Ms. Hava Karrie, Director of the Golda Meir MASHAV Carmel International Training Center (MCTC), sheds some light on the Center’s longstanding activities aimed at empowering women worldwide and the unique international conference on Women in Diplomacy that MCTC held last week in Haifa.


In September 2015, the UN member states adopted the sustainable development goals, which included Goal #5, “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, an important step in improving the situation of women and girls throughout the world.  Still today, women are fighting for the same economic and social rights as men.



Few people know that Israel makes great efforts for gender equality on the international front.  The Golda Meir MASHAV Carmel International Training Center (MCTC) was founded in Haifa in 1961 by Golda Meir and MASHAV- Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to conduct training activities in the socio-economic arena, with an emphasis on gender equality.  Some 23,000 professional women and men from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East have participated in MCTC activities in Israel and abroad. 


In all of the activities of the Center, we are working to further the vision of Golda Meir, who was a pioneer in women's diplomacy in Israel and worked to empower women around the world. With the International Women's Day coming up, it is the right timing to discuss other kinds of leadership, especially women’s leadership.


Our conference last week on women in diplomacy, dealt with successes and challenges of women in diplomatic roles and examined how women's leadership could change the face of international affairs today. Diplomacy is no longer an exclusive club for men only. The challenges of Diplomacy in today's dynamic reality, require creativity, good problem solving and cognitive flexibility - Notable skills of women. These days there is a growing awareness and activism worldwide for the promotion of women in various areas, including in the world of diplomacy.


We were very happy to see a large crowd attending the conference, which proves the importance of the issue. Nearly a 100 people attended the conference last week. Guests came from all walks of life including civil society representatives and the Academia.  Speakers in the conference presented the improvement in the promotion of the status of women and the increase of women’s participation in various diplomatic positions. Nevertheless, we learnt that we all have much more work to do in order to reach gender equality in the area of employment and work in general, and diplomacy in particular.


The conference's guest of honor, Ms. Tamar Eshel, was the first woman representative of Israel to the United Nations and for many years played various official roles in Israel and abroad. Meeting face to face with Tamar, and listening to her stories we were filled with great admiration for her impressive character. She stood strongly, time after time, in support of her country and represented Israel with professionalism, courage, and determination.


Another fascinating guest was Ambassador, Helene Le Gal, the first woman representing France in Israel after a long line of men's ambassadors since 1949. At the conference, she spoke about the importance of support systems in promoting gender equality at work, such as the French education system that enables women to develop a career. Ambassador Le Gal, said that despite her experience and career status that she has earned over the years, still when she takes part in official events, people ask her "Where is the Ambassador?” assuming it is one of her men colleagues. Other women diplomats attending the conference identified with Ambassador Le Gal and one of them even said that people often turn to her husband, assuming he is the diplomat and not her.




Our goal in this conference was to bring to the forefront the issue of promoting women in international affairs and diplomacy, to learn through real stories from the wisdom of the past and current experiences in order to plan better for future action. At the closing of the conference, I have invited all delegates and guests to hold the next meeting in 2018 at our center in Haifa, and together to examine the process done in the area during the year. Engaging in social change processes requires perseverance and patience. We must remain optimistic and continue to work together towards gender equality in all areas.


 Picture 1: Hava Karrie, MCTC Director, Ambassador Helen Le Gal, Ilana Stein, Ambassador Dr. Rodika Radian-Gordon


Picture 2: Tamar Eshel (right side), Ambassador Gil Haskel Head of MASHAV, French Ambassador to Israel Helen Le Gal, Ambassador Dr. Rodika Radian-Gordon, Ambassador of Guatemala to Israel, Ambassador of Ecuador to Israel  


Photo credit: Itzik Yona







On Monday, February 20, 2017, H.E. Rosen Asenov Plevneliev, the former Presid ent of Bulgaria, planted a carob tree in the Jerusalem mountains, to stand alongside a tree planted in memory of his son Filip, who died suddenly at age 15 on August 8, 2015.


His Excellency Rosen Asenov Plevneliev served as president of Bulgaria from January 2013 until just a few weeks ago. When his son Filip died in 2015, his friend Eli Egosi, an Israeli businessman who built a mall in Sofia, asked KKL-JNF to plant a tree in Filip’s memory. The President, who was very touched by this gesture, asked to see his son’s tree and plant another tree next to it during his three-day visit in Israel.


KKL-JNF’s VIP tree planting site, which is next to the Yad Kennedy Memorial in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, was the site chosen for both trees.


The former President was greeted by KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson, who said that not long ago, “we planted a tree here in memory of your son, and now you’ll be planting a carob tree next to it. Carob trees take a lot of time to produce fruit, so planting one is an affirmation of life and an expression of our commitment to future generations. The tragedy of losing a son is incomprehensible. We can only hope that there is some small comfort in the fact that there is something growing and living in his memory.”




KKL-JNF Director of International Relations and Conferences Karine Bolton-Laor welcomed the honored guest and said: “Your family’s spirit will be forever in the mountains of Jerusalem”. She described KKL-JNF’s history and elaborated on KKL-JNF’s commitment to sharing its knowledge with countries throughout the world. “KKL-JNF has achieved worldwide acclaim for its achievements in the fields of afforestation in semi-arid regions, combating desertification, forest planning, and more. People from everywhere come here to see what we have accomplished, and sharing our knowledge is part of our mission.”


H.E. Rosen Asenov Plevneliev said that in his home county of Bulgaria, there is a saying that a man has to build one house, plant one tree and have one son. “I have built many houses, planted many trees and am the proud father of three boys. One of them is my angel in the sky. He died suddenly, at age fifteen, and that was the worst moment of my life. At that time, here in Israel, you planted a tree in his memory, and by doing so, you gave me a hand, you shared my pain. This act will stay in my heart forever. Standing here now, I want to thank you. I have planted over 6,000 trees in many different places, but planting this tree here is very special. Maybe it is the most special tree of all.”


Eli Egosi, an old friend of the president, was the person behind the initiative to plant a tree in memory of the president’s son. “I must be very honest. When disaster struck, I didn’t have the courage to go to Bulgaria or to call the president. I thought about what I could do, and I had the idea of planting a tree. KKL-JNF was supportive from the first moment, and the ceremony was very, very moving. KKL-JNF gave us a beautiful spot to plant your son’s tree, a holy spot, a spot overlooking Jerusalem. This is something small for Filip. He’s always up there looking on us.”


Speaking after the ceremony, the President said that his tenure had ended just five weeks ago. “This is my first trip abroad since then. I say abroad, not a trip to a foreign country, because for me, Israel is not a foreign country, it’s like my home. I could have run for another term, but I felt that now is the time to build bridges in a different way. For me, what’s important in life in general, and politics in particular, is giving, not taking. We must confront life and live it fully.



Photo 1 :Bulgarian Former President with his freshly planted tree; Credit: Leader photography


Photo 2 :Left to Right: Andy Michelson, Eli Egosi, H.E. Rosen Asenov Plevneliev, Karine Bolton and Rami Levy; Credit: Leader Photography












President Reuven Rivlin this evening (Sunday) addressed the opening dinner of the Annual Israel Leadership Mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations led by Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg, and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein. The mission brought together more than 100 leaders from the Conference’s 52 member organizations and National Leadership Council.

President Rivlin welcomed the participants, and thanked them for their support for Israel which he noted was not just in words but in actions. He said, “We are meeting at a very sensitive time – both in Israel, and in the USA, our greatest, and most important ally,” said the President, and added, “It is also, a very sensitive time for the Jewish community, which you represent.”

He noted, “In Israel, we are very concerned by polarization in society, and in politics. And we share your concerns, for these trends – the polarization of society – that you have experienced in the US. When a society is divided, it is not easy to find and maintain the shared vision, and the shared space. Sometimes, it is only at times of tragedy that we are able to come together. America’s strength is important and dear to us all.”

The President went on to speak of the importance of the relationship between Israel and the US. He said, "We cannot allow Israel to be a political football between different sides, between different ideologies." The President added, “Support for Israel must and will always remain a bi-partisan issue. I also want to send from here, my warm wishes to President Trump, and I hope he is able to visit us soon.”

President Rivlin concluded, “Friends, we respect all the Jews in North America, and we know that Israel is important to you. We appreciate your concern, and we have no doubt that whatever your politics, you care for the safety for the prosperity and for the well-being of the State of Israel. I assure you all that we will continue to build this country, as a light unto the nations, a Jewish democratic state.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)









Yesterday, February 15, British parliament members participated in a ceremony in honor of Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, including senior parliament members, Lord Stuart Polak CBE, and HE. Mark Regev, Israeli Ambassador to the UK. This event was part of a tour organized by CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel), the senior parliament members have come to witness the hardship of the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Yonatan Galon, JNF-UK representative in Israel commemorated the event: “The amazing support of British Jews over the last 116 years has allowed us to play an important part in this development of the Negev. May this tree planting ceremony symbolize a growing and fruitful partnership between us for at least another 100 years.”

Sir Eric Pickles: “My thought remains the same that it is good to put down roots in this wonderful country, this bastion of democracy. It has been a real pleasure playing a small part in trying to bring our two countries closer together. I remember meeting Prime Minister Rabin shortly before his assassination, and he said “The desire is to get water into the desert, and to get blood out of the land” and I think we have a chance in the coming few years not only to see trees flourish, but to see friendships flourish.”

Lord Stuart Polak CBE: “It is an enormous pleasure to be here. It is fitting for Sir Pickles and the members of parliament to be here because they have tirelessly worked for the good of the people of Britain, the good of the Jewish people throughout the world and the good of Israel. There is a quote which states, “A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for prosperity; and he who plants a tree plants hope (Alexander Smith)”.”

Following these remarks, Lord Stuart Polak CBE and Ambassador Regev presented certificates of honor for their support to Israel to: Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP, Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, Lord Gadhia of Northwood, and Mustafa Muhammed. A special certificate of honor was presented to Sir Eric Pickles for his support of and dedication to the state of Israel.

For many years, Lord Polak of Hertsmere CBE led parliamentary visits to Israel in order to raise awareness about Israel and strengthen their support for Israel.

Two years ago, KKL-JNF together with JNF-UK and CFI organized a similar planting ceremony in honor of British MPs; this year, the ceremony was held in honor of Sir Eric Pickles – whom continues to support Israel with his different initiatives. KKL-JNF has placed a plaque in his honor in the Aminadav forest.

The ceremony was followed by a planting ceremony in the KKL-JNF Yad Kennedy Memorial.



Sir Eric Pickles planting a tree in KKL-JNF Yad Kennedy Memorial\Aminadav forest; Credit: Avi Hayun








Two years following the massive fire in Ein Kerem, KKL-JNF renews the forest together with residents of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem municipality


In a formal ceremony, which took place on Sunday morning, February 5th, as part of the Tu B’Shvat celebration, 2,000 trees were planted in Ein Kerem Valley, among them Judas, almond, cashew and carob trees. The ceremony included the Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yael Antebi.


Among the participants were 90 students from Australia that arrived especially for the event to plant trees, as well as schoolchildren from the neighborhood of Ein Kerem’s elementary school.

The fire in Ein Kerem was part of a massive fire that destroyed 197 dunams (about 50 acres) in the Jerusalem area.


According to the forest rehabilitation policy of KKL-JNF, there is no planting in the first years following a fire to allow for natural recovery. KKL-JNF foresters used this period of time to collaborate with residents of Jerusalem in planning the forest’s rehabilitation process.


Participation from the public is part of KKL-JNF’s policy in the last several years to encourage community forests. Following this policy, 15 community forests were established across Israel, in which the forest’s planning process and work was done in collaboration with the local municipality and its residents.


The Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan: “We plant trees today in Ein Kerem forest, which is across from the Grove of Nations, and experienced a terrible fire. We plant together with students from Israel and Australia to signify the strength of the people of Israel, in the state of Israel. Despite all the attempts we experience to banish us from our land, we celebrate Tu B’Shvat by planting trees in a community forest, whose participants include the people of Israel, both from Israel and the Diaspora.


When the writer, Mark Twain, arrived in Israel, he went three days before finding a tree under which he could enjoy the shade. Today we can see Israel is full of trees, and seeing trees bearing fruit is a symbol of redemption. KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar and KKL-JNF employees deserve great praise for their work.”


KKL-JNF World Chairman, Danny Atar: “KKL-JNF has been a partner to the Israeli community for 115 years, and this place (the Grove of Nations) represents our cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality and the residents of Ein Kerem for Ein Kerem forest. We invite the Israeli public to participate with us in Tu B’Shvat events all across Israel.


Tu B’Shvat is not just the holiday of the trees; it is the holiday in which the Israeli community meets the forests and parks. In the last year Israel’s green lungs have suffered difficult fires; this is the time to paint Israel green, to plant a tree in the earth and community action in the heart.”


Caption (Left to Right): Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yael Antebi, KKL-JNF World Chairman, Danny Atar, Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan


Credit: Yossi Zamir, KKL-JNF








"Just Like I arrived here as a young student from Kishinev and went on to assume some of the most significant positions of power in the state of Israel, you too have the possibility to achieve anything you chose and accomplish anything you set your mind to" Said Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, Speaking to 1,000 young Russian Jewish adults from the FSU, during a Birthright Israel event held tonight in Jerusalem. Other speakers at the event included Gidi Mark, International CEO of Birthright Israel and Mrs. Dorit Holander, Vice President of Genesis Philanthropy Group.


For the majority of Russian speaking Birthright Israel participants, the ten day trip to Israel marks not only their first visit to the country but also an opportunity to witness Israel's vast cultural wealth, beautiful landscapes and diverse society firsthand, taking that experience with them back home to their Jewish communities.


Gidi Mark, International CEO of Birthright Israel said at the event: "Hundreds of participants who took part in today’s event join 45,000 native Russian-speaking young Jewish adults who help us realize the importance of building bridges between Israel and Jewish communities worldwide. I believe each and every Jew should be exposed to modern Israel and its culture in addition to the country's ancient history and heritage, and we are particularly excited for this unique event, celebrating the Russian speaking participants, who get to explore Israel for themselves."





The event is a part of a comprehensive partnership between Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, intended to provide Russian-speaking participants with various enrichment experiences while they are in Israel.

Mrs. Dorit Holander Vice President of Community Relations, Genesis Philanthropy Group also spoke to the participants: "for the past eight years of our collaboration with Birthright Israel we have developed a unique program, specifically tailored to meet the needs and interests of Russian speaking young Jews. We view the ten day trip as an opportunity for you to begin a much greater journey, a Jewish journey that will last a lifetime."


About Birthright Israel

Birthright Israel connects young Jews to the State of Israel as well as to their Jewish identity through a free ten-day educational tour of the country. Over the past 16 years, Taglit-Birthright Israel has opened the eyes of hundreds of thousands of trip participants to the people and the land of Israel. The trip aims to build an understanding, friendship, and lasting bond with the land and people of Israel and to reinforce the solidarity of the Jewish people worldwide.


Birthright Israel is considered the most successful and largest Zionist project in the Jewish world. Birthright Israel has a unique, historical and innovative partnership between the Government of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world.


Since its inception in 1999, over 500,000 Jews from over 66 countries have participated in the free 10-day educational tour of Israel. Of these over 80,000 young Israeli soldiers (from prestigious units of the IDF) and students have joined various groups on their tours. Over the years, several studies have been conducted at Brandies University, located in the USA, demonstrating the lasting effect on Diaspora Jews when focusing on their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel and their ability to promote the country. 


About Genesis Philanthropy Group:


Genesis Philanthropy Group is a private foundation whose mission is to develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide by supporting and launching projects, programing and institutions that are focused on ensuring that Jewish culture, heritage and values are preserved in Russian-speaking Jewish communities. More information is available at

Photo Credit: Erez Uzir




In the course of a three-day visit to Israel with his entourage, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma planted a tree in the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) Grove of Nations in Jerusalem, at a ceremony held on January 10th, 2017.


“I am here to take part in this wonderful tradition ofplanting a tree. We shall continue to be a symbol of hope, a symbol of peace and a symbol that represents the future of all of us – of Israel and the rest of the world. I believe that your tradition was always relevant in the past, but it is especially relevant today, when we are coping with the challenges ofclimate change. We need to continue with this concept of tree planting and continue with the concept of conserving the environment in order to safeguard the future of us all, the future of the world,” said President of Sierra Leone Dr.Ernest Bai Koromain his speech at the official planting ceremony, which was held on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017, in theGrove of Nationsin theJerusalem Forest, below Yad VaShem.The ceremony was attended by seven of Sierra Leone's government ministers, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr.Samura Kamara, Finance MinisterMomodu Kargbo, Justice MinisterJoseph Kamara, Agriculture Minister ProfessorMonty Jones, Energy MinisterHenry Macauley, Minister of InformationMohamed Banguraand Minister for Infrastructure and WaterMomodu Maligi. The ambassadors of both countries were also present, withPaul Hirschsonrepresenting Israel in Sierra Leone andOsman Keh Kamararepresenting Sierra Leone in Israel. KKL-JNF's Head of ProtocolAndy Michelsonpresided over the ceremony, andBarbara Goldsteinof KKL-JNF’s Board of Directors delivered a speech.

Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was born on October 2nd, 1953 in Makeni in northern Sierra Leone, where he also grew up. He completed his studies in business management in 1976 and graduated from Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa. For over twenty-four years he worked in private insurance before entering politics in 2002. He was the leader of the All People's Congress (APC), Sierra Leone's main opposition party, before being elected president for the first time in 2007. In 2012 he was reelected for a second term.

“For over one hundred years our organization has understood that we have to come to this land and redeem it, care for it and bring it back to life after it had remained a wilderness for almost 2000 years of Jewish exile. Thus, our hope of returning to our homeland in the early 20th century stemmed from the fact that we knew that the first thing we would do was plant a tree,” said Barbara Goldstein. She expressed hope that 2017 would be a year of blessing and fruitful dialogue, and that all nations would learn to live together in peace.

Andy Michelson endorsed the remarks made by the Sierra Leonean president and said thattree-planting, apart from being extremely important for the ecology of the planet, also possesses a traditional significance for the Jewish People. “We have a tradition of tree-planting in Judaism. We plant a tree when child is born, we plant one when he reaches bar-mitzvah age, and we plant another when he marries. Not just because it’s good for the ecology, but also because it warms the heart and speaks to the soul,” he said.After the speeches, Ambassadors Paul Hirschson and Osman Keh Kamara recited the Planter’s Prayer in Hebrew and English, after which the whole party made its way up to the woodland for the planting, in which all members of the Sierra Leone delegation took part.When the planting was complete, Barbara Goldstein presented Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma with a KKL-JNF certificate of appreciation for having planted a tree in the Grove of Nations.

Photo : Left to right: Samura Kamara, Dr. Earnest Bai Koroma, Barbara Goldstein, Momodu Kargbo (Credit: Guy Lumer)





President Reuven Rivlin today (Tuesday) met with leaders of the Jewish community in Georgia at the Great Synagogue in the city of Tbilisi, as he concluded his State Visit to the country.


“At this difficult and painful time, I want to convey my condolences and send a warm embrace to the families of the soldiers murdered in Jerusalem on Sunday,” began the President. “From here, from far away, I send my concern and prayers for the injured – some of whom are fighting for their lives. I want to thank the soldiers and officers of the IDF, the men and women of the ISA, the police, and all the security and emergency rescue services, who work night and day to defend us, the dear people working unwaveringly for the sake of our security. We must not allow terror to weaken us, we must stand firm and united in safeguarding our security.”


The President went on to speak about the history of Jews in Georgia, and the close ties that existed over the years. He said, “The faith and heroism of the Jews of Georgia are not only of the past. The Jews of Georgia fought with dedication for their Jewish beliefs during the days of Stalin. And the Jews of Georgia were the ones who began to break and crack the Iron Curtain. I remember well the public letters sent by eighteen families from Georgia to the UN Human Rights Committee, letters which helped open the gates.”


The President continued, “The connection between the State of Israel and Georgia is good, yet we must do more to strengthen the ties”, and stressed, “here you have an central role. The Jewish heart, the close bond with the Jewish community here, adds extra special essence to the ties between the two countries. Just this last Shabbat, we read in the Torah of Judah who was ready to be held as a guarantee in place of his brother Benjamin. The mutual responsibility is the secret of the strength of the people of Israel, so it was in the past, and so it is today. Jews in Israel and around the world have a responsibility for each other, we are one people. We will do all we can to perpetuate, and to preserve the warm bond with you, and with the Georgian people, and I am certain we will succeed.”


Earlier, President Rivlin met with Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Kobakhidze Irakli, who reiterated the sorrow of the Georgian people over the terror attack in Jerusalem, and stressed the need for ongoing cooperation in the fight against terrorism. He said, “The relations between our nations are firm and longstanding. We share parliamentary ties as well as wide-ranging bilateral ties in different areas. The meetings between us are important for both nations and our ability as a parliament to continue to strengthen our ties.”


President Rivlin thanked the Speaker for the warm welcome and told him and the other members of parliament who took part in the meeting that, “The parliament is temple of democracy, and must help the government to ensure stable governance, while at the same time knowing to hold it to account as necessary.” The President added his thanks for the sympathies expressed by the Speaker to the Israeli people, and told him that he had considered postponing the visit in light of the attack. He said however, “We did not postpone because we understood that to do so would be to award a prize to terror, and that we must stand firm against it, and not allow it to dampen our resolve.”


President Rivlin was due to return to Israel later this evening.


Photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)








President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Thursday) issued a call for 2017 to be a year of “mutual respect, between people, and between nations,” in a recorded greeting issued to mark the civil New Year.


The President noted that 2016 had been a year with many “highs and lows”. He said, “There is much to look back on, over the last 12 months. This year the world came together in Rio for the Olympics and Paralympics, and we are proud of the Israelis who represented us there. This year I had the chance, to visit India, where I saw Israeli innovations used to develop water and agriculture, working to bring an end to the curse of hunger and thirst; in Asia, Africa, Latin America and around the world. I also welcomed to the President’s office, here in Jerusalem, Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world, as well scholars, religious leaders, business leaders, working together to build a better future.” He added, “That future starts now. I am hopeful that during the New Year we will see the fruit of this hard work.”


The President continued, “There is no ignoring the fact that 2016 was a very difficult year. Bloodshed and terror, in the name of politics and religion, have led to much misery, and loss. We also have said goodbye to some great leaders. We mourned the loss of Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, who helped build the State of Israel, and the vision for its future. We mourned Elie Weisel, a man whose moral light helped us remember and understand the darkest days. We also lost the great Leonard Cohen and Gene Wilder, among many others who brought us joy in their music and films.”


The President concluded by quoting Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Steer Your Way’ and said, “‘Steer your way, year by year, month by month, day by day, thought by thought.’ After a year of so many highs and lows, let’s make 2017 a year of mutual respect, between people, and between nations. I wish all of you; to the Christian community in Israel and around the world, season’s greetings, and a very happy, healthy New Year; and to all our Jewish brothers and sisters, I wish you all, a very happy Chanukah. God bless, and Shalom from Jerusalem.”


Video can be viewed here:



Photo Silvia Golan









Christmas  Chanukkah & New Year greetings




To honored members of the Israel Diplomatic corps and Embassy staff,


members of the Government Offices, Cultural, Commercial


and Industrial community in Israel


and to all our  friends:



As 2016 approaches, we would like to extend our very warmest and best wishes


to you all for a joyous Christmas   , Chanukkah and holiday season


and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.



Silvia Golan      Daniel Schwarz


Buzzy Gordon   Steve Aiello 


 & all the staff of


Facebook : Diplomacy Israel  & Diplomacy Israel Community









Wednesday, November 2nd, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada honored at a ceremonial tree planting in KKL-JNF Forest, in the presence of many dignitaries

The Governor General came for a visit in Israel escorted by his wife Sharon. Mr. Johnston's is one of the most senior representatives from the very friendly nation of Canada, an outspoken supporter and a true friend of Israel. Yesterday the Governor General visited Jerusalem and the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site and today joins a list of leaders who planted an olive tree as a message of peace, partnership, fellowship, life and continuity.



During the ceremony, Mr. Johnston said: "I am very pleased to plant an olive tree in the Grove of Nations. It is a sign for peace and for future generations. President Shimon Peres, his memory be blessed, planted a tree here in 2012 and my planting is a true gesture of solidarity between our nations"



Dany Atar, KKL-JNF Chairperson said: "I welcome you to plant an olive tree in the Grove of Nations as a message of peace, especially following the UNESCO decision to ignore the Jewish ties to the holy sites in Jerusalem. You represent one of the friendliest nations to Israel, and the planting ceremony is another step in the connection between the two nations".



The Governor General is the representative of the queen, in a position is similar to that of the president of Israel. The queen, with the support of Canada's former Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper, who is also a loyal friend of Israel, appointed the Governor General.


KKL-JNF Grove of Nations found in the Jerusalem Forest is home to many trees that were planted by heads of state from all over the world. It is an integral part of the "Olive Tree Route” project in Israel - a part of the initiative led by UNESCO and the Council of Europe to establish an Olive Tree Route around the entire Mediterranean basin expressing the common desire for peace and co-existence.


Photo Credit: Yaal Herman, KKL-JNF, Caption: (left to right) David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Dany Atar, KKL-JNF Chairperson revealing the Canadian plaque









Latin America Ambassadors visit KKL-JNF Hula Lake Park and plant ceremonial trees



Today, October 6, 2016, a delegation of Ambassadors from nine Latin America countries, including, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Argentina, received a tour of the lake as well as an explanation by KKL-JNF personnel about the Crane ("Agurim") project. They proceeded to conduct a bird ringing as well as planted an Oak and Pistacia Atlantica ("Atlantic Ela") trees.


KKL-JNF maintains and develops the Hula Lake - the biggest bird migration site in Israel, and a unique environmental feat of reintroducing the lake after being dehydrated for years, which.





Photo Credit: Efi Naim, KKL-JNF






The Sheraton Tel Aviv threw its annual party celebrating the Jewish New Year on Monday evening, September 19, 2016, with a distinguished guest list that included ambassadors and other diplomats, leaders of the business community, members of the press corps and VIP guests.


The hosts for the evening were the Sheraton’s sales and marketing team, while the party’s theme was a Festa Italiana. Attendees were greeted by Anat Shilon-Monrov, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, who thanked guests for their support throughout the year. She also acknowledged the hotel’s new food and beverage director, Patrick Mudalige, who had organized the evening’s menu.




The hotel’s pool area was beautifully decorated as a marketplace with eight culinary stations, each featuring specialties from different regions of Italy. For example, “Florence” offered a grilled meat buffet; “Bologna” a typical fish soup; and “South Italy” two different pastas. Other stations offered cold meats and salads, and an entire station was devoted to focaccia and other Italian breads.


The dessert corner featured gelati and sorbets from Sicily, as well as sliced fresh seasonal fruit, classic fruit and chocolate tarts, and meringues, along with Illy coffee from Italy.




Wine and spirits flowed freely: there was a bar serving limoncello, Aperol and Campari, as well as a selection of eight kosher wines imported from Italy, including chianti, pinot grigio and moscato. Grappa and amaretto were also available as digestives,


Guests enjoyed an evening of Italian music, including songs performed by X-Factor vocalist Anna Timofei. They were also treated to 15-minute massages in a corner set aside for pampering. As a souvenir of the event, guests received magnets personalized with their photos.






Photo  Silvia G. Golan 








President & First Lady Rivlin host spouses and partners of diplomats serving in Israel



President Reuven & First Lady Nechama Rivlin today (Tuesday), met at the President’s Residence with spouses and partners of foreign diplomats serving in Israel. The meeting was held together with the Diplomatic Spouses of Israel Association, headed by Julie Fisher wife of the US Ambassador to Israel.


“We know the sacrifices that you make for your spouses and partners,” began the President, and added, “we know that you are not just ‘ambassador’s better halves’, you are also ambassadors of your countries, and you are also ambassadors of Israel. Each of you has made your homes in Israel, and even if you are here for only a few years, I hope Israel will always have a place in your hearts.”


The President spoke of the challenges faced in the past year and said, “We are very near Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year. It is a time when we look back at the year gone by and we pray for a year of health and peace. It wasn’t an easy year, but I am sure that the coming year will be much better, safer, happier, and hopefully much more peaceful. Israel and the whole world has many challenges, but with you, our friends, standing by our side, we can and we will overcome them.”


Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)









On August 31st, a delegation of youth leaders from Rachel Amrani’s Young Ambassadors School returned from a diplomatic mission to NY, NJ and Massachusetts, where they visited the UN and met with local Jewish communities along with a number of other unique site visits.


The Young Ambassadors delegation included 20 high school students from Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv. Their itinerary included the requisite tourist stops: Times Square, Central Park, Chinatown, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, along with some visits unique to a diplomatic trip: briefings at the UN, meeting with American and Israeli diplomats at the American and Israeli Missions to the UN and the Israeli Consulate and AIPAC in Boston.  




As part of the delegation’s focus on strengthening ties between Israeli and American communities and bolstering Jewish heritage, the group visited Kehilah Kedosha Janina, the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, the Spanish-Portuguese Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in America, and NYC’s Holocaust Museum. They also met with Hazon, a Jewish environmentalist organization, to discuss how Judaism relates to sustainability. In Massachusetts the group was hosted by families from the Youth2Israel (Y2I) program overseen by Debbie Coltin, Congregation Sha’arei Tefilah, and a local Israeli-American family.


Another key goal for the delegation was building bridges with non-Jewish communities. The group partnered with Manhattan’s Brotherhood Synagogue and the Interfaith Encounters Association to host an event with local Muslim activists on Jewish-Muslim relations and how Israel is perceived in different Muslim communities. The Young Ambassadors got to see a Sufi prayer ceremony with the Nur Ashki Jerahhi community and talk to the group’s spiritual leader. In Boston, a professor of biblical studies talked to the group about Evangelical Christian support for Israel.


After ten days abroad, the Young Ambassadors delegation returned to Israel with many ideas and greater motivation to continue their path of people to people diplomacy.


Photos credit  Young Ambassadors School /Rachel Amrani.







Royal Visit: H.H the Belgium prince Michel de Ligne plants a tree at KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest


Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, H.H Michel Charles Eugène Marie Lamoral, Prince de Ligne of Belgium planted an olive tree in KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest in Neve Ilan. Other honorable guests joined the planting ceremony, among them KKL Belgium president and the Organization of Belgians in Israel (OBI) and other dignitaries.



His highness is a Belgian - French aristocrat and businessman, member of one of the most prestigious families of the Belgian nobility - the House of Ligne, which is one of the oldest Belgian noble families, dating back to the eleventh century.


H.H Michel Charles Eugène Marie Lamoral stated: "The tree we are planting today will live for a thousand years. It is an eternal symbol to the bravery of our forefathers. Our responsibility towards the other is important. We should be standing united in order to preserve the right for life. The location of this tree is a symbol of courage and solidarity"


KKL Belgium supports projects for land development, tourism, preservation and environmental rehabilitation in Israel including the Neve Ilan Park. In honor of the event, President of KKL Belgium, Jacqui Benzennou said: "There is no better place to commemorate Prince Eugene and his wife than Belgium Park in Neve Ilan, a village near Jerusalem overlooking the Holy City, the forest symbolizes the connection between Belgium and Israel. Planting a tree in this forest is a living testament to the desire to advance and develop the country, which is KKL-JNF's mission".


Organization of Belgians in Israel (OBI), a non-profit Belgium organization which assists new Olim, students, lonely soldiers, Zionist youths and Holocaust survivors living in Israel to receive support from Belgium. Sally Zajfman, President of OBIaddressed the Prince emphasizing that: "Your visit today threads a string between remembrance, friendship and hope – three core values to the Jewish people. Remembering the past, friendship in the present and a hope for a good future"


Belgium Forest in Neve Ilan is located to the west of Jerusalem. It has groves, a recreation area and lookout points that were all established thanks to the help of donations from KKL-JNF’s Friends in Belgium. As a gesture of appreciation for their generosity, KKL-JNF dedicated the forest to the Jews of Belgium, and in the 1990s, a special center was established there in their honor.


 Photo Caption: H.H the Belgium prince Michel de Ligne plants a tree at KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest

Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir, Courtesy of KKL-JNF










Senior Italian delegation at Inauguration Ceremony of the KKL-JNF Expo Forest at Yatir


Thursday, June 23rd, the EXPO forest planting ceremony was held at Yatir Forest in the presence of the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry as well as other dignitaries.


During the day, more than 200 trees were planted from a verity of broad-leaf species such as, Terebinth, Carob, Fig and Almond (trees which fit the theme of the EXPO convention), it will also include the inauguration of the rehabilitationproject to restore the forest - improving drainage and restoration of agricultural terraces in the next 2 years (2016-2017) – the restoration project of more than 300 Dunams (30 Hectare) of forest, harnessed over 45 thousand people from more than 50 countries which gave a unique donation in the KKL-JNF Israeli pavilion in the Expo.


Attending the ceremony were the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, H.E. Maurizio Martina, the Italian Ambassador to Israel,H.E. Francesco Maria Talo’, KKL-JNF Director General, Meir Shpigler including representatives and donors of JNF Italy.


The Italian Minister Maurizio Martina played a prominent role in Expo Milano 2015. The event was a huge unprecedented success with more than 21 million visitors in six months in a wonderful festive atmosphere and in perfect security. Never a universal Expo had such a great accomplishment. Expo Milano has been visited by a great number of heads of State and government from all over the world, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was escorted there by Minister Martina. The Expo was also a wonderful opportunity for Israel to show its unique expertise in fields which are crucial for the future of mankind such as feeding the planet in a sustainable way.




Therefore it is only natural that the Israeli pavilion and the Italian Embassy in Israel partnered with KKL-JNF in insuring the success of Israel’s participation to Expo Milano 2015. A long-lasting follow-up of Expo Milano is the Forest that KKL planted in Yatir and is going to be dedicated to the Exposition.


Italian Minister Maurizio Martina: "We hope that the important message of protecting the world's resources will be implemented and assist us to act for a better world for future generations"


KKL-JNF Director General Meir Shpigler: "It is symbolic that this forest, which represents ecological values and the safekeeping of the environment, we inaugurate in the biggest forest in Israel, which is a marvel by itself since it is planted in a desert region. KKL-JNF works to distribute its forestry knowledge around the world and in the upcoming month a students' delegation from Lombardy, Italy, to learn from KKL-JNF foresters planting methods, forestation in harsh climate conditions and more."


The Ambassador of Italy in Israel, Francesco Maria Talo’ joined the ceremony and commented that he "hopes every Italian child in the world will be able to plant his tree" and that “after the great successes of Israel and Italy in Expo Milano raising fundamental issues for the future of our planet in fields such as water management, agriculture and food sustainability, we can once again stress the slogan that we launched last year: Israel and Italy are EXPOnential Partners!”






Photo Caption: Left to right - KKL-JNF Director General Meir Shpigler; Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, H.E. Maurizio Martina; Ambassador of Italy in Israel, Francesco Maria Talo’; KKL-JNF Department Director, Karine Bolton Laor – Receiving the Certificate

Photo credit: David Greenspan, KKL-JNF







200,000 Participators celebrated Gay Pride in the Tel Aviv Parade, marking the beginning of European Pride Season



The largest-ever Tel Aviv Pride Parade took place today, June 3rd, with the participation of over 200,000 people from Israel and abroad, making it the largest in the Middle East. Among the participators were the Tel Aviv Pride Ambassadors,Alan Cumming and Lea DeLaria. The spotlight of this year's Nonstop City's Pride Parade was "Women for a Change", highlighting the role of women in the LGBTQ community. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade marked the beginning of the European Pride season.


The Gay Pride Parade started at 10am at Meir Park (home of the Tel Aviv Gay Community Center) with music, shows and speeches. The parade kicked off at 12pm with floats by the Beef, Shirazi, Lizi, Zoti, Tel Aviv Sauna and Beshela.


The parade was followed by a huge beach party at Charles Clore Park till sunset.


Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai, upon launching the Parade: "My friends, we have been marching for some years now, and we will keep on marching in pursue of equality. We will keep marching these streets of Tel Aviv with the hope that the pluralism, tolerance and liberalism of this city will spread to the country, the Middle East and the world".


Alan Cumming: "I'm so glad that I've waited to visit Israel until now, as coming to Tel Aviv as a very proud Pride ambassador is the best way I can imagine. I'm so honored to be so honored, and had a great time part-aying!"


Lea DeLaria: “I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be a Pride Ambassador for Tel Aviv Pride. Jewish girls are hot!”


The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality allocates many resources into promoting and supporting the gay community, in an over-all yearly investment of $1 million. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade is the only parade in the world that is fully sponsored by the Municipality. In the last few years Tel Aviv has significantly deepened its investments to promote gay tourism to the city, while an estimated number of 35,000 tourists are expected to arrive this year in Tel Aviv to take part in the pride events.


In 2011 Tel Aviv was selected the Best Gay City in the world by


 Photo Guy Yeschiely










Changes for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers


The Association for wellbeing of Israel's soldiers (AWIS) and  the 'LIBI' fund are merged into one entity under the name of 'Yachad le'maan Ha'chayal'


The fundraising expenses and their realization for salaries, vehicles, managements and general needs – are funded by the Israeli Ministry of Defense

The wellbeing of the Israeli soldiers is the main goal of each donation


The chairperson of the new organization is Major General (Res.) Yoram Yair- 'Yaya' who mends the position voluntarily


'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' is the exclusive entrance channel and donations transference entity for the IDF soldiers and units.



Seventy Five years after the Association for wellbeing of Israel's soldiers(AWIS) was established, and forty years after the foundation of the 'LIBI' organization, the two organizations have been united into one entity, and began the joint national operation for the sake of IDF soldiers - under the new name: "Yachad le'ma'an ha'chayal", as announced this morning by major general (res.) Yoram Yair – 'Yaya', the chairman of the acting board.


The novel organization joint together, "Ya'chad leman hachayal" is held under the power of the IDF, and the soldiers who come together from Israel and different countries around the globe: "The powerful bond, the identity, and the support for the Israeli citizens, Judaism, and the IDF, empowers and strengthens the soldiers standing on duty, which increases their solidarity, and strengthen the Israeli society "said Yaya, "Not everyone can donate, but everyone can volunteer, and due to this we shall support the soldiers on their journey to come". The collaboration of both organizations into one entity – saves unnecessary resources, empowers the work efficiency, and cancels out the collisions between the organizations.


According to the ministry of defense's decision, henceforth – 'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' is the exclusive entrance channel and donations transference entity to IDF soldiers and units.   



After merging the two organizations, the new chairman insisted that all expenditure and fundraising- such as salaries and administrative expenses, will be funded and provided by the Ministry of Defenses only, not through the

donations. This change ensures that 100% of the donations will reach their destination. Without cutting any percentage in favor of overheads, salaries or expenses.



Ways of fundraising were also substantially modified: the external telemarketing operations held on expense of donations, has been discontinued. 


From now on, one can donate through our website, which allows the donor to choose directly the designation of its contribution, knowing that the donation will be transferred fully to its destination. A change aligned by the transparency policy announced by the Organization. 


In addition, 'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' will provide lone soldiers with new contributions, such as assistance to newly deployed lone soldiers in order to help them integrate easier in the Israeli society after their army service. The association will help assist them in various fields- education, housing and employment.


'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' will continue to assist soldiers through a variety of projects such as helping economically disadvantaged families, assisting lone soldiers, and hospitalized soldiers and more. All of this is possible thanks to the generous contributions of thousands of donors including, companies, organization individuals and volunteers worldwide.







65th Makuya Pilgrimage Visits KKL-JNF Books of Honor Hall


The Makuya pilgrimage to Israel takes place every year at the end of winter, the time when cherry blossoms bloom - a Japanese symbol of hope and renewal.


On Sunday, March 6th, 2016, about seventy Members of the 65th annual delegation of the Japanese Makuya pilgrims filled KKL-JNF’s head offices in Jerusalem with their hope and joie de vivre.
The delegation, women dressed in colorful traditional costume and the men in blue vests adorned with the Star of David, went on a special visit to the Hall of the Books of Honor.


They were welcomed with smiles and flowers and informed that each one of KKL-JNF Golden Books is both a work of art and a historical document of inestimable importance; the volume that records the tribute to the memory of Professor Ikoro Teshima aroused special excitement.
It reads: “An intellectual and a humanist, the founder and head of the Zionist Makuya Movement in Japan, and a true friend of the Jewish People and the State of Israel.”


KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar welcomed the visitors warmly, while Asher Kimura, Director of the Makuya in Israel and a fluent Hebrew speaker, translated into Japanese: “You bring a lot of joy into our hearts. We all embrace you lovingly, and I hope that our joint activities will continue for many years to come”.


Other members of the Board of Directors came to pay their respects to the visiting pilgrims: Vice Presidents Zeev Noyman and Shlomo Deri; and Avi Dickstein, Director of KKL-JNF’s Resources, Development and Public Relations Division.


The group’s guide, Noah Abe, declared: “We have adopted the custom of planting a tree in Israel in honor of every boy and girl in our community when they reach the age of twelve, and also in memory of those who are no longer with us. We wish the Land of Israel beauty and fruitfulness. That is our dream. Let us plant more trees together,” he concluded, to the applause of his audience.


Yoda Shuko – head of the pilgrims’ delegation, now on his seventh visit to Israel – presented the KKL-JNF World Chairman with a token gift: a traditional Japanese fan.


Avi Dickstein thanked all those present for their generous contributions to KKL-JNF. “I am familiar with your wonderful projects in Heftziba, the afforestation of Mount Turan in memory of Ikoro Teshima, the donation to the reservoirs in the Negev and your enlistment in the rehabilitation of the northern forests”.


On this visit, the delegation has already managed to plant 103 trees at Golani Junction.
KKL-JNF staff wished the members of the Makuya delegation a pleasant continuation of their visit and hope to see them again soon in Israel.



Makuya, means “tabernacle,” is a Japanese religious movement founded in 1948 by Professor Abraham Ikoro Teshima.
Its members maintain close relations with the KKL-JNF, and there is a long-standing tradition of welcoming the pilgrims in KKL-JNF’s head office.
The Makuya have linked their destiny with the spirit of the Bible and with the fate of the nation that has returned to the land of the Bible.


Photo Yossi Zamir








On the Occasion of International Women's Day: Ninth President Shimon Peres and International Supermodel Naomi Campbell salut Israeli women trailblazers in their fields


The Ninth President Shimon Peres opened the "Women Leading Change" event with the remark:

"We have no future in a world that discriminates against women"

"No one is allowed to discriminate against women, not in Israeli society, and not around the world. Discrimination against women harms all of us and the future of our children"

As part of an interview with Israel's Ninth President, the guest of honor, Supermodel Naomi Campbell said:

"Leaders such as yourself, Mr. Peres, and those like Nelson Mandela, are what make the world a better place. You inspire me."

"My mother is an anchor in my life, she raised me on her own and made me believe in myself and never to give up."


Ninth President Shimon Peres and International Supermodel Naomi Campbell today (8.3) saluted women trailblazers at the "Women Leading Change" event held on the occasion of International Women's Day at the Peres Center for Peace. During the event, the Ninth President and the Supermodel held a joint interview on stage, during which they discussed the importance of advancing women's rights and the need for gender equality. Following the interview, nine women leading change in various fields including education, society, business and the media took the stage, sharing their message and answering the question - How can woman leaders help to advance change in their industry? The event was attended by over 200 leading women in Israeli society including: Minister Gila Gamliel, the Diplomatic Spouses Club, City Mayors, CEOs of leading companies and more.


The Ninth President began the conversation between the two by saying: "Women are the future. There are women pilots, and we can learn a lot from them, they are strong, have courage, have precision, and are brave. A place without women is a place without a future. A world without women is a world without a future. I believe that women can teach us the difference between power and strength. Men know how to express themselves through power, but women have even more strength."


Campbell noted at the event that: "I overcame many obstacles in my life, but I never threw up my hands and gave up. I was blessed with wonderful people who work with me and accompanied me along the way, and my mother, who is my anchor, and who showed me that, even a single parent can be a wonderful mother. I think that you must have courage and love what you do, you must be one hundred percent committed. The sky is never the limit."


At the end of the conversation, Ninth President Peres gave Supermodel Campbell an award and congratulated her on her advocacy promoting women and helping communities affected by natural disasters around the world: "Thank you for all that you do for women around the world. Your work is appreciated the world over".
Campbell thanked Peres and said: "I believe that once a person is blessed, that person must help others. I learned this from inspiring leaders such as yourself and Nelson Mandela."



Among the women who received an award were: Ofra Strauss, Chair of Strauss Group and Chair of Jasmine, an organization promoting entrepreneurship among Jewish and Arab women business owners. Adina Bar Shalom, founder of the Haredi College in Jerusalem. Tal Granot- Goldstein, CEO of HOT. Nadia Kanani- Director of Hand in Hand, a bilingual school in Jerusalem. Tal Schneider, leading Israeli political journalist and blogger. Prof. Annan Felah, a woman trailblazer among the Druze community. Yael Ovadia- Executive director of "Letet Ahshav" (To Give a Future), which works to develop entrepreneurship and small businesses by women. Iris Beck-Codner- Group EVP, Global Marketing and Communications at "Teva" Pharmaceutical.


 Photo Rafi  Deloya







Christmas at Layam Sakal Duty Free for diplomats


 Israel is the Jewish homeland, but Christmas is well recognized here. Out and loud in recognizing this holiday is the Ambassador’s Club of Israel, under the able auspices of Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan. Last Sunday, in a planned celebration to wish the Israeli Diplomatic Corps a happy holiday season, Mr. Eldan, together with the president of Layam Sakal, Mr. Meir Sakal, arranged a party day for diplomats at the Layam Sakal diplomatic store. Guests were invited for a tour of the store, and at 16:00 a toast was raised to the diplomatic community for a joyous holiday season.


As is the practice worldwide, stores like this, where everything is duty free and tax free and where no VAT is charged, exist for the exclusive convenience of accredited diplomats. Attractive shelves, attractive products and very attractive pricing make shopping there an incentive. Items range from the simple (deodorant, toothpaste), through supermarket specials (coffee, imported cheeses), clothes, shoes, perfumes, alcoholic beverages; even washing machines and gifts of all kinds.


Among the fascinating gifts we found were products marketed by entrepreneur Avi Marom Milberger, chairman of Marom F.G.P. Ltd. The Dead Sea, at 424 meters below sea level, is the lowest place on earth. The sea has a high concentration of natural minerals – and these are the magical components of many products, including cosmetics and – surprise! – candies. Marom Ltd is now marketing various candies, marzipan, chewing gum, energy bars – and of course, salt.



Not just ordinary salt, and there lies the surprise. The richest mineral from the lowest point on earth, in a range of exciting flavors, including rosemary, spinach, dill, paprika, garlic and pepper, amongst others. There is pink salt and black salt and golden salt; wild fire salt and hot chili salt. All marketed under the 424 brand.


Diplomats searching for unique gifts for colleagues and friends will find that Marom products come in attractive gift packs of all sizes. They are unique to Israel (although are to be marketed worldwide in duty free diplomat stores too). The taste is there, the look is there and the price is right. A perfect gift combination.


At the party were ambassadors from many countries, including from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Moldova and Ethiopia. Wines and refreshments added to the festivities, and guests were given gifts of Dead Sea cosmetics and other Dead Sea products.




Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


 Photos by Silvia G Golan







The Wives of Ambassadors and Diplomats were hosted in "Tapuz" Coffee House


The Annual Congress of the Ambassadors' Wives, took place in the heart of the Eucalyptus Grove within Herzliya Park, in "Tapuz" Coffee House.


Only in Israel such an important, impressive and enjoyable, and at the same time so different event, can take place …


The Ambassadors and Diplomats Wives met in such a pastoral site, in Herzliya Park, with its peaceful lawns. During the event, although previously announced, the National Home Front drill took place, and the alarm sounds to alert the public to enter the protected spaces. All this in accordance with the National Home Front expression: "ready during routine – ready in emergency".


The Ambassadors' Wives reacted to this alarm as if they have always exercised this drill, which head me thinking how well they have mingled in our society – with its honey and its sting …


I sat, by chance, besides the Canadian Representative. I expressed my love and that of the Israeli people, to the Canadian people and to its Prime Minister Mr. Steven Harper, on the friendship and partnership of both countries. She told me that her children too, have become attached to Israel, and that the return to Canada will be difficult for them. Who needs more than this to express such a close friendship on political and personal level?


The upgraded activities of the Ambassadors’ Wives over the years, and their contributions to the success of this consolidating and enjoyable event, were utterly expressed in the ceremony.


The volunteer teachers of Hebrew and English were sequentially called to receive gifts and appreciation diplomas for their praiseworthy activity. I watched women from all over the world, uniting and talking in this annual event, which crosses countries and cultures.


At the end of the ceremony all sung the song "Shalom Haverim" ("Good-by Friends") – how symbolic.




About "Tapuz" Coffee House:


"Tapuz" Coffee House, located in the heart of the Ucalyptus Grove in Herzliya Park, is built within a beautifully designed wooden structure, and offers its customers a culinary entertainment in nature. This year, it was chosen to host the Annual Congress of the Ambassadors' Wives. Michal Weitz, owner of "Tapuz" Coffee House led the event, and served an Israeli breakfast with her experienced and polite crew.


"Tapuz" Coffee House offers a culinary experience in nature without leaving the city, and suits all kinds of meetings: family (friendly for children), couples, romantic or business-like. In the place, you can relax on arm chairs with low tables dispersed in the lawn, or enjoy sitting on chairs with tables below a wooden pergola watching what goes on in the park.


These days, "Tapuz" Coffee House launches a new and refreshing summer menu that includes a variety of dishes aimed also to the vegan and heath-minded customers. It also organizes private and business events (up to 200 guests).


Address: Jabotinsky St. (Herzliya Park)

Opening hours: Sunday thru Thursday, and Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm

Friday: 9 am - 4 pm

Phone: 09-9744050

Parking: Free and ample


 Link to the original article in Hebrew written by Sima Lahat



Photos by Silvia G Golan














 A rich blend of select Arabica beans handpicked from the coffee farms of Benguet Province, got the nod of coffee connoisseurs in Israel after the Philippine Embassy had presented the brew as the country's official entry to the first Diplocoffee Tel Aviv -- an international tasting competition/exhibit held on 25 February 2015.


Organized by the Ambassadors' Club of Israel whose objective is to initiate business forums for foreign diplomatic missions in Israel, the Diplocoffee Tel Aviv featured global leaders in the coffee industry such as Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Italy, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Thailand, and Vietnam. The event was widely covered by the media and attended by major coffee importers and distributors, as well as coffee shop owners throughout Israel.


The Benguet Arabica beans were sourced from the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. which supported the Embassy in the international coffee exhibit by providing the official entry to the tasting event and magazines/guides on the Philippine coffee industry. The PCBI is a private sector-led group currently serving as the Philippines' National Coffee Development Board responsible for developing the country's coffee industry and promoting it both in local and international markets.


The Philippines, which used to be the world's fourth largest coffee producer and exporter, currently produces around 20,000 metric tons of coffee every year in contrast to its total consumption of 100,000 metric tons. However, the PCBI is taking the lead in reviving and expanding the country's coffee industry through various initiatives and development programs.


Benguet Arabica was chosen as the Philippines' official entry to the Diplocoffee Tel Aviv as the province and its neighboring farms are considered to be among the sources of the country's finest Arabica coffee. With mountains scaling between 5,000 to 7,000 feet, the Cordillera region gets enough moisture and cloud cover to produce richly flavored Arabica beans and other coffee varieties.




Apart from Benguet Arabica, the Embassy also exhibited other products such as the popular and strong flavored Barako coffee and the exotic Alamid coffee which is one of the most expensive and highly coveted coffees in the world. To provide guests, especially potential buyers/importers, with more information about the Philippine coffee industry, the Embassy distributed a CD/kit containing details of the products exhibited, including their manufacturers, a directory of local coffee exporters from DTI and copies of the publications provided by the PCBI.


The Embassy also took advantage of the opportunity to promote Philippine tourism by giving out It's More Fun in the Philippines brochures and including tourism videos in the kit distributed during the event.


The Embassy hopes to contribute to this national thrust through promotion activities such as the recently concluded Diplocoffee Tel Aviv and other economic programs that would attract potential importers and promote Philippine coffee and other local products in the global market. 




History of Philippine Coffee


The Philippines is one of the few countries that produces the four varieties of commercially-viable coffee: Arabica, Liberica (Barako), Excelsa and Robusta. Climatic and soil conditions in the Philippines - from the lowland to mountain regions - make the country suitable for all four varieties.


In the Philippines, coffee has a history as rich as its flavor. The first coffee tree was introduced in Lipa, Batangas in 1740 by a Spanish Franciscan monk. From there, coffee growing spread to other parts of Batangas like Ibaan, Lemery, San Jose, Taal, and Tanauan. Batangas owed much of its wealth to the coffee plantations in these areas and Lipa eventually became the coffee capital of the Philippines.

By the 1860s, Batangas was exporting coffee to America through San Francisco. When the Suez Canal was opened, a new market started in Europe as well. Seeing the success of the Batangeños, Cavite followed suit by growing the first coffee seedlings in 1876 in Amadeo. In spite of this, Lipa still reigned as the center for coffee production in the Philippines and Batangas barako was commanding five times the price of other Asian coffee beans. In 1880, the Philippines was the fourth largest exporter of coffee beans, and when the coffee rust hit Brazil, Africa, and Java, it became the only source of coffee beans worldwide.

The glory days of the Philippine coffee industry lasted until 1889 when coffee rust hit the Philippine shores. That, coupled with an insect infestation, destroyed virtually all the coffee trees in Batangas. Since Batangas was a major producer of coffee, this greatly affected national coffee production. In two years, coffee production was reduced to 1/6th its original amount. By then, Brazil had regained its position as the world's leading producer of coffee. A few of the surviving coffee seedlings were transferred from Batangas to Cavite, where they flourished. This was not the end of the Philippines' coffee growing days, but there was less area allotted to coffee because many farmers had shifted to other crops.

During the 1950s, the Philippine government, with the help of the Americans, brought in a more resistant variety of coffee. It was also then that instant coffee was being produced commercially, thus increasing the demand for beans. Because of favorable market conditions, many farmers went back to growing coffee in the 1960s. But the sudden proliferation of coffee farms resulted in a surplus of beans around the world, and for a while importation of coffee was banned in order to protect local coffee producers. When Brazil was hit by a frost in the 1970's, world market coffee prices soared. The Philippines became a member of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in 1980.

Today, the Philippines produces 30,000 metric tons of coffee a year, up from 23,000 metric tons just three years ago.

Source: Philippine Coffee Board


 Photo :Ambassador Neal Imperial (left) invites guests of the Diplocoffee Tel Aviv to the Philippine Booth and promotes

Benguet Arabica and other coffee products exhibited such as Amadeo Coffee Liqueur, Barako Coffee,
and Alamid Coffee, one of the most expensive and most sought after specialty coffees
in the world. At the right is Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the
Ambassadors' Club of Israel.


Photo : Ambassador Neal Imperial and Second Secretary and Consul Pamela F. Durian-Bailon at the Philippine
Booth (left photo). The Philippines' poster for the Diplocoffee Tel Aviv (right photo).

 Photos copyrigth Philipine Embassy









A peek at the Gindi TLV Fashion Week, where Israel's hottest designers got to strut their stuff  




Dorit Bar Or fashion show. Photo: Avi Valdman


Israelis, typically, are not slaves to fashion. A light cotton dress with flip-flops will do on any summer's day if you are a woman, or a T-shirt and jeans if you are a guy –– even for work or a wedding.


But when Israelis want to be fashionable, they can dress up and design to the nines. Adding in cultural as well as weather relevance, Israel got to show off its fashion flair at the third Fashion Week Tel Aviv in March 2014, called Gindi TLV Fashion Week.


Fashion Week in Tel Aviv included all the fanfare one would expect in New York, Milan or Paris –– with opening and closing parties for the 33 Israeli fashion designers that took part. The event was held in a massive tent –- the future location of a planned Fashion Mall.


Over the course of three days there were runway shows by new and established fashion designers including Daniella Lehavi, Sasson Kedem, Raziela, Comme Il Faut and Karen Oberson.


It was evident how much the informal beach culture influences Israeli fashion design, says Mira Marcus, international press director for the Tel Aviv Municipality.


"It's easy to see people going to work at their startups wearing flip-flops or even going barefoot. We have 300 days of sunshine in Tel Aviv every year. So that informality translates to what people wear and what they design in Tel Aviv.


"This makes fashion in general in Tel Aviv so informal, leaning toward summer and light clothes year 'round. And this isn't something new to the fashion scene, but in existence since the beginning of Tel Aviv and its fashion creation," she explains.


Missoni and Maskit make a splash


"The overall impression was great," says Marcus. "One of the most established fashion houses in Italy, Missoni, wanted to showcase their clothes on a stage in Tel Aviv. They are like the rock stars of the fashion world."


Marcus notes that many international buyers and members of the press came to cover Fashion Week. With 33 events, and each one attracting about 1,000 people, the impact was very much felt in the city, she says.


The fashion darling of the event was the newly revived Maskit label, which also celebrated the 97th birthday of its founder, Ruth Dayan.

Dayan, the first wife of the late eye-patch-wearing icon Moshe Dayan, started Maskit in 1956 as a fashion and decorative art house to showcase the varied craft traditions of the people making up the population of the new state.


The label often borrowed from Arabian motifs. The idea was to create products with a regional influence, using fine fabrics like silk from Paris.

Maskit closed its doors in 1994, but reopened this year after 20 years of inactivity. The items are affordable, but high-end and well made. The label has a home store in Tel Aviv's German Colony, where it sells its fashions and displays Maskit memorabilia.


Models on the runway showing off 25 historical Maskit designs included everyday women and some more famous ones – such as wives of prominent Israel politicians -- but not professional models.


The bigger mission was to encourage awareness of the Israeli design market, and to show just how innovative it can be.

"Israelis are not just in tune with the world's fashion trends but are also leading their own fashion trends," Marcus says.



 Photo : Missoni fashion show with Vogue Italia Editor Franca Sozzani, second from left.





















Did you know that Vietnam is also a coffee producing and exporting country?



Your correspondent didn’t know, and that was only one of the interesting and fascinating discoveries at the charming event for diplomats at the Tel Aviv port on Thursday evening. Hosted by Yitzhak Eldan (President of the Ambassadors Club of Israel) at the Loveat Café on the waterfront, the evening was a showcase for the no less than 17 coffee-producing countries with diplomatic ties to the State of Israel. Some of them are the biggest coffee producers in the world.


The representative countries, in no particular order, were Ethiopia, Angola, Nepal, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Panama, Thailand, Philippines, D.R. of Congo, El Salvador, Brazil, Honduras and Vietnam. Ambassadors, diplomats and Israeli society members mixed and chatted while having the opportunity to sip and taste the delicious brews of the various countries. Colorful ethnic costumes, plenty of beautiful photographs and lots of literature about the respective countries added beauty and culture to the casual but friendly atmosphere.




 Ambassador Eldan welcomed the guests and thanked everyone for coming, and also the Loveat chain, for hosting the event. The introduced the main speaker, H.E. Francesco Maria Talo, ambassador of Italy. Italy is not a coffee-producing country, but is a major coffee consumer; hence the honor accorded the Italian ambassador (who admitted that he personally rarely drinks coffee. “I am the exception that proves the rule”).


Also welcoming the guests was Tal Bodenstein, owner of the Loveat chain. He spoke of the 20 years of coffee culture of the chain, mentioning that their policy is to use organic coffee wherever possible. Also with a brief and interesting introduction was Ofer Gvirtsman, the chain’s “coffee master” – in charge of roasting and preparing the various coffees for the end product we all love to drink. All the ambassadors were then Apresented with certificates recording their presence and contribution to the very successful and unusual diplomatic event.


Mr. Mario Vargas, Economic Commercial Counsellor of the Peruvian Embassy reminded us that not all the countries displaying their wares are actually exporting to Israel – yet. “The market here is growing, and everyone wants in”.

Among the guests were Yoram Naor - Honorary Consul General of Belize in Israel, Ehab Seid - representing La Nova Italiana Ltd. in partnership with Uri Gottlieb , Gary and Monica Class – representing Coppa Coppa Ltd., and our own Silvia Golan – Executive Director of DIPLOMACY.








Photos  Silvia Golan





















Distinguished guests,

Welcome to the President's Residence, to the traditional reception held on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

I'm very pleased to have this special opportunity to welcome you here and to open up this house, to you all, members of the diplomatic corps based in Israel.

We do not celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, with street parties or with dancing late into the night.

The Jewish People celebrates the New Year as a "family holiday" and a time for "soul searching".

Following the events of recent months here in Israel, this period leading up to Rosh Hashana – a period traditionally devoted to looking deep into our souls –
takes on a special meaning this year.

In consideration of the fighting in the south, the people and leaders of Israel had to make difficult decisions:
On one hand we had to protect our citizens, our homes and our land, while on the other hand, we faced the responsibility to avoid harming the innocent, as far as possible;

Inside Israel, the Israeli society faced also a big challenge. We had to maintain our responsibility to enable free speech
While supporting the people who were fighting to bring security to the people of Israel.

* * * * *

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past, wars took place between countries, but in recent decades, we have had to confront a new form of warfare:
warfare waged between countries and terrorist organizations.

We all know that in war, there are no winners. There is always harm and death.

However, in war between a terror organization and a sovereign state, the terror organization is always in a "win-win situation."

When the terrorist organization succeeds, in causing harm to the country that is fighting against it,
Then according to its own point of view, it has gained a victory.

And if, in response to its actions, it succeeds in drawing the country
into aggressive military action where innocent women and children are killed, then here again,according to its own point of view, it has gained a victory
that will also bring with it the sympathy of public opinion.

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Israel is a country governed by the Rule of Law.

Furthermore, Israel recognizes the enormous importance of International Law, and the importance of strictly obeying the Laws of War.

Today, however, the international legal system is facing a new type of challenges, a new type of war that is taking place throughout the World.

It now, needs to provide a comprehensive and relevant judicial response to these new wars.

The international Laws of War can no longer ignore this new situation, that is so very different from traditional forms of warfare.

Those, Laws of War, must be adapted so as to become more appropriate for the new reality, that now exists.

* * * * *

Ladies and Gentlemen, Excellencies,

The State of Israel is not at war with Islam.

By the same token, the State of Israel is not at war with the Palestinian people.

I believe that the great majority of Palestinians, who live in Gaza, are innocent.

If the choice was theirs, they would choose to live in a flourishing country with a blooming economy and peaceful relations.

The citizens of Gaza are no different from the citizens of Berlin, Paris, Mexico City, New Delhi, Bucharest or Brussels, they too want to live in peace and security.

The fact, that one and a half million Palestinians are being held hostage by thirty thousand Hamas terrorists is a human tragedy.

Dear friends, 

Today, sixty-five years from its establishment, Israel is a social and economic miracle.

The State of Israel, is not found only in the heart of the Middle East.

Israel holds out its hand, everywhere, to friendly nations who need assistance during times of disaster.

The State of Israel is found in the heart of the dry lands of African deserts, in Latin America, in Europe and in Asia.

Israel can be found in the heart of computer processors and in the hi-tech industry throughout the world.

You can find Israeli inventions and developments in hospitals in your countries, in the computers you use,
in aid programs to fight drought, to desalinate sea water and to advance agriculture.

You, the ambassadors who are living here, in our country, who are familiar with what is going on here, know this very well.

As ambassadors serving here and also as our ambassadors, it is important that you bring the message of Israel to your own.

When you talk about the State of Israel, please bring the diverse character of Israeli society.
Present Israel in all its true complexity.

Israel is not just a place of conflict, it is a place of life, of a strong economy,
It is a place not trapped in the past, but looking forward towards a promising future.

* * * * *

I recently celebrated my seventy-fifth birthday.

I was born here, and my grandchildren are the ninth generation of my family in this country.

I myself, like my father, my grandfather and my great, great grandfather before me, grew up in Jerusalem.

For all of that long period we shared our lives with the other residents of this land, with all the many communities and beliefs.

There have always been ups and downs, in relations between Jews and Arabs and there will continue to be.

There will be a real change for the better in relations between Arabs and Jews only when both parties accept that we are not been doomed to live here together,
rather, it is our destiny to live here together.

As President, one of my most important tasks is to make the members of Israeli society truly listen to each other, to be more open, more tolerant, more liberal.

This, mainly in relations, with the Arabs who live among us, the Arab population of Israel.

The State of Israel, the Jewish and Democratic State of Israel, is the home, of all that were born here, All those for whom this country is their homeland.

The Arab citizens of Israel must also find in the State of Israel a home, as their right, not as a favor; they must share full and equal rights and recognition,
and must also play a true role in advancing and developing this country.

I pray that during this coming year, the gateways of all our hearts will be open to listening, to cooperation and to mutual commitment.

I pray that during this coming year we shall listen to a symphony of the many voices that shape us, as a state, as a society and as human beings.

I wish you all a very happy and blessed year.




Several Jewish holidays – some of which are full legal holidays in Israel – will take place this year between 24 September and 16 October. The Government Press Office would like to provide the following brief summary.

Preparations for the Jewish New Year

The period preceding the Jewish New Year is marked by special penitential prayers, recited before the regular morning prayers, and the blowing of the ram's horn (shofar in Hebrew) after the morning prayer service. Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin began to recite these special prayers on 28 August; Jews of European origin began to recite them very early this morning (21 September). These special prayers are said daily (except on the New Year holiday itself and the Sabbath) until the day before Yom Kippur (3 October).

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah (the two-day Jewish new year), the observance of which is mandated by Leviticus 23:23-25, will begin at sunset on Wednesday, 24 September and conclude at nightfall on Friday, 26 September. Both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.

The centerpiece of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the shofar during morning prayers. (The shofar is not sounded on the Sabbath should either of the two days fall on Saturday.) Both days are full public holidays and, as on the Sabbath, there will be no public transportation or newspapers. In addition, many businesses, museums and other institutions, which are normally open on the Sabbath, will be closed over the holiday. The GPO will be closed on Wednesday-Thursday, 24-25 September, inclusive.

Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs. The first is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be "sweet." The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the "casting off" of the previous year's sins; this practice derives from Micah 7:19 ("...and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.") This ceremony takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (or on the second, if the first day falls on the Sabbath).

The Period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The ten days between New Year and Yom Kippur (inclusive) are known as "The Ten Days of Repentance". Jewish tradition maintains that this is a time of judgment when all people and nations are called to account for their deeds of the past year, and when their particular fates for the coming year are decided.

A single Sabbath, known as the "Sabbath of Repentance", always occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Sabbath (27 September this year) is marked by a special reading from Hosea 14:2-10, beginning with, "Return, Israel, to the Lord your God."

The day after the New Year holiday is a day of fasting known as the Fast of Gedaliah, and commemorates the murder of Gedaliah, the Jewish governor of Judea, who was appointed by the Babylonians after they captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the episode is recounted in II Kings 25:22-25. When the day after Rosh Hashanah is a Saturday, as it is this year, the fast is postponed by one day. Accordingly, the fast will extend from sunrise on Sunday, 28 September until nightfall the same day. Special scriptural readings are recited, but the day is not a public holiday.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Hebrew for "The Day of Atonement") begins at sunset on Friday, 3 October, and concludes at nightfall on Saturday, 4 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27-32. The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur is the day on which, according to Jewish tradition, our fates for the coming year are sealed. Synagogue services – centering on the penitential prayers – will continue for most of the day and include special scriptural readings (including the Book of Jonah in the afternoon). Memorial prayers for the deceased, said four times a year, are recited on Yom Kippur. At nightfall, the shofar is sounded once to mark the end of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is a full public holiday in Israel and almost all establishments (including the GPO) will be closed. There will be no radio or television broadcasts. Since Yom Kippur is a day of introspection, completely separate from the normal course of daily life – the physical aspects of our lives are sublimated while we concentrate on our spiritual concerns – the day is marked by a full (sunset to nightfall) fast. The wearing of leather, the use of cosmetics, bathing and marital relations are likewise forbidden.


The seven-day Sukkot festival, mandated by Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43, begins at sunset on Wednesday, 8 October and concludes at nightfall on Wednesday, 15 October. The first day, from sunset on Wednesday, 8 October, until nightfall on Thursday, 9 October, is a full public holiday. All seven days of the holiday are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings – including the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is read on Saturday, 11 October. Sukkot is a joyful, family oriented holiday, which follows – and provides a contrast to – the somber, introspective and private character of Yom Kippur. Many businesses and institutions will either close or operate on a reduced basis. The GPO will be closed from 8-16 October, inclusive, and will reopen on Sunday, 19 October.

Sukkot is characterized by two main practices. Jews are enjoined to build, take all of their meals in, and (if possible) sleep in, temporary huts topped with thatch or palm fronds during the festival. These huts (sukkot in Hebrew) commemorate the temporary, portable dwellings in which the Jewish people lived during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness that followed their liberation from slavery in Egypt. The second main Sukkot observance is the special bouquet – consisting of a closed palm frond, a citron, a myrtle branch and a willow branch – that is held during morning prayers on each of the seven days (except the Sabbath); its origins derive from Leviticus 23:40, many traditional explanations of its symbolism have been cited.

Shemini Atzeret (Simhat Torah)

The Shemini Atzeret (literally "The Eighth Day of Assembly" in Hebrew) holiday immediately follows the last day of Sukkot, beginning at sunset on Wednesday, 15 October and concluding at nightfall on Thursday, 16 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 23:36. It is a full public holiday. (Even though it follows the seven-day Sukkot festival and is often considered part of Sukkot, it is, in fact, a separate holiday. The special bouquet is not used and the obligation to sit in the sukkot no longer applies.) The day's prayer services include the memorial prayers for the deceased, as well as the prayer for plentiful rainfall during the coming winter.

Shemini Atzeret, however, centers around its special scriptural readings. On Shemini Atzeret, the yearly cycle of Torah (the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis to Deuteronomy, one section of which is read on each Sabbath during the year) readings is both completed and begun anew. This event is accompanied by dancing and singing, sometimes continuing for several hours; in religious neighborhoods, these celebrations often spill out into the streets. Thus, the holiday is also referred to as Simhat Torah ("Rejoicing of the Torah" in Hebrew).



Photo by: Moshe Milner, GPO 



Judging by the atmosphere around the pool of Tel Aviv's Sheraton Hotel on Monday evening, the answer is a resounding "yes". Anat Shilon, head of the sales & marketing department, together with her excellent team pulled off an unusual and very successful event to celebrate the Jewish New Year which begins in two weeks, with a nod of thanks too, to the Sheraton's customers, agents and guests, not to mention the Diplomatic Corps.

The Greek-themed party was a grand success. It began with each arriving guest receiving an appropriate hat (panamas for the ladies, sun hats for the gentlemen) to add to the casual atmosphere. The music was Greek, the food was Greek, the atmosphere was Greek, the decorative ice-statues were Greek and even the "frozen" human statues wore Greek costumes. Live entertainment (Greek of course) interspersed the background music that entertained the guests while they mingled and ate.

Among other delicacies, we enjoyed the best Greek salad we've ever has this side of Θεσσαλονίκη (better known as Thessaloniki, or Salonica), freshly prepared by expert chefs on the spot for each guest. We expected nothing less from the Sheraton's Executive Chef Charlie Fadida and his team.

The open bar added to the joyous atmosphere. We were impressed to see that there was a life guard on pool duty, even though no one was swimming. Better safe than sorry – after one too many glasses of ouzo or retsina, someone might have tumbled into the water.

The Sheraton is shortly to open new Executive Club Rooms. Party guests were invited to choose an electronic key and to see if theirs was the "lucky" key to open one of the rooms on the Executive Floor on the 18th floor. An exciting twist to an exciting party, with prizes for the winners.

It seems that the "key" to success at any party is planning, planning, and planning. That's an art they have learned well at the Tel Aviv Sheraton. Our suggestion to you: make sure you are invited to next year's party.






Mr. Patrick Maisonnave, Ambassador of France to Israel, granted, on June 18, Decorations of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur to the Israeli sculptor and artist Dani Karavan and to Odile Senouf, Director of the Association of Foreign Banks in Israel and President of the non-profit organizationישראל מארחת" ", for her activity in the development of the economic relations between France and Israel, and for her contribution to the promotion of the French language in Israel.

The impressive ceremony took place in the garden of the French Embassy in Jaffa, with the presence of the newly elected President of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin and his wife, Members of the Knesset, Diplomats, Consuls, University Officials and Artists.


French Ambassador told the artist :

"Dear Dani Karavan ... today we honor you and celebrate your impressive international career, as an artist of outstanding position in the Israeli cultural scene.

We want to express the great honor we feel due to the fact that you figure among the outstanding individuals, French-speaking Israelis, that have contributed so much to France, with such a talent, and that did this on the service of humanity and universality, the values of France, which are so inter-wined with your name and creations."


About Dani Karavan:

Dani Karavan, Israeli plastic artist and sculptor, is undoubtedly one of the most-talked-about contemporary Israeli artists, owing to his long-lasting work, its wide scope and timelessness. His monumental creations are surprising in their dimensions and originality, and the choice of materials – sand, concrete, steel, water, etc.
His relationship with France, since he started his career as a student in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, in Paris, was never severed. Dani Karavan built in the city of Cergy a monumental creation, called "l'Axe Majeur", which started in 1980. This creation includes 12 elements - among them, an observation tower, a plaza with columns, a park, a terrace, gardens, and more. The project is still unfinished, 34 years after its launching. In 1983 he developed a laser installation between the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Eiffel tower and the La Défense business center. Between 1993-1998, he built the Square of Tolerance in homage to Yitzhak Rabin, and the UNESCO Gardens in Paris. In 1994 he built an environmental statue in the city of Gurs, in remembrance of the refugees imprisoned in the Gurs camp in this city.

About Odile Senouf:

Odile Senouf directs, since 2004, the Association of Foreign Banks in Israel. She is also the President of the non-profit organizationישראל מארחת" ", the local branch of the International Federation for the absorption of French citizens and French-speaking people in the world. She is a member of the administrative board of the French learning institutions in Israel, and volunteers in the France-Israel Bureau of Commerce and Industry.
Odile Senouf contributes to the promotion of the French language in Israel. She helped to publish a guide in French on the Tel Aviv Art Museum, and teaches French to endangered youngsters.

Her deep knowledge of France, as well as Morocco, turns her into an important personality in the Mediterranean region, in the economic, cultural and human aspects.
The two decorated personalities gained the esteem and honor of the French Ambassador, the elected President of Israel, and all the invited guests. The impressive ceremony represented for us a model of achievements in artistic and social works, and the approach of love deeds that cross countries, cultures, fields of work and people from the whole social range.


Photo Silvia Golan





 The only thing missing from the Diplomatic Spouses Club Israel (DSCI) Charity Gala fundraiser, was a red carpet.


More than 300 guests including diplomats, media, film directors, producers, hospital executives, founding mothers and capital financiers turned out to support the charity fundraiser held in the garden of the American Ambassador’s residence on June 1, 2014. The event raised more than 57,000 NIS for the Lady Sarah Cohen Unit for Family Centered Therapy and Healthcare, a clinic that supports the families of chronically ill children including families of children who have been victims of terror.


A special feature of the fundraiser was the presentation, by Director Rama Burshtein, of her award winning film, “Fill the Void,” a sensitive portrayal of a Jewish Orthodox family in crisis. The theme fit hand-in-glove with DSCI’s gala and with the clinic’s focus on families. After the film, Burshtein took questions from the audience.


Ambassador Dan Shapiro and his wife Julie Fisher welcomed a wide variety of guests to their home including Rama Burshtein and her producer Assaf Amir. Also in attendance were the founding and current directors of the clinic—Dr. Cynthia Carel M.D. and Chava Cohen, respectively. Professor Josef Press, director of Schneider Children’s Hospital addressed the audience and presented a certificate of appreciation to Joanna Landau, the original donor who joined forces with Dr. Cynthia Carel and provided capital to found the clinic. Today, the clinic bears the name of her great-grandmother.


Each year, DSCI members nominate and select an organization or community project to which they lend financial support. This year, Maria Kuglitsch, chairperson of the gala, nominated the Lady Sarah Cohen Unit; and members agreed with overwhelming enthusiasm.  In the past, DSCI has raised funds for the Jezreel Valley Center for the Arts, Budo for Peace, Middle East Education Through Technology (MEET), L.O.- Combat Violence Against Women, the Dror Association, Beit Issie Shapiro and others.


Since ticket sales were many and expenses minimal, almost all proceeds will go directly to the Lady Sarah Cohen family clinic, to further their important work. It is a one of a kind resource in Israel, and it has guided countless families through the traumatic minefield of their child’s serious illness or injury.


If you missed the gala and would like to get more information, please contact DSCI at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Diplomatic Spouses Club Israel Charity Committee members included:

Chairperson Maria Kuglitsch, Austria; Kamolrat Boon-Long, Thailand; Rita Cohen, European Union; Susan Dilles, U.S.; Julie Fisher, U.S.; Co-President Eden Goldberger, U.S.; Celia Leaberry Gould, United Kingdom; Ceciel Huls, Netherlands; Swati Jha, India; Mary Knight, U.S.; Co-President Rachel Lord, Australia; Jean Murphy, Denmark; Lanre Obasa, Nigeria; Hideko Sato, Japan; Johanna Stegen, Chile; Jane Smith, Canada; Ed Stachow, Australia; Siobhan Tracey, Ireland.



Photo credit: Mary Knight

Photo captions:

The Diplomatic Spouses Club Israel sponsored a Charity Gala at the home of Ambassador Dan Shapiro and his wife Julie Fisher, to benefit the Lady Sarah Cohen Unit for Family Centered Therapy and Healthcare at Schneider Children's Hospital June 1, 2014. Gala festivities included a private screening of the film "Fill the Void" a unique and sensitive film about a  Jewish Orthodox family. The program was attended by Director Rama Burshtein and her producer Assaf Amir, and by members of the Cohen-Landau family who provided the initial grant for the Lady Sarah Cohen Family Clinic. Also present were past and current directors of the clinic, Dr. Cynthia Carel M.D. and Chava Cohen, and representatives of Schneider Children's Hospital including the hospital Director Professor Josef Press. The program was emceed by Gala Chairperson Maria Kuglitsch, wife of Ambassador Franz Josef Kuglitsch -- and attended by a number of foreign diplomats and their spouses, residing in Israel. The event raised more than 57,000 shekels.


Photo  1 Ambassador Dan Shapiro says goodbye to founder and past director Dr. Cynthia Carel M.D., of Lady Sarah Cohen Unit at Schneider Children's Hospital.


Photo 2 Left to right

Eden Goldberger, co-President Diplomatic Spouses Club Israel

Julie Fisher, wife of American Ambassador Dan Shapiro

Fill the Void Director Rama Burshtein

Founder and past Director of Lady Sarah Cohen Unit Dr. Cynthia Carel MD

Chairperson of DSCI Charity Gala Maria Kuglitsch



Photos courtesy of the USA Embassy







 Hundreds of people arrived last night to Rafi and Ofra Elul's house in Mazkeret- Batya, for the "Grand Finale'" of the Mimouna celebrations. This event is taking place at the Elul's house for the last 29 years.


On the house's lawn, balconies and living room, gathered for a toast, hundreds of men and women. Among them came to honor the President, Shimon Peres, the candidates for presidency Fuad Ben Eliezer and Rubi Rivlin, Minister for Aliya Sofa Landver, The Mayor of Holon Motti Sason, Rani and Hila Rahav and many others from the political, business and society fields. The gathering - which was accompanied with good music with Einat Saruf , Moti, Kaya Schwartz and other musicians, good food and drinks – was heart warming.



President Peres said:
This is a holiday of love among all tribes of Israel, who gathered here in spite of their differences. A Jew is a man or woman who holds a child in one hand and the holy Tora in the other... a symbol for continuity and dedication to our moral faith. In my last visit to China, their leaders wanted to know the reason for the large percentage of Jews among Nobel Prize winners. I said that it all depends on the Jewish mother, who devotes her life to her children, which are our most precious treasure. Even though we left Egypt from slavery to freedom, our exodus is not finished until there is no hungry child left in our country, and peace will prevail.



About the holiday source...
The Mimouna was brought by the immigrants from Morocco during the 50's. It was celebrated in Morocco for hundreds of years. Mimouna – luck in Arabic – was the spring celebrations in the Atlas Mountains. The holiday was identified with nature and scenery celebrations and people used to visit holy man graves. The essence of the holiday is peace, friendship and good neighborhood between Jews and Muslims. The Muslims used to bring the Jews the first bread after the Passover, and the Jews used to prepare pastries and Mufletas – food that symbols the transfer from the holy to regular times. From Matzo to bread.



Photos  Silvia G Golan



 "Our environmental policy in Canada focuses on the preservation of green areas, so it is truly wonderful that we can share this with the State of Israel."

The cornerstone ceremony for the Stephen J. Harper Visitors Center in the Hula Lake Park took place yesterday in the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, who is currently visiting Israel. It was also attended by Canadian MPs, Israel Minister of International Relations Yuval Steinitz, KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF co-Chairman Efi Aflalo, CEO of JNF Canada Josh Cooper and a delegation of JNF Canada executives.

 “Our environmental policy in Canada focuses on the preservation of green areas,” said the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, at the ceremony, “so it is truly wonderful that we can share this with the State of Israel.” 

PM Stephen Harper lays the corner stone with Efi Stenzler and Josh Cooper. Photo: Ancho Gosh, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler described PM Harper of Canada as “one of the greatest friends of Israel in the world,” and said that “through the Visitors Center, we will disseminate the values we all believe in—education, science, the protection of nature, and the preservation of natural resources for future generations.” 

Turning directly to the Canadian PM, the KKL-JNF Chairman said, “This project is harmonious with your vision, because birds recognize no borders and symbolize the peace to which we all aspire.” 

The Visitors Center for Research and Education project is being executed with the support of Friends ofKKL-JNF in Canada, assisted by contributions donated in honor of PM Harper at the Negev Dinner event, which took place in Toronto two months ago and was attended by 4,500 people. 

“Thank you for making this Visitors Center possible,” said PM Harper to the representatives from JNF Canada attending the ceremony. “I hope you will view this as part of your contribution to the State of Israel and to the connection between Canada and Israel.” 

Josh Cooper, CEO of JNF Canada, expressed his hope that the Visitors Center would make it possible to double the number of visitors at the site and reach one million visitors a year or even more. “This is an excellent opportunity for us not only to support Israel but also to share one of Israel’s most extraordinary sites with the whole world,” said Cooper. 

Plans for the Stephen Harper Visitors Center include an exhibition hall, an auditorium, classrooms, an observation deck with a view of the Hula Valley, and beautifully landscaped surroundings. The Hula Lake is one of the foremost bird watching sites in the world, with half a billion birds passing through it annually, primarily cranes, which make the site world famous. There are approximately 35,000 cranes wintering there at present. 

Watching birds through binoculars. Photo: Ancho Gosh, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Participating in the ceremony was PM Harper's entourage in Israel, including members of the Canadian Parliament, as well as a delegation of JNF Canada executives and, of course, executives of KKL-JNF in Israel including KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF co-Chairman Eli Aflalo, senior KKL-JNF directors and members of the KKL-JNF Executive Board. Israel Minister of International Relations Yuval Steinitzhonored the event with his presence as did local schoolchildren and even the junior ice hockey team of northern Israel. 

Heads of Regional Councils in the Galilee, who also took part in the cornerstone ceremony, stressed the great importance of the Hula Lake for tourism and economic development in northern Israel. 

After the speeches and the laying of the cornerstone, ceremony participants were taken on a tour of the site. Riding in a concealed coach drawn by a tractor, they were able to get very close to the cranes without disturbing them. The view was spectacular, with thousands of large, noisy birds soaring and gathering food in the fields. 

The tour included the Crane Scenic Lookout, a project which was carried out with the support of Friends of KKL-JNF in Canada, in Montreal, Mendy and Leona Eidinger. Other projects at the site were carried out with the support of Friends of KKL-JNF in Australia andSouth Africa. There is also research being done at the Hula Lake Park in conjunction with the Province of Manitoba, Canada.


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“The Bedouin are an inseparable part of the state and partners in its construction. I’m proud to be Israeli.”
160 ambassadors and consuls who represent Israel in over 100 countries throughout the world took part in a tour of the Negev held in conjunction with KKL-JNF, the Or movement and the Israeli foreign ministry. The participants had the opportunity to observe KKL-JNF’s activities at first hand and see how the organization is developing the Negev for the benefit of all its residents, including the local Bedouin.

Group photo: Ambassadors and locals at the Bedouin Heritage center in Tel Sheva
Photo: Dudu Grinshpan, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Israel Ambassador to UN Ron Prosor experiences Bedouin hospitality. Photo: Yoav Devir

“KKL-JNF’s activity in the Negev is the true modern-day Zionism, and it is changing the face of both the area and of Israeli society in general,” said Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the UN. “Nothing can compare with first-hand observation, with coming along to see how KKL-JNF is making the desert bloom.” 

KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler met with the members of the delegation in the course of their tour and told them: “The Negev is the growth engine of the Israeli State, and it’s very important that our ambassadors get a feel for what’s really going on here.” 

The long tour of the various sites throughout the Negev revealed to the visitors a fascinating, complex and colorful mosaic of life in the desert.

Givot Bar: Jews and Bedouin living in close proximity

Kindergarten in Givot Bar. Photo: Yoav Devir

The first stop along the route was Givot Bar, a new community established in 2004 to the south of the Bedouin town of Rahat. The land was prepared for settlement and developed for public and recreational use with the help of KKL-JNF’s Friends in England and the USA. Today some 130 families live in the community, and there are plans to expand to a maximum of 500. 

“This tour is a reminder to us all that, despite everything, we have a wonderful country in which wonderful things are being done,” saidNissim Ben Shitrit, Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Hadara Gurfinkel, Director General of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, added that the Givot Bar community is an example of the accelerated growth spurt underway throughout the area. 

Doron Almog, Director of the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin. Photo: Yoav Devir

 Doron Almog, Director of the Headquarters for Economic and Community Development of the Negev Bedouin, stressed in his speech that the land arrangements in the Negev will benefit the Bedouin first and foremost and improve their quality of life. “A properly-run country cannot tolerate the presence of illegal poverty-ridden shanty towns where there is no electricity or water supply and no connection to the sewage system,” he said. “Working together with the Bedouin population, we are initiating a process at whose conclusion all the Bedouin will be living in officially recognized communities. We are aware that this process involves a profound cultural change.” 

Over 200 thousand Bedouin live in the Negev today. Approximately half of them live in 18 recognized communities, while the remainder are scattered among 35 hamlets that have never been accorded official recognition by the state. “If we leave the Bedouin in unrecognized communities, we shall be perpetuating the poverty in which they live and we shall be unable to provide them with the appropriate services,” said Almog. “We want to see Bedouin society integrating into the Negev, improving its socio-economic status and contributing to the Israeli economy.” 

Amer Abu Muammar, Mayor of Segev Shalom. Photo: Yoav Devir

 “The Bedouin are an inseparable part of the state and partners in its construction. I’m proud to be Israeli,” declared Amer Abu Muammar, Mayor of the Bedouin community of Segev Shalom. “The campaign underway against the state has made us pawns in the hands of the politicians. If there is opposition to the land regulation on the left and right of the political map, that’s a sign that there’s something to build on. If we talk and listen to one another, we can find a solution to the disagreements.” 

With regard to international reaction to the Bedouin issue, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler said: “The media are full of disinformation that is designed to harm the State of Israel and the Jewish People. The campaigns waged against us are a new form of anti-Semitism. As a Jewish Zionist organization, we believe that it is our job to help all citizens of the state, and this is why KKL-JNF promotes numerous projects for the benefit of the Negev Bedouin.”
The delegation made its way next to Rahat, where it toured the attractive new neighborhood that is in the process of being added to the town. Anat Gold, Director of Planning for KKL-JNF's Southern Region, showed the visitors another new KKL-JNF project in Rahat – the Gerar River Park. “This park is a source of both social and physical change in the town, and it has transformed the site from an eyesore into an asset. It links the different parts of the town and provides a connection between the various communities living within it,” she explained. The first stage in the establishment of the park, which included the preparation of the ground and the construction of paths and terraces, was carried out by KKL-JNF. Stage two, which is just starting now, comprises landscaping and the provision of lighting and playground equipment. “KKL-JNF works for the benefit of all residents of the Negev, Jews and Bedouin alike,” emphasized Anat Gold in conclusion.

Visitors are greeted with flowers by a local youth ensemble in the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva. Photo: Yoav Devir

The visit to the Bedouin community of Tel Sheva began inauspiciously, when a stone thrown at one of the buses shattered its rear window. Fortunately, no one was hurt. At the local Bedouin heritage center, however, the ambassadors were greeted by children offering flowers, while a traditional musical welcome was provided by a local youth ensemble. 

Qasem Abu Sarhan, Deputy Mayor of Tel Sheva, told his guests about the community, which is home to eighteen thousand residents, 65% of whom are under the age of eighteen. The main challenges facing the community are education, employment and housing, he said. 

“We all need to work together to improve the state of Bedouin society,” said Kheyr Al-Baz, Director General of the Bedouin social organization Ajik. He told his listeners that 50% of Bedouin families live below the poverty line, and that only 3% of Bedouin youngsters pursue academic studies. “Education is the key to closing these gaps,” he said. “Despite all the difficulties, many of the young men volunteer to serve in the IDF, and young women volunteer for civilian national service.” 

“We’ve learned at first hand about Bedouin society, and I share the view that education can help to break down all barriers,” said Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben Shitrit. 

Maryam and Naji Abu Rqaiq. Photo: Yoav Devir

At the Bat Midbar (“Daughter of the Desert”) company in Tel Sheva, which manufactures the first Bedouin line of cosmetics, the visitors met Maryam Abu Rqaiq, who founded this successful enterprise. She recounted how she had used her grandmother’s knowledge of traditional plant remedies in order to produce creams, soaps and oils that are now sold throughout the world. Today she employs a staff of five Bedouin women and dreams of continuing to expand the business to provide employment for many more people. 

“People from all over the world come to our visitors’ center, and I believe we can serve as an example of how we can all live together,” said Maryam’s husband Naji Abu Rqaiq. The ambassadors, of course, did not leave the factory empty handed: they concluded their visit with the purchase of a selection of cosmetic products. 

“This visit has helped us towards a deeper understanding of the Bedouin issue,” said David Siegel, Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles.  “Developing the Negev benefits all residents of Israel. This is a complex situation, and it is our job to explain it to people abroad.”

Welcome to Carmit. Photo: Yoav Devir

Carmit is a new community in the northern Negev that was established jointly by KKL-JNF and the Or settlement movement. KKL-JNF prepared the land for the construction of a community of 510 families, who will constitute the first stage of settlement. KKL-JNF will also develop adjacent green areas, with the help of its friends in Spain and Australia, and with the help of its Friends in Mexico, it will plant trees in the community’s environs. 

The community is designed to comprise 2,500 housing units over an area of 4,500 dunam (approx 1,125 acres), and residents are scheduled to move into the first neighborhood at the end of 2015. The synagogue and community center have already been built, thanks to a donation from Robert and Shirley Levitt. 

“People have been quick to declare that Zionism and KKL-JNF are ancient history, and to tell us that young people are no longer interested in settling the Negev. But all these gloomy predictions have been proved wrong,” said Roni Palmer, CEO of the Or settlement movement. “The Negev and the Galilee constitute 70% of our land, and 100% of our future. Together we shall continue to build the state.” 

Avner Ben Gera, the Mayor of Meitar, the nearby settlement under whose aegis Carmit is being founded, recalled in his speech the vision of David Ben Gurion: “All these years we’ve talked about making the desert bloom and settling the Negev, and now here we are busily founding new communities in this part of country.” 

Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin met the ambassadors at Carmit and told them, “There’s nothing better than seeing for yourselves, so that you can tell the world what’s really happening here.” He added with a smile: “Where public diplomacy is concerned, the truth, too, is an option worth considering, and it’s by no means the worst option available.” 

Efi Stenzler told those present something of KKL-JNF’s activities in the Negev as a green-oriented Zionist organization involved in planting trees in the desert, establishing parks and recreation areas and developing water resources and agriculture. “KKL-JNF’s expertise in these fields is of help to many other countries throughout the world,” he told the ambassadors. While the speeches were in progress, the heavy-duty bulldozer  could be observed through the windows of the hall as it doggedly continued to operate. It takes more than words to establish a new community, and work does not stop for a moment. Before leaving Carmit, the guests planted an olive tree together. This tree will grow, the community will develop, and before long, its residents will be able to enjoy its fruit.

Beersheva River Park Bridge lit up at night. Photo: Yoav Devir

Those who visit Beersheba River Park find it hard to believe that until just a few years ago, this area was the city’s neglected backyard and the site of a polluted rubbish dump. Today it is a beautiful park with well-tended lawns, impressive landscaping and attractive promenades. Development is carried out in conjunction with of KKL-JNF’s Friends in CanadaGermany andSwitzerland

This strip of parkland occupies an area of 4,500 dunam (around 1,125 acres) for a length of eight kilometers between Tel Beersheba and B’er Avraham (“Abraham’s Well”). The site includes an open-air amphitheater with room to seat 12,000 people. Work on Israel’s largest artificial lake is now in progress at the site; when completed, it will extend over an area of 80 dunam (some 20 acres) and will be surrounded by restaurants, cafés and recreational areas that have yet to be built. All the water in the park is purified effluent from the reservoirs established in the region by KKL-JNF. 

Plans for the future include a botanical garden of desert plants, a sports center and an amusement park. The park area includes archeological and heritage sites such as ancient wells, a Turkish railway bridge and the Beit Eshel scenic lookout. “The park has changed the city’s image and the leisure habits of residents of both Beersheba and the Negev,” declared KKL-JNF’s Anat Gold. 

Ilan Peretz, CEO of the Beersheba River Authority, presented the development plans, which include the construction of ten bridges over the river to link the park to the city’s different neighborhoods. At present the river is dry for most of the year, but future plans include filling it with water. 

“I take part in a variety of KKL-JNF events in the USA, and it’s amazing to see the results of our activities abroad as they come to fruition here in the Negev,” said Opher Aviran, Israel’s consul in Atlanta. “People overseas are unaware of KKL-JNF’s investment in the Bedouin sector, and it’s important to bring these activities to the attention of the public.”
“Trees represent life, growth and change, just like the relationship between our two countries.”
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksan was the 69th head of state to plant a tree in Jerusalem’s Grove of Nations, as a sign of the friendship between the countries and as a symbol of peace.  The planting took place during the Sri Lankan President’s first visit to Israel.
The President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, plants an olive tree in the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem, on January 9, 2014.
“Sri Lanka means ‘the holy island’, and you have come to plant a tree in Israel, the Holy Land,” Vice Chairman of KKL-JNF Menahem Leibovic told the guests.  “We Jews see nature as God’s creation.  We would be most pleased to have KKL-JNF cooperate with your country in order to benefit the world as a whole.”
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris also expressed his desire to expand the cooperation between the countries.  “Trees represent life, growth and change, just like the relationship between our two countries,” he said. “I am sure that this visit will help strengthen the ties between Israel and Sri Lanka in a number of areas including agriculture and water management in urban areas.  Increasing the cooperation between our countries will benefit both parties.”
While very few Israelis live in Sri Lanka and the Jewish community is extremely small, around 7,500 foreign workers from Sri Lanka live in Israel.  This is another link that connects the two countries.
Israeli Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alon Ushpiz stressed the importance of planting trees: “The ties between our countries and our people are good and long-lasting and there is no doubt that planting these trees strengthens the ties between us.”
Ambassador Ushpiz read the traditional Planter’s Prayer.  Following the prayer, Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Director of Protocol & VIP Ceremonies, invited everyone to the practical part of the event – planting the tree.  “There is nothing more appropriate thanplanting a live growing tree here in the soil of Jerusalem after visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Site,” noted Michelson.
The Jerusalem Forest suffered damage during the recent severe snow storm in the region.  The trees are recovering and the forest is becoming green and beautiful once again.  The only remains from the storm are stumps of fallen trees and broken branches.  On a pleasant sunny winter day, the storm seems more distant than ever.  The new olive tree joined its older friends and is extending its roots deep into the Land of Israel, just like the ties between our two countries grow ever deeper.


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Christmas & New Year greetings  from Diplomacy

“I am convinced and certain that Israel deserves peace, security, prosperity and well being for its entire nation."
Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molina pledges his country's support and friendship to Israel at the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Peace in Tel Aviv.


L-R: KKL Guatemala President Susan Michaeli; Rabin Center Director Dalia Rabin; Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molina; KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler; KKL-JNF co-Chairman Eli Aflalo; & Guatemala Foreign Minister Luis Fernando Carrera Castro. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

As Storm Alexa gathered force outside, Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molinapledged his country’s support and friendship to Israel at the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Peace in Tel Aviv to guests from the diplomatic and Israeli-Guatemalan community and members of KKL-JNF. 

Molina said he wanted to make the strongest oath for the peace and security of Israel. 

“I want to say publicly that you can count as your friend a brother nation who respects you and admires you and who recognizes the battle you have had to fight for so many years, and with so many sacrifices on the path seeking peace,” he said. “I am convinced and certain that Israel deserves peace, security, prosperity and well being for its entire nation. These are the wishes of a brother nation Guatemala.”

Efi Stenzler and Eli Aflalo present President Molina (right) with a silver-plated pinecone, with Susan Michaeli. Photos: KKL-JNF Archive

The Guatemalan president embarked on a tour of the Rabin Center and the Triguboff gardens, led by Yitzhak Rabin’s daughter Dalia Rabin. The tour was then followed by a festive reception hosted by KKL-JNF. Dalia Rabin welcomed some 200 guests, and talked about the Rabin Center, which celebrates the life and work of the deceased Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. 

Noting the similarity between the journeys from military general to political leader that President Molina shares with her father, Rabin said that she was honored to have the Guatemalan leader visit the center and expressed her gratitude to KKL-JNF for their continuing support of the center. She also thanked KKL Guatemala President Susan Michaeli for her hard work, which enabled the evening to take place. 

“I want to thank from the bottom of my heart our dear friends from KKL-JNF, Efi Stenzler and Eli Aflalo for their ongoing support,” she said. 

The president emphasized the traditional friendship between the Guatemalan and the Israeli people, noting the difficult moments his own country had passed to reach peace and democratic elections in 1996. 

“We have had the opportunity to have an extensive visit here to the State of Israel and we have been able to value even more the friendship that exists between the people and the government of Israel and the people and the government of Guatemala,” said Molina. “In these two days, we have been able to see the reality in which the nation of Israel lives. We have seen the complexity of the situation with which the people live here.” 

Centerpieces. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The president, who arrived in Israel on Dec. 8, was accompanied on his visit by Guatemalan ambassador to Israel Alfredo Vasquez Rivera and Israeli ambassador to Guatemala Moshe Bachar. The two ambassadorsalso attended the Rabin Center reception. 

During the visit, the president met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and planted an olive tree in the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations in Jerusalem. The delegation was also taken on a helicopter tour over Israel in order to see firsthand the impact KKL-JNF projects have on the country. 

Molina noted the State of Israel’s turbulent history, beginning with the U.N. decision for Israeli independence which was fiercely opposed by the Arab countries, leading Israel into war even from its very first days. From there started the contradiction of Israel’s search for peace while still having to fight wars, he said. 

“Nevertheless today we see that State of Israel has been almost a miracle. We have seen an Israel with a modern society, with a democratic society, with a tolerant society, but also with technological advances in various fields. That is the result of the efforts of an entire nation, not the result of one leader. There have been many leaders, and even those who have lost their life, like Yitzhak Rabin, who, while searching between the battle of continuing war and seeking peace, have had to give their life in order for the State of Israel to survive and continue to seek peace.” 

Commenting on the difficulty of making decisions in the United Nations and other places without knowing the reality of the situation, Molina pointed out how important visiting Israel was. 

“Seeing the reality will help make the right decision,” he said. 

Thanking the president for his country’s continuous support of Israel, KKL-JNF World ChairmanEfi Stenzler and co-Chairman Eli Aflalo presented Molina with a mounted silver-plated pine cone, one of five pine cones which survived and was recovered from the Carmel Forest following the devastating forest fire there three years ago. Stenzler said that this was the first of the pine cones to be presented to an honored visitor. 

“We thank you and the entire delegation from Guatemala for your visit to our country, which has moved us greatly and raised hopes for the future. We are certain that the warm relations that have been forged during this visit will strengthen the ties between the people of Israel and the people of Guatemala,” said Stenzler.


H.E  Mr Lars Faaborg-Andersen Ambassador-designate of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel, his wife Mrs Jean and Mr Zinger


Members of the Diplomatic Corps in Israel were invited at the offices of the Israel Olympic Committee on Sunday afternoon 17thNovember.


Mr. Ephraim (Ziggy) Zinger addressed the audience with a short history and highlights of the Olympic Games, and the guests were then invited for refreshments and the “Experience”. The hosts made sure that this exclusive presentation was for the diplomatic corps alone.


Ambassadors and Diplomatic Corps' visit to the Olympic Committee was organized in collaboration with Diplomacy-PR team, Silvia Golan and Aviva Shwartz.


Israel’s Olympic history goes back only to 1952 (the country was but four years old!) and has been a roller-coaster ride of tears; tears of joy, but also of intense sadness. Israel’s Olympic memory will always be tinged by the sadness of the games in Munich in 1972 when Arab terrorists slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village.



On the other hand, Israelis have been the proud winners of six medals over the years, including one gold medal. Considering the size of the country and the fact that sport has never played an intense role in Israeli society, the country’s pride and joy – as if the medal is “ours”, not the athletes’ – is quite understandable.


The Olympic Experience is a multi-media exhibition lasting about 40 minutes, where guests are led through the sparkling history of the games worldwide, with special accent on Israel, from the rebirth of the event 1896 (women were banned at the first games!) to the present.


It becomes clear why the Olympic Games attracts the attention of the entire world. No other international sporting event – and there are dozens – is quite like it. The scenes of Israeli sportsmen and women receiving their medals are inspiring – and brought tears of joy to many of those attending.


“The Olympic Experience” can be enjoyed at the Israeli Olympic Center, 6 Shitrit Street (2nd floor) in the Hadar Yosef area of Tel Aviv, the very center of Israeli sports.



There are English and Hebrew versions and the groups can be up to 50 people, 8 times a day. Prior arrangements and reservations are essential (call 03-7955900 ext1)




Mr Zinger with H.E. Prahlad K . Prasai, embassador of Nepal and wife

Photos  Silvia Golan





The Yad B’Yad Association noted its 30th anniversary in a gala performance of the musical "My Fair Lady" starring Nathan Datner‎‏‏ and Shani Cohen. All incomes of the show (held Saturday, 2/11/13) where dedicated to fund activities of the association and to open two more Warm Homes for children at risk.

The gala hosted ambassadors, business and media personas as well as the members of the Yad B'Yad Association friends circle.


The Yad B’Yad Association was founded in 1982 by Ms. Shelly Hoshen, psychologist and pre-school age counselor. Mrs. Hoshen was guided by an educational philosophy which claims that all children deserve the nurturing and love that can ensure a strong foundation for a meaningful life and an opportunity to realize their full potential, and that this foundation must be built as early as possible. Unfortunately, there are still far too many children in Israel whose families struggling to provide this all-important environment. Thus the Yad B’Yad Association has dedicated itself to various projects designed to fill this need.


The Association runs 10 Warm Homes in the center of the Israel, where children at risk between the ages of three and a half and seven come after kindergarten and school hours. The children stay in the houses until 18:00 PM and receive everything that their families and neighborhood are unable to provide: Hot meals, cognitive enrichment, emotional support, appreciation of values and normative behavior, and an abundance of warmth and love from the professional staff.











Mrs Shelly Hoshen with the cast of "My fair Lady". Photography: Raphael Delouya








Photos: Mary Knight


Ms. Julie Fisher, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and Mrs. Celia Gould, wife of British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, visited the Eritrean Women’s Community Center in south Tel Aviv on November 6.  During the visit, Ms. Fisher and Mrs. Gould learned about the child care, health, education, and support services the center provides to Eritrean women in the community.  Ms. Fisher and Mrs. Gould also had an opportunity to meet mothers, play with children, and enjoy home-cooked Eritrean food.


Zebib Sultan, who arrived in Israel three years ago from Eritrea, started the center in July 2012 with assistance from Amnesty International.  Sultan decided to start the center to address a need for Eritrean women to be supported by women who speak their language and understand their culture. 


“It was a meaningful visit, filled with informative first-hand accounts of the plight of Eritrean women, men and children,” Ms. Fisher said. “Hearing about the initiatives to prevent domestic abuse, provide pregnancy support and educatio , as well as learning about the health care challenges they face, was compelling."


Mrs. Gould said, “It was an honor to meet Zebib and see first-hand the amazing work her and the team at the community center do every day in a difficult and complicated situation. Their compassion and hard work makes a huge difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable women in Israeli society.”


The center provides low-cost child care services so the women can work during the day, and offers enrichment classes in the evening, such as English, Hebrew, family planning, and computer literacy.  The center also coordinates a group of men and women who work on eradicating domestic violence in the Eritrean community by raising awareness and assisting victims. 


Ms. Fisher and Mrs. Gould were accompanied to the center by Ms. Mary Knight, wife of U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission William Grant, and Mrs. Jo Jefferson, wife of the British Military Attaché to Israel, Colonel Nigel Jefferson. 


This visit continued Ms. Fisher’s outreach to Israel’s diverse communities. On October 30, Ms. Fisher visited an early childhood day care center in the Bedouin village of Abu Kaf and Hagar Association’s Jewish Arab bilingual school in Be’er Sheva.





On Wednesday, October 30, Ms. Julie Fisher, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, visited an early childhood day care center in the Bedouin village of Abu Kaf and Hagar Association’s Jewish Arab bi-lingual school in Be’er Sheva.  The center is part of Embassy partner Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development ‘s (AJEEC-NISPED) “Parents as Partners” program to empower Bedouin – a program recognized by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.    The Hagar bilingual elementary school, which has continued to flourish and grow since its inception in 2007, is the recipient of monetary and in-kind support from the U.S. Embassy and the US Agency for International Development.


During the visit at the Hagar School, Ms. Fisher told the Arab and Jewish 6th graders: “I am pleased to see you, Jews and Arabs, learning together, playing together and trusting each other.  Your school demonstrates that language and cultural differences do not have to be obstacles between people, but rather, they can provide opportunities to learn from each other.”   As an educator, Fisher understands the value of bilingual education to developing open, tolerant and successful students who will help ensure a peaceful future.



Photo: Michele Dastin-van Rijn/ U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv






  • Magdala Center Israel, mexican historical, cultural and religious project, realized the official openning of the Visitor Center, located in one the main cities round Israel, Tiberia,

  • with the presence of Federico Salas Softe, Mexico´s Ambassador in Israel.


Israel, Galilee, octuber 7th, 2013.- Magdala Center,  religious and tourist project, header by mexicans, realized the openning of the Visitor Center with Federico Salas Softe, Mexico´s Ambassador in Israel,  the offical openning of the Archeological park which expects catholic pilgrims, local and foreign tourist, including tours and look the whole discoveries without fee.


During the Visitor Center Openning, the Ambassador Federico Salas and Fr. John Solana, CEO of the Magdala Project, toured together the Magdala ancient town with all the volunteers and the working team who supports this project. Excited, the Ambassador Salas, invited to the mexicans to support the compatriots who are doing great job at the Galilee, Holyland.


The Ambassador, who has been living at Holyland the last sixth years, congrated the mexican project and he said is proud for this terrific mexican share in the Middle East. As well, Salas, added that Magdala Center Israel, most be one of the pilgrims stop visit, cause the important device of religion, history and culture for the society.


The tourist tour offer a whole First Century experience in the Mary Magdalene ancient town, where the visitors can walk throw the main discoveries at Magdala Archeological Park, appreciate the First Century Synagogue,  of the Second Temple and Jesus age, discovered in 2009. Likewise, one of the discoveries are the right part, Mikvaot, ritual and purify bathing of spring water, used by the jewish body purification. The Mikvaot at Magdala Center, are considered unique in the World, cause the natural water source caters from the bottom grounds.


With the support of the volunteers round the world, pilgrims and donations that the project has recieved, Magdala has advanced greatly and they expect for the last days of november the Spitituality Center, Duc In Altum, will be open.


Event images:


About the Magdala Visitor Center.

Tourist Tours everyday of the week from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs in five different languages, english, spanish, italian, hebrew and arabic.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    


About Magdala Center Project.

The Magdala Center is being developed by the Legionaries of Christ, the Catholic religious congregation that was entrusted by the late Pope John Paul II with the administration of Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. Since it was initiated in 2006, the project has been managed by Fr. Juan María Solana of the Legionaries of Christ and is supported by donations and volunteers from around the world.

The project includes the Notre Dame du Lac Hotel, an Archeological Park, the ‘Duc In Altum’ Spirituality Center, the Magdalena Institute for Women and state of the art, the Multimedia Center.

FB. Magdala Center

Twitter @MagdalaCenter


Photos Magdala Center PR




President Peres sent a gift to the new baby with a special message embroidered on it - "From Israel with Love"

 The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, sent a special message of congratulations today on the occasion of the birth of the Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's baby. Along with the letter President Peres sent a special gift of a baby suit with an embroidered message on it – "From Israel with Love"

 President Peres said of the royal birth, "From Jerusalem, Israel, I want to express our happiness and prayers for the young prince. Never in my life did I see the people of the world so united in happiness. It was a demonstration of where royalty helps democracy and where the people have shown what a true democracy is. The streets were full and smiles were on everybody’s face.  I am happy to see the whole world so happy with the birth of this young boy. I am 90 years old, so I saw his father when he was a young boy and now I hope we shall see this newly born prince, doing his job in the most democratic and royal manner. The world became richer with this event. God bless the Queen, From Jerusalem Mazal Tov!"


Many distinguished representatives from the business and diplomatic community were present last Wednesday at the residence of Colombia's Ambassador, Mr. Fernando Alxate Donoso and Wife , to celebrate the 203-th anniversary of the establishment of Colombia as an independent state.
In an exciting evening, where the Israeli government was represented by the Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, the close and friendly relationship was clearly felt in three levels.


In the first level, the close relationship was strengthened notoriously with the visit of Colombia's President about a month ago, which included meetings with President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and several major ministers, such as Mrs. Livni, Minister of Science Mr. Perry, Minister of Infrastructures Mr. Shalom, and others. In the second level, it was clearly pointed out the common goals in the taking of historical decisions that will result in a peace process in our region, as well as regions of conflict. In the third level, thoroughly described by Colombia's Ambassador, there are a variety of operative plans, which will include cooperation and information exchange on natural resources, energy and agricultural matters, as well as an increase of information on technology. The Ambassador also reviewed and described additional plans dealing with visits of Israeli sportsmen and sportswomen in Colombia and vice versa, especially during this festive event, while a large delegation of Colombian sportsmen and sportswomen is participating in the Maccabiah games.


The great appreciation of the Ambassador for the Minister of Justice Livni was clearly perceptible, as well as his familiarity with local politics. He praised her for her unceasing efforts in the establishment of peace relations and agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians, and regional cooperation for the thriving of the region. The Ambassador pointed out his appreciation for the fact that Mrs. Livni is tirelessly active keeping this issue on top of matters.


Minister of Justice Livni thanked the Colombian President for his productive and important visit, expressed her appreciation for the support of Colombia to Israel, and mentioned her hope and belief that, following the notorious efforts of US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, we will be able to, not only carry negotiations, but also reach agreements. She also expressed her hope that the European Union joins and participates in this effort, and that, finally, the two parties will summarize their differences and their common goals in direct negotiations. Mrs. Livni ended her address with a chord of humor, mentioning that her son is one of the travelers in South America, so she must maintain good relations with her South-American friends.

Photo  Tomer Peled

tranlated  from hebrew by  David Altman




President Francois Hollande celebrated the Bastille Day in Paris, with the Annual Military Parade, while in Israel, Mr. Christophe Bigot, the French Ambassador, held his traditional reception on July 14 at his beautiful residence in Jaffa.

The French National Holiday commemorates the Bastille Day, which took place on July 14, 1789, and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute power of Louis XVI's Ancient Regime. By capturing this prison, the people signaled that the power should be based on the nation and be limited by a separation of powers.

The ambassador, Mr. Bigot, accompanied by his wife, by the honorable guest Mr. Shimon Peres, president of Israel, by Mr. Meir Habib, Jewish member of the French Parliament, and the French- to-Hebrew translator, congratulated all the guests, stressing the warm and special relationship and cooperation between France and Israel.


Almost five thousand honorable guests participated in the event.

In his speech, Ambassador Bigot announced the end of the 4-year period of his diplomatic service in Israel. He pointed out his fascination of Israel, mentioning exciting moments that he experienced during his service in Israel, an also his involvement in the process of releasing soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity. Mr. Bigot ended his speech with the words: "Long live France!, Long live Equality!, long live the friendship between France and Israel!"

Israel's president, Mr. Peres, started his speech by quoting the late president of France, Charles De Gaulle: "one cannot mention France without its greatness, as one cannot mention the good relation between Israel and France without the great contribution of the host, the ambassador Bigot." Mr. Peres mentioned the Jewish contribution to France; for example, the Jewish engineer Gustav Eiffel, who designed the famous Tour Eiffel in Paris.

Mr. Peres ended his speech stressing the three important values to the French people, on which the French society is based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, thus making July 14 an important day to the whole humanity.

President Peres said to the Ambassador Bigot, that he will change his place of service, but Israel will not change the friendship to him.

After the speeches, both national anthems, French and Israeli, were played and sung.

A remarkable and quite long fireworks show was then performed.

Among the distinguished guests, the following were present:

Mr. Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister

Prof. Daniel Shechtman, the Israeli scientist that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry,

Mr. Silvan Shalom, Minister of the Regional Development, Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Energy and Water.

Mr. Shlomo Morgan, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Elie Chouraqui, the famous French Jewish film director and scriptwriter, who is going to "make alia" to Israel,

Noam Shalit, ambassadors, diplomats, businessmen, and many representatives of the French community in Israel.


Photo  Silvia Golan





Lithuania’s Statehood Day was celebrated Tuesday, July 9, at the Dan Hotel, with distinguished ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps in Israel attending. The event also marked the assumption of Lithuania of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
His Excellency the Ambassador of Lithuania to Israel, Mr. Darius Degutis, began his address to the assembled with an impressive Hebrew greeting, in which he noted the strong bonds between Israel and Lithuania. He also said that, while the Holocaust must not be forgotten, both Israel and Lithuania should look to creating a better future, through cooperation in the fields of art, culture, tourism, and trade. He fondly mentioned the enjoyment both countries derive from their competitive basketball games.
Representing the government of Israel was His Excellency the Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, Mr. Yaacov Perry. Mr. Perry commented on the challenge of Lithuania’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. Mr. Perry also noted that, “In recent years the relations between Israel and Lithuania have strengthened… just a few months ago we were glad to host the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Minister of the Economy.”
Mr. Perry added, “The field of culture is considered one of the main pillars… as is tourism. There is a successful agreement for bilateral cooperation in industrial research and development [between the two countries].”
Mr. Perry also mentioned that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto, saying that, “We appreciate the decision of the Lithuanian parliament and government to mark this anniversary with a series of events, to ensure we never forget the atrocities of the Shoah.”
The day after the celebration, the Deputy Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, Mr. Gediminas Kirkilas, and the ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, were hosted at a special screening documenting the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under Soviet rule. Sarunes Marcilionis, the legendary basketball player, was a guest of honor, as was Israeli basketball star Tal Brody, known for his famous proclamation marking Israel’s victory over the CSKA Moscow basketball team, “We are on the map!”


Photo  Silvia Golan

A very special Concert was held from Mr. Samuel Schlesinger, Honorary Consul of The Republic of Croatia at his residence in Savion, on Jun 25th 2013, in a warm atmosphere, on a warm typical Israeli summer evening

The concert, under the title "To Remember with Music" was dedicated to the memory of Jews from Yugoslavia, supported by the host, Mr. Schlesinger and by the Ing.Josef Zamboki - who also produced the concert.

The program included Opera arias by Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, Mascagni, Lehar, Catalani and Bizet, beautifully performed by three Opera Divas: Jasmina Trumbetas , Soprano from Serbia, Jelena Vlahovic , Mezzo soprano also from Serbia , Tijana Grujic , soprano from Germany, from Israel participated the soprano Ruth Zamboki, the singers were accompanied on the piano by Ljubica Grujic from Serbia and Jonathan Kol from Israel.

Celebrating Croatia's National Day & Croatia's ascension to the European Union

Last Wednesday evening June 26th, ambassadors from around the world gathered to celebrate Croatian national Independence Day as well as to congratulate the Croatian government for being accepted into the European Union. The event was held in the new and renovated Tel Aviv Museum of Modern Art. Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the Croatian Ambassador himself, Mr  Pjer Šimunović. Wine and ho'deurves were served as guests mingled. There were representatives present from governments around the world,  even  the Vatican was represented as well as the Rabbinate of Tel Aviv.

Senior members of the diplomatic, business and culture communities in Israel were summoned on June 25th, 2013 to celebrate the twenty second Slovenian National day as an independent country.

The dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Establishment  of Slovenia took place on June 25th 1991. The country is recognized today as an important contributor and has influence in many fields, as it is growing constantly. Slovenia, a member of the European Union, is a country that contributes to economy, trade, culture and tourism, and has shown a capable grasp on its way to handle the economic crisis that Europe and the world is  currently facing.

 Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Barbra Streisand, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sharon Stone and numerous other dignitaries and celebrities headlined a gala event celebrating the 90th birthday of Israeli President Shimon Peres, attended by more than 2,500 VIP guests.

Robert De Niro, who is in Israel for this evening's celebrations, was joined by his 17 year old

The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, hosted the American actor, director and producer Robert De Niro who is visiting Israel and attending the Presidential Conference. Robert De Niro and his 17 year old son landed this morning and arrived at the President's Residence for a personal meeting with President Peres who said, "Thank you for coming, we are delighted to see you here in Israel. You have an Oscar for you work and you also have the love of the people of Israel."

Dear and distinguished friends,

I am moved to see so many friends here tonight, many of which have stood by me, as I have stood by them. Together we made a long and thrilling journey.

 I greatly appreciate that you have chosen to celebrate the birthday of a man whose only sin was to grow a year older. I know you have come to Jerusalem from around the world and from across the country to pay tribute, with me, to our people, to the State of Israel, and to Tikun Olam. Thank you all.



American Embassy Tel Aviv July 4th at the Ambassador’s! Be There!

U.S. Embassy Grants Invitations to its July 4th party 

 Facebook contest winners to attend gala event

President Peres to the children:

 "I want to tell you that in our eyes you are heroes fighting for life, carrying hope."

 Raphael, one of the children, who suffers from a rare muscle disease to President Peres and Barbra Streisand:

 It's a great privilege to be here and it was my wish to meet you and Barbra Streisand. You give me strength, optimism and hope."

 The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, and Barbra Streisand today fulfilled the wishes of 20 children suffering from life threatening illnesses, as part of a special meeting that took place today at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, with 20 children from the 'Make-A-Wish' foundation which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.

In honor of Portugal's National Day,  Mr Miguel de Almeida E Sousa Ambassador of Portugal invited foreign and local distinguished guests
to participate in a reception held in Kfar Shmaryahu on Tuesday 11 of June 2013.
The date memorializes one of Portugal's greatest poets and writers, Don Luis de Camoes.
In a warm and friendly atmosphere guests were welcomed by the pool with refreshing drinks, excellent wine and beer, all brought from Portugal
and especial food made from Portugal's Chef.
The Israeli government was represented by the minister Uri Orbah. In his speech, minister Orbah underlined the great value and importance
of the good and fruitful relationship the state of Israel has with Portugal. Minister Orbah also mentioned the mutual visits and discussions
of both country officials, to find ways to cooperate bilaterally in culture matters, international matters, as well as how to manage the growing
trade and tourists flow between the two countries. Furthermore, the two foreign ministries recently began a dialog with regards to Africa.
Minister Orbah also expressed the Israelis government's gratitude to the ambassador of Portugal, Mr. Miguel de Almeida  E Sousa,
for his personal contribution in strengthening the ties between the two countries.
Warm wishes were sent by minister Orbah to the people of Portugal, for prosperity and success, on the occasion of their National Day.
Also at the reception, Mrs. Collete Avital, a former ambassador of Israel in Portugal, was awarded with a distinguished award.
It is called the Gra Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique. It is named after Prince Henry the Navigator, who was a man
who became the symbol for many of the Portuguese discoveries, mainly on the coast of Africa.

Remarks by Mrs Colette Avital
Mr. Ambassador ,

Mr. Minister


I am both grateful and humbled by the honor bestowed upon me by the President of the Portuguese Republic, Dr. Anibal Cavaco Silva.
I  am also fully aware of the importance of this award, the Gra Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique.

This is for me , in many ways, a coincidence, since the award is named after Prince Henry the Navigator – a man who became
the symbol for many of the Portuguese discoveries, mainly on the coast of Africa. In a strange way, Henri the Navigator opened,
five hundred yeas later, the gates of Portugal before me, an Ambassador of the State of Israel, in times when our relations
were not at their highest.

I admit that Man the Discoverer always fascinated me.

In my childhood, my imagination was fired by the Great Adventures of  the Portuguese Seafarers : Bartolomeu Dias,
Vasco de Gama and others.

When I first arrived to Portugal, your country was preparing for the 500th Anniversary of the Discoveries, which, it should be mentione
d in passing, preceded those of Spain. It was Manuela Aguiar, then Vice President of the Assembleia da Republica  who first spoke
to me about the role played by the Jews in the discoveries of new continents, And after her, many other personalities repeated the same story .
I kept on hearing about Jewish cartographers, secret emissaries and financiers, The mysterious presence of the Jews,
their history before the expulsion from Portugal was everywhere, diffused, acknowledged, but untouchable.

The evidence, the books, the documents were not there. Instinctively I felt that looking for our common past,
bringing out that dimension during the celebrations, could create new bonds, a new and different relationship.

And then, on March 17m 1989 , the then President of Portugal, Mario  Soares invited me to join him on a visit he made to Castello de Vide.
I had no idea what to expect. During his public speech the President declared that the decay of Portugal began with the expulsion of the Jews,
He then went on to ask forgiveness from the Jewish people for the suffering that Portugal had inflicted on them.

So I decided to explore. The results were astounding, and with the help of a local Committee of researchers, the Diaspora Museum
and the Foreign Ministry in Israel and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, we organized, four years later a big exhibition,
and the findings and exhibits were spectacular.

This endeavor, this journey into the past, plunged me inevitably into some of the most beautiful, but also some of the most tragic pages
on our history. And so, looking at the Portuguese achievements and the Jewish contribution, I embarked upon my own voyage of discoveries.
I discovered that Henry the Navigator had worked with the Jews – who had become, in those days powerful cultural Ambassadors
and cosmopolitans. He brought to Sagres Judah Cresques, a Jew from Majorca, son of Abraham Cresques the cartographer, and many others.

During my four years in Portugal I learned to discover and to love the country, its physical beauty, its music and poetry,
but more than anything the generosity of the Portuguese people,

So tonight it is the closing of a few circles for me.

I would like to thank you, Mr. Ambassador and through you the Portuguese Government for its warm friendship, for all the courtesies
rendered to me during my term of duty in your country. And there are two Israeli gentlemen whom I would also like to thank :
Yossi Beilin, who in those days was the Director General of our Foreign Office, who one day called me and asked :
"How would you like to serve in a country where there are no Jews ?" .Little did Yossi know what was in store for me,

And Minster Moshe Arens who honors us with his presence tonight, who was later our Foreign Minister. In a moment of despair,
at the beginning of my road, when things were not going very well, I asked him to appoint me to another country,
It was he who ultimately made me stay in Portugal. Years later I am grateful to him.

Mr. Ambassador,

Please allow me to present you with a special gift – the Lisbon Bible. It is one of the finest medieval manuscripts ever produced,
and was published in 1482 before

Guttenberg's printing techniques. It was illuminated by Samuel Ibn Mussa the Scribe. It is considered one of the finest examples
of Jewish art.

This too, is symbolic of our common past.

Thank you.

On June 12, 1990 Soviet leaders signed a declaration of Russia’s state sovereignty. That document symbolized the beginning of democratic reforms in Russia. It also marked one of the first steps to the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. Only in 2004, June 12 became officially a public holiday.

To celebrate the National day, the Russian embassy in Israel hosted a glamorous reception at the Hilton Tel-Aviv Hotel, in honor of this meaningful occasion. The honored Russian ambassador to Israel Sergey Yakovlvich Yakovlev welcomed warmly his guests.  

Amazing place, quality people, music, light snacks - cheese and wine . Fascinating lectures by Epoch Times Magazine, gifts and more…
Also, a test drive at the new Mercedes models which will take place at the scene
Friday of pure fun and good atmosphere  :-)
For approval -  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The British Embassy in Tel Aviv held on Monday evening 3rd June a reception in honour of Her Majesty's The Queen 87th Birthday. This year, the annual event was held at Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot to celebrate and honour scientific relations between the two countries.

The reception was held in the presence of Israeli President Shimon Peres who came to raise a glass and gave toast in honour of her majesty. Among the guests that arrived to celebrate the Queen's birthday were US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Lau, Pinchas Buchris, Danny Gilerman, Moshe Arens,  and Shlomo Ben Zvi.

During the event, Ambassador Matthew Gould announced ten new research fellowships within the BIRAX framework. The fellowships will be given to excelling British-Israeli researchers in the regenerative medicine. The scholarships will enable the recipients to deepen their research in the regenerative medicine field, learn new techniques, strengthen the existing scientific collaborations and establish new ones.

On Sunday evening 2nd June the Italian Ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Francesco M. Taló and his gracious wife Ornella hosted a gala cocktail party at their beautiful Ramat Gan residence in honor of the Italian National Day. The cream of Israeli political, economic and cultural society, together with many Italian residents of Israel mingled on the lawns around the beautiful azure pool.

In true Italian tradition an array of delectable dishes was served to the guests, with the emphasis on Italy: Italian ice creams, snacks, pizza, eggplant lasagna (meatless and delizioso) with chunks of specially imported parmigan cheese, not to mention chilled Italian apperitivi, wines and other beverages to keep the guests cool and happy on the rather hot day.

The Embassy of Nepal in Israel in cooperation with Nepalese community in Israel organized a grand event to celebrate 2557th Birth Anniversary of Lord Buddha, Mount Everest Diamond Jubilee and tourism attractions in Nepal, in Tel Aviv, Israel on 25 May 2013.
The event was inaugurated jointly by HE Ambassador of Nepal Mr. Prahlad Kumar Prasai, HE Ambassador of Myanmar Mr. Myo Aye, HE Ambassador of Srilanka Mr. Sarath Devasena Wijesinghe and Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Suchart Liengsaengthong of Royal Thai Embassy. Welcoming the guests HE Ambassador of Nepal highlighted on the glory of birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini and urged the Israeli people to visit Lumbini among other places of Nepal. HE Ambassador also emphasized that Buddha’s message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity is more relevant today than any other time in the history.

New ambassadors from Bulgaria, Ghana, Greece, Latvia, Guyana present on Tuesday 28th May 2013 , their credentials to President Shimon Peres,
as ambassadors in Israel.

Five new ambassadors thanked President Peres for his welcome and said it was a great privilege to serve in Israel and expressed their hope to develop ties between the two countries.

President wished success the new ambassadors and said: "You have reached a friendly country that now is your new home. Israel will do everything possible to meet your side and help you deepen economic ties, scientific and strategic bilateral" The new ambassadors are:

On May 20th 2013, in honor of Cameroon's National Day, we were warmly welcomed in the reception at the garden of Cameroon's Ambassador Villa, which was colorful decorated in Kfar Shmaryahu.

 A various selections of fruits cocktails welcomed the guests with a rhythmic exotic African music playing in the background.

Among the guests you could find, members of diplomatic missions in Israel, representatives of Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry, Israeli businessmen and members of Cameroon and Africa community in Israel.


I was deeply honored to accept an invitation from the Ambassador of the United States to a reception last week honoring the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Israel; together with parliamentary dignitaries from a range of political parties, representatives from other embassies (including at least two ambassadors), religious leaders and some of the great movers and shakers of Israel’s vibrant LGBT community.

The theme of the ambassador’s words as he addressed the guests resonates: “Gay rights are human rights; human rights include gay rights.”

On Tuesday 30 April 30, Ambassador of The Netherlands Caspar Veldkamp hosted a festive reception to mark the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. Beatrix, who recently turned 75, has reigned as Queen of the Kingdom of The Netherlands for 33 years – longer than any other monarch in Dutch history. The heir to the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander (45), the Queen’s eldest child, will be The Netherland’s first King in 100 years.


Last month a special survey issued by The Embassy of The Netherlands in Israel, in anticipation of the royal exchange, was conducted by the renowned survey institute TNS Global. The survey included 500 respondents, among a representative same of the entire Hebrew speaking population aged 18 and over.


The survey reveals several interesting and at times surprising results:

Firstly, the survey found that a fifth of the respondents rank The Netherlands as being the friendliest European country towards Israel (after Germany). The main reason for this, according to the results, is The Netherlands’ continuing support of Israel regarding political issues (86%) and because of the low level of anti-Semitism (77%) compared to other EU member states. In general over two-thirds (68%) of the respondents expressed a general positive attitude towards the Netherlands.

Secondly, another surprising result was the Israeli perception of The Netherlands economic relation with Israel. The Netherlands is not considered a significant bilateral trading partner. Only 23% of the respondents consider The Netherlands to be relevant for Israel economically.


NL IL: In 2012 export from The Netherlands to Israel amounted to $ 2.84 billion dollar (compared to $ 2.76 billion in 2011). This places The Netherlands in fourth place in Europe regarding export to Israel, after Germany, Switzerland and Italy. IL NL: In 2012 export from Israel to The Netherlands amounted to $ 2.3 billion dollars (compared to $ 2.16 billion in 2011). The Netherlands is the second largest Israeli export destination in Europe, after the United Kingdom. The total amount of bilateral trade between Israel and The Netherlands herewith reached an all-time high in 2012 exceeding the five-billion dollar mark. The Netherlands rates sixth in the largest economies of the European Union with renowned multinationals such as Phillips, Heineken, Unilever, Boskalis, AkzoNobel, DSM, Shell and ASML/NXP.


According to the respondents in the survey, one of the strong aspects of the Netherlands is its citizens who they consider to be friendly and tolerant. The natural beauty of The Netherlands is also considered to be a strongpoint of The Netherlands and it is known for its museums and artwork. Half of the respondents stated that the main reason for visiting The Netherlands is its famous art museums (48%).


Talking about the upcoming Abdication and Investiture ceremonies taking place on Queensday 30 April 2013, The Ambassador of The Netherlands to Israel, Casper Veldkamp, stated:  

"We would like to show our sincere gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix for the immense contribution she has made to our country in her role as Queen of The Netherlands in the past 33 years. At the same time, we are excited about the Investiture of her son Prince Willem-Alexander who will become King Willem Alexander on 30 April. We wish him great success in his new role as head of state. According to a recent TNS survey commissioned by our Embassy, Israel considers The Netherlands to be one of the friendliest countries in Europe. I am confident that King Willem Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima will maintain the warm bond between our two nations and I hope to welcome them to Israel in the future.”

In the picture: Avi Hoffman, the owner of Ringel nursery, handing Ambassador Veldkamp and his wife Anne
a new species of orange carnation which was developed in his nursery and named Maxima, after the new Dutch princess. 
Photographer: Tomer Neuberg.

On Tuesday 30 April 30, Ambassador of The Netherlands Caspar Veldkamp hosted a festive reception to mark the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. Beatrix, who recently turned 75, has reigned as Queen of the Kingdom of The Netherlands for 33 years – longer than any other monarch in Dutch history. The heir to the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander (45), the Queen’s eldest child, will be The Netherland’s first King in 100 years.

The Saslove Winery proudly presents their traditional Shavuot celebration to be held on 5/11/13 starting at 16:00 and until sunset at the visitor's center in Kibbutz Eyal.

 The Winery will launch their "Varod" collection- the 2012 rose colored semi-dry vintage wine. Additionally, the event will include a special performance by Daniela Spector and culinary delicacies provided by Art Harmony.

 Event tickets are 50 ₪per person (and a full return with the purchase of 6 bottles)

 All are invited and we would love to see you there!


HAIFA, Israel, (BWNS)
 More than 1,000 delegates representing 157 countries have arrived here to participate in the 11th International Baha'i Convention.
A global election process that began with Baha'is in more than 100,000 cities and villages around the world culminates on Monday, when delegates will gather to elect the nine members of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith.

Following are excerpts from the remarks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  (Tuesday, 16 April 2012), made at President Shimon Peres' Independence Day reception for the foreign diplomatic corps:

"Yesterday, a day of enjoyment in Boston was turned into a day of terror. We send our condolences to President Obama, the American people and the bereaved families. On this day and on any day, Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the American people. We are partners in freedom and in seeking a better future for all humanity."

President Peres on Boston:

 "I wish to express our solidarity with the bereaved families in Boston today. When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family."

 President Peres on peace with the Palestinians:

 "I think one of the greatest contributions of the Prime Minister is to bring Israel to a unified position of two states, for two peoples."

 The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, hosted a reception this afternoon for the foreign diplomatic corps at his residence in Jerusalem in honor of Israel's 65th Independence Day. During the reception, which was attended by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the members of the diplomatic corps, and leaders of Israel's faith groups.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara,yesterday (Monday, 1 April 2013), attended Maimouna 
festivities in Or Akiva . The Prime Minister said, "Jewish People, eat and enjoy!
The Jewish People are moving from matza and bitter herbs  to mufleta and honey.
 I would like to thank the Israel Police and the security services for protecting and guarding Israelis
who traveled around the country during the holiday."

​On the evening after the seventh day of Pesach, which is a holy rest day, Jews of North African origin, particularly Morocco, celebrate Mimouna as part of the Pesach festivities. The origin of the celebrations is unclear, but is usually associated with the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Maimon ben Abraham, the father of the great medieval Rabbi Moses Maimonides (also known as Rambam).
On Mimouna night people go from house to house, visiting friends and relatives who are celebrating this holiday, and in neighborhoods where there is a large concentration of Moroccans Jews this house-to-house visiting lasts until the small hours of the night. The following day is also devoted to family celebrations, to hospitality and visiting, and in many public places hundreds of celebrants gather for picnics.
In recent years Mimouna has become a celebration in which everyone wants to participate, and politicians often take advantage of the festivities to curry favor with the large ethnic Moroccan population.

Prime Minister David Cameron sends greetings to Jewish communities in UK and across the world observing Pesach (Passover).

Mr Cameron, said: “I send my very best wishes to Jewish communities in Britain and internationally celebrating Passover this year.

The fact that millions of people are observing a festival which is thousands of years old shows the enduring and positive strength of your faith in our world. 

“As celebrations for the festival of Pesach begins, I want to send my warmest wishes to Jewish communities in Britain and across the world.   Passover marks the release of the Children of Israel from slavery.  It is a joyous time for Jews around the world as they come together to celebrate liberty and freedom.

I wish you and your family a Hag Pesach Sameach [Happy Passover]."


In the framework of the state dinner this evening (Thursday, 21 March 2013), President Shimon Peres will award President Obama with the Presidential Medal of Distinction for his unique contribution to the security of the State of Israel. This will be the first time in the history of bilateral relations that an Israeli President will award the medal to a serving US President.

President Barack Obama,

My dear Friend,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you tonight.

I was moved by the way in which you spoke to the hearts of the young Israelis.

Our youngsters, in times of need, are always willing to stand up and defend their country.

Today, you have seen how much the same young people long for peace.

How enthusiastic they were, how engaged they were, listening to the vision of peace which you so beautifully  portrayed.

Mr. President,

This morning several rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip towards civilian targets, including Sderot, which you have visited.

From here, in the name of all of us, I want to convey our love to the inhabitants of the South.

Who carry this heavy burden so courageously.

And continue to plow their fields, plant their trees and raise their children. It is an inspiration to each of us.

Today the enemies of peace spoke in the only language they know, the language of terror.

I am convinced that together we will defeat terror.

President Shimon Peres Bestowed Upon President Barack Obama Israel's Highest Honor – the Presidential Medal of Distinction – for his unique contribution to the security of the State of Israel 

 President Peres to President Obama:

 "It is my privilege to present you with our country’s highest honor, the Medal of Distinction. This award speaks to your tireless work to make Israel strong. And peace possible. Your presidency has given the close ties between Israel and the United States a new height."

 President Obama to President Peres:

"We go forward together, with confidence, knowing that while our countries may be separated by a great ocean, in the realm of the spirit we will always be neighbors and friends."

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, bestowed upon the President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama, Israel's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Distinction at a state dinner in the President's Residence in Jerusalem in honor of his unique contribution to Israel's security. During the ceremony, which included speeches from the two presidents, President Peres placed the medal around President Obama's neck.

 President Peres began his remarks and said, "It is my privilege to present you with our country’s highest honor, the Medal of Distinction. This award speaks to your tireless work to make Israel strong. And peace possible. Your presidency has given the close ties between Israel and the United States a new height. A sense of intimacy. A vision for the future. The people of Israel are particularly moved by your unforgettable contribution to their security. To defending our skies. To the collaboration in the domain of intelligence, which is the right way to preempt bloodshed.  The diplomatic and military bonds between us have reached an unprecedented level. When I visited you in Washington, I thought in my heart: America is so great and we are so small. But I learned that you don't measure us by size, but by values. When it comes to values, we are you and you are us. On occasion, when we were alone, you stood with us. So we were not alone. We were alone together. We shall never forget it. During your previous visit to Israel, you asked me if I had any advice to offer. It is not in my nature to let questions go unanswered. So I suggested that while people say that the future belongs to the young, it is the present that really belongs to the young. Leave the future to me. I have time.  It was right."

President Peres concluded his remarks by thanking President Obama and said, "You inspire the world with your leadership. תודה רבה, Mr. President.  תודהFrom a grateful nation, to a great leader."

President Obama thanked President Peres and said, "Mr. President, you mentioned that this medal is presented in recognition of progress toward the ideals of equality and opportunity and justice.  Yet I am mindful that I stand here tonight in part because of so many others, including the example and sacrifices of the Jewish people. In a few days, as we do at every Seder, we’ll break and hide a piece of matzoh (mat-zah).  On the one hand, it’s a great way to entertain the kids.  On a much deeper level, it speaks to scope of our human experience: how parts of our lives can be broken while other parts can be elusive, and how we can never give up the search for the things that make us whole.  Few know this better than the Jewish people.

President Obama continued and said, "Our very existence, our presence here tonight, is testament that all things are possible, even those things that, in moments of darkness and doubt, may seem elusive.  The stories of our peoples teach us to never stop searching for the things—the justice, the peace—that make us whole.  And so we go forward together, with confidence, knowing that while our countries may be separated by a great ocean, in the realm of the spirit we will always be neighbors and friends."


During his speech President Peres also addressed the major diplomatic issues of the day including the rocket fire on Sderot and said, "This morning several rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip towards civilian targets, including Sderot, which you have visited. From here, in the name of all of us, I want to convey our love to the inhabitants of the South. Who carry this heavy burden so courageous. And continue to plow their fields, plant their trees and raise their children. It is an inspiration to each of us. Today the enemies of peace spoke in the only language they know, the language of terror. I am convinced that together we will defeat terror." President Peres continued and spoke about Iran and said to President Obama, "I am convinced that you will do whatever is necessary to free the world's horizons and the skies of Jerusalem from the Iranian threat. Iran denies the Shoah and calls for a new one. Iran is building a nuclear bomb and denies it. The Iranian regime is the greatest danger to world peace. History has shown, time and again, that peace, prosperity and a stable civil society cannot flourish where threats and belligerence abound." President Peres also added a happy new year to the Iranian people and said, "Tonight, the Iranian people are celebrating their New Year, Nuruz. I wish them from the depth of my heart a happy holiday. A real freedom."

On the peace process with the Palestinians President Peres said, "Dear President, You noted in your address today that peace is the greatest hope. I share your vision. Your call to reopen the peace process may pave the way for the implementation of the Two State Solution agreed by all of us. As you said: A Jewish state – Israel. An Arab State – Palestine. Next to you sits the reelected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He opened his address to the Knesset by reiterating his commitment to the Two State Solution."

The dinner began with a welcome reception for distinguished guests – senior officials from the White House and the State of Israel including; The Prime Minister, the head of the Shin Bet, the Chief of the General Staff, The Chief Rabbi's of Israel, leaders of the faith groups, Nobel prize winners, heads of local municipalities. At the end of the dinner there was a short performance by Rita who sang 'Jerusalem of Gold' and David D'or who sang 'Amazing Grace'.

Chef Shalom Kadosh has been chosen to prepare the dinner that will be held for US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the latter's Jerusalem residence next week.

Chef Kadosh has previously cooked for presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The items on the menu will be prepared from Israeli products.

On the 135th anniversary of the liberation of the Republic of Bulgaria, The Embassy of Bulgaria in Israel hosted a reception at the Accadia Hotel in Herzliya Pituach on March 3rd 2013, to celebrate the European country’s National Day.

HE. Ambassador  Dimitar Mihaylov and his wife  Nora welcomed Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov, who participated as an honorary guest at the reception.  Honorary Consul of the Republica of Bulgaria in Israel, presented the Bulgarian Ambassador, highlighting that he is a scholar of the history of Islam and speaks several different languages, making him one of the more highly distinguished diplomats in the world.

"The Herzliya Conference 2013 started this Monday 11 March. Most diplomats attending the Herzliya conference arrive in their chauffeured limousines. Not Dutch Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp and second secretary Liesbeth Mol. They arrived at the Dan Accadia hotel on bicycles made from sustainable oak wood, designed by the Dutch company "Bough Bikes" (; showing again that the Dutch will always use their bicycles whenever they can."

 picture of the Dutch Ambassador arriving to Herzelia conference on a bike made of wood.
 Picture by Kobi Wolf.
Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia H.E. Ms. Mary Mildred ZambeziAmbassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Mr. Ta Duy Chinh


On Thursday 28th February, 2013 the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, received letters of credence from five new ambassadors representing Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Chile and Zambia.

The diplomats, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Mr. Ta Duy Chinh, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka H.E. Mr. Sarath Devesena Wijesinghe, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa H.E. Mr. Sisa Ngombane, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile H.E. Mr. Jorge Montero Figueroa, and Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia H.E. Ms. Mary Mildred Zambezi; 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.

During the ceremony, the new ambassadors thanked President Peres for his welcome and said it was a great privilege to serve in Israel. The incoming South African ambassador expressed his hope that the peace process with the Palestinians can be restarted. The new Vietnamese ambassador thanked President Peres for the improved relations between the two countries in particular in the fields of agriculture and technology. The Chilean ambassador was pleased to be reencountered with President Peres having met him years ago when Peres, then an Israeli chancellor, visited the Latin American country. H.E. Ms. Mary Zambezi, Zambian Ambassador, reiterated her gratitude to G-d for allowing her to be serving her country in the Holy Land, being this only the second time she was in Israel, she said.

On his behalf, President Peres wished the diplomats luck and expressed that "Israel is faced with strategic and diplomatic challenges", hoping that this would be an opportunity to expand cooperation with the countries of the newly appointed ambassadors.

When addressing the issue of the peace process with the Palestinians and the possibility of reengaging in negotiations, President Peres stated, "I believe that the solution is two states, for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. The peace process is top of our agenda."

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.

Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa H.E. Mr. Sisa Ngombane

Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa H.E. Mr. Sisa Ngombane


Ambassador of the Republic of Chile H.E. Mr. Jorge Montero Figueroa

Ambassador of the Republic of Chile H.E. Mr. Jorge Montero Figueroa


Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka H.E. Mr. Sarath Devesena Wijesinghe

Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka H.E. Mr. Sarath Devesena Wijesinghe


Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Mr. Ta Duy Chinh
Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam H.E. Mr. Ta Duy Chinh

On the occasion of Serbia's National day , the Embassy of Serbia in Israel hosted a special reception at the David Intercontinental Hotel in TelAviv  on February 19th.
Serbian Ambassador  H.E MR. Zoran Basaraba and wife, welcomed special guest Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon among diplomats, Israeli officials, businessmen and friends.

World’s Most Innovative Cruise Line Celebrates Steel Cutting and Reveals Names of Newest Ships

MIAMI, February 5, 2013 – Royal Caribbean International took a major step this week in the development of the cruise line’s next generation of cruise ships when the first piece of steel was cut for the first of two Project Sunshine ships. The steel cutting took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where the two ships will be built.

SANTIAGO, Chile, 10 February 2013, (BWNS) — A new video detailing progress of the construction of the Baha'i House of Worship for the South American continent has been released.

The video highlights the completion of the building's concrete foundation, the beginning of construction work on the basement and service tunnel, and the installation of ten isolators to counteract seismic activity. It can be viewed online through the official website at

Construction began with site excavation and the installation of utility lines in November 2010 and advanced to major concrete work in March 2012.

When completed, the edifice in Santiago will be the eighth in a series of Baha'i Houses of Worship, and the final one to be erected to serve an entire continent.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has been awarded the World’s Leading Hotel Brand for the fourth
year running, as well as World’s Leading Business Hotel for the second year in a row at the Grand
Final Ceremony of the 2012 Word Travel Awards in New Delhi, India.

President Shimon Peres, today (Thursday, 17 January 2013), at the Ghetto Fighters' House Museum at kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot, took part in a ceremony to commemorate 70 years since the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, along with fighters from the ghetto, Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren.

President Shimon Peres swore-in 12 new judges and one senior registrar at a ceremony at the President's Residence under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Justice Minister and President of the Supreme Court:

 President Shimon Peres to the new judges:

"An independent and impartial judicial system is a prerequisite for an enlightened democratic society"
The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, delivered remarks this morning at a swearing-in ceremony for eleven new judges to the Magistrates Courts, one to the Transportation Court and one senior registrar. The ceremony was also attended by the President of the Supreme Court, Asher Grunis, and the Justice Minister, Yaakov Neeman.

President Shimon Peres:

"Peace is not just a desire, it is not just a call from heaven, I think it can be attained and achieved. We have to act determinedly, honestly and courageously to achieve it."

"May everybody be blessed with a good new year"

The Greek Patriarch Theophilos:

 "Our shared history has taught us that the road to peace is a dynamic process, that is to say that it is not through violence but through dialogue."

 In honor of the New Year the President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, hosted a reception for the leaders of the Christian faith in Israel. President Peres delivered a special greeting and said, "I would like to express my best wishes and greatest hope from Jerusalem, a city that is holy to us all and that represents peace for everybody in the world. May everybody be blessed with a good new year."

The President’s official residence in Jerusalem was bursting with ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Israel when Mr. Shimon Peres himself hosted a unique gathering on Sunday 30th December 2012. In his address to the distinguished guests, the President spoke of Israel’s earnest resolve to achieve peace in the region.
"Great changes are taking place in the Arab world and the State of Israel is not part of them. It can take a passive stance in which decision-making is determined by the reality or Israel can take the initiative and brave steps, and thus positively influence three aspects. First, is the completion of a peace agreement with the Palestinians without delay. A clear majority of the people is in favor of the principle of two states for two peoples. I have known Abu Mazen for 30 years. He has stood up and publicly said that he favors peace and opposes terrorism. Abu Mazen's actions to thwart terrorism are brave to the point where his life is at risk. Put yourselves in his shoes and realize that his recognition of a solution to the refugee issue, and the fact that he will not return to Safed, the city of his birth, are important and courageous. There is not much time and from the perspective of probability, this is the move that could be carried out now.

British Embassador Mr  Matthew Gould was awarded Yesterday an honorary degree from Ben Gurion University  would like to congratulate , Mr. Matthew Gould on receiiving the honorary award from Ben gurion University.
Your achievements indeed merit this award.
Wishing you success and best of luck
Silvia Golan  Executive Director and team

Follow the embassador speech

Acceptance speech

Ben Gurion University, 26 December 2012

 You have done me a huge honour.  

 You have allowed me to fulfil one of my lifelong ambitions, namely to get a doctorate without doing any work.

I am hoping you will now find a painless way for me to run the marathon.

This award is a source of both pride and humility.

Pride because it reflects the progress we have made in the mission I set myself as Ambassador when I came to Israel two years ago.

To build links between our universities.

To get our scientists working together.

A year ago, in this university, we brought that vision to life, with the first UK/Israel Conference on Regenerative Medicine, bringing together over two

 hundred scientists, including from 20 British universities.  

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas  

and a Happy New Year

Silvia G. Golan

Executive Director & Team

President Peres took part in a Christmas celebration in northern Israel and said:

"It is for me a privilege to send our profound wishes for a Happy Christmas to the whole Christian world and our hopes that the Middle East may enter an era of peace and prosperity."
"The State of Israel is committed to protecting all the holy sites and the freedom of worship for everyone."

The President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, paid a visit to the official residence of Archbishop Chacour in Haifa. President Peres sang traditional Christmas songs with the local children's choir from the Christian-Arabic school in L'bilin.
President Peres delivered a festive greeting to Christians in Israel and across the world and said, "It is for me a privilege, as president of the State of Israel, to send profound wishes on behalf of all of Israel for a Happy Christmas to the whole Christian world and to express the hope that the Middle East may enter an era of peace and prosperity. The State of Israel is committed to protecting all the holy sites and the freedom of worship for everyone. In the Holy Land coexistence between Jews, Christians and Muslims will continue. From the city of Haifa, a model of peace and coexistence, I wish to send one clear message to the world – a message of peace and unity between all faiths, between all nations."

December 19, 2012 - Mayor Nir Barkat toured the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City this morning to speak with local religious leaders, residents, and store keepers to wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Mayor Barkat took the opportunity while meeting with representatives of the Old City’s Christian leadership to discuss the challenges facing their communities and to address their concerns regarding traffic conditions, infrastructure, and the expansion of schools.

During the first of three scheduled tours, Mayor Barkat held meetings with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop in Jerusalem, and the Head of the Anglican Evangelical Episcopal Church in Israel.

Mayor Barkat’s annual tradition of bringing holiday greetings to Christian leaders in the Old City has become an opportunity for a yearly update and review of the concerns of each community. The Mayor told residents "there are no problems, only challenges, and we are looking for the most effective ways to resolve them." In this spirit, the Mayor was joined by representatives from the relevant branches of the Municipality, as well as his Deputy Mayor for Planning, Naomi Tsur, and City Councilman Meir Margalit.

Photo  Silvia Golan

Office of the Press Secretary December 13, 2012

East Room
7:50 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody.
AUDIENCE: Good evening.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you for coming to the White House tonight to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. (Applause.) It is truly an honor to host so many leaders from the Jewish community this evening. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is here. (Applause.) And obviously I know I speak for all of us when we say that America's support for our friend and ally Israel remains unshakeable during these difficult times. (Applause.)

Many members of Congress and local government are here, and we want to welcome you. We are graced by two Supreme Court Justices, several members of my Cabinet and administration -- so, everybody, be on your best behavior. (Laughter.)

I want to thank the incredibly talented members of the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir for their service. (Applause.) They are incredible young people. Obviously we're in awe of their service to our nation, and for sharing a couple of Hanukkah favorites with the Marine band.

And finally, I'd like to recognize the rabbis and lay leaders who traveled from all over the country to be here. Thank you for sharing the holiday with us. We're grateful. (Applause.)

On December 4th 2012, the Embassy of Japan in the State of Israel hosted a reception on the occasion of Japan’s National Day and celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations with Israel.
Japanese Ambassador Hideo Sato welcomed honorary guest President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres as well as members of diplomatic missions in Israel and other distinguished guests. Speaking in Hebrew, the Japanese Ambassador addressed the public in a cheerful and amicable manner.
During his speech, President Peres congratulated His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on his birthday, while also congratulating his people on their National day.
The head of State stressed the importance of Japanese-Israeli bilateral relations, reminding the audience that “Japan was among the first Asian countries to recognize Israel, 60 years ago, and Israel was the first Mediterranean country to recognize Japan”.  This friendship, President Peres added, extends not only to matters of State, but to Israelis as well, who admire Japanese traditions and its way of life.

Five new ambassadors from Croatia, Switzerland, India, Belgium and the Vatican presented their Letters of Credence to the President of the State of Israel, President Shimon Peres, in a formal ceremony which takes place at the President's Residence.

  • Croatian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Pjer Šimunović  
  • Swiss Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Andreas Bau
  • Indian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Jaideep Sarkar
  • Belgian Ambassador, H.E. Count John Cornet d’Elzius
  • Vatican Amassador, H.E. Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto
  • President Peres said: " Israel welcome you - feel like home "

President Shimon Peres
today (Tuesday, 4 December 2012), welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Twitter with a special Tweet which read; "Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best and can form a basis to further peace everywhere"

President Peres to the new Papal Nuncio Guiseppe Lazzarotto:
"Religion has a spiritual impact upon people, which is no less important than material strength. It is peace that we need more than anything else, peace in faith and peace in our daily lives." 

President Peres met this morning with the new Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto at a formal ceremony at the President's Residence in Jerusalem in which five new ambassadors, amongst them Archbishop Lazzarotto, presented their Letters of Credence to President Peres. President Peres congratulated Archbishop Lazzarotto on his position and said, "I have the highest regard for His Holiness and I was glad to see that he started to Tweet. Today we have the best relationship between Israel and the Holy See in the last 2000 thousand years. That is the main story and I hope those relations will continue to improve. We feel that the relationship now is deeper and wider than ever before, a relationship that looks to the future.

Thursday, December 6th, 2012, at 4:30 pm - at the Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center - Tel Aviv University.
In the year of the Centenary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, a Hero without a Grave. The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation in cooperation with Embassy of Sweden in Israel.

Romanian Ambassador Mr Edward Iosiper, Minister Yaakov Margi and Mr Shlomo Morgan Minister Counselor Protocol Department 
Photo Silvia Golan 
On the occasion of the traditional celebration of the National Day of Romania marking 64 years since the reunification of the country, Mr. and Mrs Edward Iosiper
have invited friends and dignitaries to a nice reception on the lawn of their home in Herzelia.

In his welcome speech, Ambassador Iosiper described the fruitful, productive, bilateral ties between Romania and Israel.
 Mr Iosiper noted that new agreements in research, development and health have been negotiated. He went on to say "There are more than 5000 Israeli companies operating on the
Romanian market reaching a mutual volume trade of 420 million dollars in addition to the 3 billion dollars of Israeli investment in Romania".
The Ambassador also added that this year Rumanian representatives experienced for the first time the danger, fear and agony Israeli citizens in the south had to endure for the last 12 years.
According to Losiper "A just and lasting solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict can be reached only through direct negotiations"
The Ambassador also reitirated Romania's strong stance against any attempt of de-legitimization of Israel."

The soon to be Ambassador of Croatia in Israel, Mr.Peter Simunovic   arrived on Wednesday afternoon at the Ashdod City Hall to show solidarity with the bombed population of the city. He was invited by Mr. shmuel Schlesinger the Consul of Croatia  and owner of the Ashdod Bonded shipping company. Mr. Schlesinger is responsible for rekindling and renewing the diplomatic relationship that went sour between Israel and Croatia. When the two met at City Hall they were led to a special control room where a staff of experts were stationed with computers  following the missile bombings of the city.
 Mr.  Simunovic landed in Israel only two months ago and very quickly became familiar with the grim, intensive Israeli reality.
While being interviewed by Diplomacy the Ambassador received a phone call from the Croatian Embassy in Tel aviv informing him of the bus bombing right in front of the Embassy. He was requested to return to the embassy immediately.
Hopefully, the Ambassador's next visit to Ashdod will be longer and under better circumstances.

The Republic of Angola celebrated on November 11th of 2012, 37years of nationhood since its independence from Portugal. Angolan Ambassador in Israel HE Joao Manuel and his wife Antonia Manuel welcomed guest of honor Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Shalom Shimon and Minister for Minorities Affairs in the government of the State of Israel to a colorful reception held at the Panorama Hotel in Tel-Aviv. Heads of diplomatic Missions and International Organizations were also among the selected group of invitees.

 The Angolan Ambassador explained how important independence and sovereignty is for the young South African country. After 27 years of civil war, Angola attained peace only ten years ago and has, since then, achieved growth by implementing social and economic reconstruction programs, professional training.

 Most importantly, Angola has made a great effort in the consolidation of democracy in the country, holding most recently general elections in August of 2012. Furthermore “Angola is currently a politically stable and safe country where Angolans have opportunities to explore the vast natural resources that the country has to offer, creating economic and financial conditions that are going toward carrying the load of the nations colossal development programs” added Mr. Manuel.

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