On October 28th, 2014, the Czech ambassadorׂ ( designated)  ׂׂto Israel, Mr. Ivo Schwarz and his wife Mrs. Eva Schwarz, offered a reception at their residence in Hertzlia Pituach to celebrate the Czech Republic's National day.


Tuesday, 28 October: Independent Czechoslovak State Day - date of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, which declared independence from the Hapsburg Empire at the end of World War I.
In the early hours of October 28, 1918 the agricultural council, in the name of the National Committee, took over the cereal institute in order to prevent the transport of grain to the front. This was followed by the dissemination of information recognizing Austro-Hungary's peace conditions. That evening the National Committee issued the first law on the establishment of an independent state.

The glittering guest list included members of the diplomatic corps, business and commercial leaders, VIPs of the Czech communities in Israel, Israeli political leaders and other "who's who" of the Israel social calendar.


The Czech Ambassador welcomed the honorable guest of Israel - The Tourism Minister, Mr.Uzi Landau.


A lavish buffet dinner featuring Czech dishes like Goulash and Blanches followed, accompanied of course by Czech bear and a range of alcoholic and other beverages. Guests mingled happily, renewing old friendships and creating new ones.


The formal part of the event started with violinists playing the national anthems of both countries, followed by the speech of the designated Ambassador for the Czech Republic.
In welcoming the guests, the Ambassador thanked everyone for being there in celebration of this remarkable day for the Czech country.



Wording of the speech gave by the Ambassador Ivo Schwarz:

"Only two weeks ago I arrived as new ambassador of the Czech Republic. Therefore let me take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself. My name is Ivo Schwarz and I am very happy to be appointed as the official Czech representative in this wonderful country. I collaborated very closely with the State of Israel in my previous job concerning the Czech national security and I am looking forward to develop my experience also on this responsible position.

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the Czech national holiday. I am happy to see you all here especially the Minister of tourism Uzi Landau. Tourism is a very important part of Czech-Israeli relations, the number of Israeli visitors in the Czech Republic is increasing every year and we would be happy to intensify this trend even more. I am saying this not only because of the economic impact of tourism, but also because of the social one. Travelling leads to better knowledge of the other culture and mentality, better understanding, empathy for the other country and creates the fundament for the friendship between the nations. For this reason we strongly support also the tourism from the Czech Republic to Israel and it is not a coincidence that the Czech Airlines did not interrupt their regular service during the conflict this summer. Tourism offers a great potential to our relations and I am convinced that we will together successfully manage also the future challenges in this field. Dear Minister Uzi Landau it is an honor to have you here and welcome among us.

And now let me say couple of words about history of this day. But firstly one sentence in Czech: Vitám zde všechny Čechoslováky

The Czech national holiday commemorate a history 96 years ago. On October 28, 1918 the first independent Czechoslovak state was founded from territories that were previously part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Of all the new states established in central Europe after 1918, only Czechoslovakia became a successful multi-party parliamentary democracy and preserved a democratic government until the war broke out. Czechoslovakia belonged to a small group of states that officially recognized Jewish nationality and granted Jews full civil rights. Even when right-wing extremism rose in prewar Europe, Czechoslovakia was one of the few countries that did not apply any anti-Jewish laws. During this period, three congresses of the World Zionist Organization took place in the Czech cities of Prague and Karlovy Vary. In addition, Czechoslovak president Masaryk was a keen supporter of the Zionist movement and the first head of state who visited the Jewish communities in Palestine in 1927.

I mention it because with the celebration of Czechoslovakia we celebrate also the Czech-Israeli friendship. There was no coincidence that 1948 the Czechoslovak government recognized the State of Israel only 5 days after its proclamation of independence and supplied it with military equipment and weapons, when Israel found itself at war with its Arab neighbors. Similar like Israel the prewar Czechoslovakia was surrounded on every side by hostile non-democratic states. At that time its security was "guaranteed" by a series of international agreements and "promises", but at the end of the 1930th Czechoslovakia lost its independence with horrible consequences for the overwhelming majority of its population, especially for our Jewish citizens. This history might explain why we support Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East till the present time.

I am happy to say that the bilateral relations are in top form, as evidenced by the high frequency of our political contacts, increasing dynamics of economic exchange and a rich network of activities at non-governmental level. For the Czech Embassy it means a commitment which we want do develop further for intensifying of our partnership and friendship. The most important events in the coming days will be the visit of the Czech Minister of foreign affairs Lubomír Zaorálek in the state of Israel followed by a visit of members of defense and security committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament and at the end of next month the by common cabinet meeting of the Czech and Israeli government in Jerusalem.

A lot of work has been done, a lot of work is still staying before us. Therefore I am happy to see you here to support us in our effort and celebrate the independence day of a state on the spiritual foundation of which the Czech Republic was established. I am very glad about your coming and looking forward to our further cooperation.

Finally let me thank to all my colleagues from the embassy, who worked heavy to prepare this reception".



 Following the speech of the Ambassador, Minister Uzi Landau addressed the dignitaries and said the following:

"I am very pleased and honored to represent the Government and People of Israel in congratulating the Czech Republic on the occasion of its National Day, on the 28th of October, the day on which Czechoslovakia was established in 1918.

The friendship between Israel and the Czech Republic is more than just a close relationship between two governments. It is a friendship between two peoples, and it is a tie that runs deep. As we join you in celebration of this year's National Day, we again wish to take the opportunity to express Israel's esteem and appreciation to both the Czech Government and the Czech People for their traditional longstanding support of Israel.

Even prior to the formal establishment of the State of Israel, the people of Czechoslovakia stood by the Jewish people. Czech support during our War for Independence, given through supplies of arms, aircraft, and training for our young pilots, was crucial during the early days of Israel's existence. Since then, leaders of the Czech Republic have consistently stood alongside the Israeli people, and we take great pride at the special relationship that has grown between our two countries.

Of course, we well remember and appreciate the historic and prominent Czech support given by President Thomas Masaryk and later by Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, as well as by President Edvard Beneš.

This summer, during the period of Operation Protective Edge, Israel had to once again face terrorist attacks against our civilian population in the south and elsewhere throughout the country. The visit to Israel by a Parliamentarian delegation during this time, which included Czech parties from the Coalition and Opposition, was heartwarming, and was carried out quickly and out of a deep sense of solidarity.

To emphasize the high level of our bilateral relationship, one year ago, Israel had the honor and privilege of hosting President Miloš Zeman, whose visit was a prominent example of the closeness of our two nations' ties. Senior representatives of both countries are currently working on this coming month's Third Government-to-Government meeting in Jerusalem, focusing on economic cooperation and innovation.

Our close bilateral relations include academic cooperation in the form of two special Chairs, sponsored by both Governments, at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzelia and at the Masaryk University in Brno, and also the Czech-Israel Forum which met for the third time in July of this year.

We welcome the ties between the young generations of the Czech Republic and Israel, and we are currently working for the signing of a "working holiday agreement" which will enable youth to stay for lengthy periods of time in each other's country, combining work with tourism.

Israel views with concern the growing anti-Semitism in parts of Europe, and we value the Czech Republic's contribution as a loyal and determined ally in the fight against anti-Semitism.
We welcome the Czech Republic's Ambassador-Designate, Mr. Ivo Schwarz, who in his previous positions, maintained close ties with his Israeli counterparts. Ambassador-Designate Schwarz, we are confident that in your new position you will continue to promote close bilateral relations.

To conclude, please convey to the Government and People of the Czech Republic our congratulations on the occasion of your National Day. May your country enjoy continued prosperity and success, and may the ties of friendship and cooperation between the Czech Republic and the State of Israel continue to flourish in the years ahead".
Best wishes for peace, prosperity and friendship between our two peoples.


Best wishes for many more years of mutual cooperation and success for the two countries - Czech and Israel.


 Photos Silvia Golan









 On the occasion of the 58th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the visit of H.E. Mr Istvan Jakab, Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reestablishment of the diplomatic relations between Hungary and the State of Israel, the Ambassador of Hungary H.E. Mr Andor Nagy and his wife Mariann Bercsenyi offered a reception on October 23rd at his residence in Hertzliya Pituach.

Israelies' guests of honor were the Israeli Minister of Finance and chairman of the Yesh Atid Party, Yair Lapid, from Hungarian origin, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs , Yitzhak "Tzachi" Hanegbi.

The Hungarian and Israeli anthems were played for the occasion and afterwards the ambassador warmly welcome his guests and expressed: " It is my privilege to welcome three special guests at the same time in my residence. Two of them from Israel: the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. from Hungary.

The fact that two VIP guests have participated at the National Day is a signal for me, that the 25 years anniversary of the reestablishment of the diplomatic relations between Israel and Hungary has great potential.

As ambassador I know very well that there is still a lot to do. I will do my best to build a bridge between the two peoples. "


Minister Lapid said: "On behalf of the Government and People of Israel, it is my pleasure to convey a message of friendship on the occasion of the Hungarian National Day. I am honored to welcome Mr. István Jakab, Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, who has come to Israel as we celebrate 25 years of renewed diplomatic relations between our countries.
We appreciate the special program prepared by the Hungarian government to mark this occasion.

The relationship between Israel and Hungary is a complex one. Our past is full of turmoil but we also have much that binds us together. Our relations are based, among other things, on the recognition of the importance of the past.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jewish community. The government of Hungary prepared a program of commemorative events, for which we are grateful.

Hungary of 1945 was complicit in the murder of its Jewish community both because of the support of Hungarian fascists and the inaction of too many others. The acceptance of that culpability, as echoed by Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics, at a conference on anti-Semitism in which I participated a year ago, allows us to build for the future.
Hungary did indeed fail its Jews 70 years ago, and the current government has a responsibility, which I believe it takes seriously, to ensure the words "Never Again" are translated into reality.

As you know, I am the son of a Hungarian Holocaust survivor and that dark period of history inevitably shapes my character and my perspective. It is one of the reasons I am personally troubled by rising anti-Semitism in Hungary.

We hope that the Hungarian government will continue to take determined action against any expression or manifestation of anti-Semitism and racism. The increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Jewish hate speech, including within the Hungarian political system, must serve as a warning for us all.

Racial incitement from a podium is always translated into violent acts on the streets.

I know that those incidents do not reflect the majority of Hungarians but if we learn one lesson from those terrible events 70 years ago let it be this; we must all stand against racism and discrimination and never allow hatred to go unchallenged. I know this is a view shared by our friends in the Hungarian government.

Just as we must not and should not forget the dark moments we also recall that Hungary was the first country from the Communist bloc to renew relations with Israel.
We look with pride at the large and vibrant Jewish community in Hungary today and the large number of Israelis of Hungarian descent who maintain a relationship with Hungary.
We can look back on the past 25 years with satisfaction for all we have achieved and look forward to continuing to forge ever-stronger relations between our two nations, and particularly among our young people.

Our governments are in regular contact and in the economic sphere bilateral trade reached $434 million last year and there remains untapped potential which can benefit both our countries.
Deputy Speaker Jakab, I know that agriculture is your area of expertise and as we look at the ties between our two countries I hope your visit can help to broaden and strengthen our cooperation in that field.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your hospitality.
Please convey our best wishes to the Government and People of Hungary on the occasion of your National Day. We wish Hungary peace and prosperity. May the bonds of friendship between our two nations continue to flourish in the years to come. Gratulálok.
Thank you"



  After Mr. Lapid's speech, Mr. István Jakab said amongst other things:

" Hungary, a country where Europe's 4th largest Jewish Community lives in. " ..." In his Capital, Budapest, there is the world second largest synagogue in Europe .A country where Estee Lauder, Elena Rubinstein, Judith Muller and the father of the Zionism, Theodor Herzl were born. A country where in 1848-1849 our Jewish compatriots fought for Hungary's liberty ....."
" This year, in 2014 we are remembering the Hungarian victims of the Shoa or the Holocaust ." .... " Anti-semitic statements are still heard in Hungary "....But Victor Orban's government , does not tolerate this: we have zero tolerance, and we are taking tough action against this. "


We would like to stress that typical Hungarian wine and food delighted the guests, among them Hungarian beef stew and Hortobagy Pancakes.

It was a pleasant event that counted with guests from different foreign diplomatic services as well as delegates from the Israeli political and economic branches.


Photos  : Silvia G. Golan





 President Rivlin: "This is not a Holocaust museum, but a museum of life. It is a place that commemorates what was, what will never be again, and the hope for a different future."


"The State of Israel will pursue Auschwitz and what it symbolizes - We build our future, eyes wide open and alert. We do not belittle threats. We will not belittle shameful statements calling for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Holocaust continues to serve as a warning sign against non-banal evil."


At an emotional ceremony today (Tuesday, 28 October 2014) in Warsaw, President Rivlin inaugurated the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, together with President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski. President Rivlin answered his Polish counterpart's invitation to take part in the opening of this unique and important museum, which encompasses for the first time under one roof the history of the Jews of Poland throughout one thousand years of the community's life in the country. Additionally, the President laid a wreath in memory of the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, on the street at the entrance to the Museum.


The President said in his address, "I do not stand here today as an individual, but rather as the representative of an entire nation. A nation whose collective journey delves deep into the foundations of Jewish and human existence and into the depths of evil. As a Jew, even if you were not born in Poland, the very name, Poland, gives rise to a shuddering in your body and a longing in your heart. This country was breeding ground for the soul of the Jewish nation, and unfortunately, also grounds to the largest Jewish cemetery.


"Only with this kind of courage we can write, and we have already begun to write, a new and promising chapter in the centuries old history shared between us. Only with this kind of courage we can, one day, add a new wing, new wings, to the museum we are inaugurating today. Wings that will describe the common path we take together today.


"We forever remain aware of the danger. The State of Israel will pursue Auschwitz and what it symbolizes: the desecration of human dignity which was born the image of God; anti-Semitism in all its forms and manifestations, and Nazi ideology and racism. Israel continues to fight against all these evils and will not surrender. We build our future eyes wide open and alert. We do not belittle threats. We will not belittle shameful statements calling for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Holocaust continues to serve as a warning sign against non-banal evil."



There were also addresses by the President of Poland, the Mayor of Warsaw, the Director of the Museum, and the President of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute. At the conclusion of the event, President and First Lady Rivlin toured the museum together with the President of Poland who showed them the various exhibits.




full version of the speech:

Address by President Rivlin At the inauguration of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews


"Following the catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem by Roman Emperor Titus and the consequential exile of the people of Israel from their land, I was born in one of the cities in the Diaspora. But at any given time, and always, it seems to me that I was born in Jerusalem." This is how Shmuel Yosef Agnon, one of the greatest writers of the Jewish people, who was born in the town of Buczacz (which belonged throughout most of history within the borders of the Polish Kingdom), began his acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize for literature.


And I, Reuven the son of Yosef-Yoel and Rachel Rivlin, stand before you here today, as the tenth President of Israel, as someone born in Jerusalem, as a great-grandchild and grandchild to Jerusalemites and founders of the city. I cannot declare, "I am a Pole." However, I cannot deny the special status of Poland and the Polish roots of my Jerusalemite family. These roots are deeply embedded in the complex history of Poland. There is a family legend passed on throughout the generations surrounding the special story of one of the family's fathers. During one of the Polish noble's conferences they found it difficult to reach agreement on the identity of the new Poland. As a temporary solution they chose Rabbi Shaul Ktznlboign, my family's father, to be King of Poland, or "King of Poland for one day".


My hosts and respected friends. I do not stand here today as an individual, but rather as the representative of an entire nation. A nation whose collective journey delves deep into the foundations of Jewish and human existence and into the depths of evil. The story I told is just one of thousands of stories interwoven like capillaries into the historical consciousness of the Jewish people. As a Jew, even if you were not born in Poland, the very name, Poland, gives rise to a shuddering in your body and a longing in your heart. This country was breeding ground for the soul of the Jewish nation, and unfortunately, also grounds to the largest Jewish cemetery.


Here was the Jewish town (the shtetl) was born, and here it died. It died converged unto itself in ghettos until it was ultimately murdered by the Nazis. Jews fought here, as soldiers carrying weapons in the King's army, decorated heroes of the Polish Army; and here too they marched to their deaths wearing yellow Stars of David, raising the banner of revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto, including: Mordechai Anielewicz, Chaika Grossman, Pawel Frenkel, Marek Edelman and many others of all denominations have redefined Jewish heroism through their courage and bravery. We can never think of Poland equanimity.


Even if the Jews were disconnected from Poland it is difficult to impossible to disconnect Poland from the Jews. A history so rich, so full and so painful cannot be erased.


The Jewish Museum whose permanent exhibition we inaugurate today, is trying to portray Jewish history in Poland in all its aspects, the wealth and poverty; the adherents and opponents; the educated and commoners; neighborly relations; the joyous history and the tragedies.


This is not a Holocaust museum, but a museum of life. It is a place that commemorates what was, what will never be again, and the hope for a different future. Distinguished friends. Two decades ago, historian Jan Tomasz Gross' book "Neighbors", shocked the Polish historical consciousness. The book revealed in the most painful way, the crime of Jedwabne and stirred the Polish public to delve into the depth of its past. In one discussion, Prof. Kieres, head of the "Institute of National Memory," said that the Jedwabne crime is also a great possibility for Polish society. And I quote: "This is a chance for dialogue with ourselves about our joint biographical segments. It is a chance to clarify to the world that we are brave enough to discuss the issue." He said. I believe that every day that goes by Polish society becomes more courageous in dealing with itself, dealing with its past, and with its future. Only with this kind of courage we can write, and we have already begun to write, a new and promising chapter in the centuries old history shared between us. Only with this kind of courage we can, one day, add a new wing, new wings, to the museum we are inaugurating today. Wings that will describe the common path we take together today. Dear Friends. Jewish history did not begin in Warsaw and doesn't end at Auschwitz. Auschwitz is its horrible pit, a horror of humanity, but the Jewish journey does not start there just as it does not end there.


The Jewish journey begins in the Land of Israel, and it is there that we always striving to return to. Against all odds and restrictions. There are those that mistakenly think that the State of Israel is compensation for the Holocaust. There is no greater mistake. The State of Israel is not a compensation for the Holocaust. The State of Israel was established in its own right. Poland can attest to this. It was in Poland where Jabotinsky's avocation program was developed, and where Betar (the Jewish underground movement) fighters were trained. Poland, like so many other countries around the world, the dream of a Jewish state was kindled, many years before the Holocaust.


We forever remain aware of the danger. The State of Israel will pursue Auschwitz and what it symbolizes: the desecration of human dignity which was born the image of God; anti-Semitism in all its forms and manifestations, and Nazi ideology and racism. Israel continues to fight against all these evils and will not surrender. We build our future eyes wide open and alert. We do not belittle threats. We will not belittle shameful statements calling for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Holocaust continues to serve as a warning sign against non-banal evil.

Nevertheless, the horrors of the past and the threats of the present will not dictate our lives nor shape the lives of our children, and won't dim the hope for a creativity and prosperous future.

Friends. In my country, we have a bright red floor called 'blood of the Maccabees'. Legend has it that wherever a freedom fighter for Israel fell, a flower grew, red-as his blood. Even in the world of Nazi evil, flowers continued to bloom. Among the ruins, and rubble through the evil of hatred, betrayal and destruction, flowers bloomed. These flowers are the Righteous among the Nations, human freedom fighters who wrote a chapter on human dignity in the shared history of the nations. In Poland, they say, many such flowers bloomed. I cannot conclude without thanking all those who didn't stand aloof, who saved lives that are worlds unto their own. Thank you for your courage. You have a large warm family in Israel: grandparents, parents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who owe you their lives. I will conclude with the words of the prophet Ezekiel: "And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' I said to you in your blood, 'Live!"






President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin, this morning (Monday, 27 October 2014), at the President's Residence, hosted participants in the 2nd Global Conference of Honorary Consuls to Israel, attended by Honorary Consuls from 44 countries from across Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.


The President thanked the Honorary Consuls for representing Israel around the globe. He told the participants, "In each of your countries, there are people who have made it their number one priority to preach hatred of Israel. They have decided that of all the problems in the world, the number one threat to humanity is the Jewish State.



"We must show the world that Israel is a modern country that seeks peace with its neighbors, and gives so much to the world in the fields of medicine, environment, technology, literature and more."


President Rivlin went on to note that yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty with Jordan and said, "This is an agreement of strategic importance to both sides – it is not only a peace treaty between two states, but between two peoples. The relationship between the State of Israel and Jordan is capable of meeting all the challenges placed before it, thanks to the strong and special bond between our countries. Jordan plays a key role in the region, and its stability is crucially important. This is something the Western countries should also make a priority."


The President concluded, "Looking to the future, I am confident that under the responsible leadership of King Abdullah, Jordan will continue to play a central role in our region, and that the good relations between our two countries will go from strength to strength. King Abdullah is a brave man who puts peace in the region at the top of his agenda."


 Photo  Haim Zach GPO





  On October 23th, 2014, the German ambassador to Israel, Mr. Andreas Michaelis and his wife Mrs. Heike Michaelis, offered a reception at their residence in Hertzlia Pituach to celebrate the German Day of Unity as well as 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.

The German Ambassador, Mr. H.E. Andreas Michaelis, welcomed the honorable guest President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, amongst members of different diplomatic missions in Israel and other distinguished guests.

Wording of the speech gave by the Ambassador Michaelis:

"The National Day of Germany commemorates Germany's reunification. This year, it has been 25 years since the fall of the wall.
I find it difficult to believe that 25 years have already passed since this historic date. Like many Germans I can vividly remember the scenes of joy which marked the days when freedom became a reality for us. It feels like it happened yesterday."

Referring to the State of Israel : " Israel needs a stable and peaceful environment. It is totally unacceptable that this country has repeatedly become the victim of rocket and terror attacks. We should not witness another Gaza War or new confrontations on Israel's borders. We have to break this cycle of violence.

Germany has pledged to do its part to ensure that Israel will be able to live in peace and security. This is and remains one of the central pillars of German policy. The events that led to the reunification of Germany and Europe show us that we can succeed even when faced with the greatest obstacles – and again, we see in the Middle East of today a different political reality than in Europe. However, obstacles can be overcome if we act together, show courage and seize the moment. An increasingly difficult environment in the Middle East is not a reason to shy away from diplomacy. On the contrary, it is a reason to double our efforts."

"Israel and Germany are two countries that have become very close partners today. We cooperate in a wide range of fields – in science and culture, business and technology as well as in security and diplomacy. Many Israelis and Germans developed strong personal ties through this cooperation, through city twinning and youth exchanges. Many friendships developed. We will soon look back on 50 years of diplomatic relations between our two states.

Has there ever been a more impossible relationship between two countries? At the beginning it was not at all clear that there could ever be a formal relationship between the young Jewish state and the nation which - at the lowest point of its history - had attempted to eradicate all Jewish life and murdered 6 million Jews. At the beginning there was so much pain and suffering. And let us not get this wrong, there still is today. The memory of the Holocaust and its deep scars are not washed away by history. Only if we fully comprehend and respect this dimension of our relationship, will we succeed in further developing it. What I experience as real friendship and trust between us today would not exist if we had not travelled the long and difficult path of serious and sometimes painful dialogue between our countries and people."

The bilateral relationship between Israel and Germany has reached an unprecedented quality. And we will continue to further broaden and deepen it in the years to come. This is why our two governments together with a vast range of members of our civil societies have agreed to use the coming year to put a special focus on cooperation in all relevant sectors of our relationship. In the course of next year we will experience a large array of events and projects, both, in Germany and Israel – ranging from classical music to Jazz, from cinema, theatre and contemporary dance to literature and art exhibitions. In short: we will celebrate. But we will also engage in programmes and projects which focus on the political realities in our two countries. Furthermore, in important sectors like, for instance, science and business we will try to push for new forms of cooperation. In short: We will not just look back on 50 years, we will look ahead at the next 50 years."

"Today, we will launch a joint website with an event calendar. It will provide all relevant information :


The ambassador also informed about more than a hundred events and encounters that were organized to celebrate the 50 years of bilateral relations (www.il50de.org). The German Foreign Office, the Goethe Institute and the Robert Bosch Foundation gave their support to the complexion of the events.

A German-Israeli common logo was launched a few months ago to signalize 50 years of renewed diplomatic relations between our countries.


In his speech, President Rivlin said  : "Germany is acting to support Israel's ability to protect itself, and its leaders understand that terror organizations cannot run the world. They understand the problems which arise when a state must stand up and fight against terror organizations."

"This day celebrates new beginnings. It is a day that has meaning for all people who seek to find common ground where there is division. This day is about the will of people to break down barriers, and learn to live side by side, not divided by walls, neither physical nor virtual.


"We have learned from history and at a terrible price. It is important we continue to teach this lesson, educating about the Holocaust, and the dangers of racism and anti-Semitism. In West Germany, in East Germany, in a united Germany, in Europe, and all over.

The president emphasize the excellent relationship and friendship between our two countries. " You are great supporters of the efforts to find confidence building measures between the peoples of the Middle East."


"Germany is acting to support Israel's ability to protect itself, and its leaders understand that terror organizations cannot run the world. They understand the problems which arise when a state must stand up and fight against terror organizations."

"Israel needs a stable and peaceful environment. It is totally unacceptable that this country has repeatedly become the victim of rocket and terror attacks. We should not witness another Gaza War or new confrontations on Israel's borders. We have to break this cycle of violence."

He concluded, "Germany has pledged to do its part to ensure that Israel will be able to live in peace and security. This is and remains one of the central pillars of German policy."


 Photo  Mark Neiman  / GPO






 China: 1.3 billion people. Israel: 8 million.


We  think all 8 million Israelis would have liked to have attended the event at the prestigious Tel Aviv Hilton Grand Ballroom last Tuesday evening to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Graciously hosted by Her Excellency Madame Gao Yanping, China's ambassador to Israel, and the Chinese Embassy, the guest list was a veritable who's-who of Israeli society. Foreign and local diplomats mingled with parliamentarians of all stripes, with leaders of Israel's commercial and business community, the arts, sport and many other VIPs and leaders of Israeli and Chinese society.


Guest of honor – and it is indeed an honor to China and to Israel – was President Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin and his charming wife First Lady Mrs. Nechama Rivlin. Other notable guests included the leader of the opposition Mr. Yitzhak (Boezi) Herzog, Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Tzachi Hanegbi, former minister Ran Cohen, Attorney General Mr. Yehuda Weinstein, former minister Ehud Barak, and first lady of the Israeli theater, Gila Almagor with her husband, theater impresario Yaakov Agmon. Also present were several young Chinese exchange students studying at Israeli Universities. The youth of China's tomorrow are gaining their education at Israel's higher-learning establishments – a fine compliment to both.


The Master of Ceremonies briefly welcomed the guests and orchestrated the singing of the national anthems of the People's Republic of China and of the State of Israel. He then introduced the Chinese ambassador, who addressed the assembly.




Madame Yanping opened with a warm welcome to the State President and his wife, stressing how honored she felt by their presence. Her Excellency used several words in Hebrew, which added to the warmth of her welcome. She continued with an enlightening review of China's successes over the past 65 years, and of the close relationship mighty China has with tiny (but mighty in its own way) Israel. "China is now the world's second largest economy, and an important contributor to the world growth and prosperity, which contributes almost 30% to the world economic growth. Since the entry into the WTO in 2001, China has imported goods worth $750 billion annually, and created more than 14 million jobs for the global economy. ... Almost 100 million outbound visits were made by the Chinese tourists. In the coming five years, ... Chinese visitors abroad will be 500 million, 60 times Israel's population".


The Ambassador spoke enthusiastically of China's hopes and plans for the future too, stressing that China is resolute in pursuing a more proactive strategy of opening-up. "We will focus on stabilizing exports and actively expanding imports. ... China is resolute in following the path of peaceful development [and] is fully aware of its responsibilities and expectations from the international community. We will play our due role to establish a new type of international relations based on win-win cooperation and provide more public goods to the world. We will play a more proactive and constructive role in addressing international and regional hotspot issues to promote peace, security and stability". Madame Ambassador spoke of China's present aid in the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and mentioned that China is now Israel's third-largest trading partner. "I have great confidence in the future of China-Israel relations. I hope we could seize the good opportunities of the Chinese Dream and make it into our common dream. I firmly believe that China and Israel will continue to make joint and persistent efforts to enhance our mutual respect and trust, explore the great potential of cooperation. The future of our relations will be full of opportunities and excitement".


She ended her address by proposing a toast:
"To the 65th National Day of the People's Republic of China,
To the peace and prosperity of China and Israel,
To the friendship between our two peoples"
And again thanked all the guests for attending the reception.


In his response, the State President offered sincere congratulations to the Ambassador and to the People's Republic of China, and with a smile mentioned that Israel is one year senior to China. "Both our peoples have rich and ancient histories and place much importance on values. And today, there is no doubt that we have a shared future and much to gain from our good relations."


A pre-recorded video by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was screened to the audience, where the PM also expressed his admiration for China and expressed his good wishes to that country.


A lavish buffet dinner featuring both Chinese and western dishes followed. At the same time guests were entertained by professional folk ensemble from China, performing a series of dances accompanied by folk music. Carefully choreographed and highly colorful, the dancers moved with breathtaking grace and style. Just the names of the selections gives an idea of the beauty, including: "Blooming Flowers & Full Moon, "Spring Rain", "Peony Pavilion" (A Stroll in the Garden) and "The Peacock's Flight". The final performance was a martial arts exhibition/dance that included a joint presentation by performers from the Wushu Association of Peking University (University of Beijing) and the Israeli Wushu Team from Rehovot. The presentation also included participants from the Confucius Institute in Jerusalem.


China and Israel – a winning combination.





 Photos Silvia Golan





   When thousands of Christians showed up in Jerusalem this week for the annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, it was an encouraging sign that not only is tourism on the rebound after this summer's conflict in Gaza, but also that Israel truly has committed Christian friends around the globe. The Sukkot gathering hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem drew more than 5,000 Christians from over 80 nations, the best turnout in seven years - which is quite remarkable given that rockets were still falling all around Israel just a few short weeks ago.

There was a wonderful excitement as these Christians interacted with Israelis this week. At the grassroots level, our throngs of pilgrims were warmly welcomed by local residents in the traditional Jerusalem March and that evening we hosted nearly 2,000 Israeli guests, including 300 IDF soldiers, at the brand new Jerusalem Pais Arena for a gala Sukkot celebration.
On more formal levels, the modern-day saga of strong Israeli-Christian relations hit a milestone moment when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, representing the people of Israel, and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, representing the Jewish people abroad, both addressed our Feast event, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a videotaped greeting. The vast audience from the nations included 30 cabinet ministers and parliamentarians from 20 nations - all Christian supporters of Israel.



 President Rivlin thanked the Feast attendees for their support of the Jewish state, saying that the connection of Zionism to the Christian community had "deep historical roots."​

"Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your consistent trust and support," President Rivlin told the visitors. "We appreciate you, lovers of Israel and Jerusalem, for taking part in the joy of this holiday."
In his remarks, Lauder stressed that Jewish-Christian friendship is also becoming something of a necessity in the light of the common threat we face from radical Islamist regimes and terror militias - a peril that is especially acute at present for Middle East Christians.
"I am now convinced more than ever that we must join forces," Lauder insisted. "A Jewish-Christian coalition makes complete sense. Together, Christians and Jews must speak as one and tell the world, no more discrimination, no more terror, no more death and no more silence!"
Lauder also warned of growing anti-Semitism in the world, saying "the same people who go after us are also going after you. That is why Christians and Jews must join forces and act together."
"Thank you, my Christian brothers and sisters, for standing with Israel through this very difficult year," added Lauder. "Israel has no better friends in the world than you. We know that you have watched out for us, and we will always watch out for you."
While enjoying a joyous festival in Jerusalem, the Feast pilgrims also were keenly aware that not so far away an unspeakable evil has been stalking many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the region. The rampage of ISIS across Iraq and Syria has wrought inhuman carnage over recent months that is now testing the moral fiber of world leaders.



 Amid the heated debate over whether Western air strikes are enough or will 'boots on the ground' be necessary to stop this menace, the ICEJ leadership joined with President Lauder of the World Jewish Congress and Dr. Billy Wilson of the Empowered21 global Evangelical movement this week in demanding that world leaders urgently act to halt the persecution of Middle East Christians.

It has been interesting to watch the debate over Western military action against ISIS. The Obama administration in particular justified the launch of an air campaign in Iraq in order to save members of the Yazidi minority trapped on a barren mountain in northern Iraq - and rightly so! Other nations have joined the expanding coalition based on the added concern that this brand of unbridled terror could soon reach their shores. Perhaps a distant third, if mentioned at all, was the need to defend the ancient and vulnerable Christian communities of Iraq and Syria.
Such lack of genuine concern for Christian victims of Islamic persecution is nothing new. When Arab Muslim militiamen in Sudan began slaughtering thousands of black African Muslims in Darfur, politicians, rock stars and Hollywood icons all jumped on the Darfur bandwagon - and rightly so!



 Yet where were all these voices of virtue when the Khartoum regime was carrying out the much longer and bloodier genocide and ethnic-cleansing campaign against Christians in southern Sudan!? Over a 30-year period, the Islamists in power in Khartoum massacred more than two million Sudanese Christians and displaced over four million more. The response was largely silence. Manute Bol's long, lonely protest vigil on Embassy Row in Washington just could not compete with the star power of George Clooney.

Back at this week's Feast gathering in Jerusalem, there were several blunt reminders of the current plight facing Middle East Christians. One Feast volunteer, a doctor who has undertaken several recent medical relief missions to Syria, was forced to eyewitness the beheading of Christian men, women and children. Canon Andrew White, the Anglican 'Vicar of Baghdad,' moved the audience deeply with his first-hand accounts of Christian churches and villages being decimated.

And to top it off, the Feast also hosted the 45 soldiers of the Fiji Battalion serving as UN observers on the Golan who were held hostage by the al-Nusra Front rebel militia in Syria last month. Their ordeal ended miraculously well compared to other hostages of jihadist groups these days, but what if their captors had known these were Christians who love Israel.
So Ron Lauder is right - a Jewish-Christian coalition is truly needed. And the synergy witnessed between our communities this Sukkot here in Jerusalem shows that it is alive and strengthening.


The writer is media director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org


 Photos : Silvia Golan / Daniel Schwarz


































































































































To commemorate the Day of the Hispanic Heritage, the Ambassador of Spain in Israel, Mr. Fernando Carderera and his wife Victoria, offered a reception at their residence in Herzlia Pituach.


Numerous ambassadors of foreign countries and diplomats , representatives of the Israeli army and attachés of various embassies attended the event , as well as delegates of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, directors of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Association of Friends Israel - Spain and representatives of various political and commercial sectors. Among the guests we could see the businessman Gad Propper, Prof. Aviva Doron and journalist Henrique Cymermann.


Typical Spanish tapas were served during the event, amongst them the tortilla, ham, cheese and chicken balls, all these were accompanied by excellent Spanish wines and Cava.
Separately, in the terrace located on the first floor was served kosher food that included some specialties prepared for the event.


The Ambassador addressed the guests announcing that his speech would be short this year in order to have the opportunity to show a video about Spain. After the video, the national anthems of Israel and Spain were sung.


The Ambassador continued his speech stressing that "Spain is a key country in the history of Judaism. Our relations are bound to be both complex and intense, because so was our history. The Ambassador stressed in Hebrew and afterwards in English and Spanish: "we are proud of our common culture, our similar origins and the shared heritage of Sepharad. That's why we want to strengthen the ties in the fields of culture, education, science, new technologies and research, trade and investment.


There is a growing presence of Spanish companies in Israel. Valoriza is about to finish a desalination plant in Ashdod. Abengoa is building solar power plants. Telefónica has its own subsidiary in Israel, Unión Fenosa Gas is interested in buying gas from Tamar and several Spanish companies would like to participate in the preparations of the project for national infrastructure.

The recession has ended and the Spanish economy is growing again with an increasing GDP above the average growth in the euro zone. The new standard in the Spanish economy is based on competitiveness and the external sector acting as an engine of growth. As a result, confidence in the Spanish economy has been restored with a very important reduction in our risk premium. Unemployment remains too high and we need to reduce the national debt, but Spain has a diversified economy, skilled job employees and very strong companies.


Spanish companies are world leaders in key sectors such as renewable energy, management infrastructure and construction, ICT, high-speed railways, financial services, biotechnology, naval technology, environmental technology and space and aerial systems, among others".

Again, the Ambassador stressed in Hebrew and in English: "we want to use all these potentialities to do business with Israel and cooperate with you in all possible sectors.


We share your mourning for the casualties and the injured during operation "Protective Edge".

My country has heavily invested in joining international efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. We fully support the effective guarantees for the security of Israel, and we are committed to a two-State solution, through direct negotiations, including the creation of a viable Palestinian State that recognizes Israel."


Before concluding, he expressed his thanks to the sponsors: Valoriza Agua, Freixenet and the Spanish Ministry of Defence. to his wife, and to all the employees at the Embassy.
He also commented on the food offered at the event: Spanish tapas, including an excellent ham and cheese brought from Spain specially for the occasion, and a kosher area, and not less the Spanish wine and Cava. He invited the Minister and the rest of the guests to join in a toast wishing a long life and well-being to both heads of State, his Excellency the President Reuven Rivlin and his Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, as well as for the mutual friendship.


Afterwards, expressed the representative of the Israeli Government, Minister for matters relating to the 3rd age, Ori Orbach: "Economic cooperation, with particular emphasis on research and development, is one of the most important interfaces between the peoples of Spain and Israel. Both countries have common interests in areas of global importance, such as renewable energy and the use of natural resources. Our two vibrant nations are blessed with a large young population highly skilled, creative and innovative. In concrete terms, this means that in the coming years we will see an intensified cooperation and a relationship increasingly strong on the economy, the...... and technology.


Spain and Israel also are reaping the benefits of their joint efforts to enhance bilateral cultural relations, which draw even more closer our two peoples. We have opened new paths, the Israeli arts, music, cinema and dance have won recognition all over Spain. This year Israel was invited to participate in the Barcelona Design Fair, where thousands of visitors had the opportunity to see the capabilities of Israel in this field. This month, an exhibition by the outstanding Israeli artist Sigalit Landau, will be inaugurated in Spain, and about two weeks ago the famous Spanish dancer and choreographer José Porcel and his company presented his show at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. These are just a few typical examples of uninterrupted cultural activity".


He jokingly commented on an incident about the naming of a street in the northern part of Israel, where the name of Yehuda Levi was to be removed in order to name the street after the father of a former local mayor. The problem was finally resolved by replacing part of the ¨Hashalom¨ street (The Peace) by that of the Spanish Rabbi Yehuda Levi, since this combination of both seemed to be the most appropriate.


After this the Minister continued his speech by expressing the following : "the time is too short to address the broad spectrum of cultural ties that go much further back in history, when the Jewish culture was an integral part of Spanish culture. Each of our peoples left one decisive mark over the other during the golden age, and we are now enjoying the products of cultural diversity of both Nations. Israel and Spain have many shared values and have come a long way together to promote peace in the Middle East. Let me state that the former Spanish Foreign Minister was one of the first leaders to declare publicly in the UN General Assembly that Israel has the right to live in security and supported the idea of a two State solution. Israel regards Spain as an important ally and an ideological partner in many fields. Israel also publicly supports the candidacy of Spain to occupy a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2015-2016.


Unfortunately, both Israel and Spain, have been and continue to be victims of jihadist terrorism, and our cooperation in this area is more essential than ever. We hope that the visit of the Spanish Minister of Defence will be materialized soon, and we truly believe that it will contribute to the strengthening of ties between our two countries in this field. Similarly, we expect the visit of the Spanish Interior Minister, which is scheduled to lead a business delegation to an international exhibition about "National Security" that will take place within the next two months. Israel, Spain and the Western world are facing multiple and formidable challenges, and only by force of union we will be able to succeed and ensure a better future for the young generations on our two countries.


Spain and Israel are located on opposite sides of the Mediterranean See, and they are the only Western democracies that have land borders with Africa. Over the centuries, these geographic facts have created many similarities in both populations and give rise to common interests in fields such as the struggle against terrorism, trafficking of persons and dealing with illegal immigration. These issues also make it imperative for us to strengthen our professional cooperation in order to obtain solutions that ensure our future and the future of the generations to come.


The solid friendship between our peoples and nations means that we need to tackle difficult and even painful topics with honesty. We are fully convinced that the Spanish leaders, struggling against racism, will clearly and unequivocally condemn the recent anti-Semitic manifestations that we witnessed during the operation "Protective Edge" , when, unfortunately, the Spanish public received a distorted image of the events in Gaza. These are the currents of events that have circulated throughout Europe, and only a very strong public stand against them and a decisive action against their perpetrators may neutralize this fact.


This year, the Spanish national holiday falls on the Jewish holidays of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of the Harvest, one of the oldest festivals in Judaic history. It is a festival that marks the end of the agricultural cycle and the hope for rain that will lead to additional seasons of abundance".

The Minister concluded his speech by wishing the citizens and the Government of Spain many years of prosperity and expressed the sincere wish that relations between the two countries be also blessed with abundance, that both countries will be able to enjoy the privilege of tasting the sweet fruits of bi-national cooperation and a strong friendship between their peoples. And that they be blessed with years of peace.


Photo  Silvia Golan



In the meeting held on 23.09.14 in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Appointment Committee headed by its General Manager Mr. Nissim Ben Shitrit appointed the following diplomats as new chief representatives:


 Ambassador to Vilna – Amir Maimon


 Ambassador to Asuncion – Peleg Levy

Ambassador to Riga – Liron Bar Sade


 Ambassador to Panama City – Gil Artzyeli


 Ambassador to Accra and non-citizen Ambassador to Liberia – Emmanuel Mahal

General Consul to Marseille – Anita Mazor

General Consul to Bangalore – Nissan Amdur

Chief representative for the Commercial Interests' Office in Tapei – Yarden Asher


Amir Maimon is the first Israel's Ambassador to Lithuania. Maimon, who presently holds the relevant position of Manager of the North European Division. He is in charge of the complex mission of building the infrastructure for the new Israeli Embassy in Vilna, Lithuania's capital.

Peleg Levy will be appointed Ambassador to Paraguay. The Israeli Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, that will be reopened after its closure in 2002.

It must be emphasized that all the appointments require the approval of Israeli government.







Even if you don't speak/understand Spanish, you would have understood the "feliz" (happiness, joy) in the headline, at the reception when four Central American countries united to celebrate their 193rd independence day. The Ambassadors to Israel of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador hosted an elegant cocktail reception in the Lea Rabin Hall of the Yitzhak Rabin Center in North Tel Aviv; the atmosphere was indeed one of happiness and joy. Needless to say the lingua franca of the evening was Spanish, but the hosts put the mixed and elegant guests at ease. In attendance were many members of the diplomatic corps, Israeli politicians, VIPs and commercial leaders, and socialites of Israeli society.


Also sharing in hosting the event was the Keren Kayemet Le'Yisrael - the Jewish National Fund. The JNF is widely known as the organization that keeps afforestation in Israel high on the agenda. The result is that Israel is perhaps the only country in the world where there are more trees today than there were at the start of the 20th century. Since its inception in 1901, the JNF claims to have planted 240 million trees in Israel.


Guests mingled happily as snacks and drinks were served. Smart and casual seemed to be the theme, with many uniformed military attachés adding a sparkle to delight the eye. Before the formal speeches, the national anthems of the four participating countries, and then of Israel, were played. Very beautiful, very moving and very much in place.


In a moving address, his Excellency José Isaias Barahona, Ambassador to Israel of Honduras, spoke to the guests on behalf of the four ambassadors. He began by thanking everyone for being there, and followed with a brief and illuminating history leading to the independence from Spain of the four countries and subsequently to today's SICA - "The United Provinces of Central America". SICA now also includes Nicaragua, Belize, Panama and the Dominican Republic. "With 7 cities with populations between 1 and 3.5 million people, more than 10 international airports and great ports in the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean, it is a region that is a bridge to the world between the Atlantic and the Caribbean with the Panama Canal ... and also a bridge between the two large land masses of North and South America".


The Ambassador spoke of the economic and social importance of the area, its past successes and its plans and opportunities for the future. He added: "In addition to our efforts, Central America has received extensive and intense cooperation in which Israel is a prominent participant, especially in the fields of education, agriculture and livestock, high-tech, commerce and of course in the security and defense fields. Our bilateral agendas ... and our relationship as a region and as individual countries, has been strengthened, ... the agenda for cooperation between Israel and Central America will be filled with new and innovative proposals that will be relevant to the values and principles that we share in the search for the common good of our peoples and societies of all other nations of the world; ensuring the strengthening of democracy, the promotion of human development, security and justice, which are the main ingredients of the peace that we all long for". In conclusion the ambassador wished the President of the State of Israel and all the people a Shana tova (happy New Year). He ended the address with "Viva Israel, viva Central America", to thunderous applause.


Responding on behalf of Israel was Minister of Welfare & Social Services, Meir Cohen. He opened his address with congratulations to the four states on the 193rd Independence Day. {Mr. Cohen spoke largely in Hebrew, followed by a prepared translation}. He mentioned that Israel and the four countries have had excellent diplomatic relations, but that in recent years a cooling from El Salvador has been noted in Israel. Mr. Cohen spared no words in criticizing El Salvador for recalling its ambassador during the recent "Operation Protective Edge" when Israel's civilian population was under severe attack from Hamas in Gaza. On the other hand, he said, it was heartwarming to learn of the extensive grassroots support from Central American nations, including El Salvadorians, in spite of their government's policy.


The Minister reminded the guests of the important part Central American nations played in voting at the United Nations in 1947 in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel. "The friendship between our countries is not new". In May 2014 the government of Israel took a decision to strengthen ties with Latin American countries. (At that meeting the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that the strategy of improved Israel-Latin America ties was going to prove fruitful for all countries concerned.) The Minister ended his speech by expressing the hope that bilateral relations with Central American states would go from strength to strength.


{The President of the JNF also addressed the audience, but in a speech in Spanish which your DIPLOMACY correspondent was unable to follow.}

Viva Centroamerica!



  Photos  Silvia G Golan








  Photo : Japan Ambassador HE Mr Shigeo Matsutomi, the President Rivlin  and Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher Israeli Chief of State Protocol


For the first time in his presidency, the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin , received letters of credence from new ambassadors appointed by Georgian, Lithuanian, Japan and Swaziland governments.

Receiving the letters of credence from the ambassadors, President Rivlin said:"friendship is not being measured by governments, but by the ties between peoples, and to us is important to establish close relations with your countries".

New ambassadors from Georgia, Lithuania, Japan and Swaziland, presented their letters of credence, to President Reuven Rivlin, as appointed by their governments, during a official ceremony held in the presidential residence in Jerusalem.

At their meetings with the President, the ambassadors expressed their hope, to tighten up the relationships and cooperation between their countries and Israel.



  Photo The Georgian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Paata Kalandadze and family with the President Rivlin.


The Georgian ambassador expressed his gratitude to President Rivlin, saying: "I'm honored to represent my country here in Israel. Good relations between our countries will have an impact on stability and peace in the whole world".

The President answered warmly: "I welcome your return to Israel, this time as an ambassador of Georgia. Israel and Georgia have good relationship along the history..."



 Photo  The President Rivlin, Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher and the Lithuanian ambassador


Presenting his letter of credence, the Lithuanian ambassador said to the President:

"I'm very exited to be here, in Jerusalem. I promise you to do my best, in order to preserve Your positive memories that You have of Lithuania. There are tragic memories between us in our history, especially The Holocaust. Our priority is to promote education programs and signing agreements that will preserve the memories of The Holocaust for generations to come.
We promote high tech conventions, cyber technology, and share it with the Israelis..."

President Rivlin said: "the history of our Nation lasts along hundreds of years, the Jewish- Lithuanian community is very large. We learn from your Prime minister, that we have to learn from the past and to look at the future.

The ambassador of Japan, expressing his gratitude to the President, said:"I thank you for the warm and caring hospitality. I can feel the sympathy in Israel, for the Japanese nation...","in Japan, many believe that Japan and Israel have much in common, like the believe that it's important to a nation to invest in its people, in friendship and cooperation..."

The President to ambassador of Japan: "it's an honor for me, you are a ambassador of a important nation. We have much in common – we have a long history, deep and ancient culture.
We appreciate you and know that we can find friendship with you and listen to your advise..."

"...it's an honor for me to receive you, and I hope that you will have a pleasant stay in Israel".



 Photo : The ambassador of Swaziland H.E. Mr. Promise Msibi and wife and the President Rivlin


The ambassador of Swaziland, presenting his letter of credence, said: "I wish to thank you for the opportunity to present my letter of credence here in Israel. The king of Swaziland wishes to congratulate you as a new elected President of Israel. We hope that during your presidency we can continue our good relations. My King expressed also his sorrow for the loss of lives that Israel have suffered as a result of fighting terror groups. Israel have the right to defend itself at any cost and we hope that the world will soon be free of terror groups in the nearest future. My king and my people remember well your support, given to the government of Swaziland in varies matters, and we hope to strengthen our relations in the future.

The President responded, saying: "I wish to congratulate you for celebrating your independence day. We appreciate your people, the relationship between us that era strong today as they were before, and we hope to strengthen them in the future as well. We will not forget you staying with us as ambassadors, even during the war".

Here the names of the ambassadors:

The ambassador of Georgia H.E. MR. PAATA KALANDADZE
The ambassador of Lithuania H.E. MR. EDMINAS BAGDONAS 
The ambassador of Japan H.E. MR. SHIGEO MATSUTOMI
The ambassador of Swaziland H.E. MR. PROMISE MSIBI 



 Photos Mark Neumann/ GPO





 Once again, last Wednesday evening the elegant Grand Ballroom of Tel Aviv's Hilton Hotel was the scene of another diplomatic success: the reception honoring the 23rd anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Formerly part of the USSR, Uzbekistan became independent on 31st August 1991.


The glittering guest list included members of the diplomatic corps, business and commercial leaders, VIPs of the Uzbek and Russian communities in Israel, Israeli political leaders and other "who's who" of the Israel social calendar.
The reception was graciously hosted by His Excellency the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Israel and Mrs. Oybek Eshonov. The traditional dishes of the country were the focus of the delicious and gargantuan meal, accompanied of course by fine wines and a range of alcoholic and other beverages. Guests mingled happily, renewing old friendships and creating new ones.


In welcoming the guests, the Ambassador thanked everyone for being there "[in] celebration of this remarkable day for our country .... Today we are rightfully proud of our achievements in all spheres of our society. The proofs of this progress are easily seen in the enormous changes ... large-scale transformation in our towns, villages and the country as a whole".


His Excellency added that "The State of Israel was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan and establish the diplomatic relations. Not many countries have a thousand-year long history of friendship, brotherhood and harmony with the Jewish people. This glorious history is a strong foundation of our friendly relations." He also spoke of the strong commercial ties between Israel and Uzbekistan, and mentioned that Israel remains one of that country's major trading partners. "We are interested in deepening political dialog and expanding trade, cultural and economic ties with the State of Israel". His Excellency ended his address by sending greetings to the people of Israel on the occasion of the upcoming New Year.


Representing Israel, and responding to the Ambassador, was MK Yair Lapid, Finance Minister and leader of the "Yesh Atid" political party. Mr. Lapid opened his remarks by congratulating the Republic of Uzbekistan and its people on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary. In his address he noted that: "For over two decades, the strong ties between our countries have been based on mutual respect, close cooperation and of course the large community of immigrants from Uzbekistan here in Israel, and the longstanding Jewish community living in Uzbekistan. Israel will never forget the role that the people of Uzbekistan played in providing shelter and salvation to Jews fleeing [the holocaust] during World War II. And from the past we look to the future". Mr. Lapid spoke of the close relationship between the two countries, and thanked the Ambassador personally for his role in advancing & strengthening the bilateral ties. He concluded: "Please convey to your President and your people our very best wishes on your Independence Day. May the future see prosperity for Uzbekistan and a strengthening of the friendship between our two countries".


The two men then drank a toast to the two countries and jointly cut a beautifully decorated cake bearing the flag of Uzbekistan. This was followed by a haunting soprano by Ms. Yulia Masti Moroz, who gave a rendition of the Uzbek national anthem, followed by the national anthem of Israel. A truly elegant occasion.






 The walls of the ballroom and the foyer leading to the reception were decorated with Uzbek cultural icons and motifs. The spirit was positively Uzbekistan, even though the celebration took place on a pleasant evening on the shores of the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv.


Best wishes for many more years of mutual cooperation and success for the two countries, Uzbekistan and Israel.




  Photos : Silvia G. Golan






On September 9th the Diplomatic Core, business people and the Slovakian community, were invited to a garden party at the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the State of Israel H.E. Mr Radovan Javorcik and wife Michelle.


The occasion is the Constitution Day, and Day of the Armed forces of the Slovak Republic. Despite the heat and humidity, the atmosphere was warm and pleasant.
This yearly event also commemorates the Day of the Victims of Holocaust and of racial violence in Slovakia.


Slovakia remembered the victims of the Holocaust in national commemoration events on 9 September.
Since 2001, Slovakia has commemorated the victims of the Holocaust and of racial violence on 9 September as the "Memorial Day for Victims of the Holocaust and of Racial Violence."

The Slovak Parliament chose 9 September because, on this day in 1941, the Slovak Government at the time introduced 290 repressive laws (the "Jewish Codex") by which the process of Jewish deportations was initiated and which resulted in the killing of over 70,000 Slovak Jews.


This year, Prime Minister Robert Fico and Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Bratislava along with representatives of the Jewish community in Slovakia. During his speech Fico highlighted the importance of Holocaust remembrance, adding that it also provides an opportunity for appeals for peaceful co-existence between nations, ethnic communities and religious groups today.


Additional commemoration events included the reading of the names of persecuted and murdered victims of the Holocaust in the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre, as well as the revealing of a "virtual memorial" containing the names of victims by the Museum of Jewish Culture.


 Photo  Silvia Golan





"Statehood Day" is a holiday that occurs on every 25 June in Slovenia. It commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Although the formal declaration of independence did not come until 26 June 1991, Statehood Day is considered to be June 25 since that was the date on which the initial acts regarding independence were passed and when Slovenia became independent.

A few days ago, we joined the Slovenian Ambassadoress, Her Excellency Alenka Suhadolnik, at her residence in Herzeliya Pituach here in Israel to commemorate the twenty third Statehood Day of Slovenia. In addition to the great company, the delicious food, the guests were entertained by a three musicians Slovenian's very own Gašper Bertoncelj on drums,
Alex Katz on piano, and Max Vater on bass.


Among the invited guests were Sovenia's Honorary Counsel to Israel, Mr. Eival Giladi and Professor Schectman who was a candidate for Presidency in Israel. Other esteemed guests included Mr. Raphael Gamzou, Deputy Director General, Head of Division of Cultural and Scientific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yehudah Gidron of Europe 1 Department at the Ministry of foreign Affairs, Dr. Erez S. Garty, Editor in Chief, Davidson On-line from the Davidson Institute of Sceence Education, Weizman Institute of Science, foreign Ambassadors and business people as well as other dignitaries.

In her speech, Her Excellency described the good and fruitful ongoing economic, political and other relationship between her country and Israel. "The economic ties are getting stronger;Services, especially transportation and tourism, are showing great results;"

She also noted the great number of Israeli tourists that frequent her country, "the number of Israeli tourists to Slovenia is going up by 30 % per year in the last 2 consecutive years.And the absolute numbers of Israelis traveling to Slovenia are very close to the numbers of Israeli tourists to India.

And while both of our countries, India and Slovenia, are great, mine is a bit on the extra small side, so the numbers are even more impressive. "

The Slovenian Embassy initiated, organized and co-organized fifty two events in the past year.

The Ambassadoress mentioned two of them:

"The First Slovene – Israeli Day of Science and Innovation, with great outreach, was held at the beginning of the year in Ljubljana and I am truly pleased that the event's key note speaker, prof Dan Shechtman, is also celebrating with us today.


The second is X – Territorial: A semester long project by the students of the Department of Architecture of the WIZO Haifa Academy of Design and Education and the Faculty of Architecture of Ljubljana University which resulted in conceptual projects for future Emabassies - Slovenian Embassy in Israel : Israel Embassy in Slovenia. The exhibition was opened also at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem and is supposed to travel to Ljubljana."





 Photos Silvia Golan






 The Pool Bar at Tel Aviv's Hilton Hotel was the perfect sunset location last Tuesday for a party to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Thailand. As the sun sank into the Mediterranean Sea, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Israeli business community, VIPs, high society and journalists mingled, chatted, laughed and enjoyed the delicious food and drinks.


In the background a Thai sextet played authentic Thai music, while guests were startled to see artists weaving Thai silk, others crafting gorgeous artistic creations out of fruits and vegetables, and yet others hand-painting tiny Thai umbrellas – given to guests as a souvenir of the evening.


 Hosting the party was H.E. Mr. Jukr Boon-Long, ambassador to Israel of the Kingdom of Thailand. The ambassador, in a short and gracious address to welcome the guests noted that in honor of this 60th diplomatic anniversary, Thailand Post and Israel Post have jointly issued stamps in their respective countries – an unusual and very creative way of symbolizing the close ties between the two states.


He added that Israel and Thailand share cultural, medical, agricultural, scientific, investment and trade ties. "Culture transcends any boundary. Culture could travel beyond territorial; political, religious, and ideological borders. Culture creates understanding amongst people of different races. For this reason, the Embassy is very conscious of how better understanding of each other's cultures and background can lead to a reservoir of goodwill and cooperation among nations."


Among the ambassadors and other distinguished guests was the doyen of the Israeli diplomatic corps, H. E. Henri Etoundi Essomba , ambassador of Cameroon; H. E..Lars Faaborg-Andersen; the ambassador to Israel of the European Union; H. E. Sisa Ngombane , ambassador of South Africa; Adv. Joseph Gillor, honorary consul for Thailand in Haifa and President of the Israel-Thailand Chamber of Commerce; Ms. Sawalee Eldar, CEO of Oriental Food Importers Ltd., and of course Ms. Rinat Gilboa who designed the exquisite Israeli stamp. She told your DIPLOMACY correspondent that this is not the first time she has designed stamps for the Israel Postal Authority, and that "it takes endless hours to get it just right".


Also honoring the guests with their presence were Hezi Zaieg, Chairman of Israel Postal Company, and Haim Elmoznino, CEO & President of the Company. They participated in the unveiling of the actual stamp, and paid tribute to the close relationship between the two countries, and thanked the stamp's designer again for her brilliant work.



 Israel's Minister of Communication, Gilad Erdan, represented the government of Israel and replied on behalf of the people of Israel. He noted that it is not coincidental that the theme of the stamp is the Thai mangosteen fruit and the Israeli pomegranate. "These fruits are symbolic of the fruitful and long-standing excellent relations that have existed between the two countries since Israel was only 6 years old", said Mr. Erdan, who then revealed that when he was a young man just released from the army, he chose to spend a long period of time touring Thailand as a backpacker, and added that today Thailand is the 2nd most popular tourist destination for Israelis. Guests at the event were invited to taste the mangosteen fruits, especially imported for the occasion.


Also especially "imported" was the cultural troupe who performed authentic Thai dancing and musical excerpts, from the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute of Thailand. They showcased some of Thailand's exquisite culture. They are currently on tour to Beer Sheva, Nazareth, and Haifa with the kind sponsorship of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture.


A gift of a day-of-issue cancellation envelope of the two stamps (Thai and Israel) was presented to each guest, together with colorful literature on tourist attractions in Thailand.


This will be a hard act to follow.




 Photos Silvia Golan














  The 116th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of the Philippines was celebrated on June 12 in the Tel Aviv Carlton Hotel. The invitees included many Distinguished Ambassadors, Consuls and other Diplomatic personalities, military and medical people who participated in the rescue operations following the nature disaster that happened in the Philippine.


The Philippine national government declared June 12, 2014 as one of the Regular National Holiday in the entire Philippines in celebration of the country’s Independence Day celebration.

The June 12, 2014 Independence Day Celebration is considered as the 116th anniversary celebration of the Philippine declaration of Independence from the Spanish colonial regime that governed the country for more than 377 years of occupation.


The Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippine, His Excellency Generoso D. G. Calonege, welcomed the participants and said:


Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs Meir Cohen, Excellencies and other members of the diplomatic corps, friends and fellow Filipinos, good evening and welcome.


On behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, I wish to thank you for joining us this evening as we commemorate the 116tb Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.


As I recall events of the last year, I cannot help but note some difficulties that the Philippines encountered. Many of you have beard about the tragic and devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan in the Central Visayas region. The storm and its aftermath affected thousands of families, but the outpouring of support and assistance from the international community has been overwhelming as well.


We would like to take this opportunity to once again express the Philippines' deep appreciation to the Government of the State of Israel for sending a humanitarian delegation from the IDF Home Front Command. The state-of-the-art field hospital they established served almost three thousand local residents of Bogo, Cebu during the crucial first few days after the typhoon .


I would also like to thank other organizations that took the initiative to send their own teams to the Philippines, such as ZAKA, IsraAID, the Israel Relief Coalition, and the American Jewish Committee, as well private Israeli citizens who sent donations to the affected areas. Your actions are a testament to the deep friendship between our countries and our peoples.


As I speak, rehabilitation  and reconstruction  efforts are still ongoing,  but we Filipinos are a resilient and enduring people.

Despite the setbacks suffered in 2013 the Philippine economy has maintained its growth, with an even more positive outlook for the future. During the same year the Philippines achieved investment grade status from all three major global credit-rating agencies: Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings, and Moody's.


These were achieved through fiscal discipline, a stable political climate, and good governance through the leadership of President Benigno S.Aquino III.


Furthermore, the World Bank's 2014 Global Economic Prospects Report forecasts growth of 6.5% this year, 7.1% in 2015, and 6.5% in 2016, while the World Economic Forum raised the Philippines' rank to 59 out of 148 countries in its Global Competitiveness Index.


Inflation is also at a four-year low, and with the planned increase in infrastructure

building , prospects for the Philippine economy are very positive indeed. and  as  our  economy  grows,  scvtfo;s  our  number  of  visitors.  In 2013 the Philippines hosted a total of 4.7 million tourists, up by  10% from 2012. Israeli visitors alone posted a 30% increase last year, maintaining the steady double digit increase since 2010.


The Philippines' geographic location historically made it the crossroads between the East and the West, and a melting pot of diverse cultures and beliefs.


Some may say that our country is an archipelago divided by the waters of the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. We say, however, that the Philippines' seven thousand one hundred and seven different islands are bound together by these bodies of water which, since time immemorial, have served as our source of livelihood, means of transportation, trade and cultural exchanges.


Many of you are familiar with  the Filipino culture of warmth, hospitality and openness borne out of this history. For those who are not familiar, I have good news for you.


The signing of the Philippines -Israel Air Service Agreement last month will pave the way for direct flights between the Philippines and Israel, bringing the Philippines closer and more accessible to you. Soon enough, those who may wish to escape the heat of an Israeli summer will find it easier to seek refuge in the cool rains and forests of the Philippines . Filipinos who yearn to visit the birthplace of Christianity will also find it easier to travel to Israel.


Philippine - Israel relations have always been warm. Our common commitment to the values of freedom and democracy has been a springboard for collaborative efforts in various fields for decades.


I am pleased to inform you that agricultural cooperation is going well and strong as demonstrated by the second phase of the Philippines - Israel Center for Agricultural Training, also known as PICAT, and by the Granot Agrostudies Program, both under the Ministry of Foreign Affair's MASHAV.

Originally began with one pilot project in Nueva Ecija in 2006, PICAT provided a venue for Israeli experts to provide on-site training and capacity building for the cultivation of high-value crops to Filipino farmers. The program is now on its eighth year and has expanded to seven other provinces in Central Luzon, namely Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Zambales.


Granot Agrostudies provides agricultural training  for Filipino students in Israel. To date, more than one thousand Filipino students have trained under this program and returned to the Philippines where they can put the agricultural techniques they have learned into action.


Defense and logistics cooperation between Israel and the Philippines is also well underway, highlighted by the visit of our Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin earlier this year and the recent re-opening of the Office of the Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache. We welcome this new dimension in Philippines - Israel relations and look forward to working with the Israeli government in this field.


The Philippines remains steadfast in its commitment to peace and security in the Middle East. Since 2009, it has maintained peacekeepers at the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force stationed in the Golan. Together with other troop contributing countries, the mission plays a pivotal role in ensuring stability in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria.


The most visible indication of the good relations between our countries, however, is in the relationship between our peoples. Filipinos have become part of everyday life in Israel as they care for the most vulnerable members of society: the elderly and the  differently-abled. Their hard work allow Israelis to carry on with their daily lives, confident that their loved ones are in good hands.


The Philippines appreciates this important role that has been entrusted to Filipino workers, as well as the policies enacted by the Israeli government to ensure that their rights and welfare are protected.


The year 2014 marks the 116th year since our forefathers sowed the seeds of the Republic of the Philippines. It also marks the 57th year since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Israel. As we celebrate both auspicious events this evening, we also invite you to join us as we continue our journey as a country, and as partners in the international community.


Thank you very much, toda raba, maraming salamat.

After the Ambassador's speech, addressed the participants the Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Mr. Meir Cohen, and said the following:

I am greatly pleased and honored to represent the Government and the People of Israel in congratulating the government and people of the Philippines as they celebrate the 116th anniversary of their independence.


Israel and the Philippines have always enjoyed friendly relations with one another. One can trace the origins of these warm relations all the way back to World War II when the President of the Philippines made a concerted effort to welcome the Jews of Europe into his country during and immediately after the horrors of the Holocaust. Moreover, in 1947, the Philippines was the only country in all of Asia which supported the UN partition plan to give the Jews a state of their own. And even today, the Philippines takes an active role in supporting the wellbeing of Israel’s citizens: it is an active member of UNDOF, the peace keeping  force in the Golan Heights, which is essential to our security.


Yet the people of the Philippines do not only care for Israelis through government action. Today there are tens of thousands of Pilipino caregivers working in Israel. Thanks to these caregivers, citizens of the Philippines have earned a reputation in Israel for their dedication, patience, and compassion.   


For our part, Israel is glad to be able to reciprocate this dedication and sense of service to the Philippines through MASHAV. Since the establishment of this government agency, thousands of Pilipino students have studied in MASHAV courses. The “PICAT Project” has been particularly successful and we are pleased that it has spread to eight Pilipino provinces since its initial implementation.


Moreover, after the destruction caused by  Typhoon Yolanda last year, Israel sent a humanitarian delegation from the IDF Homefront Command and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist the Philippines. Beyond the medical care which Israelis administered to over three thousand Pilipino typhoon victims in a field hoapital built by the Israelis, we also rebuilt two schools and drilled many new water wells. Israelis also offered on the spot courses in numerous subjects to help Pilipino citizens be better prepared for natural disasters.


We are also satisfied with the continuation of the “Agrostudies Project” in the Philippines, which enables hundreds of students to come to Israel and receive training in advanced agriculture. Next August, a new generation of 550 students will arrive in Israel for training and we wish them best of luck in their studies here.


In terms of economics, many Israeli companies are beginning to turn their attention to the Philippines. They see the vast untapped potential and as we speak, are investing in a variety of sectors in the Pilipino economy, particularly the defense industry which can be helpful to its national security.


In the international arena, Israel is also pleased with the Philippines’ actions over the past month. We appreciate that the Philippines took Israel’s position in UNESCO and WHO votes. We hope to see this pattern continue.


On June 22, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Mr. Albert Del Rosario, is scheduled to visit Israel. Our own Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avignor Lieberman, is looking forward to this visit and hopes to have a robust dialog with his Pilipino counterpart on variety of topics. More generally, the government of Israel views these high level visits as a powerful demonstration of the strong ties which bind our two nations together.  


To conclude, Mr. Ambassador, please convey our congratulations to your Government and to the Pilipino People on the anniversary of your independence. May the Philippines enjoy growing prosperity and success, and may the ties of friendship between our two countries continue to flourish.


The national anthems of both countries were sung by a popular Philippine singer - Kathlyn Elegado. Also performed Rose Osang Fostanes - a Philippine singer who works in Israel and won the first place in the Israeli X-Factor contest.


I want to add:  I have attended many events commemorating Independence Day of various countries, and heard many speeches. In this particularly event, I  felt deeply the strong friendship between the people of both countries – Philippines and Israel – which was evident in the speeches and atmosphere ( Sima Lahat).


Photos Silvia Golan













What might have been a stuffy, stiff and formal evening turned out to be really smart, very elegant, and wonderfully “cool” event on Wednesday evening 11th June.

The venue was the Grand Ballroom of Tel Aviv’s Hilton Hotel, a perfect location to celebrate the National Day of the Russian Federation in style.


The invitees included many Distinguished Ambassadors, Consuls and other Diplomatic personalities (the various Military Attaches all looking so crisp and smart in full dress uniforms), senior members of the Israeli political scene, captains of Israel’s industry and economy (including Stas Misezhnikov – former Israeli Minister of Tourism, and Asher Ben Artzi, former Chief Superintendent of Israel Police, to name just two), and members of the Russian-Israeli community, many of them displaying medals of their own military service in the former USSR and the modern Russian Federation.


The hosts were the Ambassador of Russia to Israel, his Excellency Sergey Yakovlev and Mrs. Yakovlev. In an unusually short (and sweet) speech by the Ambassador he simply welcomed the guests and invited them to enjoy themselves on the festive occasion of the National Day of the Russian Federation – which they obviously did.



Elegant snacks, a delicious and generous buffet dinner, an open bar where the wine, champagne and vodka flowed like water is a sure basic recipe for enjoyment.


Israeli Minster of Absorption Sofa Landver (herself of Russian origin) responded to the Ambassador on behalf of the Israeli people. She opened her address by warmly congratulating the Government and the people of the Russian Federation, and asked Ambassador Yakovlev to convey the good wishes to the Government and people. Mrs. Landver noted that the national days of Russia and Israel are very close together, symbolic of the close ties between the two countries, and that the dates coincide with the anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi regime, a defeat in which Russia played a major role. “This holiday is one of the most important celebrations in Russia and it also holds a special place in the hearts of Israelis. How amazing, that only three years after Russia defeated the Nazis, the State of Israel was established, in May 1948”.


The evening was conducted under the stewardship of Aleksander Kryukov, Counselor of the Russian Embassy. He introduced the vibrant after-dinner entertainers, including the classic tenor Dr. Michael Riskin and soprano Radha Abramovich who were expertly accompanied by musicians Leonid Ptashka, Valery Lipetz and Alex Akovov.


Lining the red carpet at the entrance were photographs from the 2014 winter Olympics at Sochi, with the addition of some older photographs of some the former USSR’s sports men and women and their spectacular successes.



 Photos  Silvia Golan





Photo H.E. Ms. Vivian Bercovici, presented her nomination form to the President of Israel

The President Shimon  Peres told the New Ambassadors:

"The State of Israel and its citizens appreciate you very much - Please feel at home"


The new Ambassadors from Canada, Macedonia, Montenegro and Uganda presented their Letters of Credence to the President of Israel Mr. Shimon Peres, when starting their roles as Ambassadors of their respective countries in Israel, in an official ceremony at the President's residence. In their meetings with the President, the Ambassadors expressed their hopes for the strengthening of the mutual relations and the broadening of the mutual cooperation between the countries.

The new Ambassador from Canada, H.E. Ms. Vivian Bercovici, presented her Letter of Credence to the President of Israel with great excitement, thanked the President, and said: "I am very moved to be here, and I am ready to the challenges involved in the fulfillment of this service. We have very good relations and common values. We will be glad to work and strengthen the commercial and scientific relations between Israel and Canada. There are very good relations between the Jewish community in Canada and Canadian citizens, and I, as a Jewish Canadian citizen, can testify this". President Peres shook her hand warmly and said: "Canada is close to our hearts and one of our most important allies. Our mutual relations are at their top flourishing".

 Photo  The new Macedonia's Ambassador  H.E. Mr. Pajo Avirovikj and the  president Peres

The new Ambassador from Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Pajo Avirovikj, presented his Letter of Credence to President Peres  and said: "I am very proud to have received the privilege of representing my country in Israel for the second time, and of continuing to work for the enhancement of the relations between our countries. Macedonia attributes great importance to its relations with Israel and the dialog between our countries."

The new Ambassador from Montenegro, H.E. Ms. Tamara Mugos, presented also her Letter of Credence to President Peres

 Photo  The new Ambassador from Montenegro, H.E. Ms. Tamara Mugos, presented her nomination form to the President.

The new Ambassador from Uganda, H.E. Mr. Angualia Laus Richard, presented his Letters of Credence to President Peres , thanked him and said: "Uganda and Israel have enjoyed very good relations for many years, and we expect to strengthen them in the coming years. We thank you, Mr. President, for your important role in these relations. I wish to congratulate you for the democratic elections for the presidency, which brought great honor to the State of Israel, and it is a privilege for me to have experienced the election process".

 Photo The new Ambassador from Uganda, H.E. Mr. Angualia Laus Richard and the President Shimon Peres


President Peres welcomed the new Ambassadors, stressed that the State of Israel will help them broaden the mutual cooperation as much as possible, and said: "This house is open for you - please feel at home. You will discover that the State of Israel and its citizens appreciate you very much. Our relations are very good, and it is important for us to keep them as such and strengthen them. We will help you and stand by you in everything you need."

  Photos Mark Neumann  GPO


Pope Francis Meets Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas And Patriarch Bartholomaios I To Pray For Peace




VATICAN CITY, VATICAN : Pope Francis (2nd L) meets Israeli President Shimon Peres (L), Palestinian President Patriarch Bartholomaios I (2nd R) and Mahmoud Abbas for a peace invocation prayer at the Vatican Gardens on June 8, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the encounter on May 25th during his visit to the Holy Land.


Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, departed for a special visit to the Vatican at the invitation of Pope Francis. At event hosted by Pope Francis with President Peres, Palestinian Authority President Abbas and delegations of Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith leaders, they issued a joint call for peace to people across the world.

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The Italian Republic day was celebrated on June 2nd 2014. Republic Day, also known as Festa della Repubblica in Italian (Festival of the Republic), is a national holiday in Italy on June 2 each year. It celebrates the day when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in 1946 so their country could become a republic. Republic Day is a day off work for many people in Italy. Events include: Official ceremonies, Military parades, Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, inside the Altare della Patria in Rome.


Outside Italy, many Italian diplomats in embassies celebrate this day worldwide.

On the wide lawn of the Ambassador's house, Mr. Francesco M. Talo, gathered hundreds of guests to celebrate the occasion. Among them were the diplomatic community members, Minister Silvan Shalom, Mr. Meir Shitrit, Tal Brody, Sheri Harrison and many others.

The official part of the event, started with the announcement of Moran Atias, in both languages: Italian and Hebrew. After the three national anthems were played (Italian, Israeli and the EEU) the Ambassador held a short speech praising the close and strong ties between both countries. His speech was followed by the warm words of the Italian minister of education - Maria Chiara Carrozza, and the Israeli Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz. Then, the Commissioner of the European Union, Giuseppe Sala, promoted Expo Milano 2015 under the title of: "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", mentioning the importance of the Israeli pavilion, one of the attractions on the Expo 2015 exhibition.


After several songs by an Israeli youth quire, followed by jazz music, the guests could enjoy the fine tastes of Italian food and wines. The wine and Parmesan cheese were brought from Italy especially for this event. Waiters served hot Pizza and Antipasti. There were counters of Espresso and Italian chocolate and delicious Nutella ice cream.


I would like to congratulate the Italian people on this important and enjoyable celebration.


Photo  Silvia Golan





On May 28th, Nepal's National Day was celebrated in the Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv. In the background were colorful national costumes of the celebrating people, Nepal's music and dances, and plenty of delicious food.

Hosted the celebration was the Ambassador of Nepal, His Excellency Mr. Prahlad Kumar Prasai. Also participated Mrs Yael German, Minister of Health of the State of Israel, MK Ifat Kariv, President of the Israel- Nepal Parliamentary Friendship Group,  Members of the Parliament, Mr. Nissim Ben Shetrit, Director General MOFA, Ambassadors, Heads of Missions, Government Officials, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Representatives from UN & other international organizations, Representative from Business Sector/Press & Media.

Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, between the Tibetautonomous region of China and India. It contains 8 of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. A monarchy for hundreds of years, Nepal was declared a republic in June 2008.

Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras.
The posters, brochures and puppets that were given to the participants, were showing the magnificent scenery of Nepal.


Addressing the participants, the Ambassador of Nepal, His Excellency Mr. Prahlad Kumar Prasai, said:
I feel deeply honored and privileged to welcome you all, on the occasion of the 7th Republic day (National Day) of Nepal. Nepal established the Republican order on May 28, 2008. On this occasion I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate to all my fellow compatriots in country and abroad.

Since the comprehensive peace agreement in 2006, Nepal is destined to achieve peace and prosperity through the promulgation of a new constitution. After successful completion of 2nd election of constituent Assembly, new Council of Ministers has been formed led by Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Sushil Koirala, President of Nepali Congress Party. The incumbent coalition Government is fully committed to promulgate new constitution at the earliest possible.

The Government has brought out a common minimum program that includes priorities for a peaceful, stable, inclusive, Federal Democratic Republic and prosperous Nepal. It also reinforces the vision of a dignified, respectable, responsible and committed Nepal in international arena.
The progress towards the political stability has instilled a growing confidence at the people and business contributing to the positive economic achievement with a forecast of more than 5% growth in this year. With these positive changes in our socioeconomic condition the Government of Nepal is determined to accelerate the development initiatives and achieve the respectable economic growth that would help alleviating the existing poverty level and achieve the target of graduating from LDC by 2022.

Nepal is a staunch believer in the purpose and principles of the United Nations and committed to maintain world peace. It has been contributing its troops in peace-keeping operations in different parts of the world under the auspices of the United Nations. As one of the largest contributors of peacekeepers, we have responded to the call by the UN even in the most difficult situation and most trouble parts of the world. Nepalese peacekeepers' long association with UN peace support operations began with the deployment of military observers in the Middle East in Lebanon in 1958. So far, Nepal has participated in 39 UN Peacekeeping missions and over 102,000(One Hundred and Two Thousand) personnel have participated. In this region, Nepal's Army personnel are deployed in peace keeping operations in UNIFIL,UNTSO,UNDOF and UNGU II. Currently Nepalese Army has some 3857 soldiers deployed across 13 missions around the world.





Nepal and Israel enjoy historical bond of friendship developed over years which has many dimensions. We established diplomatic ties 54 years ago (in June 1, 1960). Nepal –Israel relations are very cordial, cooperative and we understand each other's aspirations well. When Nepal, an ancient country nestled between two great Asian civilizations and Israel a newly established country in the Middle East with ancient history, decided to establish diplomatic ties that turned out to be a milestone in international relations of both countries and people.
Visionary leaders like B.P. Koirala of Nepal and David Ben Gurion of Israel played crucial role in shaping and nurturing our bilateral relations.


Over the years leaders and people of both the countries have contributed to further develop and strengthen this bond of friendship, cordiality existing between our two countries. As a true friend and well-wisher, Nepal is delighted at the remarkable economic, scientific and technological progress and prosperity achieved by Israel.
Israel has extended valuable cooperation to Nepal in various developmental fields including establishment of the National Construction Company of Nepal and training facilities for the Nepalese Army personnel in parachuting. Israel has also been providing Nepal with short-term scholarships in various subjects particularly in the areas of agriculture, education, rural development, water resources, and tourism through Israeli Agency for International Development cooperation MASHAV. Moreover, Nepali students are getting world class education in reputed Israeli Universities.

Israel's continued support to train and educate Nepali farmers; students and other professionals have greatly contributed in introducing new techniques, technology and methods to boost agriculture production. Israel being a miracle in the region and in the world, their know how has been helping Nepali people to learn and emulate agricultural practices that would be feasible in Nepal. We are very grateful for all cooperation provided by Israel for the development of Nepal.

Nepal & Israel issued joint commemorative postage stamps to mark years of friendly relations between the two countries. The stamps showcase the highest and lowest places in the world which are found in both countries: Israel's Dead Sea which is 422 meters below the sea level and Nepal's Mount Everest at 8848 meters above sea level.
Similarly, a monument of Dead Sea with its stone was established at the gateway of Mount Everest and a monument of Mount Everest with its stone was established in the ecological park of the Tamar Region of Dead Sea. It shows that though geographically distant our two countries are very much closer than imagined or thought.

Nepal has been a favorite destination for Israelis particularly the young ones who love adventure tourism. More than 10,000 Israeli tourists visit Nepal every year. Israel has been an attractive destination for Nepali workers, especially women caregivers. Currently there are around 6,000 Nepali working in Israel .I hope such employment opportunities to Nepali caregivers would grow in the days to come. In addition to this, some Nepalese youths are getting trainings in Israeli Agricultural Institutes as trainee workers which is very important to further develop Nepal's agricultural sector. There remains a tremendous potential for further promotion and expansion of bilateral interactions between our two countries in the fields of trade, tourism, labor, science and technology, education and culture.

Israeli business people could find Nepal as one of the friendliest and secure places where they would not only enjoy natural beauty of the country, but also find a best place to do business. Nepal is in a vantage point from where you can easily link not only 30 million consumers of Nepal but also a vast scope for expansion to about 2.5 billion consumers who are our next door neighbors with whom we have best of relations. Nepal has the best option for Israeli investors to invest in various sectors like Hydropower, Agriculture, Tourism, Science and technology, telecommunication and IT industry among others.

I am confident that in the days ahead our bilateral relations will grow stronger to the mutual satisfaction of both the countries and people.
Finally, I would like to thank Hon. Minister once again for her valuable time and gracious presence as chief guest. I also take this opportunity to thank Honorable members of Knesset, Excellency Ambassadors, Senior Government officials, members of diplomatic corps and other distinguished guests for joining us to celebrate this event with joy and happiness.

To the Ambassador's request, the  Minister of Health of the State of Israel, Mrs. Yael German, addressed the function and said:

" It is an honor for me to convey, this evening, on behalf of the Government and the People of Israel, warm congratulations on the occasion of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Republic Day celebration. I am also delighted to take this opportunity to renew the Nepali people the hearty congratulations of the State of Israel on the successful establishment of a new Government in Nepal earlier this year. This political achievement, following the peaceful, orderly and transparent general elections held in November, is a testament to the resilience of Nepal's democracy. We are confident that these achievements will be followed by the successful formulation of a permanent constitution and extend our best wishes to those leading this complex political process. The Government of Israel looks forward to cooperation with the new Government in Kathmandu and to joining hands to take the ties between the two countries ever further.

Nepal is one of Israel's longest-standing friends in Asia and the relationship between the two countries has always been marked by outstanding warmth and affinity. We have the deepest appreciation for the good will between the two countries in the past and are confident that it will serve as a firm basis for even closer ties in the future.
In Particular, an inter-departmental team is making ongoing efforts to establish a government-to-government mechanism for the placement of Nepali caregivers in Israel in a way that is transparent and equitable. We hope these efforts will bear fruit in the near future. Likewise, we look forward to welcoming to Israel 360 Nepali students in the framework of the special agricultural training programmes taking place at Kineret College, in Sdot Negev, in the Arava and in Ramat HaNegev.

Moreover, we look forward to a year of joint Israeli-Nepali activities, including promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation, promotion of awareness of public health issues community development and more. We are also proud of the ongoing good-works undertaken by Israeli and Jewish NGOs in Nepal and are confident of the contribution they make to your bilateral relations.
Mr. Ambassador, Allow me to conclude by personally thanking you for promoting cooperation and building bridges between our two nations. I ask you to convey to His Excellency the President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav and to Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister, Mr. Sushil Koirala, the best wishes of my Government. May the future bring prosperity for Nepal and a strengthening of the friendship between your country and Israel." 





The writer of this report hopes that the magnificent scenery and the pleasant people of Nepal, will continue to attract millions of tourists to this unique country.


 Photo  Nepal Embassy  / Silvia Golan




Your Holiness Pope Francis,

I want to welcome you, on behalf of the State of Israel and all the people of Israel, with a warm “Shalom,”

You have come to Jerusalem which radiates faith and understands suffering. The humility in your nature and the power in your spirit raised a spiritual elation and a thirst for peace. The values which you stand for enrich us and bring righteousness between people.  The moral call remains the wisest human judgment. It has no equal.  Today, you are greeted here by a distinguished and diverse representation of Israeli society.

A society in which freedom of speech, the right to express oneself and the respect of holy sites are cornerstone values.

With your permission, I shall welcome all those who convened here in your honor – community and religious leaders, city mayors, judges, people of intellect and science. Jews and Arabs, Druse and Circassians, Catholics and Orthodox, young and old, men and women, from the city and from the

They long to hear your words while they are characterized by their fear of God and the love for humanity.  They have come to bless you on inspiring by your very nature trust among the fallen and strength among the trodden. A combatant against discrimination, anti-Semitism and racism.

Your Eminence,

The world is shocked by the blood that is shed in city squares, and in the thick of villages. The blood of the clean-handed is crying from the land. The blood of the innocents, the blood of children which had yet to taste the flavor of life.

No one can stand the growing number of widows, orphans, refugees that run with nowhere to go, and foodless. Grief and bereavement calls for true soul-searching, everywhere and at all time.

Your visit, Your Holiness, is a moving event with the power to motivate the religious leaders into joining forces to enable moral ethics and scientific innovations to enable each person to free themselves from despair, poverty and violence.

Faith and science have the power to reveal the hidden strengths within people, the treasures of the land, and the innovation stemming from research centers. All this can bring blessings to our lives.

Sadly, rotten apples are also exposed. Those who plant the seeds of evil today are the terror organizations. They have no pity and spread destruction. They kill without judgment, without distinction, without pity without logic.  We must stand together to prevent the menace on the lives of people and on world peace.

In the face of moral corruption we must show moral responsibility. And make clear that there is no greater contradiction than that between faith and murder.

I appeal to all the religious and spiritual leaders of our time: Make your voices clearly heard. With a distinct message. It is our duty that our children, the children of the world, regardless of religion or nationality, may live without fear and grow up in a world free of slaughter, a world which allows each person to live as a human being.

Your Eminence,

I know that you stand as firmly as a rock against any attempt to connect religion to terror. And that you aspire to create a common ground for global, regional and individual peace. We join you with body and soul in the effort to thwart murder and replace it by gates of peace.

Distinguished Guests,

I welcome the encounters between the religious authorities and the political world that can serve to highlight the spiritual, moral and common foundations that connect them.


Their ability to enhance political aspirations with the religious authority necessary to enable the compromises needed to achieve peace. I believe that your visit and call for peace will echo through the region and contribute to revitalizing the efforts to complete the peace process between us and the Palestinians, based on two states living in peace. A Jewish state – Israel. And an Arab state- Palestine.

This solution can be reached by mutual agreement. I believe that the citizens of the region want peace. They pray for peace. They are ready for peace with their neighbors and with all the nations of our region.

The threats of war will not bring peace. The dead will offer no praise. Only constructive perseverance can achieve peace. Only peace has the power to uproot poverty, overcome despair. Only peace can free people from tyranny. To the skeptics we shall say that we achieved peace with Egypt and Jordan, despite the fact that many saw this as a distant dream.

Your Eminence,

We are an ancient people, but our path is new. Because our values are constant, but the road is changing. However, there is no contradiction between the Ten Commandments and scientific innovation. In the words of Rabbi Kook: “We must sanctify the old, and respect the new.” Faith and science helped Israel overcome poverty, protect itself, and enabled it to achieve full peace. We will be happy to put our expertise at the disposal of all.  And the more this will benefit others, the better it will be for us.

Your Holiness,

Your visit to the Holy Land is an important opportunity for a joint prayer to God in Heaven for peace. We would be honored to offer such a prayer either in our home or yours. In accordance with your kind offer.

A prayer that children will grow without danger to their lives. That a mother will bear her child without hearing a siren. That every man will sit under his vine or his fig tree untroubled. We will work together, Jews, Christians and Muslims to bring an end to the conflicts.

Economic prosperity and social justice for all. I believe that peace is the key to bringing about these changes.

Your Holiness,

Our home is open to every pilgrim.  As is said in the Book of Isaiah, "For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Israel was born in innocence. It was built by pioneers who volunteered and who toiled to create an Israel worthy of the aspirations of our parents and the expectations of our children.

We are a small nation but with the world. A nation dedicated to Tikkun Olam – Bettering the world. A world which you call, "a world of brotherhood."

My dear friend,

I was young and now I am old. I learnt that dreams do not age and I recommend to all act accordingly.

You walked in pilgrimage and you paved a road.

May you blessed.


Photo  Mark Neuman  / GPO 





On May 25th, Africa and the rest of the world is commemorating “Africa Day”, which puts an emphasis on African unity and the connection to Africans throughout the world.


The honorable  Ambassador of Kenya, His Excellency Lt. General Augostino S.K. Njoroge (Rtd.), hosted in his house in Kfar- Shmariahu, Ambassadors and Head of Missions of  Angola, Cameroon, Congo DRC, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.


On behalf of the Israeli Government, came the Minister of Defense, Mr. Moshe Yaalon, to greet the honorable guests. Also came to greet representatives and mission heads of countries from Asia and Europe, among them the Ambassadors of Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Latvia, Serbia, Sweden, Poland and guests from Israel and abroad. The dress code was Business Suit and National Dress.


In the swimming pool, located in the house lawn, floated colored balloons in the respective countries colors. The guests enjoyed food from the kitchen of participating African countries.

After the National Anthem of the African Union and Israel, and after proposing a toast to both nations, spoke the Ambassador of Kenya, in his role of the Dean of African Diplomatic Corps in Israel.

The Ambassador welcomed the Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, the ambassadors and all  guests. He spoke about the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African continental organization in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia in 1963 and about 2014 as the year of Agriculture and food security, that marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive African Agriculture and Development Program.

The Ambassador  spoke about the goal of agricultural transformation in Africa – to enable production and availability of food for the population, and to provide means of livelihood to the ever increasing population. The future farmers in Africa are going to be young and exposed to technologies so as to succeed in sustaining the agricultural growth.

He then spoke about the threat that the climate change poses to achieving these goals although Africa is producing the least amount of greenhouse gases in the world and called for global application of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

The African shall not succeed in eradicating poverty and diseases unless they engage in integration of its economy and mineral resources. The African Union has a new agenda – Agenda 2063, which presents a collective effort to regain power to determine Africa own destiny. Agenda 2063 will translate this vision into concrete milestones and targets.


The Ambassador than spoke about sustainable peace and security to the African people that will enable the development of the continent. African leaders will continue to harness the conductive environment for peace and stability to ensure development and shared prosperity.

Africa has enormous untapped resources like hydro power, wind and solar energy and geothermal energy that will have enormous potential for bio-energy development. Therefor Africa will strive to generate most of its energy from renewable sources. In this regard, Israeli companies with their advanced technologies are invited to participate in the harnessing of these untapped renewable sources of energy in Africa.  He also extended Africa’s appreciation to the State of Israel for considering Africa as the next business destination for Israelis.


The search for peace in the Middle East continues to be an urgent priority for the African Union, who seeks to take every opportunity to help promote a peaceful two state solution, in accordance with the international resolutions aimed at achieving lasting peace, security and economic prosperity in the region.

After the Ambassador, spoke the Minister of Defense, Mr. Moshe Yaalon.

The minister addressed his speech to the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Israel, the Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic mission in Israel. He represented the Government of Israel in the celebration of 51 years of the African Union. Minister Yaalon said that Israel and the African States share special and close relations ever since the peoples of Africa gained their independence in the 20th Century.

Based on the common values of freedom and democracy, the pursuit of development together with a common historic heritage. Israel, said the minister, is proud of its historic and continuous relations with Africa. Israel acknowledges the vast economic potential of Africa and Israeli organizations see it as an important destination.


Israel, said Mr. Yaalon, attaches great importance to the African Union, which holds a central part in the promotion of Pan-African unity and solidarity. Unfortunately, since 2002, Israel has been banned from the African Union conferences. If the A.U. is interested in having influence in the Middle East, it must enable Israel’s return to this political body. The African Union can find in Israel a loyal partner for the sake of its development, compatible with the agenda of Africa's Renaissance.

The minister reiterated that  Africa holds great importance for Israel from the points of view of defense and the war against terror, especially in view of  the growing strength of radical Islamist organizations and the infiltration of terrorist elements, following what was called the "Arab Spring" in North Africa. Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded positively to the appeal of the President of Nigeria and an Israeli delegation is presently in Nigeria to help locate the kidnapped young girls.


We consider, continued minister Yaalon, Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded positively to the appeal of the President of Nigeria and an Israeli delegation is presently in Nigeria to help locate the kidnapped young girls. Israel will always stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder with African countries confronting the menace of terror and radicalism. The same is true regarding the battle we need to lead together against racism, violence and xenophobia.  Both the Jewish people and the peoples of Africa suffered and continue to suffer today from racism and persecutions, as we have seen only yesterday in the heinous murder in the Jewish museum in Brussels.


Minister Yaalon ended his speech by presenting warm congratulations and the best wishes of the Israeli Government on the occasion of Africa Day.

This unique and honoring evening ended in African Fashion Show and dancing to African music. All is left for us is to greet Africa to be united, peaceful and prosperous.


Photos  : Arieh Lahat

For the first time, members of the Romanian Royal family visit the state of Israel

The representatives of the Royal Family of Romaniatheir Royal Highnesses, the Crown Princess, Margareta, and Prince Radu of Romania,visited the State of Israel where they held meetings with members of the Knesset (Parliament), Ministers, religious and academics authorities.

They were received by the Deputy-Speaker Ruth Calderon, and the Minister of Health Mrs Yael German,  and  by Zeev Elkin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is the first visit of the Romanian Royal Family since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. 

During the visit, which took place the last week, the Royal couple visited the Yad Vashem Memorial. They visited the Hall of Names Room which features 600 portraits of Jewish Holocaust victims and contains binders which document 4,000,000 victims of the Holocaust. It is important to mention that The Queen Mother Helen of Romania- has the distinguished honor as "Righteous Among the Nations", for helping  save Jews during the World War II.

The agenda included a meeting with His Most Godly Beatitude Theophilos III, Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem  and also a visit to the Romanian Patriarchy Representation in Jerusalem. Their Royal Highnesses  visited the Holy Places and the Western Wall.

 The Prince Radu gave a lecture at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Mount Scopus Campus where he spoke about the 'Democracy and Public Institutions'. He and Princess Margareta visited the library of the Dinur Center from the Hebrew University focusing on Romanian Jewish history.

Another highlight of the visit was the Wolfson Medical Centre where a special attention was devoted to the Save A Child's Heart project, where Crown Princess Margareta met with Romanian doctors that undertake training at the Wolfdon Medical Centre, as well as with Romanian children that are treated here.

 The President of Romania Traian Băsescu visited Israel in January 2014.


 Photos provided by the Romanian Embassy





The angels smiled. The weather was perfect, the setting magical, the hosts gracious, the guests scintillating and the refreshments outstanding.


The event was the reception hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Sisa Ngombane and Mrs. Thatanyana Ngombane at their ambassadorial residence in Ramat Gan on the 29th April. It was just 20 years ago that South Africa dropped the outrageous apartheid policy and joined the family of nations as a true democracy for all its citizens. No longer would the color of one’s skin be the deciding factor in so many spheres of anyone’s daily life. Indeed, a reason to celebrate.


The evening opened with a smart reception with guests mingling happily on the beautiful lawns. Honoring the assembly with their presence where, amongst many others, their Excellencies Ambassadors Rodrigo X. Carreras (Costa Rica), Lars Faaborg-Andersen ( European Union), Miguel de Almeida e Sousa (Portugal) and Pjer Šimunović (Croatia); senior (and other) members of the diplomatic corps in Israel, captains of industry, art, science, education and culture in Israel; and many other honored guests from various walks of life that link South Africa and Israel.


The national anthems of South Africa and Israel preceded Ambassador Ngombane’s address to the guests. He noted that for only the 5th time, fully democratic elections in South Africa are scheduled to be held on 7th May; elections with a special significance after only 20 years of freedom. He paid tribute to the many South Africans living abroad, including in Israel, whom, he said “… have made significant contributions to their adoptive countries….”.


“Freedom came with a heavy price tag, and we pay homage to those who fought so hard to bring that freedom. … South Africans having been passing poverty from generation to generation. We are now reversing that trend”. The Ambassador noted that South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world because of the widening economic gap. He noted too that South Africa was one of the countries that voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel at the UN General Assembly in 1947, and that South Africa today, with its large Muslim population, supports “the Palestinian desire for Independence”.



Israel’s Minister of Tourism Dr. Uzi Landau, representing the Government and the State of Israel responded. He congratulated South Africa, and the gracious hosts, and requested that greetings and best wishes be sent to the Government and the people of South Africa, from the people of Israel. Dr. Landau gave a brief, complimentary overview of South Africa’s pluralism, democracy, scientific achievements and more. He mentioned the significant role South African Jewry – a tiny minority – had played not only in the country’s successes, but also in the struggle for freedom. “Today there is robust cooperation between the two countries. South Africa is Israel’s largest trading partner in Africa, and is unique in having Israel’s only Commercial Attaché on that continent. Nevertheless, we believe that there is potential to upgrade and diversify our cooperation for the benefit of both nations and in areas such as public health, water management, and food security.” As for the Palestinian desire for independence, Dr. Landau noted sadly that “Israel is still praying for a Palestinian “Sadat” who seeks peace, a free press and true democracy”.



Ambassador Ngombane thanked the Israeli representative for his words and proposed a toast to the health of the President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres.


With the background of charming music, and abetted by the delicious South African liqueurs, many of the guests joined in a group dance while a festive buffet dinner was served. South Africans have long been known for their sincere and congenial hospitality and Ambassador Ngombane and Mrs. Ngombane ensure that the tradition lives on.



Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. (Xhosa for “Lord bless Africa” and part of the South African national anthem).




Photo Silvia Golan  &  Dave Kaplan

Chinese newspaper describes the event as "The most successful event ever held on Weibo"

President Peres:

"I'm proud to be a member of the Weibo family."


The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, launched his official Weibo page this morning on China's largest social network from the company's headquarters in Beijing. President Peres is among the first world leaders to launch a page on the social networking site which boasts 2.8 billion posts a month and hundreds of millions of users. In accordance with Chinese tradition, President Peres and the Vice President of the company hit a gong to announce the launch, hundreds of Weibo employees attended and waved Chinese and Israeli flags. Within minutes of the launch 50 million users viewed the Weibo page of the President of the State of Israel.

President Peres said, "I'm proud to be a member of the Weibo family, I look forward to seeing you all on my page so that I can speak directly to the Chinese people, and especially the younger generation, to strengthen Israeli-Sino relations." The Vice-President of the company said the event was the first of its kind in China and was the largest launch of a Weibo page in the history of the company. The users posted questions for President Peres with many interested in finding out more about the State of Israel. Immediately after the launch event President Peres conducted an interview in the company studio with two leading Chinese bloggers, Ma Xiolin and Wang Chong, and questions from Weibo users.


President Peres answered questions pertaining to his life and work, his recommendations for places to visit in Israel and in particular Israeli science and technology. President Peres was asked what the secret to the wisdom of the Jewish people is and he responded, "Our secret is learning. It's important to ask questions, to cast doubt, to think creatively outside of the box and to learn about issues in depth. Our secret is based on high quality education."

The bloggers were interested in how President Peres perceived Israeli-Sino relations and asked about the arms embargo to which President Peres responded with a smile, "Israel and China have a wide range of cooperation and I have come to China to deepen and expand our trade in technology, medicine, high-tech and science rather than arms, I think that's preferable."

President Peres also addressed the peace process with the Palestinians which is garnering attention in China and said, "Both the Israeli and Palestinian people want to live in independent and separate states and we should respect that. I hope that the peace process between the people will bear fruit and we will be able to live side by side in friendship."

At the end of the interview President Peres took the opportunity to invite the people of China to visit Israel and said, "I invite you to visit Israel, the people of Israeli look forward to meeting you and will welcome you warmly. We have the Dead Sea where you can float, Jerusalem where you can learn history and a tradition like no other."



President Peres' Sina Weibo Page





Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO



A spring Monday evening at the home of South African ambassador to Israel, H.E. Sisa Ngombane and Mrs. Thathanyana Ngombane. The gracious hosts held a reception in honor of a group of South African journalists who are on a “discovery” trip to Israel, under the auspices of the South Africa-Israel Forum.


Gracing the event was the doyen of the Israeli diplomatic corps, H.E. Henri Etoundi Essomba, ambassador to Israel of Cameroon. Also present was the ambassador of the European Union H.E Lars Faaborg-Andersen and ambassadors and diplomatic staff of several other countries.


In his warm welcome address to the gathering, Ambassador Ngombane spoke of how careful one must be in Israel (or anywhere for that matter) to avoid a diplomatic faux pas by saying the perceived wrong things. He successfully avoided any clangers and made the guests feel right at home.


The South African journalists, from a range of news media there, are in Israel for just five days. According to Dan Brotman, executive director of the South Africa-Israel Forum, the group will see Israel “warts and all”. The Forum brings groups from South Africa from a range of backgrounds, with the defined intention of inviting them to examine the country at a grassroots level.

Among the Israeli guests were Steve Linde, Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post; Hagay El-Ad, Executive Director of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, Raphael Ahren, senior writer at the Times of Israel, and Marcelle Sheiman, chairperson of the South Africa-Israel Chamber of Commerce.


First Secretary of the South African diplomatic mission, Mr. Freddie Jordaan was on hand at all times to make sure the event was a diplomatic success in every sense of the word. Having wonderful South African wines on hand to accompany the elegant meal was a perfect supplement to what proved to be an interesting and productive evening.

Thank you Ambassador and Mrs. Ngombane.



Photo  by  Dave Kaplan from Telfed 



Nowruz is Persian for"[The] New Day" and is the name of the Iranian New Year or the Persian New Year. It marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendarNowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian people and their various religious groups


A few days ago, I joined members of the Baha'i faith, one of these groups, at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, to celebrate it.

I doubt there is anyone that has ever visited Israel that has not been to visit and see the spectacular  beauty of the Baha'i gardens in Haifa and Akko. This site serves as the Bahá'í World Center which is much the result of a successive number of persecutions and imprisonments of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith who was banished from Persia by Nasser-al-Din Shahin 1853, 


It is not only their contributions to the Israeli landscape, however, that connect Israel to the Baha'i Faith. A close examination of its principles reveals a common link between them and those of the State of Israel. They both share the understanding that "human rights must be applied irrespective of differences of racial background, ethnic origin, religious belief or national identity." All one had to do in order to grasp the truism of this principle was to look around the reception hall. There were members of every creed, every race, nationality and religious entity among the participants.

After the warm welcome at the entrance by the leaders of the community, the guests were invited to enjoy the abundance of delicacies and the traditional symbolic foods associated with the special day, all nicely displayed on the tables across the reception hall.


Following the reading of President Shimon Peres festive greetings to the Baha'i community, Secretary General, Joshua Lincoln delivered his welcoming speech. He shared with the guests the Baha'i's global activities and goals for the coming year. He specifically stressed the role of the Baha'I youth in their various projects of volunteering activities.  Ami Palmor, Director General of the Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel spoke last. She described the special relationship that has evolved between the Baha'i community and the Ministry.


Finally, in line with the Baha'i faith's emphasis on the role of youth to serve humanity in shaping the future of our world, a group of young boys and girls performed the late Arik Einstein's song, "Ata V'Ani Neshaneh et Haolam," (You and I will change the world).


 This New Spring Season, we wish our Baha'i friends – and all of mankind  - a year full of Hope, Celebrations, Productivity and great Collaborations in our efforts to make this world a better place for all.


Photos Silvia Golan




You don’t have to speak French, but it helps.

 Hundreds of guests turned up at the annual celebration of French speakers, held this year at the Arab-Hebrew Center in Jaffa. The Francophone Celebration is an annual event, celebrated worldwide – Israel included, with events taking place throughout the month of March.


Twelve embassies in Israel participated this past Friday morning (in alphabetical order – to avoid any diplomatic incident): Belgium, Canada, Cameroun, Cypress, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, France, Greece, Republic of Congo, Romania, Switzerland and Vietnam.


The ambassadors of almost all the countries honored the invited guests with their presence at an exclusive performance of the play “Neighbors”; a play by the Nephesh Theater. You don’t have to speak French; in fact, you don’t have to speak any language to enjoy this moving and humorous production: it is non-verbal and there are no “lines”. Yes, there are sounds, and even “conversations”, but in gibberish that becomes universally understood by the action on stage. In fact I identified only two words, both of which I believe are pretty universal: mama and baby. Yet I understood everything, especially the theme: what separates, or binds, neighbors is often found right next door.




After the performance the invitees mingled with the crowds in the courtyard where the various embassies offered tastings from their home countries. These included French cheese and wine, Swiss raclette with beer, Romanian delicacies, Belgian frites, Canadian waffles, and and and … the choices and generous offerings were overwhelming.


The Arab-Hebrew Theater is a longstanding effort at reducing possible tensions between the various racial, religious and ethnic groups that so characterize multicultural Jaffa. The director, Yigal Efrati, addressed the audience before the play. He explained that the name as “Arab-Hebrew” and not “Arab-Jewish” was chosen so as to remove any perceptions of religion from the organization.


At the party after the performance the Romanian ambassador to Israel, Mrs. Andreea Păstârnac addressed the gathering. She spoke eloquently – in French, which unfortunately, your diplomacy correspondent could not follow. C’est la vie – I guess you do have to speak French after all …



Photos  Silvia Golan














On Monday, March 3, H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Israel, Mr. Dimitar Mihaylov and his wife, Mrs.Nora Mihaylova, held a reception at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya, to celebrate the National Day of the Republic of Bulgaria, following the Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878.


Honorary guest was Mr. Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communications and Home Front Defense, who came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Republic of Bulgaria and Israel.

Then the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Israel presented the Bulgarian Ambassador


The H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria delivered most of his speech in excellent Hebrew, and also spoke in English and Bulgarian. He welcomed all the guests by saying:


"Your Excellency Gilad Erdan, Minister of Communications and Home Front Defense, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,


It is a distinguished honor to welcome you to the National Day of Bulgaria. This is the day when the Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878 ended the Russo-Turkish war and enabled the establishment of an independent Bulgarian State.


Today, Bulgaria, who is a member of the European Union, continues its democratic development within a country that has been able to instill the vision which our founding fathers envisioned: a precious republic of the people, by the people, and for the people in which members of all ethnicities and religious affiliations live together harmoniously; united by a common destiny and common future.


Now as never before, our bilateral relations with the State of Israel are increasingly growing into a partnership of mutual trust, with common aims of turning the adjacent Middle East and Europe into areas of prosperity, development and tolerance. The message that Bulgaria always sends to our Israeli friends is that the binding force between our two nations is rock-solid and it is our actions that lay the strong foundations for lasting bond of our generations to come."


Mr. Gilad Erdan greeted the H.R. Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Israel, Mr. Dimitar Mihaylov and Mrs. Mihaylova, the Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel, and the other Honored Guests.


He conveyed the warmest congratulations to Bulgaria on behalf of the government and people of Israel. He said that in Israel we wish peace, prosperity and happiness for the Bulgarian people, and that we are honored to celebrate this day with them. That Bulgaria is one of Israel's most important friends in Europe. That the bonds of collaboration and friendship shared by the two countries are strong, and growing more expansive.


That our nations have formal cooperation in several areas: politics, economics, sciences and culture. That in the past years we have signed new bilateral agreements dealing with homeland security, communications and health.


He continued by mentioning the following facts:

· In 2013, Israel gave hundred of Bulgarians work permits and employed them in construction, which helped them enrich their lives with dignified work.


· 2015 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic ties between Bulgaria and Israel. Since then, our nations have enjoyed high-level official visits, which stand as testimony to our renewed friendship. The peak of this process was the Government-to-Government (G2G) meetings, first in Sofia, then in Jerusalem.

· In the multilateral arena, Israel is grateful for Bulgaria's efforts to strengthen Israel's standing with the EU as well as the rest of the international community. In particular, Israel is grateful for the tremendous effort invested by Bulgaria in helping place Hezbollah in EU's Official List of Terrorist Organizations after the cowardly and despicable attack in Burgas (July, 2012).


· Israel gladly acknowledges Bulgaria's firm stance against anti-Semitism. We deeply appreciated the uncompromising statements across Bulgaria's political spectrum denouncing the infamous Lukov March, and the action taken by Bulgaria's lawmakers to ban the march from taking place. This act underlies the atmosphere of tolerance and humanity in Bulgaria, which the Jews know of all too well.

· Israel will always remember the salvation of the Jews of Bulgaria during WWII and the holocaust. The help of brave Bulgarians, who did not stand idle, marks a proud chapter in Bulgarian's history, which must never be forgotten. We all have the responsibility to learn and teach future generations the history of the holocaust and its lessons.


· The National Day of Bulgaria marks the nation's liberation and its freedom after many years of repression. The Jewish people also share the experience of a national rebirth after ages without political sovereignty.

Mr. Gilad Erdan ended by congratulating the government and people of Bulgaria on their National Day, and wishing Bulgaria a future of peace, economic growth, and continued friendship and cooperation with the State of Israel.


Photos  by Silvia Golan




On Thursday, February 13, the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Israel, Mr. Alexander De La Rosa, held a reception to celebrate the Dominican Republic's 107th Anniversary of the Independence of the Dominican Republic.


Many distinguished guests, including Mr. Silvan Shalom, Minister of National Infrastructures, Water and Energy, Minister for Regional Development and the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Dominican Republic and Israel.


Mr. Silvan Shalom greeted the Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel in name of the Government and People of Israel, and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Dominican Government and Dominican People on the occasion of the 170th Anniversary of their Independence. He wished health, prosperity, and happiness for all of the Dominican Republic's citizens.


Part of the facts pointed out by Mr. Silvan Shalom is listed below:

· The ties and history which link the Dominican Republic with the Jewish People go beyond the modern State of Israel.

· The origin of these relations at the Evian Conference in 1938, which took place before Israel was a sovereign nation.


· During that international conference, the Dominican Republic announced it would provide visas to 100,000 Jews in Europe fleeing from the tyranny of Nazi Germany.



· In doing so, the Dominican Republic saved the lives of thousands of Jews from Europe who moved to the Dominican Republic and established the town of Sosúa, where their descendants continue to live in peace and harmony to this day.

· The Dominican Republic supported the 1947 UN Partition Plan and was among the first nations to officially recognize the new State of Israel.

· The two nations enjoy extensive cooperation in the economy, industry, media, and agriculture.


· The close cooperation and friendship is also evident from the high level visits between our two countries.

· Former Dominican President Leonel Fernández's officially visited Israel in 2009, and participated in President Shimon Peres' 2011 Presidential Conference of Tomorrow.


· Israel's former Minister of Agriculture Orit Noked visited the Dominican Republic in November 2011.

· Israel and the Dominican Republic enjoy a robust cultural exchange.

· In the Dominican Republic, Israel's Embassy participates in the annual Carnival Celebration and is actively working to expand Israeli-Dominican cultural cooperation.


Mr. Silvan Shalom concluded by asking the Dominican Republic's Ambassador, convey the best wishes of the Government and the People of Israel to the Government and the People of the Dominican Republic. He wished the Dominican Republic to enjoy peace, stability, and prosperity, and that the good relations and friendship between the State of Israel and the Dominican Republic grow ever stronger in the years to come.

He ended by saying in Spanish: "Viva La República Dominicana!"


The Ambassador, Mr. Alexander De La Rosa, welcomed all the distinguished guests, including Minister Silvan Shalom, Authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, and Mrs. Ilana Neumann, Mayor of the City of Sosua in the Dominican Republic.

He said that: "This is a most auspicious day for us as Dominicans. It is a great celebration the One Hundred Seventy (170) Anniversary of our Independence"


He mentioned the following important facts:

· That in 1844, the Dominican Republic got the independence from Haiti, and during all these years the Dominicans have been a very solidary country with Haiti. Also, the Dominican Republic supported the partition plan in 1947, and was among the first nations to officially recognize the new state of Israel.

· At the present time, the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Mr. Danilo Medina, has initiated a cooperation dialog with Israel, and the result of it is very important agreements that have already being signed between the two countries due to the historical relations that exist between the State of Israel and the Dominican Republic.


· One of our aims and objectives is to intensify even more the bilateral commercial relations, in the areas of high technology, health, agriculture, energy and tourism. In this last area we are initiating an important promotion to get Israelis to know and visit our beautiful country.

· To achieve this, an important delegation from the Dominican Ministry of Tourism has arrived to Israel. A important member of this delegation is Mrs. Ilana Neumann, Mayor of the city of Sosua, the place were the Jewish refugees settled, after the Dominican Republic gave them one hundred thousand visas for saving them from the holocaust. This year the Jewish community of Sosua is commemorating the seventy fifth anniversary of their historical establishment at the Dominican Republic.


Mr. Alexander De La Rosa concluded by presenting the Dominican Republic's new Honorary Consul in the city of Haifa, Mr. Asaf Touchmaier, wishing him great luck and success in his new position.

He also said that in this occasion, he would like to thank the collaboration of their our sponsors, their honorary consuls and also the attendance of all the guests this evening


He ended by saying in Hebrew: "TODA RABA!"

Brief history of the Jews in the city of Sosua:

The city of Sosua, whose Mayor is Mrs. Ilana Neumann, has a unique and interesting history involving Jews.


About 800 Jews, refugees of the Nazi persecution during the holocaust, arrived to this city.

In 1938, the most important nations of the world to try to solve the problem of the Jewish refugees facing the Nazi invasion in Europe met in Evian, France. One by one, the representatives of these countries denied the entrance of the Jews in their respective countries. By the end of the meeting, when it almost closed, the representative of the Dominican Republic offered 100.000 visas for the Jewish refugees.


The Jewish immigrants received not only visas, but also land to work on agriculture in the area of Sousa.

In the beginning, they lived like in a kibutz, with common education and culture. They developed the whole region, with a factory of cheeses and sausages, as well as the field of tourism.

Today, Sosua is a touristic place with thousands of visitors. It has a little synagogue and a museum that shows the absorption of the refugees.


Photo credit Silvia G Golan

At the photo Rep Dominicana Ambassador Mr. Alexander De La Rosa with Mrs. Ilana Neumann


Photo  : the President with H.E Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen of the European Union (EU)

President Shimon Peres received on Thursday, January 2, 2014, Letters of Credence from five New Ambassadors to Israel: H.E Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen of the European Union (EU)H.E Mr.Anatol Vangheli of Moldova, H.E Mrs. Andreea Păstârnac of RomaniaH.E Mr. Vladimir Skvortsov of Belarus and H.E Mr. Mohammed Haji Hamza of Tanzania.

In the meeting of President Peres with the new EU Ambassador Mr. Lars Faaborg they talked about the relations between Israel and the EU, and about other main issues that presently involve the Middle East, first of all, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.


Photo the President with H.E Mrs. Andreea Păstârnac of Romania

President Peres referred to the peace process toward the arrival of US Foreign Secretary John Carry toIsrael and to the Palestinian Authority, and said: "The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are approaching a crucial moment; this is the time for European support. I want to thank the EU for its important role in the advancement of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and for its stance within the frame of P5+1. You are a representative of a great and experienced institution of democracy that stands for integration and multi-cultural relations."

Photo  :  The President with H.E Mr.Anatol Vangheli of Moldova

Mr. Lars Faaborg thanked President Peres for its warm message and referred also to the main political issues. He said: "The EU is a great friend of Israel. There are tight relations between us, starting from commerce and up to science and technology, and, of course, tight political relations. Sometimes you need friends also to get your attention to consider your actions. I believe that 2014 will be a crucial year for theMiddle East, especially concerning the advancement of the peace process. The EU Council of Ministers decided that Israel and the Palestinians will gain unique privileges and special status in the EU if a peace treaty is reached. This decision shows our commitment to the peace process. We, Europeans, are also deeply interested in peace in the Middle East."



Photos GPO












  Despite the cold and rainy weather in Tel-Aviv, while snowing in Jerusalem, covering the capital with a thick white "blanket",


A very warm and friendly reception was held in the Dan hotel – Tel-Aviv, by the Kenyan embassy, Thursday evening dec.19 2013.

To this special event, marking the celebration of Independence Day Jubilee: the 50th Anniversary of a free and independent Republic of Kenya, many distinguished gests were invited:

The Israeli Minister Meir Cohen, and some other Israeli officials, Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Mission in Israel, and other Honored Guests.

The special atmosphere of the event, was felt and seen already at the entrance to the ballroom, where some beautiful female Kenyan receptionists, dressed in authentic colorful dresses, were checking the guests list and providing the participants with souvenirs from Kenya.

Entering the ballroom, one could see, feel and taste the hospitality of the Kenyan people, presented by the Kenyan Ambassador and the Kenyan embassy staff.



Excellent food and beverage was served, the room was decorated with flags, flowers, a large video screen, on which a Kenyan tour attractions were shown...

After some delay, caused by waiting for The Minister Meir Cohen, and some other officials, which finally could not leave Jerusalem because the roads were blocked by snow,the official opening  was declared.


Both National anthems: the Kenya an the Israeli, were played, accompanied by singing of the both countries present guests and staff members. Then speeches were made.

His Excellency, Ambassador Augostino Njoroge, accompanied by Mrs. Margaret Njoroge, spoke about the founding of the free and independent Republic of Kenya, fifty years ago, the progress that the Kenyan people have made since then and what Kenya is like today.

The Ambassador mentioned also the firm and special relationship, friendship and cooperation, between Kenya and Israel, since the first days of Kenya's independence in 1963 and until now, hoping for many years of such relationship to come.

After the Ambassadors speech, raising glasses of wine as a toast to both countries, their Presidents and people, a special message of greetings and wishes was presented on the video screen, by the Israeli President Mr. Shimon Peres.
The speech on behalf of the Israeli Minister Meir Cohen and the Government and People of Israel, was red by the representative Mr Avraham(Avi) Granot, Deputy Director General for Africa, MFA ,who congratulated the Republic of Kenya on the occasion of its 50th Independence day "this celebration is special for Israel, as it also marks the a Jubilee year of Israel-Kenya diplomatic relations.

The past 50 years we have witnessed a blossoming friendship between Kenya and Israel based on economic, cultural, strategic and humanitarian ties as well as shared values




After the official part of the event, a fashion show held place, showing Kenya's style designed dresses, shown by beautiful Kenyan models, giving the present guests a taste of a sweet "desert".



Photos Silvia Golan








On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, directed by Dr. Gina Pană, held a Special Piano and Opera Concert in Honor of Romania's National Day. This event took place at Enav Center in Tel Aviv.

The concert was preceded by addresses of Dr. Gina Pană, Ambassador of Romania in Israel, Mrs. Andrea Păstârnac, and Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Culture, Dr. Irina Cajal-Marin.

The concert started with the National Anthems of Romania and Israel sang by soprano Dika Philosoph, accompanied by pianist Sofia Mazar. The concert then included arias composed by Gounod, Verdi and Puccini performed by Dika Philosoph, accompanied by Sofia Mazar, and piano pieces composed by Beethoven, Enescu and Chopin performed by pianist Andrei Licaret.

After the concert, an exhibition of Portraits of People, which displays traditions from ethnic communities in Romania, was opened in Enav's foyer. This exhibition was preceded by introductory words by Dr. Paulina Popoiu, General Director of the NVM, Buchares Cocktail.


On Monday, December 2, the Thai Embassy held a festive reception for the King's birthday and for the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand.



The event was held at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv and included a reception overflowing with Thai traditions.


Guests were welcomed with a warm handshake by Thai Ambassador Boon-Long, his wife Kamolrat Boon-Long and embassy staff. Guests were treated to a taste of Thailand with musicians and dancers brought especially for this occasion from Thailand. The band played the Thai and Israeli national anthems with traditional Thai instruments to which the audience sang along.



The Thai Ambassador addressed Yair Shamir, Minister of Agriculture, members of the diplomatic corpsand guests. He said that for the Thai people, the birthday of His Majesty the King is not only a time to celebrate, but also a time to reflect upon His Majesty’s contribution, dedication, and work towards bettering the lives of the Thai people. He said, "His Majesty the King has always been the main pillar in the nation’s stability and in bringing about development in the country. “The Soul of the Nation” as His Majesty the King is referred, does not only relate to the institution of the monarchy but also to the King himself - with his moral integrity, close contact with his people and lifelong devotion to them".



Ambassador Boom-Long discussed Thai trade relations with Israel: "with Thailand’s capacity as a major world supplier of diversified agricultural products and as a member of ASEAN (a combined market of about 600 million people), together with Israel’s agricultural and scientific technologies, we can work together to utilize the resources of both countries in agriculture and industry."  Ambassador Boom-Long also remarked: "I believe that Thailand and Israel share the same vision of improving people’s livelihood, building human capacity and transferring knowledge for agricultural development domestically and internationally. He added, "with our current dialogue between TICA and MASHAV (Israel's agency for international development cooperation) and other governmental and private entities, Thailand is Israel's strategic partner in conducting trilateral and international cooperation in Southeast Asia and beyond". At the end of his speech, Ambassador Boom-Long toasted to everyone's good health and happiness and to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as well as to continued close and cordial relations between Thailand and Israel.



As the representative of the Government of Israel, Yair Shamir wished his Majesty King  Bhumibol good health and happiness and best wishes to the people of Thailand. Minister Shamir mentioned that this year it would be almost 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Thailand. "Thailand was among the first Asian countries to both recognize and maintain diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. Since1954, Thailand and Israel have enjoyed an ever-warming friendship". He continued by saying: "We are particularly proud of Princess Chulabhorn, who has led the cooperation between Rambam and Hadassah Medical Centers in Israel and the Thai Chulabhorn Research Institute in the field of cancer research.



Minister Shamir mentioned that as Thailand enjoys a major economic position in Asia and as the world looks east, Thailand will play an increasingly important economic role in the region.


The economic exchanges between the countries are diverse and vast and cover the communication, agriculture, defense, food and water technologies sectors, among others. He mentioned that apart from trade, Thailand's migrant workers (numbering some 25,000) in Israel play a crucial role in our economic relations. Israel is committed and will remain committed to their welfare and protection. Israel is also proud to have trained thousands of Thai citizens in agriculture and other disciplines through the "Mashav" Agency.



Minister Shamir concluded by asking AmbassadorBoom-Long to "convey our best wishes to His Majesty the King of Thailand, the government and people of Thailand on its National day. "May Thailand continue to prosper and flourish and we wish that the good relations and friendship between Thailand and Israel will continue to grow in the years ahead".


The Thai band then continued to play while guests enjoyed a variety of Thai delicacies served in accordance with Thai tradition and its unique food decorations.  



During the event, I had the chance to meet Dov Kalmann, the representative of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Israel. I asked him to describe the nature of Israeli tourism to Thailand.Mr. Kalmann said that Israelis "regard Thailand as a kind of second home. The increase in number of Israelis visiting the Kingdom (130,000 = 1.6% of the total population) is almost an international phenomena – only Switzerland produces more visitors to Thailand relative to their population. One item to take note of is the fact that there are 415 weekly flights (direct or indirect) from Switzerland to Thailand compared to only 78 weekly flights from Israel. Our main constraint is therefore the lack of flights. We see 2013 showing another increase (8%) in traffic from Israel to Thailand'.



Mr. Kalmann continued by saying that, "according to official Thai statistics, Israelis spend an average of $134 per day. This is higher than most other groups. Our aim is to retain the high-end profile Israelis have of Thailand by promoting high quality products, family travel, shopping and honeymoon vacations". He mentioned that the fastest growing segment of the Israeli market to Thailand is the family segment. Israelis travel with their three kids (average) for a period of two weeks, mainly during the low season in Thailand (the rainy season). This has been a major target since TAT opened its representative office in Israel. 



Of course it was impossible not to ask him about tourism in light of current internal protests and demonstrations in Thailand.  Mr. Kalmann said that right now there is no reason not to visit Thailand. "The demonstrations are taking place in areas far away from the main tourist areas, shopping malls and nightlife sites. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not issued any new travel advisory – but recommend remaining updated regarding any developments. We have not noticed any change in booking patterns from Israel nor any cancellations".




Here are some interesting facts we found about Thailand:


Thailand (officially the Kingdom of Thailand) was formerly known as Siam. The country is a constitutional monarchy, headed by King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, which has reigned since 1946.  Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area (with an area of approximately 513,000 km2) and is the 20th-most-populous country, with some 64 million people. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% Thai Chinese, and 3% Malay, with the rest belonging to minority groups and various hill tribes. The country's official language is Thai. The primary religion is Buddhism - around 95% of the population.



Regarding their economy, Thailand is an emerging economy and considered a newly industrialized country.Thailand exports over $105 billion of goods and services annually. Major exports include rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewelry, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Thailand is the world's no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tons of milled rice annually.



Industrial products include electrical appliances and components, computer parts and automobiles. Thailand ranks high among the world's automotive exporters as well as in the manufacturing of electronic goods. Tourism in Thailand makes up about 6% of the economy.Thailand has a GDP of $602 billion, putting Thailand as the second largest economy in Southeast Asia. 


According to the Israeli Export Institute, trade between Thailand and Israel has increased steadily in recent years. In 2010, bilateral trade between the countries grew by 40%. Thailand imports mainly diamonds and chemicals from Israel and exports to Israel machinery and electronic equipment.


Photos Silvia G.Golan




On Sunday, December 1st, 2013, the Ambassador of Romania in Israel, Mrs. Andrea Păstârnac, and Mr. Mircea Păstârnac, held a Reception and Romanian Wine Tasting evening in celebration of Romania's National Day, the Great Union Day as it is better known. (On this day in 1918, during the reign of king Ferdinand I, Romania, which at the time consisted of Moldova and Wallachia– was united with Transylvania, Crișana, Banat and the Maramureș area.)



The event took place in the Ruth Bruce Rappaport Foyer, in the new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

The ceremony began with the national anthems of Israel and Romania proudly intoned by all present.


Then, Rabbi Joseph A. Wasserman, President of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Romanian Jewry, said prayers for Hannuka, and lighted the 5th candle, singing, accompanied by the public, traditional songs of Hannukah.

Many distinguished guests, including Mrs. Yael German, Israel's Minister of Health, ambassadors and members of diplomatic missions, honored the event with their presence and offered heartfelt congratulations to the ambassador and the embassy staff on this special day.



Mrs. Yael German said that she was deeply honored and very pleased to represent the Government and People of Israel in congratulating Romania in this celebrating of her Day.

She further pointed out that Romania and Israel have enjoyed a very special and excellent relationship for the past 64 years, ever since Israel's rebirth in 1948. She noted that Romania had been the only country of the former Soviet bloc that maintained diplomatic relations with Israel throughout all these years without interruption.


She said that both countries have special ties based on a broad common foundation, share common values and cherish freedom, and have a similar strategic outlook regarding regional and international issues. Jewish and Romanian history is intertwined – and always was, in times of joy and sorrow alike. “We hope that the joint future of Israel and Romania will be one of security, hope, prosperity and peace.” – said Mrs. German. “The bilateral cooperation between Israel and Romania exists in various areas: political, economic, cultural, scientific, and more. Our ties are expressed also in many mutual official visits, as well as in the ever-growing touristic exchange between Israel and Romania.


She mentioned the following facts:

·         The first meeting between governments was held in Jerusalem on November 24, 2011, and was headed by the Prime Ministers of Israel and Romania. The next meeting is expected to be held in Bucharest during the first half 2014.

·         Romanian's President, Mr. Traian Băsescu, is planning to visit Israel in January 2014.

·         Romanian's Prime Minister Mr. Titus Corlățean and the President of Romanian's Senate, Mr. Crin Antonescu, will visit Israel this coming December.


Mrs. German concluded by asking the Romania's Ambassador in Israel to convey to the Government and People of Romania best wishes and congratulations from the Government and People of Israel.

The Ambassador of Romania to Israel, Mrs. Andrea Păstârnac, addressed Mrs. Yael German, the distinguished guests and all the friends invited and said "This evening, beyond our titles and official capacities we are all friends of Romania. Today we celebrate the 95th birthday of Romania".


She continued by saying that both Romania and Israel, a young democracy of barely 65 years old, hold in the highest regards their uninterrupted friendship and celebrate continuous diplomatic relations between the two countries.

However, our history goes beyond that, stretching towards the beginning of the first millennium of the Common Era, when the first Jews arrived in the southern part of Dacia Felix. The rich and complex history of Romanian Jewry continues from the 14th to the 21st century. The Jews became the second largest ethnic component in the Old Kingdom of Romania, then the fourth largest community, in the new state emerging from the 1918 Unification.



The unitary history of the Romanian people highlighted the cultural Judaic life, which gradually developed an original Romanian Jewish nature, blending specific forms with contributions to Romanian life and culture.

30 years after the historical moment of Great Union, Romania and Israel established full diplomatic relations in June 11, 1948.

We share today all these years of history, and on this complex and unique ground we are building a special relation.

She ended by wishing:

"Happy Anniversary - La Mulți Ani, Românie!".


Amongst the distinguished guests that took part in the ceremony were:

·         Mr. Abraham Rosental, Director General of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, and previous CEO of the Israel's Hotel Association.

·         Mr. Bruno Landberg, Founder and Chairman of the Sano Group.


The evening was also highlighted by the superb performance of Izabela Barbu, an acclaimed Romanian singer known as Jezebel, who delighted the audience with Romanian songs and ballads. She was accompanied by the guitar players Mihai Melinescuand Tudor Anghelescu.  


Photo Silvia G.Golan


On November 11th, the Embassy of Angola held a reception marking 38 years of independence at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya.

The Ambassador of Angola - Jose Joao Manuel,Antonia Manuel and senior staff of the embassy greeted guests with a warm handshake at the entrance hall.


Among the distinguished guests were Naftali Benett, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Minister of Religious Services and Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs; foreign ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, heads of organizations, senior members of Israel's business community and friends.


Here are some interesting points about Angola: Angola, officially, the Republic of Angola, is the world's twenty-third largest country, bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of Congo on the north, Zambia on the east, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. The former Portuguese colony became an independent country in 1975 and was formally named the Republic of Angola. Interesting photos of Angola and images that revealed the changes in industry in the country in recent years, were projected on giant screens in the hall.

Before the ceremony, I had the opportunity to chat with the head of a delegation of Angolan agronomists who came to Israel in order to gain practical experience with modern Israeli agricultural methods. He told me that his team was staying at Kibbutz Beit Alpha and that they are traveling around Israel visiting agricultural fields in various parts of the country. At these fields, they are experiencing first-hand the agricultural methods in place here so they can implement these latest methods in their own country.


After playing the national anthems of Angola and Israel, the Ambassador of Angola, Jose Joao Manuelwelcomed all the guests and said that although Angola is a young country, it has enormous potential that guarantees its socio-economic development and offers great business opportunities.

Angola's goal is a consolidated peace and a stable political situation based on the pillars of democracy. He added that in spite of economic setbacks that have negatively affected the economies of many countries – the growth of the Angolan economy for 2013 is projected to reach 5.1%.


"Revenues from the sales of oil, gas, diamonds and other natural resources are being used, on one hand, to reconstruct infrastructures destroyed during the civil war, and on the other hand, to build a modern country with the capacity to provide commodities and services essential for the welfare of its inhabitants". Ambassador Manuel mentioned that this endeavor is already producing visible results, As a matter of fact, quite a few of the guests here today can confirm this, because they too, have been ​​and continue to be a part of this mission of re-building Angola".


He said that Angola is growing with the help and cooperation of many countries, with Israel being one of them. The multifaceted cooperation between Angola and Israel involving human training is going through a very productive phase, mostly recognizable in the agricultural, energy, water, health, telecommunications, defense and security sectors.

In order to emphasize the fact that the Angolan market remains open for Israeli entrepreneurs interested in assisting in the building of the New Angola, he quoted the President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos who said: "There are businessmen from Israel who are interested in our market because Angola is a country that offers great business opportunities, allowing relations with Israel to be dynamic and multifaceted, thereby satisfying the interests of both countries."


Ambassador Manuel said that Angola is focusing on promoting cultural exchange visits by Angolan groups and artists to Israel, and with Israel sending cultural emissaries and groups to Angola. This has had a positive effect on bringing the nations closer than ever together.

Regarding Angola's foreign policy, Ambassador Manuel referred to the speech of the Vice President of the Republic of Angola Manuel Vicente, in front of the UN's General Assembly in New York where he made clear that the government of Angola supports the mediation efforts made by Secretary of State, John Kerry, and expressed the hope that the resumption of the bilateral dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority will result in a lasting peace settlement, culminating in the establishment of a Palestinian State that will coexist with the State of Israel.


Israel's Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennetrepresented the Government of Israel and the People of Israel in congratulating the government and people of Angola. He praised the fact thatafter decades of civil war, Angola has developed into a stable, secure, and prosperous nation. "Angola’s recent elections have once again demonstrated the country’s commitment to stability, democratic values, and the rule of law".  Minister Bennet mentioned that last year, Angola’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georges Rebelo Chikoti, visited Israel, and added "This year we received João Baptista Borges, Minister of Water and Energy, who participated in an international conference in Tel Aviv. Such visits are invaluable, strengthening our diplomatic ties and reaffirming our bilateral relations".  He continued: "Israel’s business initiatives in Angola are as vast as they are diverse, which include agriculture, mining, construction, water, energy, and more".


He added that Angola’s economic development, as seen in its capital Luanda and other cities and provinces, is quite impressive and Israel has been a proud partner in this endeavor.

Minister Bennet thanked Ambassador Manuel for all his hard work and wished him great success in his next position. Ambassador Jose Joao Manuel will soon be completing his role as Angola’s first Ambassador to Israel (ending what will be a 13 year tenure). "We will warmly welcome his successor and help the next Ambassador to continue to further the ties between our two countries".


Minister Bennet wished Angola peace, stability, and prosperity and praised the good relations and friendship between the State of Israel and the Republic of Angola and expressed the desire for it to grow ever stronger in the years to come.


Photo Silvia Golan






 The Anita Villalaz Cultural Circle (Círculo Cultural Anita Villalaz), Panama's Club Theater (Teatro Club de Panamá) and the Belle Arts Labor Academy (Academia Laboral de Bellas Artes) granted the prize "Diplomat of the Year" to Israel's Ambassador Dr. Alexander Galilee. This event took place during the XXXIV Gala of Anita Villalaz Prizes, in the Teatro En Círculo, and involved artistic and cultural references, and great friendship.


The renowned Actor and President of the Joint Comittee on Cultural Activities (Comisión Conjunta de Actividades Culturales), Miguel Moreno, stressed the fact that Dr. Alexander Galilee deserves this prize due to his impulse and contribution to the mutual relations between the two countries, particularly in sharing the diverse artistic and cultural expressions of Israel with the people of Panama.


During the prize, the Israeli Ambassador expressed his feeling of being honored for this recognition, which provides him with incentive to keep sharing part of Israel's art and culture with Panama, a country with beautiful traditions, which saw the birth of recognized artists that distinguished themselves at national and international level.


The prize was handed by the renowned Panamanian actress Eliza Morales, accompanied by the hosts Maritza Peregrina, Eyda Guardia de Allen, Lolita Rivera and Miguel Moreno.


The celebration was twofold regarding Israel, due to the fact that the Panama-Israel Cultural Institute (Instituto Cultural Panamá Israel) was granted the prize of Cultural Association of the Year, which was received by Israel's Honorary Consul in Panama, Mr. Moises Mizrachi


Photo provided for the Israel embassy in Panama


Translated by David Altman






President Peres Hosted an Official State Dinner in Honor of President Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler


President Peres:

"Israel thanks you for the brave stance you have taken against Iran's dangerous nuclear ambitions"

President Hollande:

When we demand that Iran not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons – we do it for peace

The happiness of your neighbors will bring security to you – that is my wish for you Mr. President and all of the people of Israel


The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, hosted an official state dinner in honor of President Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler on the second night of President Hollande's state visit to Israel. The dinner was attended by, among others, the Prime Minister and his wife, the Defense Minister, the Finance Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Justice Minister and the Minster for Strategic Affairs, Intelligence and International Relations.

At the beginning of the dinner the two presidents delivered speeches to mark the festive occasion. President Peres began and said, " Israel thanks you for the brave stance you have taken against Iran's dangerous nuclear ambitions. Your statements, and those of your Foreign Minister Fabius, were clear and strong. They impact the entire international community. You made clear that without massive pressure on Iran, Iran would not cease to be a threat to Israel, to the Middle East and the entire world. This pressure should not be stopped because of words alone, only when we see results. You made clear Mr. President that your position will not change until the situation changes."

President Peres continued and addressed France's role in the peace process, "During all the efforts for peace in this region, France extended a supportive hand. In particular to realize the agreement that exists that the solution will be based on two states for two peoples. We are full of hope that the talks which are taking place today between us and the Palestinians will lead to peace. Peace, in our eyes, is not just a strategic decision but also a moral call that comes from the depth of our history. France has a crucial role to play in the process. Both due to its role as a central country in the European Union and its friendship with the United States of America. France is leading the fight against terrorism, in the decision to include Hezbollah with Hamas and Al Qaeda in the list of terrorist organizations. France established factories in the Palestinian Authority to progress peace."

President Hollande thanked President Peres for his warm words and said that France has always been on the side of peace and that when France demands that Iran not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons it is done for the sake of peace not only of Israel and of France but of the entire world. President Hollande expressed his opposition to anti-Semitism and added that the struggle against racism was also part of the search for peace. He added that sometimes you need to fight for peace and that France wants to contribute to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Quoting King Solomon, President Hollande said that, the happiness of your neighbors will bring security to you, and added that this is his wish for you Mr. President and all of the people of Israel.

On Monday November 4, the Panama Embassy held a reception in honor of the 110th anniversary of its Independence. The reception was held at the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv and was sponsored by COPA Airlines (the Panamanian national air carrier), which is represented in Israel by the Open Sky Group.


Hundreds of guests came to congratulate the Ambassador, embassy staff and the Panamanian people on this special day. Guests enjoyed a festive Latin atmosphere with a band playing Latin tunes, as well as large variety of Panamanian cuisine.


Among the guests were Ofir Akunis, Deputy Minister of Israel's Prime Minister office, Einat Kranz Meiger, Director of the Department of Mexico Central America and the Caribbean and Shlomo Morgan, Protocol Department from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and members of the foreign diplomatic corps.

In attendance were also Israeli businessmen, among them the Presidents of Israel's Bi National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gad Proper, Dudi Simcha and Amnon Dotan; Kobi Zussman, the General Manager IATA /BSP Israel; Avi Friedman, Chairman of the Israeli Panel of Foreign Airlines and the General Manager of United Airlines in Israel and many others.


After playing the national anthems of Panama and Israel, the Ambassador of the Republic of Panama in Israel, Hector Aparicio, opened the ceremony by welcoming all the guests. He praised the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Panama and described how Panama received its independence from Colombia after many failed attempts, until finally the Panamanian people managed to win independence without war or bloodshed.  


The Ambassador noted that Panama was among the first countries in the UN that voted in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel. Panama attaches great value to the friendship and goodwill between the nations, and respects all religions and sects who live in the region. Panama is now a modern and dynamic country, hospitable, and one which encourages the development and attracting of business and investment from around the world. After 110 years, there are still many challenges and social issues to resolve, yet Panama is proud of its democracy and respect for human rights.



Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, spoke on behalf of the government and people of Israel, saying: "The relations between Panama and Israel are very close, reflecting a deep friendship and cooperation in a wide range of areas. Indeed, Panama has stood by Israel since our country's rebirth". "We very much appreciate Panama's support for Israel in multilateral forums. Panama was one of the few countries that voted against bringing the Palestinians into UNESCO and also was one of the few countries that voted against giving the Palestinians Non-Member State status in the UN General Assembly".


Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis noted that in the past Panama has made clear that it would not support any one-sided moves and would not recognize a Palestinian state unless it was part of an agreement reached between both the Palestinians and Israel. He continued by saying that the strength of the ties between both countries was also reflected in mutual high-level visits. Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli, who is a very good friend of Israel, visited our country in 2010, followed by the visits of a number of Panama's top Ministers. Israel's former Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, visited Panama in August 2012. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Panama visited Israel in November 2012 and headed Panama's delegation in the very first round of bilateral talks between the Foreign Ministries of both countries. In this dialogue, an agreement on avoiding double taxation was signed.  He also noted that during the next few weeks both countries would begin negotiations on a free trade area agreement with Panama.  


Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis mentioned that there is a large and important Jewish community in Panama, which has worked tirelessly to build bridges of friendship between our two countries.  He concluded, on behalf of the government and people of Israel, by congratulating the government and people of Panama and said that he hopes that the cordial relations between our two nations will continue to grow in the years ahead.


Ephraim Fortis, CEO of the Open Sky Group, greeted everyone on behalf of COPA Airlines top management and shared Open Sky's appreciation for promoting Panama as a preferred tourist destination and as a hub to Central and South America using COPA Airlines' international network. He mentioned that COPA Airlines has been flying for more than 65 years in Latin America, operating from the "Hub of the Americas" in Panama to 66 destinations in 29 countries in North, Center and South America and the Caribbean. COPA Airlines has a strategic alliance with United Airlines and is a Star Alliance member.


At the end of the evening, guests were invited to partake in the excellent food, beverages, and enjoy music played by the Latin band - "Latin Power". The warm atmosphere and lively music inspired many guests to get up and dance to the Latin rhythms.

Photo Silvia Golan




On Monday, October 28, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Israel, Mr. Tomáš Pojar, held a reception at his beautiful residence in Herzliya, to celebrate the Czech Republic's 95th Anniversary (Creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918).


Many distinguished guests, including Minister of Strategic and International Affairs, Mr. Yuval Steinitz, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


The ceremony started with the national anthems of the Czech Republic and Israel, beautifully played by violinist Marie Matlova.


The Ambassador welcomed all the guests, and started by mentioning that Czechs say that deeds are more important than long speeches, and so, he would try to stick to it.


He said that a many good deeds took place in the Czech-Israeli relations in the last 12 months, and mentioned a few of them:


  • The vote of the Czech Republic in the UN GeneralAssembly in November.

  • Israeli Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu's third visit to Prague in three years.

  • Czech President Miloš Zeman'svisit to Israel - his first trip outside of Central Europe after his recent election.

  • The Days of Jerusalem in Prague, which followed the Days of Prague in Jerusalem.

He pointed out the steady continuation and strengthening of the Czech-Israeli mutual cooperation in several fields: culture, business, education, science, tourism…. And that we can always do more.


He reminded us of two people who have passed away in the last 24 hours, who were of great inspiration for the Czech struggle for our freedom in the 1980s: the rock musician, composer, guitar player, New Yorker of Jewish descent Lou Reed, and the representative of the Polish Solidarity movement and later Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowietzky. He said that the Czech people owe them a lot and should remember them.


He said that we shall also remember all Israelis of Czechoslovak origin who tirelessly worked for strengthening our relations, who were here with us last year, and are not with us anymore. He named Chanan Rosen, Norik Harel and Marta Marom, and said that we should not forget others, that we also owe a lot.


Mr. Yuval Steinitz greeted the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in name of the Government and People of Israel and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Czech Government and Czech People on the occasion of its 95th Anniversary, the Creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.


He said that it is a special pleasure for him to greet the people of a country that is a close, loyal and strong friend of Israel. That we appreciate, cherish and attribute great importance to the close friendship between the two countries and peoples.


He mentioned the following facts:

  • The last visit of Czech President Miloš Zemanto Israel, two weeks ago, was an additional expression of the close friendship between the two countries. President Zeman proved again that that this friendship withstands a serious test even when it is not popular to support Israel.

  • Israel will never forget the toughest moments when the Czech Republic(then Czechoslovakia) stood by Israel since the first days of its establishment, provided us with weapons for our defense, and trained our pilots when the Arab armies invaded our land to destroy the newly born Jewish State.

  • The relations between the two countries are not limited to military and political fields. Along with President Zeman's visit, a delegation of businessmen also visited Israel in order to increase furthermore the commerce relations between the countries. In the cultural field, we are proud of the department established this year in the Thomas Garryk Massaryk University in Brno. This, in addition to the long list of relations and cooperation in a wide variety of areas, which truly express the tight relationship between the two countries.

  • Two days ago took place the elections in the Czech Parliament. Soon a new government will be established. We are sure that the close friendship between the two countries and the deepening dialog will continue regardless of the changes in the Czech and Israeli governments. The mutual friendship is deeply rooted.

  • This ceremony is a good opportunity to express our appreciation to your personal contribution, Mr. Ambassador to the advancement and deepening of the Czech-Israeli relations. Your contribution has led these relations to new territories.

Other distinguished guests that took part in the ceremony were:

  • Mr. Dan Propper, Chairman of OSEM Group, who received the Go4Europe Achievement Prize in the same morningof October 28.

  • David Herdcy, Chairman of the Israel-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Shaul Lifshitz, CEO of the Israel-Czech Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  • Gidon Thaler,representative of leading airlines, such as Czech Airlines.

  • Yaakov Levy, Ex-Ambassador of Israel to the Czech Republic.


Photo Silvia Golan













Speaking ahead of tomorrow's annual "Hamsa" event which celebrates Israeli participation in EU research programmes, EU Ambassador-designate Lars Faaborg – Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel, said that he was looking forward to welcoming some 400 Israeli researchers to his residence.  


"It will be an honour and a pleasure for me to welcome so many distinguished Israeli researchers, all of whom have received grants under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development," he said  


"It is now 17 years since Israel was first associated to the EU's Framework Programmes. Israel's association to the programme has been a tremendous success both for the EU and for Israel. The hundreds of new grantees who attend the Hamsa event each year attest to this success."


"We are at an important juncture in Israeli-EU cooperation in science and technology. The EU is launching a new science and technology programme, named Horizon 2020, to the tune of close to 80 billion euro over the next seven years and has again invited Israel to participate as it has since the 4th Framework Programme in 1996. This is a tremendous opportunity for both Israel and Europe to develop key, cutting edge technologies and partnerships, a real win-win situation for both of us. We are currently negotiating modalities for Israeli participation in the programme. Both sides are striving for a pragmatic and mutually acceptable arrangement which would allow Israel to join by the time Horizon 2020 starts on the 1st of January 2014."

Note to the editor :  As of June 2013, there were 1,584 Israeli participations in 1,310 FP7 projects which amounted together will receive about 636.9 million euros.


Photo provided by EU  Press section





On Thursday, October 15, the Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel Mr. Dimitris Hatziargyrou held a reception at his residence in Herzliya, to mark the Cyprus' 53rd Anniversary.

Many distinguished guests, including Minister of Strategic and International Affairs, Mr. Yuval Steinitz, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


Mr. Petros Eftychiou, Ex-Ambassador of Cyprus to Israel, was also present. He has come to Israel to attend several courses in Tel-Aviv University and deliver lectures on Diplomacy.

The Ambassador welcomed all the guests and expressed his thanks for the generous contribution of the sponsors that made the event possible – Delek and Avner, Hallmark Properties and KPMG Cyprus.

He mentioned a number of important events that took place in Cyprus since the last national reception almost a year ago. In February, the new Government of President Nicos Anastasiades, a good friend of Israel, was elected for a five-year term. The new President paid a visit to Israel last May, preceded by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy. Energy Minister Silvan Shalom visited Cyprus in August and the Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Yuli Edelstein, paid an official visit last month. A friendship group in the two Parliaments was formed and announced during the visit.


He also said the cooperation between representative in our societies is also expanding, whether between universities (the first Hebrew studies program was inaugurated last month in the University of Cyprus), and medical centres and R&D facilities. Israeli and Cypriot companies are venturing into all kinds of cooperation, and Israeli tourists have been flooding Cyprus. There are also big prospects for cooperation in the energy sector.

Mr. Yuval Steinitz greeted the Ambassador of Cyprus in name of the Government and People of Israel and conveyed their warm congratulations to the Republic of Cyprus on the occasion of its 53rd Independence Day.


He said that “ in recent years, we are witness to growth of relations, preceded by strong historical roots that strengthen current ties. The history of our two peoples has crossed path many times. We appreciate the Cypriot people's support when Jewish survivors from the Holocaust were placed in detention camps there by the British, and many succeeded in escaping and entering into Israel.

Today's relations between Israel and Cyprus are much more than joint historical and regional ties between two small nations. We share similar interests and challenges. Both are western democratic nations in a region of instability, revolutionary turbulence, and monarchies”.


 Photos Silvia Golan


On Thursday, October 17, the Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping held a reception at the Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv, to mark the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.


Many distinguished guests, including Israeli President Shimon Peres, came to congratulate the Ambassador and the embassy staff the on this special day.


President Shimon Peres  greeted, on behalf of the State of Israel, the Chinese People and Chinese Central Leadership for this special day.President Peres said that China is a good example to a country that arose from deep poverty and became the world's growth engine. China has the second largest economy and influence. Israel attributes great importance to the strengthening of the strategic relations with China, and said “ I am proud of the deepening relations between our two countries. Many countries around Israel in the Middle East have a lot to learn from China”.


Israeli Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu was not present, but sent a video recording where he greeted the Chinese Ambassador.


The Chinese Ambassador, Gao Yanping,started expressing her thanks to President Shimon Peres. She said that his presence was of great importance for the friendship and good relations between China and Israel. She also thanked the other friends present in the event for their cooperation to China's development.
She described the important achievements that have taken place in China since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, including fast economic growth, social progress and closer relationships with countries around the world. She expressed the love for peace and harmony of China and the Chinese people, and their commitment to take the path of peaceful developments and independent foreign policy of peace.

She said that 2013 has been a special year in China's history, in which the Chinese New Central Leadership has put forward the renewal of the Chinese Nation in the new era, leading the Chinese People and the fulfillment of its major goals, mainly, to finish building a society of prosperity in all aspects by 2020, making China a modern country in the 21st century. China plays an increasingly larger role and is ready to fulfill its international obligations. Its economy is the second largest in the world. It is also a key member of the UN Security Council.
She said that we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-Israel relations. Our relations are geared in the right direction. Prime Minister Netanyahu made a successful visit to China and had important meetings with our leaders. We will deepen our mutual relationships, and our activities will broaden and deepen in all areas. Our governments shear the same goals of friendship, mutual understanding and determination to push forward our relations.


She said that mutual honor and trust are the bases of the relations between countries, and that we continue to work and bring the relations to a larger and brighter future.


Mr. Neil Bush (son of US Ex-President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, and George W. Bush's brother), who is visiting Israel for business purposes, was also present in the reception.

The guests of the special event enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and the beautiful performance of artists from the southwest China's Sichuan Province with chinese classical dance , costumes and traditional musical instruments, .

Photos Silvia Golan















Slovakia Marks its Second Decade of Independence with a Reception and Garden Party at the Ambassador's Home


Slovakia recently celebrated twenty years of independence. The event was held on September 16 at the Ambassador of Slovakia and Mrs. Radovan Javorčík's residence in Herzliya in their beautiful garden. The Ambassador and his wife along with Slovakia's military attaché Lubosh Klima received guests with a warm welcome.

Among the well-wishers were, Foreign Ministry officials, ambassadors and members of diplomatic staff, officials and Jews from Slovakia whom maintain contact with their native land.

With excellent weather, almost like a summer evening, guests enjoyed a pleasant time along with the embassy's warm and welcoming staff. Guests were treated to lovely refreshments including finger foods and beverages. Everyone raised their glasses to toast the occasion and to encourage the continuation of mutual friendship between the countries.

 Photo Silvia Golan





On Thursday, October 10th, Spain's Ambassador and Mrs. Fernando Carderera, along with the Spanish Embassy Missions, celebrated Spain's National - "Columbus Day".


The reception was held in the beautiful garden of the Ambassador's residence in Herzliya. Hundreds of distinguished guests came to congratulate the Ambassador and his wife, embassy staff and the Spanish people on this special day.


The honored guests included Gideon Saar, Minister of the Interior, (previously Education Minister), ambassadors, members of the diplomatic missions in Israel, members of the foreign ministry, business leaders and friends of the Embassy.


His Excellency, the Ambassador, surprised guests when he began his speech with a fluent Hebrew blessing, and then continued speaking in English. He said that since Spain is a key nation in Jewish history, the relationship between the two states is founded on many common interests and shared values. The relations between Israel and Spain are both complex and intense because their histories are also complex and intense. He noted that Spain and Israel have so much in common and therefore sees particular importance in developing relations in the fields of culture, education, science, new technology, research, trade and investment.


He also noted that there is growing presence of Spanish companies in Israel. Valoriza, is about to complete construction of a desalination plant in Ashdod; Abengoa is building solar plants; Telefónica has a subsidiary in Israel; and several Spanish companies want to take part in the construction of Israel's plan to improve its infrastructure.


Ambassador Carderera said that the economic situation in Spain has significantly improved in the last twelve months. Important reforms are already in place, public deficit has been reduced, productivity has improved, exports have increased and the Spanish current account balance has a surplus for the first time since 1997. He added that Spanish corporations are world leaders in key sectors such as renewable energy, infrastructure management, high-speed railways, biotechnology, naval technology, environmental technology, air and space systems, among others. He added, in Hebrew that Spain would like to use all this potential to do business and cooperate with Israel in all possible sectors.

Furthermore, he said that his country has invested a lot in international efforts to attaining peace in the Middle East, and that Spain fully supports Israel's right for security. Spain is committed to a two State solution through direct negotiations, including the creation of a viable Palestinian State that will recognize Israel


Ambassador Fernando Carderera raised a glass to toast to the long life and wellbeing of the Heads of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres and to His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, as well as to our mutual friendship. Minister Sa'ar raised a glass in a toast to Spain and expressed his best wishes for prosperity and continuing friendship between the two nations.

Minister of the Interior Gideon Sa'ar congratulated His Majesty Juan Carlos the First, the government and people of Spain on the occasion of Spain's National Day, on behalf of the Government of Israel and the people of Israel. He said that bilateral relations between Israel and Spain are continuing to deepen and flourish. Friendly and productive ties are seen across many spheres – such as the political, economic, commercial, research, science, technology and cultural. In April of this year Spain's Foreign Minister visited Israel along with important economic delegations. Israel's embassy in Spain celebrated the 65th Anniversary of Israel's Independence under the heading of cooperation for innovation and growth. These events were followed with great interest in Spain.


Minister Sa'ar mentioned the joint history of Spain and the Jewish people and pointed out that the two countries share a common struggle in the uncompromising fight against terrorism and in so, acknowledged Spain for the participation of its forces in UNIFIL in southern Lebanon. He also noted that Spain's culture holds a place of honor among the people of Israel. Many Israelis have a great interest in the Spanish cultural scene and, of course, in Spain's famous football teams. The Minister stressed the importance of strengthening ties between the young generations of both countries.

The food, as we learned, was prepared courtesy of the ambassador's wife Victoria Carderera with most foods prepared by her personally. Among the special foods prepared for the occasion were the Spanish delicacies such as: tapas, including excellent meats and cheese brought specially from Spain for the occasion, croquetas, tortillas and a kosher corner. All food was accompanied by the best Spanish cava and wine.


During the event, a video was screened showing Spain's key companies and innovative technologies as well as the country's beauty, which attracts hordes of tourists each year.

When singing the anthems of Spain and Israel, the Ambassador again surprised guests by joining in the singing of the Israeli anthem in Hebrew, delighting all Israelis who were present.

In the artistic part of the event, Silvia Duran and her flamenco school performed traditional Spanish flamenco dancing.

The beautiful layout of the venue, wonderful stage lighting and tasteful decorations contributed to a cozy atmosphere and very nice and pleasant evening.


Photo Silvia Golan






Photo Silvia Golan


H.E. MR. PATRICK MAISONNAVE  Embassador of france

President Peres Received on Thursday, October 10, 2013 Letters of Credence from the New Ambassadors of Ireland, France, Paraguay, Brazil and Mongolia.

President Peres to the new French Ambassador:

"In important and critical moments, France stood to the side of Israel. The State of Israel expects the important visit of President Hollande soon".

The French Ambassador to President Peres:

"France will also stand to the side of Israel in the future, and as Ambassador I intend to fulfill any task as necessary ".


Paraguay Ambassador presented the Letter of Credence to President Peres with the renewed opening of the Embassy in Israel after 12 years".


The new Ambassadors of Ireland, France, Paraguay, Brazil and Mongolia presented their Letters of Credence to President Peres, with their admission as Ambassadors of their respective countries. The five new Ambassadors thanked President Peres for the prerogative to serve in Israel and contribute to strengthen the mutual relations, and expressed their hope for further development of these relations.

A closing loop took place in the meeting of President Peres with the new French Ambassador, who started by saying: "France will stand to the side of Israel in the future as in the past, and as Ambassador I intend to fulfill any task as necessary".

President Peres responded that: "The State of Israel appreciates the special relations with France, which stood to our side in important and critical moments, and that the two countries have a common desire to march ahead with strengthened relations. I am sure that you will soon feel the warmth and closeness between the two nations. We expect the important visit of President Hollande in the next month, and wish you a great success in fulfilling your duties.

When starting the meeting with the new Paraguay Ambassador, President Peres greeted the renewed opening of the Embassy in Israel after 12 years, and said: "You represent the renewal of the relations between Israel and Paraguay. I am sure that all the doors will be opened for you, that you will be granted fruitful cooperation". The Paraguayan Ambassador thanked President Peres and said: "We consider the renewed opening of the Embassy in Israel of great importance, and we will do our best to strengthen the relations between the countries in a variety of fields.

President Peres wished great success to the new Ambassadors and said: "I am sure that you will find in Israel a warm home for strengthening the political, economical and cultural relations between the countries.

H.E  MR. EAMONN McKEE  Embassador of Ireland

 H.E. MR. MAX HABER NEUMANN Embassador of Paraguay



 H.E. MR. ALTANGEREL  BULGAA embassador of Mongolia

photos Mark Neuman / GPO



“Chile Forest, which lies within the Jerusalem Forest, symbolizes the cooperation between the two countries and our two nations.”
The annual ceremony in memory of General Bernardo O’Higgins, liberator of Chile, was held in Chile Forest in Israel’s Jerusalem Corridor. The event was attended by the Chilean Ambassador to Israel, members of a Chilean delegation on a visit to the country and representatives of KKL-JNF. “Thanks to General O’Higgins, today Chile is celebrating 203 years of independence,” said Chilean Ambassador Jorge Montero. “He was a shining example of patriotism and leadership in his lifetime, and he remains so today.”

Ceremony participants at the General O'Higgins Memorial. Photo: Yoav Devir

General Bernardo O’Higgins liberated Chile from the yoke of Spanish rule, served as his country’s leader after independence and is today considered a national hero and one of the founding fathers of the Chilean state. A ceremony in his memory is held annually in the heart of Eshtaol Forest at the events plaza that bears O’Higgins’ name. KKL-JNF established this plaza twenty-five years ago with the help of donations from its Friends in Chile and former Chileans living in Israel. 

This traditional ceremony takes place every year – but this year, for the first time, it was attended by an official delegation from Chile whose members included Marcello Elissalde, a representative of the O’Higgins Institute in Santiago, which promotes the general’s memory and heritage.

Marcello Elissalde by donor recognition plaques in Chile Forest. Photo: Yoav Devir

The General O'Higgins Memorial. Yoav Devir

Marcello Elissalde reminded his listeners that O’Higgins’ memory is perpetuated at 170 sites throughout the world, and emphasized the special importance of KKL-JNF’s cooperation with regard to memorializing this Chilean leader in Israel. “Here in the Holy Land a most beautiful and unique memorial has been established,” he said. 

Moment of silence. Photo: Yoav Devir

Touvia Goldstein, President of both the Israel-Chile Cultural Institute and the O'Higgins Institute in Israel, spoke of the good relations that prevail between the two countries: “Chile Forest, which lies within the Jerusalem Forest, symbolizes the cooperation between the two countries and our two nations,” he said. 

Fulvio Queinolo, the Chilean military attaché in Israel, gave examples of General O’Higgins’ activities on behalf of liberty and social issues, and added that the State of Israel also represents these values. “Thanks to the cooperation with KKL-JNF we can invite you to follow in the footsteps of this unique leader who honored both society and his fellow human beings,” he concluded. 

Chile Forest is not used only for events and ceremonies – it is also a popular venue for walks and other recreational activities. The forest was developed thanks to contributions from Friends of KKL-JNF in Chile, and it attracts large numbers of visitors. Its facilities include a recreation area dedicated to the memory of Noy and Rosa Furman of Santiago, which offers picnic spots and playground equipment for children; a decorative stone plaza named after National Senator Angel Faivovich; and attractive and convenient stone paths that link the various sites to one another. The forest trail, which is accessible to visitors exploring in cars, on bicycles or on foot, bears the name of social pioneer Leon Kaplun, who initiated the establishment of the O’Higgins Plaza. All these amenities are overlooked by the impressive stone monument dedicated to the memory of General O’Higgins, whose image now gazes down from the hilltop, as befits a military leader inspecting the terrain below. The general was famous for his special relationship with Israel and Jews, and we may assume that he would be impressed with the view he has been accorded. The participants in the ceremony laid a memorial wreath at the foot of the monument and stood for a moment in silence in his memory.

KKL-JNF was represented at the ceremony by Board Member Hernan Felman, who told those assembled about his visit to Chile several months ago, when he had the opportunity to observe how the country has developed and progressed. “KKL-JNF is glad of the opportunity it has been given to share some of its knowledge and experience by cooperating with Chile in matters relating to agriculture and afforestation,” he said. He went on to describe to his listeners the far-reaching changes that KKL-JNF has brought about in Israel in the areas of forestry,community development, agriculture, waterand ecology. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests went on to visit KKL-JNF’s offices in Jerusalem, where they listened to explanations of the organization’s activities and visited the hall where the KKL-JNF Books of Honor are kept. The covers of these large volumes were designed by a variety of artists, and the pages within them record the names of donors, well-known figures and other people from all walks of Jewish life. The donations record in the Books of Honor allows donors to participate in Israel’s progress and development and accords them the special honor of immortalizing their acts of generosity.

Donor recognition site in Chile Forest.  Photo: Yoav Devir


The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Israel held a reception on the occasion of its 22nd Independence Day on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv along with hundreds of guests.  

The event was attended by senior members of the Israeli government, foreign ambassadors and members of the diplomatic core, leading businessmen and other distinguished guests.


Among the many guests were members of the Israeli Government, Uri Ariel, Minister of Housing and Construction, MK Faina Kirschenbaum, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs and member of the Israel Beiteinu Party, and MK Avigdor Lieberman, a former MK, Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel and the founder and leader of the Israel Beiteinu party.   

Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Oybek I. Eshonov, his wife, and embassy diplomatic staff warmly received and welcomed guests with personal handshakes.


AmbassadorEshonov noted that precisely twenty-two years ago Uzbekistan earned its independence and began a new stage in its historical development. Within this short period, the country underwent a complicated but fruitful journey. Today, he continues, the Uzbek nation is deservedly proud of its progress in all spheres. Great changes have occurred from individual families to large-scale transformations, such as modernization of its cities, villages and the country in general. The country's economy and society grew at a stable, steady pace with an increasing standard of living. The economy has shown a steady growth of over eight percent in the last six years. He also noted that the State of Israel was one of the first countries to acknowledge Uzbekistan's independence and begin diplomatic relations. Uzbekistan considers Israel an important partner in the Middle East. The government of Uzbekistan is interested in deepening the political dialogue between the two nations, and broadening the trade, economic and cultural links.

Uri Ariel, Israel's Housing and Construction minister welcomed the Ambassador and the Uzbek nation on behalf of the Israeli government. He noted that Israel and Uzbekistan are similar in many ways and face similar challenges. Both have had to contend with arid climates and have successfully moved from a mostly agricultural economy to a more industrial one. Both nations share a similar regional strategic view. Indeed, both are countries that live in what can be described as "tough neighborhoods" and both face the threats of terrorism and Islamist radicalism. He noted that in recent years, there has been much progress in the relations between the countries. We have seen visits by cabinet ministers, diplomatic dialogue, and also the visiting of an Israeli parliamentary delegation to Uzbekistan. Ariel mentioned that a year ago we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Uzbekistan. Indeed, Israel was among the first countries to recognize the Republic of Uzbekistan following the declaration of its independence and that we hope to continue to strengthen and further our ties.


Mr. Shlomo Morgan, the Israeli Foreign Ministry representative further noted that in Israel, there are more than 200,000 Jews originally from Uzbekistan. They are an integral part of Israeli society and many of them hold prominent positions in our economy and political system. We are impressed with their success in maintaining the Bukhari Uzbeki culture and tradition. They are also an important bridge between both nations. He added that we will never forget that during the horrors of the Holocaust during WWII, Uzbekistan gave refuge to many Jews and the Uzbeki people opened their hearts to us.


Outgoing ambassador of Israel in Uzbekistan, Hillel Newman also congratulated the Uzbeki nation. Newman stated that during his service in Uzbekistan he was always received warmly. He said that although Uzbekistan is predominantly an Islamic state, it represents moderate Islam and is a country with strong democratic values. Relations with the Uzbeki administration were very good with a high level of cooperation during his tenure as ambassador.

Guests were surprised to discover that among them was the well-known Israeli singer and actress Galit Giat, who recently returned with her troupe from a folk festival in Uzbekistan celebrating Eastern melodies. Galit praised the wonderful hospitality and cordial reception accorded to the members of her band. It seems that the love was mutual as the Israeli band won the "Crowd Favorite" title.


Ambassador of Uzbekistan Mr. Aoibk Ashonov, Mr. Uri Ariel Housing and Construction Minister and Mr. Solomon Morgan Israeli Foreign Ministry representative

Hillel Newnam Former Israeli Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Mr. Yaakov Moshihov President of the World Congress of Bukharan Jews

 Photographer: Eli Blilus




Photos  Silvia G. Golan 


On Monday of this week (26.08.13), the Ukrainian Embassy held a reception in honor of its National day, celebrating 22 years of independence.

Ambassador Hennadii Nadolenko and Mrs. Nadolenko, received each guest personally with a warm handshake.

Among the distinguished guests were Israel's Minister of Immigration Absorption, Sofa Landver, Deputy Foreign Minister MK Zeev Elkin, members of the diplomatic staff of the foreign embassies in Israel and Israeli executives.

Boys and girls dressed in national costumes with flowers on their heads, received the guests in two rows, through which guests were led into the reception hall where they

were honored with the best of traditional Ukrainian beverages and delicacies.


Ambassador Hennadii Nadolenko opened the evening by welcoming all those present and praising the wonderful relationship developed between the two countries during the two decades since the establishment of the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel. The Ambassador noted that the Ukraine sees Israel as an important and genuine partner in the Middle East. He praised the bilateral cooperation between the countries in the cultural and economic sectors, and hopes to further develop and grow these areas of cooperation in the future.


Minister of Immigration Absorption, Sofa Landver, congratulated the Ukrainian government and its people on the occasion of its 22 years of independence. She noted that Israel and the Ukraine share a historical common heritage with half a million immigrants from the Ukraine living in Israel today. These individuals significantly contribute to Israel's economy, society and culture, and provide a human bridge between the two countries.

She noted that this year marks the twenty first anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Ukraine. The two countries bilateral interests are broad and diverse, but also close and friendly. They include ties in the economic, commercial and cultural sectors, as well as in tourism and are supported by a long series of high ranking official visits on both sides. She also mentioned that the Visa Exemption Agreement, which was signed by the two countries in 2011 reflecting the trust and friendship between the two countries, led to a dramatic rise in the number of tourists and pilgrims visiting Israel. This is an impressive figure that hopefully will continue to rise.

The Minister wished the Ambassador: "Please give our very best wishes to the government and people of the Ukraine. We hope to continue our countries relationship and successful cooperation".




Shlomo Morgan, Minister of the Protocol Department, representing the Foreign Ministry of Israel, welcomed the Ambassador and the Ukrainian people. He noted that the cultural ties between the two countries are strong and close, finding their expression in the exchange of artists, exhibitions and many other activities. The Ukrainian Embassy operates a Ukrainian cultural center in the city of Bat Yam. Similarly, the Israeli Embassy in Kiev is very active in bringing to Ukraine the different facets of Israeli culture.

Israel also welcomes the cooperation between the two countries in the commercial and economic fields. He hopes that both sides will intensity their efforts to further expand this cooperation to tap the full potential in these important areas. He congratulated the government and the Ukrainian people, hoping that the friendship and cooperation between the countries will expand and flourish in the years to come.


During the event, Ukrainian and Israeli singers sang the anthems of the two countries. Guests who came to rejoice and celebrate with the Ukrainian people on this special day enthusiastically joined in the singing.


Among the guests who attended the event was Deputy Interior Minister and Secretary General of "Israel Beiteinu", Faina Kirshenbaum. Ms. Kirshenbaum recently visited the city of Uman in the Ukraine to closely monitor the preparations for the arrival of tens of thousands of Israeli Hassidim for Rosh Hashanah prayers at the holy grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov during this period.

Photos by Silvia Golan


















On Thursday 8th  August,2013 the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, received letters of credence from five new ambassadors representing Sweden, Colombia, Australia, Denmark and Papua New Guinea.


The diplomats :  Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden – H.E. Mr. Carl Magnus Nesser, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia - H. E. Dr. Fernando Alzate Donoso, Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Australia- H.E. Mr. Devanand (Dave) Noel Sharma, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark - H.E. Mr. Jesper Vahr,Ambassador of the Independent State Papua New Guinea - H.E. Ms. Winnie Anna Kiap; who will be assuming their positions as ambassadors of their countries in Israel, presented their letters of credence at an official ceremony held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem. 


After the protocol, a private reception was held for the diplomats at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The reception was an opportunity for the new Ambassadors to exchange views and greetings on the new positions and the challenges ahead of them.


Photos Credit: Mark Neiman/GPO





Following the P5+1 talks in Kazakhstan with Iran on its nuclear program, Under Secretary Sherman is traveling from February 28-March 4 to Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, where she will meet with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers. 
The Portuguese Embassy in Israel has appointed Mr. Yoni Essakow as the new Honorary Consul of Portugal in Haifa. Israel and Portugal have a long history of maritime relations, and the new Consul in Haifa intends to serve the two countries by strengthening and advancing the trade, commercial and cultural ties that have been forged between Lisbon and Jerusalem over the years.

The Portuguese Embassy in Israel has appointed Mr. Yoni Essakow as the new Honorary Consul of Portugal in Haifa. Israel and Portugal have a long history of maritime relations, and the new Consul in Haifa intends to serve the two countries by strengthening and advancing the trade, commercial and cultural ties that have been forged between Lisbon and Jerusalem over the years.

In an interview with your Diplomacy correspondent, Mr. Essakow gave advance notice of the Portuguese Film Festival that is scheduled to take place in Haifa later this year. He also mentioned the importance of the October visit to Israel’s northern port city of the Portuguese Minister of Science & Innovation. The Minister is particularly interested in expanding ties with the Haifa Technion.

Mr. Essakow’s business interests in shipping and commerce are sure to have a positive impact on trade ties between Israel and Portugal, to the mutual benefit of both countries.

The Haifa Consular representative can be reached by telephone on
+972 (0)4 867-1266 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Photo Courtesy of the Portugal embassy




Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Alternate Representative of the United States for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, At a Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, July 25, 2012

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Special Coordinator Serry, for your briefing.

Mr. President, last week the world witnessed – and the Security Council appropriately condemned – a heinous terrorist attack in Bulgaria. The target was innocent Israeli tourists on vacation in the Black Sea. Five Israelis and one Bulgarian were murdered and scores more were injured, including citizens of Bulgaria, Italy, Slovakia, and the United States. There is no justification whatsoever for such attacks against innocent people. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families and to the people of Israel, Bulgaria, and all those whose citizens were harmed in this awful event.

Celebrating the traditional Bastille Day in his elegant estate in Jaffa, the French Ambassador Christopher Bigot hosted Israeli President Shimon Peres and former captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, accompanied by his father Noam Shalit.

In his speech, Bigot recalled the full support his country lent Shalit during the 5 years he was held prisoner by Hamas in Gaza.
Bigot also assured Israel continued support by the newly appointed French President Francois Hollande.

Yossi Beilin, who served as Israeli Justice Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister, conducted the secret peace negotiations that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

You have called on the Palestinian Authority, which was supposed to be the Palestinian state in embryo, to dissolve itself. Why now?

The Oslo Peace Process called for an interim agreement that would last five years and end with a permanent settlement. It has dragged on for almost 20 years. What was supposed to be a corridor leading to a final settlement has become a living room – a very convenient one – for people like Prime Minister Netanyahu and for the opposition in Palestine. They want to keep the status quo.

This morning Israel's President Shimon Peres hosted a delegation of honorary Israeli consuls around the world.

A traditional reception commemorating Columbus Day, HISPANIDAD DAY, was held at the residence gardens of Hon. Alvaro Iranzo, Ambassador of Spain to Israel and his wife, in Herzliya Pituach.

The Honorary guests were former President of Israel Yitzhak Navon and his wife.

During the party we received the notice of Shalit's release and the ambassador expressed his hope in his speech. Shalit's release and Columbus Day both symbolize the dawn of new eras... Gilad's freedom was returned to him so that he could embark on a new chapter in his life. Columbus' discovery of the New World began a sea change in world history.

Below is the Ambassador's speech, during which he welcomed the attendees and expressed hope for the future and summed up the activity between Israel and Spain during this last year:

I am most honoured to welcome you on the occasion of our National Day. This year, like many others, the celebration comes close to the Rosh Hashaná Festivities. It is therefore easy to pause and consider the achievements of the past year, as well as to express our commitment to further bilateral cooperation for the year 5772.

In 1986, Spain and Israel put an end to a historic anomaly, through the establishment of diplomatic relations. We then decided to open a new page in our History, drawing from the millenary Jewish presence in the Iberian Peninsula. During 2011 we are actively commemorating the 25th Anniversary of that milestone, to which President Navon much contributed.

It is rewarding to look back at last year and see how our relations have grown wider and deeper, even if we just consider the number and the level of the exchanges which have taken place, beginning with the visit paid to Spain by President Shimon Peres in February.

During his stay in Madrid, President Peres inaugurated the new headquarters of Casa Sefarad-Israel, the public diplomacy institution which plays a major role in the Spanish government's fight against anti-Semitism and to spread Jewish culture among the Spanish public.

Among other high level Israeli authorities, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and –last but not least- Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar have officially visited Spain and moved our common agenda forward.

On the other hand, the echoes of the visit of Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia still reverberate across Israel, as much as the deep impressions left on them by your country and by your warm reception. Their long-awaited visit bears witness to the fraternal links between Sefarad and Israel. We much appreciated the role, once again played by Minister Sa'ar during that visit.

As for the Spanish Foreign Minister, Ms. Trinidad Jiménez, she has already visited Israel twice during her term, which began only about a year ago.

In our political contacts, the Spanish side has shown its firm commitment towards a successful resolution of all pending conflicts in the Middle East.

My country has invested more than words joining the international undertaking to attain peace. Twenty years ago the Madrid Peace Conference set the basic principles of a peaceful settlement. We contribute as a major donor to the social, economic and institutional stability of Israel's main partner. Furthermore, around twelve hundred Spanish troops under UNIFIL command fulfil a key role in maintaining the calm along Israel's northern border.

As stated by Minister Jiménez since she first came to Israel, Spain has consistently advocated for the resumption of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Authority as the privileged way to reach peace under the two-State formula.

Based upon that premise, the Spanish commitment to peace implies both support to the legitimate Palestinian aspiration to statehood and support for effective security guarantees for your country. In her recent speech before the General Assembly in New York, my Minister defined Israel as the embodiment of the project to create a homeland for the Jewish people.

Returning to the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, I wish to express to the Israeli Governement –represented tonight by Minister Gideon Sa'ar, always an active and loyal friend of Spain- the Spanish satisfaction about the success of the numerous cultural events through which we have been sharing with all of you the joy derived from this Anniversary.

We tried to cover the main fields of interest to the Israeli public: classical, modern and flamenco music, cinema, literature, dance, Spanish studies and Jewish heritage. The year is not yet over: I encourage you to go and admire the portrait of "St. John, the Evangelist" by El Greco, a masterpiece loaned by El Prado and exhibited at the Israel Museum.

Next month, we will open a magnificent exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of one hundred artworks by Pablo Picasso, on the theme of bullfighting. The Maestro José Mercé, arguably the best Flamenco singer alive –Cantaor, as we say- will perform at the end of the month in Jerusalem.

In the economic field, our relations are growing stronger, with active participation of many Israeli companies in the Spanish market and a growing presence of Spanish firms in Israel, often to engage in technological developments. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry recently awarded to Prof. Schejtman attests to the way your country nurtures excellence in science and technology, the very same fields in which we have decided to increase our bilateral cooperation, as it is the best collective investment we can make to ensure continued social and economic well-being.

Every year, scores of Israelis and Spaniards fly across the Mediterranean Sea to enjoy our respective cultural heritage, our landscapes and our busy cities.

Minister Sa'ar will certainly not deny that, for Israelis, there is an additional motive: watching live football matches. This year there was no World Cup, but Barcelona retained its Champions League title and Spain did the same with the European Basketball Championship.

I fervently hope that closer contact between our peoples will bring about a better understanding of our common past and of each other's perspective in the interdependent world we live in.

Before ending my words, I would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support to this event. Together with its partner Minrav, Valoriza Agua is building an important desalination plant in Ashdod. Iberia, the main Spanish airline, is steadily increasing its connections between Tel Aviv, Madrid and Barcelona.

I now have the pleasure to invite you to join Minister Sa'ar and myself in a toast to the long life and well being of our Heads of State, President Shimon Peres and King Juan Carlos of Spain, and to our mutual friendship.

The guests were very pleased with the excellent cuisine who was served at the event.

Her Majesty Queen Sofia attended the Thursday night concert of the Israel Philharmonic at the Auditorio National in Madrid. At intermission she received Zubin Mehta for a private audience, congratulating the Maestro and the orchestra on their visit to Spain.
The program had an especially Spanish "flavor"; Albeniz "Iberia", De Falla "Noches en Los Jardines de Espana" ("Evenings in the Gardens of Spain"), Debussy "Iberia" and Rimsky-Korsakov "Capriccio Espagnol". Piano soloist Javier Perianes performed De Falla's "Noches" with the orchestra. Her Majesty was greeted by applause from the standing audience and orchestra when she entered the auditorium. She has a personal friendship with Maestro Mehta and is known to members of the IPO as a faithful supporter of the orchestra's concerts over the years.

Queen Sofia is a great supporter of the arts and sports. She represented Spain in its 1960 Olympics sailing team. Two years ago she attended the Wimbledon Tennis Championship to see Rafael Nadal's victory, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup when Spain was crowned champion. Madrid's major museum of modern art carries her name.
The Queen who is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty, is wife of Spain's King Juan Carlos I.



Regional danger has never been greater while at the same time peace is so attainable I call upon Abbas, for whom I have great respect: Let's start negotiations.

President Shimon Peres hosted a New Year's reception for members of the foreign Diplomatic Corps posted in Israel. Ambassadors from more than 60 countries including Jordan and Egypt were represented at the reception for members of the foreign diplomatic corps.

The President greeted the Ambassadors for the New Year and during his address spoke about the peace process and the recent events at the United Nations. He stressed that the regional danger has never been greater while at the same time peace is so attainable. The President reiterated his recent calls for Abbas to return to the negotiating table.

He said: "I call upon Abbas, the President of the Palestinians, for whom I have much respect and sympathy, and I must say here and now that I think the present leadership of the Palestinians is the best we could have, and say: Let's start. Let's start in two ways, openly and quietly. We have to do these two things in a parallel manner. Let's not waste time. We are in an unfinished and undecided situation in the Middle East."

The President added that framework and timeline provided by the Quartet to start and advance the negotiations is important and can lead to peace.

The President also used the opportunity to sharply criticize the United Nations and said he felt deeply ashamed that Ahmadinejad is invited to the United Nations. "For an Israeli to see him on the stage of the United Nations is revolting. It is actually the antithesis of the United Nations. He calls for the destruction of Israel, he threatens to use his strength, he denies the Shoah (Holocaust), and he acts against the basic aims and philosophies of having a world organization that is trying to overcome conflicts and introduce a new tone. He is a dangerous man and still heading terror activities here, supplying weapons to Hamas and Hizbullah.

"Thank You and good luck" was the common phrase in all of the guests' mouths in the farewell reception of the Ambassador of Korea to Israel, Young- Sam Ma.

Ambassador Ma and Ms. Ma thanking the guests. (Diplomacy.co.il)

The Korean Embassy hosted a special ceremony to celebrate the unveiling ceremony of the new Embassy building. The event was hosted by the Korean Ambassador, Mr. Young-Sam Ma with the presence of the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Danny Ayalon and the Mayor of Herzliya, Mrs. Yael German.

On April 2009, the Government of the Republic of Korea has decided to purchase a 4 dunam plot of land in order to establish a permanent Embassy building. This decision is considered as a very unique step because usually, most of the foreign Embassies are renting or purchasing existing offices and buildings. By doing so, Korea has proven its sincere intentions in strengthening its bilateral relationship with the State of Israel.

This land and the future Embassy is not just a regular asset: It is the first asset owned by Korea in the 'holyland'. The fact that Korea chose to buy land and own a permanent property in the 'holyland' of Israel is of great significance to Korea. This is a unique step that reflects the serious intentions on forming a continuous friendship and stable ties which will go on and strengthen even more in the future.In this regard it is important to remember that back then, on April 2009, such a deal was considered as an exceptional deal in light of the global economical crisis which has plagued most countries in the world. This is a further proof of the Korean government strong commitment to the State of Israel.

This project is very complicated in terms of logistics since it involves a foreign government. However, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Municipality of Herzliya are doing everything they can to assist the Embassy to promote the project and complete it as quickly as possible.As for the planned schedule, the initial construction work on the ground will start in about 10 month and will be followed with approximately 20 month of construction. Hopefully, the opening of the new Embassy building will take place on the beginning of 2014.

During the ceremony, the Ambassador of Korea, Mr. Young-Sam Ma carried out few words and highlighted the great significance of the Government of Korea's decision to acquire land and own an asset in the holy land. Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Danny Ayalon stressed the importance of good relations between Korean and Israel. Herzliya Mayor, Mrs. Yael German said that she is proud and appreciate the Korean Embassy’s decision for choosing Herzliya as its permanent location.Before the speeches, the ambassador, together with Mr. Danny Ayalon, Yael German and the Head of the Korean Community in Israel (Mr. Lee Kang-Gun) unveiled the curtain over the new embassy sign and exposing the new Embassy design.

Among other participants in the ceremony there were the Ambassador of Israel to Korea, Mr. Tuvia Israeli, Korean Honorary Consuls: Mr. Eitan Haber and Advocate, Amichai Orkaby, representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the municipality of Herzliya and members of the Korean Community in Israel.

Many diplomats and friends attended the celebration of the Swedish national day in the Ambassador's residence. H.E. Ambassador Elinor Hammarskjold was thrilled to host the guests and welcome them personally.


After greeting all the arrivals, Ambassador Hammarskjold was introduced and came up to the stage to say some words. Ambassador Hammarskjold welcomed the crowd and minister Shalom Simchon, representative of the government in the event. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold started by saying that Sweden and Israel have a long history of relations between themselves. She wanted to share with the audience some of her experiences since she arrived to Israel last year. Ambassador Hammarskjold shared stories about people who told her that they sought refuge in Sweden during and after the Holocaust, in this matter she also mentioned the vast cooperation between Israel and Sweden regarding Holocaust education. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold spoke of the other fields of cooperation in which both states share, Fields such as technology, environment, art, human rights and others. She mentioned that some of those fields both countries cooperate with the Palestinians as well. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold went on and spoke about the importance of pursuing peace. She said that Sweden plays an important role in bringing both sides closer, hopefully to an agreement in the future. The ambassador mentioned Swedish foreign minister Bildt's visit to Israel in the past year and the importance of it in the matters of foreign and security policies. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold's next topic was the trade between Israel and Sweden. She mentioned proudly the increase of 20% in trade during last year and said that both countries enjoy a high investment rate which makes them leaders in the statistics. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold and Minister Simchon. (Eva Taylor)
The Ambassador thanked the sponsors of the event and also acknowledged the presence of the Honorary consuls of Sweden in Haifa and Eilat, Mr. David Castel and Mr. Uri Pri-Gal. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold pointed out the last ambassador of Sweden made his speech from the roof, She said that she is happy that this is not possible anymore due to the solar panels that covers it and highlight the commitment of Sweden to environmental issues. 

Ambassador Hammarskjold finally thanked the guests for coming and wished them to enjoy the evening. 

After the ambassador's speech minister Shalom Simchon took the stage. Minister Simchon said that he is happy to be representing the government of Israel in this event and he would like to wish Sweden all the best. 

As minister of Industry, trade and labor, Mr. Simchon elaborated of the many fields of the cooperation between both of the countries. He said that there is much more room to expand this cooperation and he is looking forward of meeting the minister of industry, trade and labor of Sweden. 

Minister Simchon spoke of the special relationship of Israel and Sweden and its history. 

Finally, Minister Simchon wished a happy national day to the guests and the speeches were closed with the national anthems. 

After the speeches the crowd was free to mingle and get to know each other and enjoy the fine food.





Photo Eva Taylor





Members of the Italian community in Israel, businessmen, members of the Israeli government and friends gathered in the Italian ambassador's residence in Ramat-Gan to celebrate the national day of Italy.
Ambassador Luigi Mattiolo

The ambassador of Italy to Israel, H.E. Luigi Mattiolo and his wife welcomed the guests to their beautiful home and wished them happy Italian national day.

The ambassador spoke about the great relations between Israel and Italy and mentioned the recent economic agreement that will allows the two states to increase their trade between themselves. 

Among the guests were Chairman of the Israeli parliament, Rubi Rivlin, minister of education Gideon Sa'ar, MK Silvan Shalom, MK Gideon Ezra, minister of agriculture, Orit Noked and many more. President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu sent their greetings as well.

The guest enjoyed a variety of top quality Italian cheese, wine and drinks imported specially for the event.  

Italy's National Day. (Diplomacy.co.il)   

Ambassador's residence. (Diplomacy.co.il)


Photos by Diplomacy







Many Diplomats, Israeli officials, businessmen and friends gathered in the beautiful “Metsudat David” hotel in Jerusalem in honor of the Bahai New Year- the Nahruz.
"Metsudat David" Hotel. (Diplomacy.co.il)


The hall that the event took place in was decorated with flowers, trees and more that gave the scenery a nature like atmosphere.


The representative of the Israeli government was minister of tourism, Mr. Stas misezhnikov, who greeted the guests and thanked the Bhai community for contributing to the unique nature of Israel and attracting so many visitors to see their holy temples in Haifa and Akko.


The Bahai’s were wearing their traditional festive clothing, which was colorful and lovely. The members of the Bhai community made sure they will introduce themselves to each and every guest. The crowd enjoyed as well the delicious traditional Bhai cuisine, many of them, for the first time.


The head of the Bahai community, Secretary General, Mr. Albert Licoln, blessed the crowd and thanked them for their participation in the New Year’s celebration.

Mr. Lincoln spoke about the achievements of last year and shared the plans for the following year to come.

The perfomance. (Diplomacy.co.il)Members of the Bhai community and friends. (Diplomacy.co.il)Minister of tourism, Stas Miszhnikov. (Diplomacy.co.il)

With the cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce  and Industry Israel-France, a delegation of multisectoral companies and industrials from Marseille and its region came to Israel from the 13th to the 17th of March 2011 for an official mission with the presence of Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin, Mayor of Marseille.  

The aim of this mission was to strengthen the links between these two shores of the Mediterranean Sea and to reinforce the economic, cultural and scientific cooperation between Marseille and Israel.

In this purpose, the delegation visited several scientific and technological sites in Haïfa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and attended conferences and seminars. On Wednesday March 16th, the Chamber of Commerce  and Industry Israel-France organized an economic seminar at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv with the presence of the Mayor of Marseille and the First Deputy Mayor of Tel-Aviv, Mr. Nathan Wolloch. The delegation and representatives of Israeli firms attended conferences in the morning and then had the opportunity to meet each other during lunch.




By Jonathan Danilowitz

Bulgaria's Amabassador to Israel, Honorable Mr. Yuri Sterk
On the 9th March, His Excellency Mr. Yuri Sterk, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel, opened an exhibition at Tel Aviv's Enav Cultural Center. Amongst those at the event were key Ministry of Foreign Affairs persons, members of the diplomatic and consular corps and of course, many present and former Bulgarian citizens.



The exhibition – “The Power of Civil Society during the Holocaust: the Bulgarian Story, 1940 – 1944” – reflects some of the historic parallels between Bulgaria’s and Israel’s struggles for independence, and some of the similarities between the two countries, explaining the close ties that exist between them at all levels, to this day. (The exhibition is open to the public until 19th March.)


Although many individual Jews and several Jewish communities in Europe were saved from the Nazi death machine in WWII in various countries, Bulgaria was perhaps unique in that, thanks to the united civilian efforts (led by the Bulgarian Royal Family and other intellectual, spiritual and political leaders), almost the entire Jewish community there was saved. Neighbors would not stand by and allow the Jews to be deported to death camps.


In his address to the assembled guests, Ambassador Yuri Sterk spoke of the coincidence that the 9th March, the 133rd anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation, was also the date of the start of the civil actions protesting against and resisting the “final solution” of the Third Reich, thus saving Bulgaria’s Jewish community.


Analyzing whether there is a link (separated in time by almost 65 years) between the two events, and the source of the close ties, the Ambassador continued: “I believe both represent crucial junctures in the development of the Bulgarian nation; both attest significantly to important features of Bulgarian national spirit and character which substantiated the historically critical choices Bulgarians had to make on those two occasions: once in the 1870s in favor of their freedom, to exercise their right to an independent national being. And a second time – in the dark years of WWII – in favor of human dignity, in support of universal human virtues and values as opposed to the probably easier way to dishonor and complicity in the most abominable crime against humanity in the history of Mankind.


Ambassadors and Diplomats enjoying the event. (Diplomacy.co.il)

“These are actually also the choices made, and the values and principles shared, by the people of Israel. These are the values and principles that are shared by both our peoples and which are the foundation of our peoples’ affinity for each other, of the friendship between our two nations”.


Ambassador Mr. Sterk concluded by graciously acknowledging the assistance of those who had helped make the exhibition possible, including Tel Aviv Municipality and the Bulgarian Institute of Culture. This is the very first time this exhibition has been shown in Israel.

All those who value life and peace must join forces to prevent arms smuggling, so that Israel can continue to ease restrictions on the Palestinians.

Today (March 10) a briefing for foreign ambassadors in Israel was conducted by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Maj.Gen. Eytan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The subject of the briefing was the implementation of the civilian policy in Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip in light of the dramatic changes in the region.

After reviewing the government's policy of easing restrictions in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, which has brought about significant economic growth in both areas (9% in Judea and Samaria, and 16% in the Gaza Strip), DFM Ayalon concluded, "Israel aspires to continue the easing measures. At the same time, the complexities of this region and the recent dramatic changes have intensified the threat of arms smuggling that endangers Israeli citizens in the southern and central parts of the country.

"Unfortunately, you and your families living in the center of the country also understand the this is a very real threat; the range of the rockets reaches all of us and already today thousands of rockets are stored in the Gaza Strip that threaten the population in Israel.

"We call on the international community and all in the region who treasure life to join forces to prevent the arms smuggling. The rockets threaten not only Israeli citizens, but also the citizens of the Gaza Strip who also long for a normal life. The continuation of the smuggling will interfere with Israel's ability to ease restrictions for Gaza residents. All those who value life, whether they are Egyptian, Tunisian, Jordanian, Israeli or Palestinian, together with the international community, must stop the Iranian infiltration.

"From here I call on the international community to put pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who does not receive even the most basic human rights."

In response to journalists' questions regarding Denmark's upgrading of the status of the Palestinian delegation, DFM Ayalon called it "a virtual upgrade that won’t change the reality on the ground. Whoever deludes the Palestinians into thinking that they can establish a state unilaterally, without negotiations, is diminishing the chances for peace and for a Palestinian state."

DFM Ayalon added, "Palestinian obstinacy will not prevent Israel from making diplomatic progress and cooperating with the international community."



Marking his nation's Independence Day, the Kenyan Ambassador to Israel,  Lt. Gen. Augostino S. K. Njoroge, delivered a rousing and heartfelt speech on Sunday December 12 at the Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv.


MK Avishai Braverman (center)

The African Ambassador spoke of the strong --and decades long--- ties between Israel and Kenya. At the evening's social event, Israeli MK Avishai Braverman also delivered a speech in which he also spoke of the special ties between Israeli and Kenya, with his hopes for a strong future between the two nations.

Giving a lengthy and all encompassing speech about the long-standing relationship between Israel and this African country, Ambassador Nijoroge began by offering his "heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their loved ones" while "praying for the quick recovery of the injured," in reference to the 43 deaths incurred by the massive forest-fire, which ravaged Northern Israel just a week earlier.

The ambassador requested the audience to "remain silent for a minute for the departed souls."

The ambassador's motif focused on the emphasis of the special bilateral relations between Kenya and Israel.

"It has grown in leaps and bounds. Relations can be traced to 107 years ago when in August 1903 the then British Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, offered Zionists a part of Kenyan territory, which was part of the then British East African Uganda Protectorate... at the moment, hundred of Kenyans of Jewish origin live and call Kenya their first home."

Kenyan Ambassador, Augostino S. K. NjorogeThe Ambassador emphasized that over the past 20-years, the powerful alliance was based purely on trade and economic cooperation; however, in the last decade, political bonds have improved along with the shared cooperation in different sociological fields.

"It is my desire during my tenure as the ambassador of Kenya to the State of Israel to consolidate and strengthen the already existing ties even further," he said. "Let me extend Kenya's sincere appreciation for the technical support that the Israeli government continues to extend to Kenya through Mashav. The balance of trade remains largely in favor of Israel, mainly because ISrael has been exporting primarily to Kenya with regards to high-valued finished goods."

In a kind gesture to underscore his admiration for the Jewish state, the Kenyan Ambasador offered "a toast for the good health of his excellency Shimon Peres, the President of Israel."

This festive event also featured a host of various Kenyan dance and music with performers flying in from Kenya especially for the event.  This showing of "soft power" by incorporating pieces of Kenyan culture to another eclectic culture like Israel remains a welcoming sight to the ever-changing face of international diplomacy.



Photos by Diplomacy

On Thursday, December 2nd, the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv hosted a gala honoring the King of Thailand on his 83rd birthday.  The extravagant celebration coincided with the country's National Day.



Ambassador Chartsuwan

The event, celebrated simultaneously throughout many countries, brought together ambassadors and an array of representatives from the diplomatic community as they took part in the festivities, which also recognized the healthy relationship between Israel and Thailand themselves.

Ambassador of Thailand to Israel, H.E Chatchawed Chartsuwan commenced the evening with a brief speech in which he expressed his gratitude to the government of Israel, poignantly describing the strong ties that have united both countries over several years. Ambassador Chartsuwan said he was proud in acknowledging the fact that Thailand was one of the first Asiatic countries to recognize the State of Israel.

Chartsuwanmade it clear that Israeli tourism to Thailand has had and continues to have a huge economic impact on his nation. According to the Thai Ministry of Tourism, roughly 140,000 Israelis visited the Southeast Asian nation thus far as 2010 comes to an end.

Another key point Ambassador Chartsuwan touched upon was the mutual benefit that both nations have been afforded from their scientific and technological cooperation as well as the artistic and cultural events presented by the Thai community in Israel, such as the Thai Festival in Haifa. These events, as explained by Chartsuwan have "consolidated a strong sense of pride and a future filled with unity between the two countries".

In culminating his speech, Ambassador Chartsuwan discussed his intentions in deepening the cohesiveness between both countries, expressing that "in these times, one can neither ignore nor reject globalization." He also expressed his admiration for Israeli President Shimon Peres and the contributions that he has made to both the State of Israel and the global diplomatic community.

Dr. Uzi Landau addresses guestsFollowing the Thai Ambassador, Israeli Minister of Infrastructure and Development, Dr. Uzi Landau, expressed his warm regards for both Thailand's diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv as well as the entire Thai nation.

"I came to speak as a representative of the people of Israel, wishing the best to your Majesty, the King of Thailand and all of his people."

Dr. Landau also focused on the vast cultural and economic ties, most notably referring to the strong links over the past couple of years specifically.

The majority of Landau's speech was dedicated to the impact that Thai immigrants and workers have had on the Israeli state itself. Referring to the agricultural contribution and influence, Landau made clear that "Thai immigrants in Israel have made enormous strides in furthering Israel's Agricultural landscape, and we cannot thank them enough."

Not only did Landau express his desire for maintaining the strong commercial ties between the two nations; rather, he expressed the need for further cooperation in building a common agenda with mutual goals across many sectors – an agenda that will carry both nations towards future successes.

Above all else, the evening was a great way to celebrate the strong achievements between Israel and Thailand while also honoring the rich traditions of the Thai Kingdom and its nation's history.





In her first appearance at an Israeli university, Brazilian Ambassador to Israel - H.E. Maria Elisa Berenguer - addressed guests at Tel Aviv University and discussed the special relationship between Israel and Brazil as well as Brazil's newly accelerated diplomatic efforts across the Middle East.Ambassador Berenguer (Photo by: senado.gov.br)


Assuming the post as ambassador only four months ago, Ambassador Berenguer expressed her amazement at both the fast paced environment in Israel and how regional events themselves are rapidly changing on a day to day basis.  Mixed with its surging economy, it is these rapid developments that have motivated Brazil in undertaking a new diplomatic track as opposed to the country's previously held strategy of 'quiet diplomacy'.

Those familiar with the latest current events in Brazil know that Latin America's most populated and largest country has become a thriving economic force as it has established itself as one of the top ten economic giants across the globe (as measured by GDP).  With this, Brazil can only assume a greater role in world diplomacy while trying to expand its "friendly neighbor" policy worldwide and with special attention to the Middle East.

In specifically addressing Brazil's foreign policy efforts towards Iran, Ambassador Berenguer explained that Brazil is adamant in its belief that all nation's have the right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and that her country is attempting a new strategy in approaching the Iranian government with regards to its nuclear program.  

Referring to the recent meeting between Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ms. Berenguer explained that, "He [President da Silva] had long conversations with Ahmadinejad about the Jewish people and stressed the importance in not denying the Holocaust."

As Dilma Rousseff is set to assume the Brazilian presidency on January 1st (she will be the first woman to fill that role), Ambassador Berenguer stressed the importance in continuing to pursue a similar diplomatic policy towards the region. "Brazil has been a long time friend of Israel and worked very hard behind the scenes in favor of the UN's resolution, which lead to the establishment of the State of Israel," stated Ms. Berenguer.  

And although many Israelis may feel uncomfortable with Brazil's extended hand towards the Iranian regime, Ambassador Berenguer made it clear that Brazil will continue to pursue an agenda that publicly stresses the importance of Israel's security.

Ms. Berenguer said she is looking forward to her stay in Israel and expressed her commitment to maintaining and strengthening the overall ties between her country and Israel.

For more on the Brazilian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, visit http://www.brazilianembassy.org.il/

Photo Jose Cruz









Romania's rich musical traditions were on display Wednesday night at the Givatayim Theatre as some of the Eastern European nation's finest young talent performed before hundreds of guests in attendance in celebration of Romanian National Day.Ambassador Edward Iosiper (Photo: Claudia Lazar)


In honor of the country's reunification of Transylvania into 'Greater Romania' (December 1, 1918), Romanian National Day glorifies the storied cultural achievements throughout the nation's intriguing history.  Undoubtedly, Romania's global contributions to the Arts is something that cannot be overlooked; rather, it is these contributions that have helped place the country amongst the world's most sophisticated centers for both the composition and performance of classical music.

Thus, it was quite a privilege for those who attended the Romanian Cultural Institute's - in conjunction with the Embassy of Romania - sponsored orchestral performance honoring the country's heralded musical traditions of both past and present while also getting a glimpse at the the next generation of Romanian prodigies whom have gracefully begun to carry-on those traditions.

The cultural evening commenced with the playing of both the Romanian and Israeli national anthems and was followed by speeches from Gina Pana, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, and the Romanian Ambassador to Israel himself, H.E. Edward Iosiper.  

In his speech, Mr. Iosiper discussed the already strong bilateral ties between Israel and Romania while also stressing the desire to see even greater cooperation between the two nation's.  Iosiper, who has been posted in Tel Aviv since 2007 said that he was proud of the achievements garnered by both countries and that each can benefit greatly through the continued strengthening of those familial bonds.

Romania, which has a large contingent of foreign workers in Israel, has also recently become a prime destination for Israeli travelers and is growing each year in regards to its tourism industry.

As the evening continued, the young musicians - all students of Romania's finest conservatories - performed pieces by George Enescu and Paul Constantinescu, two of Romania's most celebrated composers, as well as works by Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Robert Schumann.  The focus of the concert was to honor both Romania's finest composers and a few of the more recognized Jewish ones.

All of musicians - members of the "Dinu Lipatti" Group for Musical Excellence (Daria Ioana Tudor, piano (13 years old); Georgeta Ioana Iordache, violin (16 years old); Stefan Cazacu, violoncello (17 years old); Arthur Bocaneanu, piano (19 years old) ) - are well known both within Romanian philharmonic circles as well as those worldwide as they have taken their talents across the globe.Cazacu, cello and Bocaneanu, piano (Photo: Claudia Lazar)  They were accompanied on piano by Verona Maier, from the National University of Music in Bucharest.   Producing classical music talent is definitely something of which Romania excels.

So, as the festivities of Romania's National Day officially commence, diplomacy.co.il offers a special congratulations to the Romanian mission to Tel Aviv as well as all Romanian citizens currently residing in Israel.

For more information on the Romanian diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv, click here 

Photo by: Andres Lacko


Appearing before dozens of guests at the IBCA Balfour Dinner, the recently appointed British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, addressed the question of "loyalty" in regards to to being the United Kingdom's first Jewish ambassador to Tel Aviv.

"I am a Londoner through and through, and my heart beats a litle faster when England gets within striking distance of the World Cup.
My identity as a proud Jew does not detract one iota from my loyalty as a British citizen.  These loyalties operate on different levels, and they do not conflict."

The ambassador invoked references of Chaim Weizman and Walter Rothschild in explaining the phenomenon of dual loyalties as he himself shares between his allegiances to Britain as a citizen and representative abroad and his strong ties to the State of Israel.

"There is absolutely nothing incompatible in this with the most thoroughgoing British patriotism," Gould commented, directly quoting Lord Alfred Milner, a member of former British Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet at the time the Balfour Declaration was created.

In terms of strides being made since assuming his post in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Gould discussed the quick developments being made in further strengthening the economic bonds between Israel and Britain with particular regards to the high-tech sector while also building on the already strong scientific collaboration enjoyed between the two countries.  

The ambassador described his agenda as 'long, ambitious and immensely positive'.  "This is a country [Israel] of great intensity," commented Gould.  "In two months, I have had a crash course in Israeli culture, into Israeli politics, on the Israeli economy.  I have made more friends, met more people, visited more places than I ever though possible," he added, saying that his understanding of "the country in which I now live" has expanded greatly.

Among other issues, including the current situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program, Gould promised the attendees that his country would "amend the legal anomaly" regarding universal jurisdiction so that Israeli politicians would have no doubts on their legal security when visiting the UK.

Many of the guests in attendance were new olim (new Israeli citizens) from England as they themselves must now deal with the issue of "dual loyalties".  

Identifying with the new immigrants and their allegiances, Gould stated, "As a British Jew, sent to the State of Israel to represent my country, I am a personification of this issue [dual loyalty].  I am a patriotic and loyal citizen of Britain and a proud Jew.  I love Israel and yearn for her security.
I hold these together without shame and without contradiction".

Ambassador Gould with Israeli MK Avishay Braverman (Photo: Andres Lacko)
Clearly, Gould's kippah (Jewish skullcap) of the British flag illustrated the entirety of his speech.

(Photo  by Andres Lacko)

For a full copy of the speech, click here

Guests of the Latvian Embassy in Tel Aviv gathered at the Einav Cultural Center to celebrate the nation's Independence Day as well as its cultural contributions to the world and its storied Jewish past.



The Republic of Latvia has faced insurmountable obstacles in establishing itself as a contributing member within the European community as well as on the world stage.  Despite the obstacles throughout the Baltic nation's history however, the resilience of the Latvian people in their pursuit of self-determination and global success has remained persistently strong as the republic embarks on 92 years of independence - an independence represented in two stages:  1918-1940 and 1940-1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Amidst a large gathering of guests and close friends within the diplomatic community, Latvian Ambassador to Israel, the Honorary Mārtiņš Perts, highlighted the global vision for his country going into 2011 as well as his desire to see larger strides taken between Israel and Latvia in fortifying the already strong relations between the two nations.


Latvian Ambassador PertsThe 2010 celebration in Tel Aviv - normally Latvian Independence day is celebrated on the December 18th - was purposely pushed forward as to coincide with a special exhibit on Latvian philosopher Isaiah Berlin, being displayed at the Einav Cultural Center in central Tel Aviv.  The exhibition, 'Isaiah Berlin and the Riga of His Time' - in cooperation with the National Library of Lativa - portrays the intellectual culture and history of Riga at the beginning of the 20th century with a focus on the city's Jewish community - a community that all but perished during the Holocaust.


"Such remarkable persons as Isaiah Berlin show the importance of the Jewish community in Latvia who have contributed and benefited the multicultural society inherent in Latvia nowadays," noted Mr. Perts, adding that the Latvian people would neither be who they are nor where they are today without the achievements of its Jewish past.

In regards to bilateral relations between Israel and Lativa, Ambassador Perts made note of key state visits between officials of each nation's foreign ministry as well as the importance of the scheduled visit of Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade & Labor, David Ben-Eliezer, to Latvia in the coming year.  The ambassador also stressed his desire for Israeli President Shimon Peres to incorporate Latvia into his list of upcoming state visits while noting that he expected 2011 to be a "intense" year regarding the levels of Israeli-Latvian economic cooperation.

"Latvia highly values the active political dialogue with the State of Israel," explained Perts.  "I am convinced that Israel and Latvia will continue to enjoy an open and constructive exchange of views regarding our common interests - both bilateral, regional and in regards to the global agenda."

Among the notable guests was Executive Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pinchas Avivi.  Avivi spoke on behalf of the Foreign Ministiry and the Israeli people, recognizing the accomplishments of Latvian society, despite having to endure near centuries of foreign rule throughout its history.

MFA Executive Director Avivi addresses the guests


He further noted the extensive 'Aliya' [Jewish immigration to Israel] of Latvia's remaining     Jewish community after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 as well as Israel's   immediate recognition and establishment of diplomatic ties upon Latvia's "regained" independence.

For more information on Latvia and its diplomatic missions worldwide:



[photos courtesy of Carmel Skutelsky]




This Thursday, 11 November 2010, the Republic of Angola will commemorate 35-years of nationhood upon which it gained full independence from Portugal.



To kick-off the celebration, guests of the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv gathered for a night of festivities at the Givatayim Theatre, which included a fashion show displaying the latest Angolan trends and styles as well as a crowd arousing dance and music performance by the world renowned Kilandukilo Ballet.




The dance troupe was founded in 1984 by a group of young Angolans looking to express the various styles inherent in the country’s rich historical culture of rhythm and dance.

Kilandukilo – the style of performance as it is known - showcases a wide range of both modern and traditional dances accompanied by percussion beats representing the mood portrayed within the dancing itself.  The ‘ballet’ group itself has performed across the globe and was welcomed enthusiastically by the large group of attendees.


Ambassador João Manuel – head of the Angolan mission in Tel Aviv – warmly welcomed guests and expressed his gratitude for the large turnout.  In attendance were representatives of various diplomatic corps, those from the business and higher-education communities as well as officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.





One of the more notable guests at the event was the former Colombian Ambassador to Israel, David De La Rosa.

After a long career representing Colombian interests in Israel, Mr. De La Rosa immigrated to Israel where he is now the head of Resource Development for the Our Children Foundation, in association with the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel.




Although Angolan Independence Day is celebrated on the 25th of December, the 11th of November represents the country’s National Day as that was the official date in which the Southwestern African nation won its independence after nearly 500 years of Portuguese rule.

As a side note, it must be noted that Angola’s National Day coincides with All Souls Day, which commemorates families’ loved ones of generations past.


Congratulations to the Republic of Angola and all of its representatives in Israel on celebrating 35-years of Independence. 


For more information on Angola and its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv:




 For more information on the Our Children Foundation:



Photos Silvia Golan








After 41 years of public service, Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Yizhak Eldan has finished his tenure at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A wealth of Ambassadors and friends gathered at the residence of the Korean Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Young Sam Ma, to honor and congratulate Mr. Eldan as he embarks on new ventures and finishes his lengthy career as a public servant.



Ambassador of Cameroon to Israel, Mr. Henri Etoundi Essomba, spoke on behalf of the diplomatic community expressing his sadness about the departure of Ambassador Eldan from the diplomatic circle as he always made himself available to the Ambassadors regarding any problem that may have arisen. Mr. Eldan is known and recognized for always giving his utmost attention to each request with a smile.



Ambassador Etoundi said that Ambassador Eldan's work made the diplomatic community feel more comfortable and more at home in Israel.
In response to the kudos given, Mr. Eldan explained that he feels like a marathon runner that just crossed the finish line: a feeling of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.



Mr. Eldan thanked Ambassador Young Sam Ma for hosting the event in his honor and praised the Ambassador of Cameroon, Mr. Henri Etoundi Essomba, Dean of the Diplomatic Core in Israel for his words. Ambassador Eldan also thanked the attendees for coming to the event, and said that it was a pleasure to work with each and every one of them. He added that he is starting a new chapter in his life, yet the diplomatic world will still remain close to him and continue to be a driving force in his life.


Ambassador Eldan said that he is forming a new initiative enitled the "Ambassadors Club" in which everyone present at the event will become a member.
Two unexpected surprises also presented themselves. The first was a medal on behalf of the city of Jerusalem, and the second was a birthday cake to mark his upcoming birthday this week.



As Mr. Eldan blew out the candles and cut the cake, all the guest gave a formidable round of 'Happy Birthday'.
After the speeches, the guests enjoyed a plethora of delicious Korean food prepared by Mrs. Young Sam-Ma.  Overall, the evening was one to remember.



Photos Silvia Golan










The Embassy of  the Czech Republic in Israel marked the country's National Day in an event at the residence of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Israel, Mr. Tomas Pojar.

A plethora of dignitaries attended the event, among them, Vice Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman.



Mr. Pojar welcomed those in attendance to his home, stating that it is a privilege and honor to host his homeland's National Day as a second generation representative after his father hosted the celebration in the same place years back honoring the Czech Republic's first National Day.




Ambassador Pojar spoke about the appreciation and admiration of the Czech people for freedom and independence and the experience of his nation during the division of Czechloslovakia


"The bond between [the Czech Republic and Slovakia] our two countries is unbreakable", the ambassador said, referring to the suffering of both people until each earned the right to self-determination in their own homeland



After the words of the Czech Ambassador, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Danny Ayalon, addressed the crowd.  Mr. Ayalon thanked Ambassador Pojar for his hospitality, and congratulated the Czech Republic on its National Day.

He said that Israel and the Czech Republic share many similar and cherished values such as democracy, freedom, and the pursuit of peace.



Vice Minister Ayalon noted the fact that Ambassador Pojar is a second generation head of the Czech diplomatic mission to Israel, attesting to the quality of the Ambassador.  He further added that he hopes for third and fourth generation Ambassadors to Israel who will carry the same name.

The Israeli Vice Minisiter mentioned  the black stain on the history of Europe as the cruel Nazi regime destroyed Czechoslovakia in its journey to conquer the world.


Mr. Ayalon ended his words with a toast to the Czech Republic.

As is customary, the guests enjoyed delicious Czech food from "Little Prague" restaurant as they sponsored the event.


Photos Silvia Golan






The beautiful residence of the Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Zoltan Szentgyorgyi played host to many guests who gathered in celebration of Hungary's National Day.



Ambassador Szentgyorgyi welcomed guests alongside the Military Attaché and their wives.

Among the guests were diplomats from various Embassies and officials from both the Knesset and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.





In his address, Ambassador Szentgyorgyi spoke about the special relationship between Hungary and Israel as well as the strong cooperation between the two  countries in wide range of areas.  Szentgyorgyi shared his experience and impressions of a recent visit to the Latrun Armoured Corps Memorial and Tank Museum

While visiting the Museum, Mr. Szentgyorgyi found among the Merkavas and Abrahams the type of tank which contributed to the invasion of Budapest in 1956. This unexpected encounter with history made him realize how "desperate and how brave his compatriots must have been fighting practically with their bare hands against those formidable steel monsters".


He added that living without freedom can mean many things, among others, that one must "learn a falsified history and at the end not knowing what is true and what is false."





Ambassador Szentgyorgyi emphasized the excellent political relations between the respective nations. He mentioned that Hungary was delighted to host Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in his visit to Hungary, and added that his country would be delighted to host Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well. 
The Ambassador also mentioned the recent visit of the Hungarian Defense Minister who left Israel just days before the reception, and that he is already preparing for the visit of the Foreign Minister within the next few weeks.





After the Ambassador’s speech, the Israeli Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, took the floor opening his address in fluent Hungarian which he learned from his parents who came to Israel after the Holocaust.

Prof. Hershkowitz spoke of the great strides and development and the way Hungary has shaped itself in recent years and stressing the contribution of the Jewish community in these achievements. He added that Israel is lucky to have such close friend as it does in Hungary.




Prof. Hershkowitz also pointed out the importance of Foreign Minister Liberman's visit to Hungary in January as he joined the Ambassador's wish to see a visit from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Hungary in the near future. Prof. Hershkowitz concluded his words by blessing both of the countries with prosperity, success and friendship.




After the speeches, both of the national anthems were played as guests enjoyed the fine Hungarian cuisine and music.


Photos  Silvia Golan











Ambassador of Spain in Israel, Mr. Alvaro Iranzo hosted the celebration of Spain's National Day at his residence in Hertzliya.

The guests were received by the Ambassador, Mr. Iranzo, and a long line of cultural and military attaches, counselors, secretaries and other members of the Spanish Mission in Israel.




The event started with the Ambassador's speech. His Excellency welcomed those in attendance in both Hebrew and Spanish.  Among the distinguished guests were Israel's fifth president, Mr. Izhak Navon and Prof. Ben Zion Netanyahu, father of Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.



Ambassador Iranzo said that Spain was celebrating the discovery of America, an event that made Spain a global actor with great responsibilities.  Mr. Iranzo added that Spain is no longer a superpower but history has rewarded the country with the crown of world soccer champions.



Ambassador Iranzo mentioned that Spain has promoted Europe's relations with Israel, as the president of the European Union in the first half of 2010. He spoke of the official visits of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Spain as well as the frequent visits of Miguel Angel Moratinos to Israel.

Ambassador Iranzo spoke of the growing cooperation between Israel and Spain and mentioned that the two countries had signed agreements to increase collaboration in all fields.

At the end of his speech, Mr. Iranzo raised a toast to the occasion and invited Minister of Education, Mr. Gideon Sa'ar, to carry his words.



Minister of Education, Mr. Gideon Sa'ar first congratulated the Ambassador, the present and all of Spain for their national day and the achievement of winning the world cup last June.

Mr. Sa'ar said that next year, Israel and Spain will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations and added that every passing year only increases the bond between the two nations. He emphasized that Spain stood alongside Israel as the president of the European Union and contributed to strengthen the relationship of Israel with EU itself.




At the end of his speech, Mr. Sa'ar also proposed to raise a glass to Spain and to the relationship between the two countries.

After the speeches, Ambassador Iranzo had the honor of awarding four Israeli citizens the Order of Civil Merit, on behalf of the King of Spain, His Majesty Juan Carlos.  The recipients were Nira Toledano, Dani Karavan, Jose Benarroch and Micha Harish. 

The Decoration was awarded for the distinguished contributions of the four to the relations between Israel and Spain. 


(Photos: Andres Lacko)




A crowd of Diplomats, Knesset members, business executives and others gathered to celebrate The Republic of China's (Taiwan) 99th National Day.

Representative Mr. Liang-Jen Chang received the guests in the Conventions Hall at the Dan Panorama hotel, Tel-Aviv.





Many Taiwanese companies exhibited their products to the attendees, such as Kymco and Asus.

After the reception, Representative Mr. Chang addressed the crowd and welcomed them to the 99th anniversary of the founding of The Republic of China (Taiwan).  His speech started with explaining the new foreign policy mapped out by President of Taiwan, Mr. Ying-jeou Ma.  This policy calls for an end to the conflict with Beijing and more flexible diplomacy.



Mr. Chang mentioned that in June 2010, Taiwan and mainland China signed a historical agreement for economic cooperation (ECFA).

Representative Chang stated that the trade between Taiwan and Israel would reach a volume of $1.3 billion USD. However, he added that there is much more room for improvement in these areas.

Mr. Chang praised Israeli and Taiwanese cooperation in the areas of water technologies and youth affairs.



After the speech, Knesset member, Dr. Nachman Shai, chairman of the Israel-Taiwan friendship group, was invited on stage.

Dr. Shai congratulated the republic of China on their 99th national day. As the chairman of the Israel/Taiwan Friendship Group, Dr. Shai declared that the importance of the relationship between the state of Israel and The Republic of China is flourishing and joined the hope shared by Mr. Chang to create a stronger bond between the countries.



Dr. Shai ended his speech by raising his glass to the continuation of the solid friendship between Taiwan and Israel.

The following speaker was Knesset member Ms. Orit Noked, Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.  Ms. Noked spoke of Taiwan's great economic abilities and the country's similarity to Israel.



Ms. Noked said that the many virtues of the people of Taiwan allow them to be one of the strongest economic powers in the far east region.

The crowd also had the privilege of hearing about the experiences of Mrs. Maya Cohen, an Israeli student who got a scholarship to study in Taiwan.

After the speeches, the guests were free to enjoy the fine oriental style food.


Photo  Silvia Golan






Germany celebrated its 20th anniversary to the unification of east and west to one Federal Republic.

The German Embassy hosted many of the German community in Israel, Ambassadors, Diplomats, business man and others to a party at the residence of the German Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Harald Kindermann.



Ambassador Dr. Kindermann welcomed the crowd to the celebration to mark 20 years to a united Germany.

Dr. Kindermann spoke about the relationship between Israel and Germany and called them excellent and fruitful. He mentioned the great improvement of the friendship of the two countries and wished a continuation of that road.




Ambassador Dr. Kindermann couldn't help of mentioning the dark era of the German and Jewish people and said that the Nazis almost annihilated all Jewish life in Germany and the ones who could, for obvious reasons, left Germany.

But now, the Jewish Community in Germany is flourishing while keeping its own identity as the pressure for assimilation no longer exists.
After the Ambassador's speech, the representative of the Israeli Government, the vice prime minister and minister of strategic affairs, Mr. Moshe Ya'alon, took the stage.





Mr. Ya'alon thanked Ambassador Dr. Kindermann for his hospitality. He spoke about the special connection between the state of Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany. He said that he remember the falling of the Berlin wall, 20 years ago, a brief moment in the clock of history but the changes happened in Germany and Europe were vast.

Mr. Ya'alon mentioned that Germany stand alongside Israel and is concerned about Israel's security challenges, specially the Nuclearization of Iran.


Mr. Ya'alon said that he hopes that the friendship between both states will continue to develop and grow.




The special guest of the occasion was Mr. Wilhelm Hass, who was the Ambassador of Germany to Israel in the years 1985-1990.

Mr. Haas shared with the present memories from the time of the early 1990's and the long way that the relationship between Israel and Germany had came.

Mr. Haas ended his speech with a few sentences in Hebrew and wished the crowd all the best.



Photos Silvia Golan






Chinese Ambassador Hosts Local Media In Order To Mark 18 Years of China- Israel Friendship and to Announce of the Coming of Famous Chinese Singer Ha Hui to Israel

Many of the Israeli media was invited to the press conference at the residence of the People's Republic of China Ambassador in Sunday, September the 15th, 2010.



The Ambassador his Excellency Mr. Zhao Jun hosted the Journalists to mark 18 years of the Diplomatic relations between Israel and China.
Ambassador Zhao welcomed all the guests to his home and blessed them in Hebrew. Ambassador Zhao spoke in English of the special relations between The People's Republic of China and Israel.

Brazil Celebration of National Day Combined With Jewish New Year

The Country of Brazil celebrated its national day on September 7th. The Embassy of Brazil in Israel marked the occasion with an event in the Ambassador's residence in Herzeliya Pituah.

The event combined the Jewish new year in the celebration.


Ambassador Ms. Maria Elisa Berenguer welcomed the guests accompanied by consuls, military and economic attaches, and other respectable representatives.


A Brazilian band played lovely typical music from brazil to the enjoyment of the present who were delighted of the tasty food and beverages straight from the homeland.
Another pearl of the event was the beautiful design of the fruits in the cocktail table.




Ambassador Berenguer was the first speaker of the evening. She thanked all the guests in English and Hebrew for coming, and welcomed them to her home.
Ambassador Berenguer started by saying that she is very excited to serve in the holy land and looking forward to working in Israel.

Ms. Berenguer spoke of the Brazilian history and the Jewish history. Ambassador Berenguer mentioned that Israel and Brazil hold a great deal of economic relations and cooperation.
The Ambassador expressed her appreciation for the ability of Israel to succeed despite the challenges of size and security. Ms. Berenguer wished that this success will continue and grow.


Ambassador Berenguer ended her speech with a happy new Jewish year wish to everyone ("Shana Tova") and welcomed Mr. Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Israel's minister of industry and trade.
Mr. Ben Eliezer thanked Ambassador Berenguer for her hospitality and wished her a productive and enjoyable stay in Israel, Mr. Ben Eliezer added that he is sure that Ambassador Berenguer will quickly feel here at home.




Mr. Ben Eliezer spoke of Brazil as an economic superpower that keeps growing with time, he said that Israel should be proud of the vast economic cooperation between the countries.

After the speeches both of the anthems were played and afterwards the guests were free to mingle as the Ambassador Ms. Berenguer took pictures with the guests who wished.




Photos Silvia Golan











At the 28th of July Peru celebrated its 189th independence day. In Israel the Peruvian Embassy marked the occasion in a beautiful event.

The event took place in Hertzliya Pituah, at the house of Yossi Maiman, honorary Consul of Peru in Tel-Aviv.

The Ambassador of Peru, Mr. Jose Luis Salinas Montes greeted the guests, as well as other member of the Peruvian entourage, among them military men, consuls and their wives.

The guests enjoyed a performance of typical Peruvian music from different parts of Peru. The variety of music genres gave the people a true Peruvian experience.



Honorary consul of Peru in Israel, Mr. Maiman, spoke first and welcomed all the guests.

Mr. Maiman talked about the special connection between Israel and Peru as he mentioned the vast cooperation between the two states. Mr. Maiman talked about his life and memories from Peru and said that both countries will always make him feel at home.  

After the words of Mr. Maiman, his Excellency the Ambassador Mr. Salinas took the stage.

After greeting all the present and welcomed them to the 189th Peru Independence Day event, he spoke of the privilege to be the Ambassador of Peru in the Holy Land.

Mr. Salinas spoke of the similarities that the Israeli people and the Peruvian people share and said that he already feels here at home.

Mr. Salinas said that there are many parallels in the history of both countries and briefly mentioned landmarks from the past.

Ambassador Salinas finished his speech with a hope for prosperity, cooperation and wealth to both states.

The representative of the Israeli Government in this event was Mr. Benny Begin.

Mr. Begin spoke of the courageous bond between Israel and Peru and mentioned a special cooperation in water, ecological and agriculture technologies.

Mr. Begin's speech was warm and full with expressions of friendship. At the end of his speech, he even said couple of sentences in Spanish, to the joy of the crowd.

After the speeches both of the anthems were played and afterwards the guests were free to enjoy the delicious food and the fine music.


Photo Daniel Schwarz  





Dan Panorama hotel in Tel-Aviv was the venue of the "get together party" produced by DATA (Diplomatic Association Tel-Aviv) organization at Saturday, September 4th.

The event was a cocktail party to mark the new Jewish year (Rosh Hashanah) and to farewell to members of the Diplomatic community who were leaving Israel as well as welcoming new colleagues posted in Israel.

At the event were present many members from the Diplomatic community and journalists as well as other interest owners.


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Cindy Levy, a relocation coach, was the first speaker.

She illustrated, in humor, lines of the Israeli mentality and habits through a presentation that showed the Italian mentality in the same manner.

After Ms. Levy's speech, Mr. Diaa Hammad, 1st secretary of the Egyptian Embassy, took the stage.

Mr. Hammad spoke of the importance of the relations between countries as he mentioned that it is important to bring the Diplomatic community closer.



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Mr. Hammad said that his ambition is to make the connections between the individuals in the Diplomatic community stronger so that many bonds can grow from this activity.

After the speeches, the guests enjoyed a dancing segment which included Arab and Latin styles of dancing. The dancers were graceful and professional as they entertained the crowd with acrobatic moves.



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Following the dancing part, arrived the highlight of the evening. DATA organization held a ruffle among the guests and gave away precious prizes as flight tickets to Egypt and Jordan, beautiful crystal pyramid, coupons of purchase in the Diplomatic duty-free shop and two season tickets to the Cinematek.

All the winners were thrilled and the ruffle created a pleasant atmosphere.         


Photo Silvia Golan






Many of the Israeli media was invited to the press conference at the residence of the People's Republic of China Ambassador in Sunday, September the 15th, 2010.

The Ambassador his Excellency Mr. Zhao Jun hosted the Journalists to mark 18 years of the Diplomatic relations between Israel and China.


Ambassador Zhao welcomed all the guests to his home and blessed them in Hebrew. Ambassador Zhao spoke in English of the special relations between The People's Republic of China and Israel.

Ambassador Zhao spoke of the signing of the agreement that founded the Diplomatic relations between both states as he mentioned that the document was important equally to the sides.



Mr. Zhao announced the coming of famous Chinese singer Ha Hui to Israel, to the ancient city of Beit-Shean. Mr. Zhao said that the performance will be a memorable one and it will start her world tour.

After the words of Ambassador Zhao, the guests saw a short clip of the singer Ha Hui in China as she was singing a traditional Chinese song.


Following the short clip, spokesman of the Chinese embassy, Counsellor Mr. Miao Deyu, presented Mr. David Levy, Israel's minister of foreign affairs and vice prime minister at the time of the signing the protocol, January 24th, 1992.

Mr. Levy thanked the Ambassador for his hospitality and marked that he was happy to see mezuzah in the front of the Ambassador's home.


Mr. Levy then Spoke of his memories from the times before the signing of the protocol and said that it was hard work to achieve an agreement such as this one but they have never stopped dreaming.

Mr. Levy complimented China for their fast growth, economically and in terms of status. At the end of his words, Mr. Levy thanked the Ambassador for choosing Beit-Shean as the venue for the performance of the Chinese singer Ha Hui.


After Mr. Levy's Speech, Ms. Ruth Kahanoff, former deputy director general of Asia and the pacific department in the ministry of foreign affairs, took the stage.

Ms. Kahanoff's speech focused especially on the day of January 24, 1994, the day that the relations between Israel and China became formal.


After the speeches, Counsellor Mr. Miao invited all the guests to a delicious, traditional Chinese lunch.

The Ambassador Mr. Zhao made sure to greet every guest as they were leaving.



At the beautiful Dan hotel in Tel-Aviv gathered Ambassadors, business men, CEO's and other honorable people to celebrate the Korean national day and the opening of Korean food week.

The Korean Ambassador, Mr. MA Young-Sam, received all the guests in a traditional and colorful Korean wear, as well as his wife and the rest of his family.


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The evening started with a choir assembled with Korean children singing the Israeli and Korean anthems.


Afterwards the Korean Ambassador, Mr. MA Young-Sam, spoke to the crowd and welcomed them to the Korean national day and the opening of Korean food week.



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Ambassador Young-Sam Spoke about the special relationship between Israel and Korea, he mentioned the Korean War and the founding of the Israeli state, he talked about the economic crisis of 2008 and how Israel and Korean were the two countries who coped the best with this economic storm and came out stronger.

Mr. Young-Sam spoke of the great technological, educational and agricultural cooperation between the two countries and said that the Israeli- Korean bond is growing stronger each day.


Mr. Ambassador MA Young-Sam, had said that his tennis partner is Mr. Yuli Edelstein, as they are currently at a tie situation and they will have a deciding match soon. Mr. Edelstein is practicing every day, according to Ambassador Young-Sam.  

The Ambassador finished with good news, as he said that a new 3 acres property in Herzliya Pituah has been approved to build the new Korean Embassy.


After the Ambassador's words, the government representative, welfare minister Mr. Yitzhak Hertzog, spoke to the crowd. Such as the Ambassador, Mr. Hertzog spoke of the brave relationship between the two nations and wished that the vast cooperation will continue and grow.


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Mr. Hertzog had said that the Korean and the Israeli people are similar and both of the countries have to deal with security, economic and other challenges every day.

After the speeches the crowd was welcomed to enjoy varies types of Korean food and the Ambassador made sure he won't miss a picture with anyone who desired.  


Photo Silvia Golan




The lovely Ralli Museum in Caesarea was the host of the 185th Uruguay's national day.

The event started as the Ambassador of Uruguay, Mr. Bernardo Greiver, received all the guests accompanied by consul Alberto Rodriguez Goni and their wives.


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The evening started as the anthems, both of Uruguayan and Israeli were played. The Ambassador, Mr. Greiver, and the Ambassador of Spain, Mr. Alvaro Iranzo, sang the Israeli anthem in Hebrew.

After the anthems, the Ambassador Mr. Greiver spoke to the crowd and welcomed them to the 185th Uruguayan national day event.



Ambassador Greiver spoke in fluent Hebrew, as he was mentioning the special bond between Israel and Uruguay, the fact that Uruguay was the 4th country in the world that recognized the state of Israel, four days only after the declaration of independent.


Mr. Ambassador Greiver spoke of the wonderful cooperation that both of the small countries possess, in the field of education, agriculture, technology, and many other areas.


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At the end of his speech, Ambassador Greiver gave original and rare documents to Muki Tzur, documents that had belonged to his father, the first Israeli Ambassador to Uruguay, Yaakov Tzur.

After the Ambassador's words, Muki Tzur took the stage and spoke in Spanish of his memories from the time of the Declaration of independence, memories of his father and about the importance of the documents. Muki Tzur's speech was emotional and moving and the crowd listened carefully to the stories of new born State of Israel.


The following speech was supposed to be by Benny Begin, Representative of the Israeli Government and son of legendary Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it and Ambassador Dorit Shavit, Head of the Latin American and Caribbean Division in the Ministry of Foreign affairs, addressed his speech instead of him.

Ambassador Shavit spoke of the history as Uruguay was the 4th country that recognized the State of Israel and the first that positioned the Israeli Embassy in Uruguay's capital city, Montevideo. Shavit also mentioned that Yitzhak Navon, who was later the fifth President of Israel, was a Diplomat in Uruguay.


Shavit, on behalf of Mr. Begin, mentioned Uruguay's national football team, that in the last world cup tournament achieved the fourth place, and wished that the next time Uruguay would win the trophy.

The speech contained, as well, words about the Israeli-Uruguayan cooperation in various fields such as education, technology, agriculture, science, economy and more.


The speech ended as Shavit wished all present "Shana Tova" which means Happy New Year in Hebrew.

The final speaker was the Director of the museum, Lily Tzohar, who first wished health to Harry Recanati, Founder of the Ralli Museum and the art it exhibits. The speech started with words of Recanati's love for Latin American art and especially his appreciation of Uruguay painters. Tzohar mentioned that Recanati founded four other museums, in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in Santiago, Chile, in Marbella, Spain and two in Caesarea. Museum Director Tzohar proudly mentioned the fact that the museum holds artwork of some of the most famous Uruguayan painters.


Tzohar made sure that each and every guest understood her speech as she addressed the audience in Hebrew, English and Spanish.


Photo Silvia Golan






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