silence “ …. in memory of the victims in Bucharest and for the victims of terrorism.”
“It is in our nature to remember close friends. When the tragedy occurred, Israel was the first country who sent help in Romania. Together with the doctors, skin for transplants and a cream-drug to help faster recovery from burns were brought to Romania. Hadassah and Tel Ha’shomer hospitals received three wounded Romanians, but unfortunately, one of them died in Hadassah. Today, we have good news regarding the other two wounded treated at Tel Ha’shomer. We send them our best wishes and we hope they will be able to return home soon. Our most heartfelt thanks to you.”
Ambassador Păstârnac then introduced some of the Israeli medical teams that had responded so courageously; Dr. Shoham Yaron, Dr. Nimrod Parver, Dr. Monica Sandu, Prof. David Linton and others. “We would also like to thank Dr. Herman Bercovici, Honorary Consul of Romania to the State of Israel and the personal doctor of the Israeli Prime Minister, who spared no efforts to assemble the help needed and send it to Romania.”
On a lighter note the Ambassador spoke of the Romanian wine culture and its implications for viticulture in Israel. A most pleasing connection.
Israel’s Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman, responded: “I am pleased and honored to represent the Government and the people of Israel in congratulating Romania on the occasion of its National Day. Israel values the very good and special relations existing between our two countries since the creation of the State. Romania is the only country of the former Eastern Bloc that maintained its diplomatic relations all along this period.
“We welcome the close cooperation between us in the political strategic economic and cultural fields. Both countries are willing to expand this cooperation for the benefit of all.
“Israel highly appreciates the support of the Romanian Government to the Jewish community in Romania and also its support Holocaust-related issues and the fight against anti-Semitism. In this context, Israel congratulates Romania on assuming the Chairmanship of IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) in 2016. The 400,000 strong community of Israelis originating in Romania has made a very important contribution to the building of the State and they serve as an additional bridge in the relationship between both our countries.
“Finally I wish to congratulate the Ambassador of Romania and her staff for their vigorous activity to promote the relations between the two countries and peoples. To conclude, Madam Ambassador, please convey to the President of Romania, its Government and its People our best wishes for your National Day. May Romania enjoy stability and prosperity and may the relations of friendship between Israel and Romania continue to expand and flourish in the years to come.”
Photos : Silvia G. Golan