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. 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