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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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

 

 

Your www.diplomacy.co.il 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