President Reuven Rivlin met this morning (Wednesday), at his residence with ambassadors and charges d'affaires to Israel from countries in the Asia-Pacific, including; Australia, India, South Korea, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Japan, Myanmar, and Nepal. 


 He told the Ambassadors, “It is my privilege to host, and meet with all of you here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, not just because of the long histories our peoples share, but because Asia is the present and the future. Your countries’ are working to develop new innovation, and we are all greatly impressed and appreciate this.”


Speaking of the importance of the bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the President said, “In the last decade we have increased the trade relationship between our peoples. Today, 27 percent of Israel’s trade is now with the Asia-Pacific. The cooperation is wonderful and we are looking to extend our partnerships with every one of you, and all together.”


He noted he was especially proud of the academic cooperation between Israel and the countries represented, and of the exchange of students as a way to bring peoples closer together.


"We know that events that happen on one side of the world impact on the other," added the President, and stressed, "We must all stand up, and cooperate against those who believe that fundamentalism is the only way. We have to be prepared to carry the burden of security which lies upon us, especially in the face of those who do not accept the very idea of Israel as a state.”


Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Ambassador of Australia Dave Sharma thanked the President for his warm welcome and insights into the situation. He said, “We have here a diverse groups of countries, united around a couple of themes; support for the security of Israel and the well-being of the people of Israel; an appreciation of what Israel has achieved in its short history; and a deep appreciation for the unique struggles you face here.” He added, “I want to offer my thanks to you personally Mr. President, for the generosity of your time and involvement in our part of the world. You have visited many of our countries; as President, and as a Minister and Speaker of Knesset. We appreciate your support for the growing trade relations with our countries, and also your support for pluralism and equal rights for all peoples.”



Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)